The Proof Is In The Science – Organic Is Healthier

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There seems to be an ongoing debate on whether organic food is actually more nutritious than its conventional counterpart. Spending several years teaching organics and the NOPs certifying program, I personally can’t imagine how conventional food could even compare to organic food – which is grown in more nutrient rich soil without the aid of synthetic chemicals. In a world of strong opinions, corporate influenced politics, and misguided advertising, we now have become a nation that demands the proof. We need proof that something does what it is supposed to do. We need proof that something is healthier or more potent or whatever the claim may be. And I understand why. We are constantly bombarded with conflicting information. We are guided by governing food agencies that are highly influenced by the big corporations and pharmaceutical companies who financially support them. In turn, we don’t know who or what to believe.

I’m happy to say that we have the proof when it comes to organic food. A new study released in the British Journal of Medicine shows the nutritional benefits of organic produce compared to  conventional non-organic produce. This study is an analyses of 343 peer reviewed publications on the differences between organic and non-organic crops and crop based foods.  Here’s what they found:

Higher in antioxidants (amounts & types)

i_heart_organic_transparent_50The study shows organic foods are 19% – 69% higher in antioxidants. In the world of nutrition, our understanding of antioxidants is fairly new. We have recently discovered how important they are to health by inhibiting the oxidation damage of cells which can lead to chronic illness and disease. Organic foods not only contain a higher % of antioxidants, they also contain a larger variety.

Benefits of antioxidants – linked to a reduced risk of chronic disease including cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, and certain cancers.

Lower incidence of pesticide residues

4x lower! We see these images of workers spraying conventional food crops with pesticides while wearing hazmat suits. This alone scares me away from conventional foods. The companies that manufacture these chemicals and the farms that use them swear the foods are safe by the time they hit our dinner plates. Not so! There are many studies that show pesticide residues in urine after the consumption of these foods.

These chemicals can build up in our system and we are only beginning to see the long term repercussions of a lifetime of exposure. Unfortunately the companies that sell these chemicals (MONSANTO) have strategically placed people in important decision making positions. They have also funded “research” that benefits them and backed organizations (like the FDA) and certain board members in order to ensure their products get approved.

Lower concentration of Cadmium

Cadmium is a toxic heavy metal that can build up in the kidneys and lead to kidney disease as well as other organ concerns according to the EPA. It is used in many synthetic fertilizers and found in questionable concentrations in non-organic foods.

Although I’m confident there are other nutritional benefits to organic foods, these alone are enough for us to really think about what we are eating. We have a health epidemic in our country and unfortunately our governing organizations aren’t doing much to turn it around. We have to make conscious healthy decisions in our own homes.  It starts with the types of foods we eat.

  1. Eliminate sugar as much as possible
  2. Focus on a nutrient rich whole foods diet (moving away from processed foods)
  3. Purchase the highest quality products when able.

If you can do those three things, you will see a drastic change in your energy, health, and life! Sometimes organic products can be more expensive. But they don’t have to be. Simply shop seasonally, which is when organic produce can compete with conventional pricing, and just do the best you can. Remember the dirty dozen if nothing else and choose organic when purchasing those foods. These are the foods that have shown to contain the highest concentrations of pesticides. For 2014 they are –

apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes

So keep asking questions and look for the proof because there is a lot of misinformation out there. And remember we can impact our environment and what types of foods are available through our purchasing power. The more the consumer demands safe, pesticide free food, the more available it will be. Happy eating.

 

 

 

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