Organic Food: Should You Take the Plunge?
By Sara Butler
Organic food seems to be everywhere you look. But is organic food worth the extra cost and are they better for your health? Here’s what you need to know about organic food and if you and your family should take the organic plunge.
What is Organic?
The point of growing food organically is to help support the health and welfare of animals, avoid synthetics, and preserve natural resources. The USDA does regulate the organic food industry, so it’s not just a fancy label anyone can slap on their products. The soil used to grow organic food must be inspected and shown to be free of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and crops must not have undergone genetic modification. Organic farms that raise animals can’t use growth hormones, must feed the livestock organic food, and can’t receive antibiotics. Only foods that are 95 percent organic can claim the “USDA Organic” seal.
Are there Health Benefits?
The advantage of organic foods when it comes to health is that they’re grown without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, plus they’re hormone and antibiotic-free. But that appears to be the only advantage because organically grown food isn’t more nutritious than food grown through other methods.
Of course, there are some advantages to your health since you won’t be taking in pesticide residue, but there isn’t any information available about the long-term health benefits of this or the lack of hormones and antibiotics used.
Making the Switch
Going organic is an entirely personal decision, but it will cost you extra. Organic food is between 10 and 50 percent more expensive than other conventionally grown foods. If you want to switch over to organic, your best bet is to start with produce. Try buying organic versions of foods that are known to be more likely to contain the residue of pesticides such as apples, grapes, cucumbers, spinach, bell peppers, celery, and peaches. Foods that have thick skins, such as avocados, cauliflower, cantaloupe, kiwi, eggplant, sweet potatoes, corn, and onions don’t usually have pesticide residue you need to worry about for you and your family.
If you’re interested in organic food, then make sure to do your research. There are benefits to this lifestyle change that can pay off for your family -- but there are some pitfalls to be aware of! As long as you've weighed the pros to your health and the cons to your bank account, you're on the right track!
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