We often get questioned on whether organic foods are healthier than non-organic, also known as conventional. People doubt if they should be spending the extra dollar on one piece of fruit versus another. These doubts and questions are fair because no one really seems to have a straight answer. We’re here to help clear the air a bit, and hopefully help you make the decision right for your lifestyle.
Why should we eat organic?
Reduce Exposure to Unwanted Chemicals
Eating organic foods can reduce the risk of exposure to things like pesticides, artificial chemical, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics, growth hormones, among other potentially harmful chemicals. Organic farmers must meet very specific requirements to become an organic farm, so they must use less harmful techniques to maintain their crop. However, just because a farmer doesn’t use traditional chemical pesticides on their crop, doesn’t mean you are totally free of contaminants. There are still certain levels of pollutants in the environment, and eating organically simply reduces your exposure not completely steers you clear.
Organic farms are good for the environment. If you’re only part to contributing to the environment is eating the produce growing in it, then maybe make the choice to have less of a footprint. Organic farmers use techniques that have been around for centuries, to create produce that thrive in the given land. Farming organically is usually done in ways that are sustainable to the environment, techniques that can be carried out for many years with having little negative impact.
What is the downside?
Organic produce is more expensive than conventional food items, and that’s because it is expensive to grow. Chemical pesticides aren’t great for us, but they are great for killing pests. In the removal of chemical pesticides you are left with a very vulnerable farm, so farmers have to work harder to produce an edible product. This means more hours of labor, more natural loss of crop, all equating to higher cost of produce.
Organic doesn’t equate to healthy
Currently, there’s no definitive research indicating that organic produce has more nutritional value than conventional produce. While researchers are working to find a concrete answer, for now we just don’t have anything to prove that organic produce has higher quality of vitamins and minerals than conventional produce. Also, remember organic does not automatically mean that healthy. If a piece of candy, full of refined sugars, says 100% organic ingredients, that doesn’t mean suddenly a piece of candy is healthy; it’s just organic candy!
What should I buy organic?
No matter what type of fruit or vegetable you buy, remember at the end of the day why you are eating them. It’s all for the nutrition. A piece of fruit, organic or not, is still better than no fruit. If you would like to implement more organic produce into your life, but are not ready to commit fully to the cost there area few options.
The Dirty Dozen
The Environmental Working Group produces the Dirty Dozen list once a year. The Dirty Dozen ranks pesticide contamination of 47 popular fruits and vegetables. These are going to be fruits and vegetables that are more contaminated than others, so if you are looking to shop organically part time, check out the list.
The best thing we can do for the environment, our community and ourselves is to shop locally. Local farmers, in most circumstances, farm organically, but their product output isn’t enough to be considered organic. Many small town farmers selling at the farmers market or at their own stands are excluded from being certified organic. However that doesn’t mean that their product isn’t organically farmed. A conversation with your local vendors gives you a chance to meet who’s growing your food and how. This is a great way to keep sustaining your local farmer and to eat organically on a budget.
So get out to your local farmers market, interact and eat lots of fruits and vegetables!