Monday, June 5, 2017

Buy Organic or $ave the Money?

Organic foods are more widely available than ever. Even major grocery chains are sprouting organic produce sections. This is a good thing. But organic foods are usually more expensive than conventionally grown produce. Is it really worth the difference in cost?

The answer is.... it depends.

You may be able to afford the higher cost and be happy to do so to support the organic food industry, and that is a great reason. But what if you clip coupons and really need to stretch your grocery dollars? Is there enough of a difference in the health impact of organic food to be worth the extra cost?

First of all, lets remember that "organic" food is food produced by methods that comply with the standards of organic farming. Standards vary worldwide, but organic farming in general features practices that strive to recycle resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Organizations regulating organic products may restrict the use of certain pesticides and fertilizers in farming. In general, organic foods are also usually not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents or synthetic food additives.

From a purely good health perspective, one of the main reasons for consuming organic foods is to avoid fertilizer and pesticide residue. According to guidelines from the US Department of Agriculture, certain produce arrives in your kitchen heavily laced with such residue, while other types contain little or none. While this is not the only factor to consider, it is a good place to begin when making the organic vs conventional choice for yourself and your family.

According to the USDA analysis, conventionally grown strawberries have more pesticide residue than any other fruit or vegetable. Spinach is a close second followed by nectarines, apples, peaches, pears, cherries, grapes, celery, tomatoes, bell peppers and potatoes. Buying organic makes good sense for these products.

Among the produce least likely to contain potentially harmful residues are sweet corn, avocados, pineapples, onions, sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melons and kiwis. You are probably fine purchasing cheaper conventionally grown produce in these cases.

Another useful rule of thumb (although not a foolproof one) is to buy organic if you plan to eat the skin or rind, and conventional if you don't.

Regardless of what you decide, always rinse your produce with water or, better yet, a natural wash such as FIT.

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