by Jessica Sanders

Is Organic Food Better? Consider the Alternative

The organic food fad has been growing year after year; more people want their food free of dangerous toxins. Unfortunately, despite the interest, minimal research has been done to determine the real benefits of organic food, and even worse, the dangers of GMO foods.

So, how do you determine what’s best for you? The little evidence that’s been uncovered speaks for itself; and when it comes to the alternative—GMO foods—is there really an option?

The Case For Eating Organic

case for organic

Many believe that organic food is better for you in both nutrition and toxicity. Nutritionally, if the organic food you eat is grown using dung- or manure-based fertilizers, then studies have found that said foods are in fact more nutritious. See for yourself:

  • In a study from Organic-Center.org, 236 organic foods were compared with their inorganic match (organic squash versus inorganic squash). The study found that nutrients like quercetin, vitamin C and vitamin E were more prevalent in the organic foods as compared to their match. Not to mention, 20% of the organic matches exceeded total phenolics content—known for their potent antioxidant activity—by 11% or more.

Produce isn’t the only thing affected. In the largest study of it’s kind, researchers have just found this milk is an organic must-by.

  • The study, released in 2013, found that organic milk is also nutritious than it’s inorganic counterpart. Charles Benbrook, the lead author of this study and a program leader at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University was shocked with their findings. Yet, the information speaks volumes.

It’s required that organic cows get 30% of their dry food from pasture at least 120 days of the year. Turns out that in only full-fat organic milk this translates to less omega-6 fatty acids—which are considered to be too prevalent in the Western diet—and more omega-3 fatty acids, which the western diet doesn’t have enough of. This shift in fatty acids skyrockets the nutritional value.

The Case for Avoiding GMOs

When it comes to toxins, all you have to do is look at the effects of GMO’s to know organic is the way to go:

“Some GMO products are made to increase the lectin production of plants, and [that is] the immune system of the plant. Now what is that immune system against? It’s against animal cells. Well, guess what we are, animals, so we have animal cells. We have the glycoprotein, in our intestines for example, that these lectins can bind to and cause leaky gut syndrome or irritable bowel syndrome or Celiac disease … because the cells lining the intestines can’t reproduce fast enough,” Dr. Saunders says.

If the potential dangers aren’t enough, consider that one of the few studies done on this subject found that those who ate organic had fewer toxins in their urine than those who didn’t.  Still, Saunders cautions that for some people, these toxins may not be a problem because their bodies detox easily.

Regardless of whether it affects you or not, the science is enough to scare people to the organic section of the grocery store. Yet many concerned consumers are wondering: Should I buy all organicAre some foods worse than others? According to many agricultural and health professionals, the answer is yes.

The Organic Food That Matters

When deciding what organic food to put in your shopping cart, keep this list handy.

Researchers have found that the some foods have higher pesticide content than others, making it important to always buy them organic. Some of those foods are:

  • 2013EWGPesticideGuidesmlPotatoes
  • Beef
  • Milk
  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Bell peppers
  • Nectarines
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry Tomatoes

Some foods, however, have been found to have a low pesticide load and are still safe when grown conventionally. If you can’t go organic, these are the ones to grab from the regular section:

  • Onions
  • Pineapples
  • Sweet peas
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwi
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Grapefruit
  • Mushrooms
  • Cabbage
  • Avocado
  • Eggplant
  • Papayas

Despite the evidence, some health professionals don’t encourage organic food or suggest GMOs are bad for you.

However, it’s clear pesticides don’t belong in your body, and the potential dangers are enough to scare most people to the organic aisle. If organic is too expensive for your budget, or you only have a small amount of organic produce to choose from, pick and choose, but do so consciously. These are potentially dangerous waters consumers are treading, and the smarter you are in the grocery store, the better.

Do you buy organic produce? Why or why not?

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