Buying Organic Food?

OrganicI have launched into my nutritionist consultant course and I am really enjoying my research and studies so far. My first assignment was to look at a issue relating to food so I have focused on organic. Buying organic has been one of my own questions, weighing up the cost and the benefit . Here is a summary of my research on the topic.

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Benefits of Organic Food for You

‘Organic foods contain significantly higher concentrations of nutritionally desirable antioxidants and lower levels of undesirable cadmium and pesticide residues.’ (Soil Association 2014)

Buying organic will reduce your exposure to pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, toxins, and additives and keep you free of GMO and synthetic toxins/pesticides.
-President Obama’s Cancer Panel is concerned about the link between pesticide exposure and cancer (EWG, 2015).
– The use of hormones in animal products has been linked to increase in cancers including prostate, breast and childhood cancers (World-Wire 2009).
– Many animal studies show several serious health risks associated with GM food (Responsibletechnology.org, 2013).

Organic is nutritionally superior
-Here we have conflicting evidence. Some studies hold that there is not enough evidence showing that organic food is more nutritious (Stanford, 2012). Other studies have found that organic food does lead to more nutrients: organic crops have 20-40% more antioxidants (Soil Association.org, 2015); organic milk contains on average 46% more vitamin E, 60% more beta carotene (Bergamo, Fedele, Lannibelli, Marzillo, 2003); and organic animal produce contains more Omega 3, Vitamin E. (Eat Wild.com, 2015).

Overall research indicates you will gain more nutrients from organic foods (to varying degrees), and you will reduce your exposure to toxins, pesticides, and other potentially harmful substances.

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Benefits of organic food for the Environment

Organic farming has been reported to improve soil and water quality, to ensure animal welfare, and to reduce climate change (Murray, 2005). Some scientists go as far as saying we could reduce 100% of current annual CO2 emissions with a switch to organic farming (Institute, 2014).
However, if organic food is not local there is still a large carbon footprint from transportation.

Overall research shows we can benefit our health and the environment by buying organic. The big problem is that organic food is expensive and organic food regulations differ country to country.

OrganicHow to cut the costs and still buy organic?

Buy local produce. You may find a local seller that does not use pesticides, but does not have the organic label, as it is expensive and time consuming to obtain. Local produce is fresher and will have a smaller carbon footprint.
Buy organic that is in season and look for offers. The prices go up out of season so you can bulk buy and freeze your produce.
Buy organic animal produce and eat it less frequently. Supplement with organic plant
foods.
Grow your own vegetables if you have the space.
Wash produce thoroughly. Use a brush for tougher skins, or diluted white wine vinegar. Alternatively, peel the skin, but you will be losing some nutrients as a result.
Focus your organic spending on the Dirty Dozen, which contain the most pesticides, rather than on the Clean Fifteen, which have the lowest pesticide content (EWG, 2015).

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References:

Benbrook, C., Zhao, X., Yáñez, J., Davies, N., & Andrews, P. (2008). Nutritional Superiority of Organic Foods. The Organic centre

– Ellis, K., Innocent, G., Grove-White, D., Cripps, P., McLean, W., Howard, C., & Mihm, M. (2006). Comparing the Fatty Acid Composition of Organic and Conventional Milk. Journal Of Dairy Science, 89(6), 1938-1950. doi:10.3168/jds.s0022-0302(06)72261-5

Eatwild.com,. (2015). Eat Wild – Health Benefits

EWG,. (2015). President’s Cancer Panel Warns Public of Chemical Dangers

Institute, R. (2014). Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change | Rodale Institute. Rodaleinstitute.org

Moyer, M. (2015). Skip the Organic Aisle. Conventional Produce Is Good for Your Kids.. Slate Magazine

-Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., & Pizzorno, L. (2005). The encyclopedia of healing foods. New York: Atria Books.

News Center,. (2015). Little evidence of health benefits from organic foods, Stanford study finds

Nichols, H. (2016). 31 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Steak. Atlas Steakhouse Brooklyn. Retrieved 27 July 2016, from http://www.atlassteak.com/health-benefits-of-steak/ for a good article for meat eaters on the benefits of steak.

Organicconsumers.org,. (2015). Free-Range Eggs Contain More Vitamin D According to Mother Earth News Study

Responsibletechnology.org,. (2013). GMO Health Dangers | Institute for Responsible Technology

Soilassociation.org,. (2015)

World Wire. (2009). Hormones in U.S. Beef Linked to Increased Cancer Risk. World-wire.com

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