While shopping at the grocery store, you may have noticed the variety of produce and meats, some labeled organic and some unlabeled. So, what exactly does organic mean? Organic food refers to the type of farming method used. Organic farming does not use any pesticides, toxic chemicals or GMOs. Organic food includes produce, meat, grains and dairy.
In order to be considered organic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) must approve that the food was raised in sustainable conditions without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Organic labeling is placed on each product for credibility.
While you might notice a price difference between organic and conventional foods, there are many reasons why you should consider adding organic foods to your diet.
Organic Food is Better for the Environment
Aside from not using harsh chemicals or pesticides to grow the food, organic farming can also improve soil quality. While conventional farming uses fertilizers to protect food from disease, this food might be healthier in its natural environment.
Only Organic mentions that food grown in healthy soil is better able to fight against disease, insects and drought. Using organic farming methods creates a more natural, fertile soil for this food to grow.
Additionally, organic farming mitigates rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels leading to climate change. The Organic Center explains that this farming method can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With the restriction on pesticides, organic farming also protects wildlife and insects, such as endangered bees pollinating the environment.
Organic Food is Better for Animals
Organic farming for animals ensures safe and sustainable living conditions. They must have access to the outdoors and spacious room to roam. Organic livestock is also never fed antibiotics, growth hormones or animal by-products.
Mayo Clinic also mentions that organic meat and dairy are higher in omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are excellent for improving brain health and lowering your risk of heart disease. With the natural feeding methods of organic food, this livestock can be richer in nutrition.
Organic Food is Better for YOU!
Not only is organic food better for animals and the environment, but it can also be better for you. In addition to the lower risk of pesticide exposure, organic foods can also provide more nutrients and antioxidants, specifically in meat and produce.
When shopping for organic food, it’s beneficial to understand which foods you should always buy organically and which produce doesn’t have as much risk.
The Dirty Dozen
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) compiled a list of produce that is high in pesticide residue. They highly recommend buying these foods organically:
• Kale, collard and mustard greens
• Bell and hot peppers
These foods absorb the most pesticides when grown organically. To limit your exposure to chemicals, experts recommend always purchasing these in organic form. While it’s essential to buy some produce organically, there are other fruits and vegetables you can buy conventionally to save some cash.
The Clean Fifteen
EWG also released a list of foods that have the lowest pesticide exposure. Even though this produce is still available in organic forms, experts explain that these foods are still safe to eat conventionally.
• Sweet corn
• Sweet peas (frozen)
• Honeydew melon
• Sweet potatoes
While cost may be the deciding factor when compiling your grocery list, you should still consider adding organic foods into your diet, especially if they’re on the dirty dozen list.
If possible, mix conventional and organic foods. Organic foods can provide more nutritional benefits and antioxidants. Always thoroughly wash your produce, regardless of whether it’s organic or conventional.
It’s also important to remember that just because food is labeled organic, it’s not always healthier for you. Organic cookies may contain more natural grains but can still be high in sugars and calories.
The next time you create your meal plan for the week, consider substituting conventional foods for organic. Your diet is linked to your physical, mental and emotional well-being, and healthy food can make all the difference.
Keep track of your WEALTH Goals & log your daily habits. Access your planner from any device, at anytime.
Learn how to live an abundant life, without losing everything else in the process.
Connect with other Wealth Builders in our community to network, learn, and grow.