Why Organic?

8 6 15 organicWhy Organic?
Kim McCorquodale RD, CSO at North Star Lodge

A recent meta-analysis of the benefits of organic produce has just been published in a reputable nutrition journal. Are you wondering what a meta-analysis is? A meta-analysis is when researchers evaluate many studies that are looking into the same topic to determine if a conclusion can be reached. Or as Wikipedia states, it is “conducting research about previous research.”

Some of the conclusions reached after this meta-analysis include:

  • Organic plants produce more antioxidants

Without synthetic pesticides to fight their battles, organic plants tend to produce more antioxidants because they help the plant defend itself against pests and other injuries. And most of us know antioxidants help prevent oxidative damage that can lead to heart disease, stroke, and cancer. If you choose organic fruits, vegetables, and cereals, you will consume 20-40% more antioxidants each day, or the equivalent of 2 extra portions of fruits/veggies each day. So that helps deflate some of the extra cost argument against choosing organic.

  • Organic plants have 10 to 100 times fewer pesticide residues

Of course this makes sense, but many times you hear that the levels in conventional crops are so low that you don’t need to be concerned. However, this research concluded that conventional crops had approximately two times as much cadmium, a toxic heavy metal, than organic crops. This is just one example of the undesirable components found in some non-organic crops.

Use the “Dirty Dozen” list to decide what organic produce to buy. Click here to get an app for your phone so you have this information with you while shopping.

Buy organic:

  • peaches
  • strawberries
  • apples
  • domestic blueberries
  • nectarines
  • sweet bell peppers
  • spinach, kale and collard greens
  • cherries
  • potatoes
  • imported grapes
  • lettuce
  • celery

All the produce on “The Clean 15” have very little pesticide residue, and are safe to consume in non-organic form. Most have protection because of their outer layers. This list includes:

  • onions
  • avocados
  • sweet corn
  • pineapples
  • mango
  • sweet peas
  • asparagus
  • kiwi fruit
  • cabbage
  • eggplant
  • cantaloupe
  • watermelon
  • grapefruit
  • sweet potatoes
  • sweet onions

These lists were compiled after the USDA washed the produce with high-power pressure washers, not something we all have in our kitchens! Of course you still need to wash your produce, but it is a fantasy that we can wash off all pesticides.

This study has helped convince me to buy organic when possible- hope you feel the same.

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