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Enter any grocery store or market and organic food, particularly produce, looks exactly the same as conventional, but costs more. What’s the point? Is it all a crafty sales technique? You are not alone. I used to wonder the same thing. Here’s the deal.
Keep the Chemicals Off My Plate Please:
There are no chemicals, pesticides, or herbicides used in the production of organic food. Pesticides are poisons designed to kill living organisms and can be very harmful to humans. Most pesticides were EPA approved long before extensive research was done linking them to many cancers and other diseases. As pesticides enter our bodies and build up, our immune systems weaken, which allow cancer causing agents and pathogens to harm our health. In addition, conventional produce is also coated in waxes to make it from farm to supermarket still looking pretty. Yuck!
I’ll Take My Vitamins from My Food, Thank You Very Much:
Study after study have shown organic food is much more nutritious than conventional, containing a higher vitamin, mineral and antioxidant content. In one study done by The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, five servings of organic vegetables (lettuce, spinach, carrots, potatoes, and cabbage) provided the recommended daily intake of vitamin C for men and women, while their conventional counterparts did not. Another interesting note is that the organic produce contained over 15% less nitrates than their conventional counterparts. UC Davis did a study showing 50% more antioxidants in organic produce. Organic food is far more nourishing and can help you save money by eliminating pricey supplements.
For more studies see: http://www.ota.com/organic/benefits/nutrition.html
Show Some Love for the Environment:
Organic farming is done in a way to protect the environment from pollution as well as promote water and soil conservation. More energy is now used to produce synthetic fertilizers than to till, cultivate, and harvest all the crops in the US. The EPA now also estimates that pesticides, used in conventional farming, pollute the primary source of drinking water for more than half the country’s population. Organic farming also helps prevent soil erosion.
Protect Our Children:
Children receive four times more exposure than adults to cancer causing pesticides in foods. In 2006, the BBC reported that pesticides found in fruits and vegetables, and the decreased nutrients in non-organic produce, can cause mental health issues like depression, and memory problems in children (and adults.) There are over 2700 intentional food additives which help contribute to 9% of our children now having ADHD. Organic food helps protect our future generations.
Be a Detective:
Look for the USDA organic seal to ensure quality. When buying produce always double check the PLU. If organic, it will always start with the number 9. Remember “natural” and “organic” are not interchangeable and do not mean the same thing. There are many labels out there such as, “free-range,” “hormone-free,” and “all natural.” These labels are not the same as organic and do not have the stringent guidelines organic do. Play it safe and look for the USDA seal to ensure you are getting organic.
Photo layout credit: Payam-E-Ashena Magazine
Melissa Schollaert is a Holistic Health & Nutrition Counselor and founder of Real Nutritious Living. Helping others achieve their health goals to attain their healthiest, happiest life is her greatest ambition.