Why Buy Organic
By Melanie Beasley, RD, LD
February 6, 2019
At Nutritional Weight & Wellness, we’re passionate about food, but not just any food, we’re looking for the highest quality foods we can find. That’s where organic foods come in; they’re simply the best choice for our bodies. Here are our favorite reasons for recommending organic foods, along with the research-based benefits.
Why Organic Food is Important
- No Pesticides or Chemical Fertilizers – Vegetables and fruits grown organically are grown without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers. On the flipside, conventionally-grown produce requires the use of toxic chemicals to kill insects and other pests. It is not surprising that chemicals designed to kill pests would also have risks to our health.
When we purchase and eat these non-organic foods, residues of many chemicals remain on the produce and subsequently build up in our bodies. For example, the commonly-used herbicide Glyphosate has been classified as a “probable human carcinogen,” and the insecticide chlorpyrifos has been linked to developmental delays in infants. Some studies suggest that pesticide residues may contribute to ADD and ADHD increase in children. Again, many of these chemicals are found on conventionally-raised foods.
- Higher Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Organic meat and dairy products have an estimated 50% more omega-3 fatty acids compared to conventionally-raised meat and milk products according to a 2016 study in the British Journal of Nutrition. That’s an easy and delicious way to increase inflammation-fighting Omega 3 fatty acids!
- Free of Antibiotics – Organically-raised animals are not given antibiotics, although conventional livestock can be fed antibiotics to protect against illness, making it easier for farmers to raise animals in crowded or unsanitary conditions. Overuse of antibiotics in livestock is a major contributor of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
- No Synthetic Hormones – Meat and dairy products from organically-raised animals are prohibited from using synthetic hormones. These hormones have been linked to an increased risk of various cancers. Many conventionally-raised animals are injected with synthetic growth hormones (or their food contains the hormones), so they'll gain weight faster or produce more.
The Most Important Foods to Buy Organic
The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen is a handy shopper’s guide that shares where pesticides are often found in produce. The list is published annually by the USDA and Environmental Protection Agency who work together to identify foods to be tested for pesticides. Interestingly, the order can change based on each testing, so it is always good to check the list yearly. Although organic foods can be more expensive, we believe that the benefits of eating organic, both long and short-term, are a good investment in our health. Given the present research, we suggest you avoid the Dirty Dozen list at least; those with the highest pesticide residues should not be on your plate, if you can help it.
At Nutritional Weight & Wellness we strive to provide the best nutritional advice to help you feel better and achieve your wellness goals. Buying organic is one more handy tool to get you on your way to wellness.
- Aubrey, A. (2016, February 18) Is Organic More Nutritious? New Study Adds To The Evidence. Retrieved from, https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/02/18/467136329/is-organic-more-nutritious-new-study-adds-to-the-evidence?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20160218
- Barański M, et. al. (2014) Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. British Journal of Nutrition, 112(5), 794-811.
- Mie, A. et al. (2016). Human health implications of organic food and organic agriculture. Brussels: Science and Technology Options Assessment Panel.
- NARMS – Combating Antibiotic Resistance with Surveillance. Retrieved from, https://www.cdc.gov/narms/faq.html
- Smith-Spangler, C. (2012) Are organic foods safer or healthier than conventional alternatives?: a systematic review. Annals of Internal Medicine, 157(5), 348-66.