Did you know that, on average, a supermarket potato will have been doused with an astonishing 30 active ingredients (pesticides) during its growth!
The reasons for eating organic are many and when I do the weekly food shopping I'm very pleased to see that the range of organic produce on offer is growing. And they are getting cheaper. But it all adds up, so depending on your budget and where you live, which ones are really worth their higher price tag? And why choose organic in the first place?
"The safety of the consumption of multiple pesticide residues – the famous pesticide cocktails - has never been officially evaluated."
I buy organic about 90% of the time and the main reason is that I want to minimise the amount of pesticides that I feed my family. But there are many reasons why we should buy organic foods - here are 5 of them:
1. The obvious one: It reduces your exposure to pesticides
Choosing organic fruit and vegetables means that your food hasn't been routinely sprayed with numerous different pesticides. Even after washing, non-organic produce contains residues and the truth is that we have very limited knowledge of the long term health impacts of these toxic chemicals. But keep in mind that they are designed to kill living organisms! It is understood that certain pesticides act as hormone disruptors and are potentially carcinogenic, so clearly they are best avoided wherever possible.
2. Higher nutritional value
Studies have shown that organic food is higher in antioxidants, sometimes by as much as 69%. These are the compounds that fight the harmful free radicals and have been linked to a reduced risk of certain chronic diseases such as cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases as well as certain cancers.
3. It reduces your exposure to antibiotics
Unlike most farm animals, organically raised animals aren't routinely fed antibiotics.
It's believed that the routine use of antibiotics in farm animals could be a key contributor to the increasing problem of antibiotic resistance.
4. Happier, healthier animals
Not only do they graze and forage naturally on organic pasture, organically farmed animals are genuinely free range and the farmers have to adhere to very high levels of animal welfare. They must have plenty of space which helps to reduce stress and disease.
5. Organic food supports greater biodiversity which is fundamental to our ecosystem.
Genetically modified products or organisms (GMOs) and non-organic food are focused on high yield mono-culture and mass-production (therefore profit) and are destroying biodiversity. The use of GMOs is not allowed in organic food. Not to mention that food grown on small-scale organic farms help ensure independent family farmers can create a livelihood. Like a local Fair Trade.
All organic food and drink sold in the UK must meet the EU Organic Regulation - shown by the green leaf logo on pack.
So, which ones should you prioritise? Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen
Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) put together an easy-to-digest list of fruits and vegetables that tended to contain the most, and the least, pesticides in the past year. Even though the list is based on American produce, it still works as a good guideline.
What if I can't afford organic food?
Buy the best you can afford, even if it means buying the conventional fruit and vegetables. Eating fruit and vegetables is FAR more important than avoiding them just because you cannot afford to buy the organic ones.
Clean your fruit and vegetables: Fill your sink with water, add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar and stir. Add all the produce and let soak for 10 minutes. This is especially important for small fruits and berries with soft skins.
Keep in mind the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen
Deliveries to your front door!
There are quite a few box schemes around which deliver organic fruit & vegetables and animal produce. Myself, I receive a weekly box from Abel & Cole which I think is fantastic. Another one is Riverford which I understand is also very good.
Also, The Soil Association website has a list of local schemes if you enter your postcode. You can also try local grocers – but ask questions! They often use local domestic produce from individuals that has no quality control regarding the use of chemicals.
I just love it when I get my weekly box. Apart from the staples, it often contains some interesting looking vegetables which gets my cooking inspiration going!
Hope this helps. Keep well!
Would you like to find out more about how nutrition can help you and your health?
Get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for a FREE quick chat to see how I can help.
Consult your doctor or health care practitioner for any health problems, before embarking on any new health regimes, using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications or food programmes.