Sunday, February 22, 2009

Should You Buy Organic Produce?

I am often asked if I only eat organic produce. Unfortunately because organics usually cost more than conventionally grown produce I often find myself putting the organic produce back on the shelf when I see that the alternative is much less expensive. Who isn’t watching their budgets these days? So I did some research to see if organic produce is better for you and this is what I found:

Argument for Organics: Advocates say organic food is safer, possibly more nutritious, and often better tasting than non-organic food. They also say organic production is better for the environment and kinder to animals.

Your chances of getting pesticide residues are much less with organic food. Organic foods also are far less likely to contain residues of more than one pesticide.

A few studies have reported that organic produce has higher levels of vitamin C, certain minerals, and antioxidants -- thought to protect the body against aging, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

Arguments Against Organics: The amount of man-made pesticide residues found in conventional foods is still well below the level that the Environmental Protection Agency has deemed unsafe.

Because organic production steers clear of synthetic insecticides and herbicides, organic crops usually contend with more pests and weeds than conventional crops. This means the organic plants may produce more natural toxins.

So the short answer is: Is organic food better for our health? Maybe. Is it better for our planet? Probably. If you can manage the higher price, and you like the idea of fewer pesticides and a more environmentally friendly production system, organic food may be for you. Since not all of us can afford to go 100% organic. The solution? Focus on just those foods that come with the heaviest burden of pesticides, chemicals, additives and hormones.

If you want to start incorporating a few organic items into your diet than you can follow the “The Dirty Dozen”: Top 12 foods to eat organic: apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, red raspberries, spinach and strawberries.

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