Your Mom Was Right, Eat Your Veggies! & 7 Reasons to Choose Organic
By: Chad Borys ND, LAc
Less pesticide exposure.
Conventionally grown foods have higher levels of pesticide residues than their organic counterparts. There is a large body of research linking pesticide exposure with increased rates of chronic diseases like a variety of cancers, diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and even reproductive issues.
Higher antioxidant levels.
A major nutritional advantage of organic produce is their antioxidant content. Organic fruits and vegetables can contain up to 69% more antioxidants than conventionally grown varieties. Antioxidants are essential for optimal health and are critical for repairing damaged cells in the body.
- Less heavy metal exposure.
Organically grown produce on average has 48% less cadmium. Cadmium is a highly toxic metal and known carcinogen. Cadmium and other heavy metals are often found in conventional fertilizers and pesticides.
- Organic foods are better for the environment.
In the US, eight-hundred-million pounds of pesticides are used annually. Much of which will either stay in the soil or ends up draining into our rivers, and oceans with the potential to harm our environment.
- Avoid GMO’s.
In the US, the vast majority of corn, soy, canola, and sugar beets are genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), which are often engineered to be resistant to glyphosate (the weed killer in Roundup). GMO's have been shown to have substantially more pesticide residues than either organic or conventional non-GMO soybeans.
- Support local farmers and sustainable farming practices.
Keep your money close to home with those who will make the best choices for your environment and your community.
Despite the many reasons to choose organic, the best advice is to simply eat lots of fruits and vegetables (conventional or organic).
One of the common misconceptions I hear is that conventional produce is bad. This is a risky mentality, because it can possibly lead to avoidance and decreases in overall fruit and vegetable consumption. Far more important than pesticide exposure, or any other downside of conventional produce, is to just eat fruits and vegetables. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that if one-half of the population increased their fruit and vegetable intake by one serving per day, 20,000 cancer cases per year would be avoided.
If you are on a budget and considering what produce to purchase organic, check out the EWG Dirty Dozen.
- R Reiss, J Johnston, K Tucker, J M DeSesso, C L Keen. Estimation of cancer risks and benefits associated with a potential increased consumption of fruits and vegetables. Food Chem Toxicol. 2012 Dec;50(12):4421-7.
- P R Williams, J K Hammitt. Perceived risks of conventional and organic produce: pesticides, pathogens, and natural toxins. Risk Anal. 2001 Apr;21(2):319-30.
- Barański M, Średnicka-Tober D, Volakakis N, et al. Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. The British Journal of Nutrition. 2014;112(5):794-811. doi:10.1017/S0007114514001366.