With so many food choices available at the supermarket these days, it can be overwhelming to try to choose quality foods. The dizzying array of labels also adds to the confusion stating things like “organic”, “all natural”, and “hormone free”.
While many of the foods containing these labels can often be a bit more expensive, the question of “is it really better for me?” is bound to arise. The answer is a resounding yes. Not only is organic food better for your body, it is also better for the environment.
While significant numbers of research studies have not been conducted comparing organic foods and conventionally grown foods, the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Organic foods do not contain large amounts of harmful herbicides and pesticides. A single strawberry contains over 27 different chemicals, many which do not disappear upon washing. This means your body has the job of trying to break down the chemicals and excrete them. Unfortunately, our bodies have a tough enough time trying to identify these harmful substance let alone be able metabolize them. Studies have linked pesticides to cancers, birth defects, damage to the brain, nervous system disorders, and Parkinson’s disease. Children absorb far more pesticides than adults do when compared with similar exposure because children have more skin per surface size, take in more breaths per minute than adults, and have yet to be developed detoxification pathways. A study conducted in 2006 analyzed the urine of children aged 3 to 11 who ate only organic foods. Upon commencement of the study, researchers found no pesticide metabolites in the children’s urine. However, when the children resumed eating a non-organic diet, metabolites of 2 toxic pesticides, malathion and chlorpyrifos, were found in their urine in concentrations as high as 263 parts per billion.
Nutrient Density and Flavor
When comparing organic produce with conventionally grown, studies have shown organic foods are significantly higher in many vital nutrients. A 2003 study found that organic produce was about 50% in cancer-fighting antioxidants than conventional produce. An independent review found that organic produce had higher amounts of 21 nutrients, including vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorous; as well as greater amounts of trace minerals. Organic food also tastes better, try a home taste test with your family and see which foods they like better. A main reason for the better taste is that organic food is close to how you would find the food in nature, as it doesn’t have anything added, or anything taken away.
Organic farmers practice sustainable agriculture, meaning they optimize farming methods that will preserve the land for generations to come. In addition, organic farming practices do not produce chemicals that remain in our soil, spread through the environment via air, or end up poisoning our waters. Organic animal products also ensure the animal was treated humanely and was allowed to graze in open pastures.
Organic food does tend to be slightly higher priced than conventional foods but it important to look a little closer. The price difference, on average, ranges from 22 – 65 cents higher. That results in only pennies a day, a small price to pay for better health. Considering organic fruits and vegetables can contain as high as 50% greater nutrient content, you would have to eat double the amount of produce you currently eat and that would certainly add up. Current US statistics reveal Americans spend 90% of their food budget on unhealthy and fast foods.
In the long run, choosing organic is the better choice for you and your family. Review our Organic Baby Food – Know the Facts post for additional information on organic baby foods.
* EC Multicentre Study on Antioxidants, 1997
* Committee on Toxicity (2002) Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment: Risk assessment of mixtures of pesticides and similar substances, Crown Copyright, September 2002
* Worthington V (2001) Nutritional quality of organic versus conventional fruits, vegetables, and grains. The Journal of Complimentary Medicine, vol. 7, No. 2, p. 161 - 173.
* Carbonaro et al M (2003) Modulation of Antioxidant Compounds in Organic vs Conventional Fruit (Peach, Prunus persica L., and Pear, Pyrus communis L.). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2002, 50, p. 5458 - 5462).
* Davis D. et al. "changes in USDA food composition data for 43 garden crops 1950 to 1999" J of the Am College of Nutr. vol 23, no. 6; pp.669-682
Source : http://www.mummums.com/2008/03/Organic-Food--The-Benefits-of-Eating-Organic