Drink Your Way to Better Health? Organic Beer and Wine | By Laura Klein
Whether you’re getting married and looking for the best wine for your celebration or planning a quiet barbecue get-together with friends in your backyard and in need of a good beer, you may want to consider organic options for their health and environmental benefits. And like eating organic food, you may just find that imbibing these brews is tastier, too!
Like most conventionally-grown foods, the grapes for wine and the grains for beer are treated with loads of pesticides and herbicides to fend of insects and weeds. But these chemicals will also land up in your beverage. The hops, yeasts, and malted grains (wheat, corn, barley, and rice) used to make beer are all laced with agricultural chemicals. In a 2003 study by the US Food and Drug Administration, it was found that 17 percent of barley and 32 percent of wheat products sampled had pesticide residues (which have been linked to human health problems). The organic varieties, on the other hand, had less than 5 percent.
The production of wine tells a similar story. Grapes grown for the making of wine are treated with more chemicals than any other crop in California (the biggest grape-growing state in America). Biodynamic and organic wines, on the other hand, severely limit the use of these chemicals.
Although the US Environmental Protection Agency claims that the levels of pesticide residues in our food and drink are safe, there are those who believe more studies need to be done to determine the effects of combinations of so many chemicals on the human body.
Choosing organic beer and wine may be good for your health, but it is also no surprise that the earth will thank you, too. Chemicals used on conventional crops not only pollute our waterways, they can harm birds and kill other beneficial insects and plants in our landscapes.
So when shopping for beverages for your next event, big or little, check out organic options. If it is labeled 100% organic, that means it contains 100 percent organically-grown grains or grapes. An “Organic” label means that up to 5 percent of the ingredients can be conventionally grown, while 95 percent must be organic.
Biodynamic is another option, and although this label is not controlled by the USDA, it does signify a healthier, more sustainable product. Biodynamic farming is totally chemical-free like organic farming, but this approach is also closer to the land.
Responsible drinking isn’t just about avoiding driving drunk, it’s also about responsibility to your own body and to the planet. Plan your next party without the side of pesticides.
Consider organic options for your health and environmental benefits. And like eating organic food, you may just find that imbibing the brews is tastier, too!
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