There are lots of skeptics why you should not spend the money to buy organic food. “There’s no scientific evidence that organic food is any healthier.” “Organic food is no better–just more expensive.” It’s all a scam to rip you off. These are things that you might hear about eating organic. But I disagree.
While eating organic is not perfect, it is clearly preferable for a number of reasons.We all are getting exposed to all sorts of toxic chemicals on a regular basis from the air, water and food, as well as from personal care and cleaning products, and even our furniture, etc. Eating organic is one of the best ways to reduce our exposure to some of these toxic chemicals, esp. pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Further, organic fruits and vegetables are higher in phytonutrients than conventional fruits and vegetables. This is because many of these phytonutrients, like polyphenols and carotenoids, help the plants to defend against pests like insects, disease, and harsh weather conditions. Pesticides reduce the plant’s exposure to pests, so the plants don’t need to mount as strong a defense by producing as many polyphenols and other phytonutrients to repel the pests naturally. There has been a lot of research investigating all the benefits to humans of consuming fruits and vegetables that are high in these various phytonutrients. A recent study has also shown that eating organic food reduces the risk of cancer.(1)
Let’s start with what organic means. In the US, organic fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and herbs must be grown without the use of synthetic pesticides (like RoundUp), bioengineered genes (GMOs), petroleum-based fertilizers, and sewage sludge-based fertilizers. Yes, it is common practice to use thermally conditioned human sewage in conventional farming and this has been done for decades in the US and other countries. Such sewage sludge may contain dangerous amounts of bacteria, PCBs, chlorinated pesticides, asbestos, industrial solvents, petroleum products, radioactive material, and heavy metals. Organic livestock raised for meat, eggs, and dairy products must have access to the outdoors and be given organic feed. These animals have healthier living conditions. They may not be given antibiotics, growth hormones, or any animal by-products. Conventional, non-organic beef cows are fed the following: antibiotics, pig and chicken byproducts, steroids, hormones, pesticides, and sewage sludge. By the way, did you know that conventionally raised chickens are often fed arsenic based drugs to promote growth and kill parasites? Organic beef, milk, and eggs are higher in omega 3 fats because the cattle and chicken are allowed to graze on grass. Conventional beef is fed corn, which is high in omega 6 fats, which can be pro-inflammatory.
As mentioned above, one of the primary benefits of eating organic is that you will ingest lower levels of toxic pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Like many toxins, what usually ends up harming you is the total body burden, which builds up over time. This is not to say that organic is perfect, since despite popular belief, organic farms do use pesticides. The difference is that they only use naturally-derived pesticides, rather than the synthetic pesticides used on conventional commercial farms. Natural pesticides are believed to be less toxic, however, some have been found to have health risks. That said, your exposure to harmful pesticides will be lower when eating organic.
Organic farms also do not use synthetic fertilizers or genetically modified seeds, which are being used increasingly in conventional farming, and the US has refused attempts to label produce as genetically modified to allow consumers a choice. Organic fertilizers, like organic manure and compost, slowly leach nutrients into the soil and improve its health over time. Synthetic fertilizers contain combinations of chemicals and inorganic substances like nitrogen and phosphorus and these supply nutrients immediately to the soil. But synthetic fertilizers kill beneficial microorganisms in the soil that convert dead animal and plant remains into nutrient-rich organic matter. Synthetic fertilizers harm the environment by leaching into rivers, lakes, and oceans. There are huge oxygen-depleted dead zones in the oceans along the coasts from the runoff of synthetic fertilizers where no fish or marine life can survive. Also, synthetic fertilizers are damaging to the health of the soil ecosystem and while such soil will have higher levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, plants grown in such soil is often deficient in iron, zinc, carotene, vitamin C, and copper.
Eating organic is better, since it will reduce your exposure to pesticides and other potentially harmful chemicals, the organic fruits and vegetables will likely have more vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, it’s safer for the environment, and it will reduce your cancer risk.
1. Baudry J, Assmann KE, Touvier M, et al. Association of Frequency of Organic Food Consumption With Cancer RiskFindings From the NutriNet-Santé Prospective Cohort Study. JAMA Intern Med. Published online October 22, 2018.
https://www.drweitz.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/drweitzdsamplelogo-withtext.png00drweitzhttps://www.drweitz.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/drweitzdsamplelogo-withtext.pngdrweitz2018-12-02 19:55:292018-12-02 20:11:23Why You Should Eat Organic
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