Catalyst 4 Fitness

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Always Buy Organic Foods

If you want the best, healthiest foods you should always buy organic foods, right?

Let’s start by defining organic. The United States Department of Agriculture defines a product to be organic if it is grown, or if the animal is fed, according to certain standards.  Listing and describing the standards is beyond the scope of this article, but the following examples will help differentiate organic from non-organic.

Organic fruits and vegetables are grown without using artificial preservatives or pesticides, among other substances.  Organic meats, eggs, and dairy come from animals that must have access to the outdoors and are not allowed to eat or be treated with certain products such as growth hormones or under the regular use of antibiotics.  If you are searching for organic seafood, well, it doesn’t exist….  The USDA hasn’t defined organic seafood yet.

Now, getting back to the question at hand….Are organic foods healthier for you?
Not necessarily.  Just because a food has earned the organic label does not mean it is healthier than its non-organic counterpart.  For instance, a serving of Newman’s Own Organics Alphabet Cookies has about the same calories, carbohydrates, fat, sugar, and protein as a serving of a similar size of Stauffer’s Animal Crackers which is not organic.  So from a caloric or nutrient standpoint, no, not all organic food is a ‘healthier’ choice.

However, if you don’t want to ingest the preservatives or pesticides, then the obvious answer is ‘yes’, organic food is better for you.

Should you buy all of your food organic?  Well, organic foods generally cost more than non-organics.   So for most people, getting the most bang for their buck is an important factor in their decision-making.

A recent study by the Environmental Working Group estimates that individuals can reduce their exposure by 80% if they switch to organic when buying these 13 foods:
•    Apples
•    Celery
•    Strawberries
•    Peaches
•    Spinach
•    Nectarines
•    Grapes (yes, this means wine too)
•    Sweet bell peppers
•    Potatoes (not sweet potatoes)
•    Blueberries
•    Lettuce
•    Kale
•    Collard greens

Keep in mind that there are many other foods which were to found to be high in pesticides but didn’t quite make this list, such as coffee, meat, eggs, and dairy products.

Another option is to choose these ‘clean’ foods that are not high in pesticides without buying organic:
•    Onions
•    Sweet corn
•    Pineapple
•    Avocado
•    Asparagus
•    Sweet peas
•    Mango
•    Eggplant
•    Cantaloupe (domestic)
•    Kiwi
•    Cabbage
•    Watermelon
•    Sweet potatoes
•    Grapefruit
•    Mushrooms
•    Bananas
•    Broccoli
•    Cauliflower

With this information, you can make the best decision for you and your family.

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