Organic vs non-organic food is something that usually comes into question whenever nutrition is mentioned. While some people see it as a money-making scam, others think organic produce is the main building block to health. I personally used to take the former view, but with time and much research, I have thoroughly changed my mind. Let me explain my reasons why.
Organic farming uses natural pesticides and fertilizers like compost or manure, whereas non-organic farming uses chemicals and synthetic sprays. Years ago I thought everything could just be washed off with hot soapy water and a good scrubbing brush, but as it turns out, it’s a bit more complicated than just that. Pesticides that get sprayed onto the soil are absorbed into fruit and vegetable seeds while they are growing and so the chemicals are taken up directly into the cells. Therefore they are part of the deeper, cellular layers of the whole plant rather than just casually washing over the outer surface.
Many of the fertilizers made for non-organic foods have been found to cause illness and diseases, with even some cancers traced back to the chemicals used in sprays. These sprays can get into the water, earth and air around us, so by encouraging the use of organic farming we can help our environment and the health of the planet!
Although I tend not to advocate the consumption of meat, for those who eat it, animals that are farmed organically are usually treated a lot better and feed on their natural foods so they also don’t get ill in the process, therefore you won’t absorb the stress and poor lifestyle of the animal.
Other animals, creatures and wildlife outside the farms, are also affected by the chemicals used on non-organic produce; various species—such as bees—are declining. And it may be due to the harmful toxins they are in contact with on the plants.
On another note, what some people think is a myth is actually a reality; it has been found that organic produce does have more nutrients (up to 40% more) than non-organic produce, including things like vitamin C and polyphenols.
This is likely due to the slower release of nitrogen in organic compost, which allows plants to grow at a natural rate, giving them time to develop the nutrients. With non-organic fertilizers, plants grow much quicker and so lose this precious nutrient-development time!
While this is just about the composition of the produce, people can actually taste differences too! In blind taste tests organic food has even been rated as being tastier than their non-organic counterpart!
In conclusion, I would say that eating a good portion of fruit and vegetables is a necessity, and organic produce should be top of the list. But don’t let a lack of available organic foods stop you from eating your fruits and veggies. They’re still a lot healthier than the processed foods you’ll find on the store shelves or in the drive thru. If organic is hard to come by, just be aware there are some non-organic foods that are more likely to be contaminated than others. These include:
Apples, celery, strawberries, spinach, peaches, nectarines, grapes, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce, kale and collard greens, and sweet bell peppers.
Foods that have lesser amounts but are still a bit contaminated are:
Green beans, peppers, squash, raspberries, cucumbers, cauliflower, oranges, bananas, and cranberries.
My advice is to try organic for yourself, and always remember that those extra few pennies for your organic veggies end up going into your well-being bank account!