Virgin Active tried to get to the bottom of this debate. Here’s what they found.
What makes organic what it is?
- There are generally lower levels of pesticides and resistant bacteria found in organically grown foods.
- Before a food can be labelled organic, there are strict controls and rules put into place.
- In the case of plants, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and bio-engineering are a definite no-no, while antibiotics and growth hormones can’t be used in animals. Knowledge of the long-term effects of these chemicals on one’s health is lacking but many prefer to err on the side of caution.
The answer: when it comes to nutritional quality (vitamins, minerals and antioxidants), organic food has the same rating as conventionally grown foods, although some studies showed slightly higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids in organic milk and chicken.
Variety is the way to go
Eat a variety of fruit, vegetables, whole-grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy products. Organic foods are more expensive than conventionally grown foods, so if the expense prevents you from eating a sufficient quantity and variety of healthy foods then it doesn’t make sense to go organic.
Grow your own way
Another way to go more organic without emptying your pockets would be to grow your own vegetables – you don’t have to harvest large crops: a few vegetables in a couple of pots on the balcony will work, all you just need sunlight water. It can be a family affair involving the kids too. There’re enough jobs to go around, from growing seedlings to watering to harvesting of the crops. You’ll be amazed how much better freshly grown vegetables taste too!
If organic foods are just too expensive and food gardening isn’t your thing, there are two things you can do to minimise some of the potentially negative consequences of buying conventionally grown produce:
Buy locally produced products in season – there is less chance that they’ve been treated to keep them fresh.
Wash fruits and vegetables well and, where possible, peel them (remember that a lot of the good nutrition often resides just under the skin of the vegetable/fruit).
In a nutshell: If you’re in the position to buy organic – do it! If not, don’t stress. It’s about making a decision that best suits you and your family.
Although the levels of pesticides might be higher in conventionally farmed produce, it doesn’t mean that they are high enough to cause a long-term problem.
Source: Virgin Active
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