Advantages of Organic Food
Daily portions of fresh fruits and vegetables are important tenets of a healthy lifestyle. You may eat a balanced diet, but as you dig into your next salad of baby greens or munch on fresh strawberries, ask yourself about the origins of your food.
Pesticides, fungicides and insecticides are common additions to conventional fruit and vegetable crops, and even make their way into feed developed for livestock. Unfortunately, these chemicals can leech their way into our foods, and not all come off after a rinse in the sink. Avoiding pesticide contamination is just one benefit to buying organic. Cleaner fruits and veggies help create a healthier environment, are absent of growth hormones or antibiotics, and taste delicious.
Avoid the "Dirty Dozen"
Every year, The Environmental Working Group releases its "dirty dozen," a list of produce most contaminated by commercial pesticides. By avoiding these twelve products, studies estimate that consumers can reduce their pesticide exposure by 80%. In 2011, the list encourages a splurge on organic versions of celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, cherries, potatoes and imported grapes. On the flip side, the year's cleanest fruits and veggies – and ones you can safely buy non-organic – include onions, avocado, sweet corn, pineapple, mangoes, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, sweet potato and honeydew.
Love the Planet
In order to be certified organic, farmers cannot use pesticides, antibiotics, or even genetically modified organisms (GMO's). Organic farming goes hand-in-hand with sustainability, using crop rotation, natural pest control and other eco-friendly practices to maintain fertile soil. Additionally, the absence of chemicals makes the fields safer for farm workers, as long-term exposure to pesticides has been linked to brain damage, birth defects, and genetic mutations.
Taste & Nutrition
Organic fruits and vegetables have a low water content compared to their conventional counterparts, meaning they ripen and grow slower. Many proponents of organic farming believe that organic produce stays fresher longer, and is richer and more delicious than non-organic products. On the health front, organic fruits and vegetables are proven to have higher amounts of antioxidants, which help keep your body healthy. Additionally, organic meats lack any artificial additives that have been proven harmful to human health.
Better Livestock Living Conditions
Organic farming practices encourage healthy and ethical living conditions for livestock. These animals are often given room to roam, graze naturally and eat the foods that their bodies naturally crave. The result is a happier, healthier animal and leaner meat that many believe boasts superior flavor and texture.