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Health and Fitness News

The Perks and Price of Going Organic

How to figure out if organic food is worth the price of admission.

What is in the food you eat? Is it nothing but whole food and good health? Or are there chemicals in your food you can’t see but are doing you harm?

These days, people seem more concerned about what they are putting in their bodies. And for good reason. What you put in your body will either improve or damage your health. While junk food is still prevalent, organic foods offer an appealing alternative to a growing crowd.

It’s true that organic foods are more expensive, but they may very well be worth the cost when it comes to your health and the environment. Maybe you haven’t made the switch to organic and wonder what the big deal is. Here are a few reasons to go organic and how to start.

For Your Health

A strawberry is a strawberry, isn’t it? Possibly. However, organically grown foods are different from non-organic foods in a few ways.

First, some studies show they contain more vitamins and minerals, which are essential for good health. Many people say organic foods taste better, too.
Second, certified, organic foods aren’t grown using synthetic pesticides. Non-organic foods have been sprayed with herbicides and pesticides that are associated with an increased risk of birth defects, diabetes, obesity, cancer, neurological damage, reproductive damage, and other negative health effects, especially in children. However, food manufacturers claim the amount of pesticide residue found on food is within safe levels for consumption.

Organic foods are produced without the use of genetic engineering or genetically modified organisms. Many people are wary of this process of food production due to the unknown potential risks to health and the planet.

For the Environment

Farms that grow organic foods seek to protect the planet and preserve the environment. For them, the quality of the soil and the reduction of soil erosion are priorities. As a result, their practices use less water, less energy, and produce less pollution. With organic farming, water systems are protected from the dangers of pesticide and herbicide contamination.

The Dirty Dozen

You may not be ready to go 100-percent organic, but you want to take steps toward protecting your family and the environment from potential harm. A good way to start is by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables, a list often referred to as the dirty dozen. Studies show that these 12 foods have the highest pesticide residues: strawberries, spinach, apples, peaches, nectarines, pears, cherries, celery, grapes, tomatoes, potatoes, and sweet bell peppers.

Since pesticides are sprayed on the fields, it also lands on the produce. Those that have a shell or skin that you peel off are safer to eat. Those that don’t are riskier. Hence why most of the dirty dozen don’t have a protective shell or thick skin. The 12 fruits and vegetables with the least amount of contamination are sweet corn, pineapples, avocados, cabbage, onions, papayas, frozen sweet peas, mangos, asparagus, eggplant, kiwi, and honeydew melon.

Cut Costs

If you’re concerned about the cost of organic foods, there is a workaround. One way to reduce cost is to eat the organic foods that are in season. Depending on where you live, certain times of year will offer better deals on pears, squash, and potatoes. Other times of year you’ll find better prices on berries, oranges, and asparagus.

No matter what the season, watch for sales on organic produce. Grocery stores often advertise sales on their produce and make eating organic better on your bottom line. Also, organic isn’t always room temperature. It can also be frozen. Additionally, organic, frozen fruits and vegetables are generally cheaper than fresh versions. So check the freezer aisle of your grocery store to save a few bucks on your organic journey.