Are you unsure about whether to buy organic food or not? Here we are discussing food and which ones you should buy organic. We will help you clearly understand what you’re eating. Use this blog post as a resource to help you make healthy choices for yourself and your family.
What does organic mean?
Organic farming avoids the following:
- Most synthetic pesticides
- Synthetic fertilizer
- Sewage sludge as fertilizer
- Genetic engineering/ genetically modified organisms (GMO)
- Antibiotics and growth hormone (livestock)
What’s there not to like? One concern is that organic food costs more than conventional alternatives. One way to cut costs is to buy organic for those products that are highest in pesticides and otherwise buy conventional items.
When to buy organic
An excellent resource is the Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticide in Produce. If a product is listed among the “Dirty Dozen”, it contains the highest level of pesticides. Produce listed as “Clean Fifteen” are generally low in pesticides even if not organic. The Dirty Dozen helps prioritize what to buy organic.
- Hot Peppers
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas Frozen
- Honeydew melons
As farming practices change, EWG updates these lists, so it is a good idea to check for updates on an annual basis. Keeping current on this information will potentially help you decrease the risk of chronic disease.
To avoid genetically modified corn, soybeans, papaya, soybeans, potatoes and summer squash, buy them organic.
When you buy products with multiple ingredients, you may get a combination of organic and non-organic ingredients. If you want products that are 100% organic choose those that are labeled “certified organic” or have a USDA seal.
Organic doesn’t necessarily mean safe
If a product is 100% organic, it is free of pesticides but it could be contaminated with other toxins. For instance, arsenic is frequently found in rice, even if the product is organic. Yikes! Arsenic is a carcinogen so this is scary.
One way that rice is contaminated with arsenic is through a farming practice of feeding arsenic-containing drugs to chickens. The arsenic is excreted in the chicken manure, which is used as a fertilizer for rice farming. Rice absorbs arsenic from contaminated soil. Until this problem is resolved, reduce your exposure by limiting your rice consumption and substituting with quinoa, buckwheat, couscous, or millet.
Other ways to reduce the risk
Wash and scrub your fruits and vegetables under running water. This removes dirt and some of the chemicals; however, not all pesticide residue can be eliminated by washing.
Choose a wide variety of foods from different sources. Not only will you get a wider range of nutrients you will decrease your risk of exposure to a single pesticide or contaminant.
Are you hungry for more information to help you take control of your health? You can follow me on my Facebook Page Dr. Carla Hightower
Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious? Mayo Clinic website. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/organic-food/art-20043880
How much arsenic is in your rice? Consumer Reports website. https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/01/how-much-arsenic-is-in-your-rice/index.htm
Carla Hightower, MD, MBA is a physician, health coach, workplace wellness consultant, and speaker. She helps people heal themselves with food. Through wellness workshops and courses, she helps companies create healthy, energetic teams.
5 Ways to Boost Your Energy
>> Nutritious foods that increase energy
>> Tips for waking up well-rested
>> Lifestyle changes to help you feel vibrant & alive