Organic foods—or foods that are farmed organically, according to certain standards and regulations—have been popular for decades now, both as grocery items and as a marketing concept. But some studies have shown that organic foods …
Should I Care about Organic Foods? Five Reasons to Buy Organic
Organic foods—or foods that are farmed organically, according to certain standards and regulations—have been popular for decades now, both as grocery items and as a marketing concept. But some studies have shown that organic foods may not be as nutritious as once believed. In addition, organic foods are usually more expensive than their conventionally farmed counterparts, and may not appear as plump and beautiful in the store.
That left our nutritional experts wondering: are there good reasons to buy organic foods instead of conventional ones after all? In fact, there are many reasons to prefer organic produce, meats, and dairy products. At PMR, we believe in the importance of healthy, holistic lifestyles, and eating organic is one way to support a solid nutritional plan.
Knowing that organic foods are more expensive, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend that you choose organic every single time. With that in mind, there are plenty of good reasons to go organic, ranging from freshness and taste, to nutritional benefits, to simple ethical concerns.
We know that you want to stretch your grocery dollars as far as possible, but we also recognize the many benefits of organic foods. To begin with, it’s important to understand the ways in which organic foods are labeled. In the United States, a USDA organic seal means that the ingredients in a food are at least 95% organic, and 100% organic foods will be labeled as such. By contrast, foods with labels like natural, free range, and so on are not as closely regulated, and are not necessarily organic or nutritious.
Also, know that some products benefit more from organic farming, often because they contain more pesticide residue if you buy the conventional versions. If you’re on a budget, it’s most important to buy these items organic. Updated lists can be found online, but they include apples, grapes, peaches, strawberries, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, potatoes, kale, beef, and milk, among others.
Now that you have a little bit more information about making smart organic choices, let’s take a closer look at five reasons to buy organic.
- Organic foods are fresher and taste better.
One of the primary reasons that organic produce is fresher is that it doesn’t contain preservatives, so it needs to be sold sooner after farming than other produce. It also may come from a closer source, such as a local farm. But organic foods aren’t just fresher—several studies have also shown that they taste better than conventional foods. Though the exact reasons for organic foods’ better taste aren’t known, freshness and a lack of pesticides may play a significant role.
- Organic foods may be more nutritious.
Although some doubt has been cast on the idea that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods, recent studies have pointed to specific nutritional benefits of eating organic. In fact, one study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that organic foods contain up to 69 percent higher concentrations of antioxidants. Another study published in 2016 showed that levels of nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, were significantly higher in organic meats and milk.
- Organic foods don’t contain harmful pesticides.
Perhaps the most important reason that many smart shoppers choose organic foods is their lack of pesticides. Conventional farmers generally spray pesticides on their crops to fight pests and diseases, and the residue from these pesticides can remain on the final product. When it comes to pesticides, rinsing won’t get rid of them all. Though the use of pesticides is regulated by the government, it’s been shown that large amounts can cause cancer and other diseases. When you buy organic, you can avoid consuming these residues.
- You’ll be taking in fewer hormones, antibiotics, and supplements.
Animals raised conventionally for the production of meat and dairy are usually given hormones, antibiotics, and other products that are designed to boost their growth and production. Unfortunately, these products end up in the meat and dairy you consume. They’re not good for the animals, and they may not be good for you, either. By choosing organic foods, you can avoid some of the ethical problems associated with animal farming and consume healthier, safer food products at the same time.
- Organic farming is better for the environment.
This is also one of the more common reasons cited for going organic: organic farming has a smaller negative impact on our environment as compared to conventional farming methods. Organic farming methods conserve water, are better for the soil, and produce less pollution. Depending on your personal convictions, this may be the most compelling reason of all, but luckily it’s not the only good reason to go organic.
In the end, we at PMR understand that choosing organic produce, meat, and dairy products isn’t just about the reasons listed above, as good as they may be. Buying organic can be a strain on the wallet, and you’re likely not going to be able to buy all organic products every time you go to the supermarket. Keep in mind that farmers’ markets, CSA (community supported agriculture) programs, and other local options may make it easier to afford organic foods. In some cases, you may be surprised that organic foods don’t always cost significantly more than conventional alternatives.
Also, know that if a healthier, more nutritious lifestyle is your goal, eating more organic foods is a good place to start. However, you’ll also want to ensure that you eat several servings of fruits and vegetables each day, consume whole grains, and avoid junk foods. Organic foods may contain more nutrients, but “junk” can still be organic.
To learn more about making smart choices about nutrition, give us a call at PMR today!