Buying Organic: What’s the Big Deal?

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Every year sales of organic food are going up by 10-20 percent in the U.S. Consumers are catching on to the trend and things are looking good for the average American diet in years to come. But what’s so great about it? Are they actually better for us? Should we really be paying more for organic foods? I’ve found the answers to your questions (and some of my own) in an article written by research professor at Washington University, Charles Benbrook. But first, let’s go over what organic means. Put simply, organic products are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge (ew?), genetically modified organisms, growth hormones or antibiotics.

First question: Is organic food more nutritious?

The answer is yes. In 60% of studies, organic foods were higher in nutrients than conventionally grown foods. Of course, 30% of the time the regular produce was just as high as the organic, but hey, 60% is still pretty good.

Second question: Are organic foods really pesticide-free?

Not exactly. Its true that organic foods are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, but they can still pick up traces through gusts of wind traveling over other farms, or by water and packing materials used in processing plants. But there is still a dramatic difference in the amount and toxicity between conventionally-grown foods and organic. So if you’re seeking organic to reduce your risks of pesticide consumption then you’re getting what you pay for.

Third question: Are people who eat more fruits and vegetables healthier even if its not organic produce?

Yes! The single most important diet change is including fruits and vegetables in your daily diet and cutting out bad fats, added sugars and highly processed foods. So in order of health importance, first worry about eating lots of fruits and veggies and second, try and make those products organic if you can.

So basically, organic is better for you, it promotes a safer and healthier way of farming for both the consumer and the environment. In fact, organic soil capture and store carbon dioxide at a much higher rate than conventional soils. So much so that if we grew all our corn and soybeans organically, we’d remove 580 billion pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere! Yet another good reason to go organic. Be healthy, live longer, promote forward thinking!

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