Is Switching to Organic Foods a Good Move?

by Michael Roth, DC

Flickr photo credit Muammerokumus

Flickr photo credit Muammerokumus

When you go to the grocery store, do you drop by the organic food section or walk past it? Do you know what the difference is between the food on the organic aisle and the other aisles? Simply put, organic food is free of chemicals, antibiotics, and growth hormones.  In other words, they are 100% natural.

There are 3 main reasons why people eat organic food. Let’s take a look at what they are.

1. Better Health
For most people, the biggest motivator for switching to organic food is that it’s better for the body and health. Feeding your body with food laden with chemicals and pesticides puts you at a higher risk of developing health problems such as cancer. It is disconcerting to know that eating an average apple means eating about 9 pesticides, and this is after you’ve washed it. With organic food, you can be sure you are not harming your body with such toxic substances. Some say that organic foods contain more nutrition. However, this is still up for debate. A recent study by the Department of Human Nutrition, University of Copenhagen does not support that claim. On the other side of the coin, a US study by the Organic Centre found organic food to have 25% higher nutrient levels as compared to conventional food.

2. Better Environment
Organic farmers do not utilize chemical fertilizers and pesticides to increase their yield. Instead, they use eco-friendly methods such as crop rotation, green manure, compost and biological pest control. Organic farming may not produce as much yield as conventional farming but it contributes to soil and water conservation as well as reducing pollution. Certain pesticides and chemical fertilizers can damage the soil and nearby surroundings. By choosing to eat organic food, you are indirectly doing a small part in protecting the environment.

3. It Tastes Better
Does organic food really taste better? The difference in taste is more pronounced in certain foods, not all. Many people have commented that food such as chicken, bananas, strawberries, celery, milk and carrots does taste better when they are organic.

According to a Harris poll dated October 2007, a majority of people believe organic food benefits the environment and health. However, the percentage of Americans buying organic food “all or most of the time” is only 7%. Approximately 30% buy organic food occasionally. Why is that? Organic food may have its benefits, but not many are willing to pay twice or three times more for it. The good news is that there are ways to avoid blowing your budget when buying organic food:
– Buy in clubs or co-ops
– Buy directly from farmers
– Buy in bulk
– Buy store brands instead of name brands
– Plant your own organic garden
– Buy in season
– Don’t have to switch over to organic food 100%. The following fruits and vegetables are listed by Environmental Working Group (EWG) as the top 12 most contaminated: peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, kale, lettuce, imported grapes, carrots and pears. So give priority to these foods.

So, is switching to organic food a good move? Yes!  If you think so, too, then don’t hesitate to make the switch. It may be pricier, but there are ways to keep the expenditures down.