Many people choose conventionally grown products over organic because they believe organic is more expensive. Organic products actually do cost more at the register, but that’s only part of the story. Purchasing organic foods is a wise investment. There are significant benefits to buying and consuming organic produce, dairy and meat.
Conventional farmers use synthetic, petroleum-based fertilizers that leave residue on food, damage soil, and contaminate groundwater. Organic farmers use renewable resources that are environmentally friendly and safe for animals and humans. Organic farming practices also include treating animals raised for dairy and meat production humanely; feeding livestock only organically grown foods that are never treated with pesticides; and avoiding the use of antibiotics, hormones and other chemicals that are fed to livestock by conventional farmers, and make their way into the foods we eat.
Although a 100% organic diet would be ideal, replacing just a few conventionally grown products with organic will reduce exposure to these harmful chemicals, support efforts to promote humane farming practices, and encourage the use of renewable resources. Here is a list of 5 foods you should always buy organic.
1.Thin-Skinned Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables with thin skins or no outer peel are more vulnerable to contamination by synthetic pesticides. Fruits such as apples, strawberries, and blueberries test high for levels of pesticide residue and that includes products made with these fruits, such as apple juice and apple sauce. Potatoes, celery, and leafy greens like spinach also contain high levels of chemical residue. The thin skins or lack of outer peel allow the product to absorb more of the pesticides, therefore, washing or peeling won’t remove all pesticide residue. Organic is the healthier option.
Conventional egg producing farms confine egg laying hens in cages for their entire lives. These birds cannot stand upright or spread their wings and are never allowed to walk freely or step into the sunlight. Additionally, hens are fed commercially produced feed that contains genetically altered ingredients, antibiotics and other chemicals to control disease and increase egg production. These end up in the eggs we eat.
Organic eggs come from farms where hens are treated humanely, are provided with access to areas where they can walk freely and enjoy sunlight, and are given access to foods more natural to their diets. Organic eggs also contain more omega-3 fatty acids and they taste better than conventionally produced eggs.
3.Beef and Dairy Products
Cattle raised by conventional farmers, for either meat or dairy production, are given hormones, antibiotics and foods containing traces of pesticides. These chemicals are present in the end products of meat and milk, and other dairy products. Livestock on conventional farms are confined in pens for the entirety of their lives and live in overcrowded, unhealthy conditions.
Organically raised meat and dairy cattle are either allowed to graze in pastures uncontaminated by pesticides or are fed organically grown grains. Organic beef does not contain traces of pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics. Organic milk is also clean of these harmful substances and is higher in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and antioxidants.
Millions of people drink coffee every day without realizing that coffee contains harmful pesticide residue. Coffee farmers use a large quantity of chemicals to stimulate growth and destroy insects, bacteria and fungus. Most farms are in countries that have more lenient regulations concerning the use of chemicals in farming. These chemicals are harmful to farm workers, the land, wildlife, and consumers who drink coffee beverages.
Organic coffee growers do not use harmful pesticides or other chemicals in the production of coffee, which is safer for farm workers, the environment, and coffee drinkers.
Young children and infants are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of pesticides and other agrochemicals. Consuming these contaminants can cause a myriad of health issues such as neurological disease, delayed growth, behavioral disorders, and cancer. Baby foods made with conventionally grown ingredients have tested positive for pesticide residues. Organic baby foods are made with only organically produced ingredients, making them the safer choice.
Organic farming techniques are more costly than conventional farming practices, which result in higher prices for consumers. However, consumers can feel good knowing they are purchasing agricultural products that lack harmful chemical residues, contribute to the humane treatment of animals, and support environmentally sound farming practices.