Image via @nutritionstripped

Image via @nutritionstripped

Many of us already know how beneficial organic foods are for our health and environment. However, there are many of us who don’t and just can’t understand why we should pay more than we already do for a product that will go bad faster and taste essentially the same. I get it - I was in that boat for many years and almost everyone I know is still in it. That's why I felt it was necessary to share some facts about organic foods to give you a better understanding of what buying organic means and how it's actually affecting our bodies.

It’s important to note that this doesn’t have to be a big life altering change. Not everything I buy is organic. Simply because it's not always available. To keep things easy I use the EWG organic guide to pick and choose my battles. This guide gives you the lowdown on the foods that actually contain high levels of pesticides and the ones that contain none or very little. I then use this list to swap out the food on the naughty list for the organic option to cut back on a number of nasties I'm eating on the daily.

So, let’s dive in!

What does organic mean?

The term organic is used to certify when food is produced without synthetic chemicals or fertilizers, genetic engineering, radiation or sewage sludge.  

What are pesticides?

Pesticides are toxins created to kill living organisms such as insects, plants, and fungi that are considered ‘pests’.

The impact of pesticides on the body?

Children and fetuses are the most vulnerable to pesticide exposure because their immune systems, bodies, and brains are still developing. Exposure at an early age may cause developmental delays, behavioral disorders, autism, immune system harm, and motor dysfunction. Pregnant women are also more vulnerable due to the added stress pesticides put on their already taxed organs. Plus, pesticides can be passed from mother to child in the womb, as well as through breast milk.

Does washing and peeling produce get rid of pesticides?

Rinsing reduces but does not eliminate pesticides. Peeling sometimes helps, but valuable nutrients often go down the drain with the skin.

How does buying organic impact the environment?

Organic farming practices reduce pollution, conserves water, reduces soil erosion, increases soil fertility, and uses less energy. Farming without pesticides is also better for nearby birds and animals as well as people who live close to farms.

Organic food buying tips:

Buy in season – Fruits and vegetables are cheapest and freshest when they are in season. Find out when produce is delivered to your market so you're buying the freshest food possible.

Shop around – Compare the price of organic items at the grocery store, the farmer's’ market and other venues (even the freezer aisle).

Remember that organic doesn’t always equal healthy –Making junk food sound healthy is a common marketing ploy in the food industry but organic baked goods, desserts, and snacks are usually still very high in sugar, salt, fat, or calories. It pays to read food labels carefully.

(Sources: EWG, Help Guide)