Four Tips to Make Organic Foods Work For Your Body and Budget
A study of children living in Seattle found that five days of substituting organic fruits and vegetables for conventional produce effectively reduced pesticides in urine to non-detectable levels.
A 2012 review found that organic meat and dairy both contain higher levels of all three omega-3 fats (EPA, DHA, and ALA) and more vitamin E and A than the conventional counterpart. On the other hand, produce tends to vary in terms of nutrient content.
A 2010 comparison of strawberries showed that the organic version had a much greater concentration of antioxidants and more vitamin C. Organic strawberries tended to be rated more flavorful and sweeter than conventional as well.
That 2010 strawberry analysis found that organic soil is of higher quality, more resilient to stress, and more diverse—all factors that contribute to a healthier ecosystem. By buying organic, you are supporting the infrastructure so that future generations can have access to safe, real food.
You don’t need me to tell you that buying locally grown food is the best choice for fresher, in-season food. Anyone who has bought their greens, eggs, or raw milk from the farmer knows it’s a completely different experience if you get to look the person in the eye who planted, watered, and collected the food.
It can be eye-opening to watch an agricultural worker walk through a field with a canister of pesticide on their back spraying the crops without any protective clothing. Consider the health effects of such exposure—conventional agricultural workers have higher rates cancer and other illnesses than the general population.
Organic foods cannot be genetically modified. You’ve probably heard that produce sticker codes beginning with 8 are GMO, whereas those beginning with 9 are organic. Nice idea, however, the GMO code does not get used in practice.
Budget Tip: Buy organic dairy over conventional during the summer for the higher nutrition content. During the winter, it might prudent to decrease dairy intake and put that money into other organic foods.
#3: Mix & Match Produce Based on Local Options & The EWG Guide