We’re bombarded by advertising information that isn’t always completely true, so it can make you wonder whether all the hype about organic food is legitimate or just another reason to charge more money. Exactly what does organic mean? If you’re talking about vegetables and fruits, grown with no pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modifications or ionizing radiation. Animals raised organically take no antibiotics or growth hormones and are often free-range, meaning they aren’t kept in a cage and allowed to graze on grass or in the case of chickens, eat bugs and other natural foods.
You’ll get more nutrients from organic food.
Factory farms that aren’t organic fertilize with the minerals nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which reduces trace minerals and nutrients in the produce. Studies show that the overall nutritional content of food is lower than it was just fifty years ago. Other studies show that farmers who use a more environmentally conscious, organic way, have a higher content of nutrients, such as vitamin C and phytochemicals.
There are pesticides in some fruits and vegetables grown at non organic farms.
Every year, the EWG—EnvironmentalWorking Group puts out a study identifying pesticides on fruits and vegetables. They take samples to check for pesticides, before and after washing them, then put out the results of the study and two lists, “The Dirty Dozen” and “The Clean Fifteen.” Those on the Dirty Dozen list are high in pesticides, so you should opt for the organic alternative. Those on the Clean Fifteen list are safe whether you choose regular fruits and vegetables or their organic counterparts.
You’ll get benefits from buying organic poultry, meat, dairy and eggs.
While fewer and fewer farmers are using antibiotics and hormones when raising their livestock, it still happens. You’ll know you’re getting clean, antibiotic and hormone-free products if you opt for organic products. In addition to that, many organic animal products are free-range or grass-fed, which adds even more benefits. Grass-fed beef and dairy provide more Omega-3 fatty acids, which improve heart health. They also contain conjugated linoleic acid, a type of fat that lowers the risk of cancer and heart disease. Free range eggs have lower bad cholesterol and fat and an increased amount of vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E.
- Fruits and vegetables on the Dirty Dozen list include: strawberries, kale, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, and potatoes, with hot and sweet peppers being added as one extra. They’re in order from the most contaminated to the least.
- The Clean 15 include: avocados sweet corn, pineapples, onions, papayas, sweet frozen peas, eggplant, asparagus, cauliflower, cantaloupe, broccoli, mushrooms, cabbage, honeydew melon and kiwi.
- Not only is organic farming a healthier option in many cases, it’s environmentally good. It uses practices that replenish the land and offers more humane treatment for farm animals.
- Some produce on the Clean Fifteen list may be GMO. A small percentage of the sweet corn, summer squash and papaya use genetically modified seeds. If you choose organic you’ll avoid GMO food.
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