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The organic industry is hot; it's the fastest growing sector of the supermarket, increasing in sales from $3.6 billion to $24.4 billion between the years of 1997 to 2011. The topic of organic foods has received even more attention recently in response to a study released from
Debate on organic nutritional payback
Despite these findings, other studies have documented health and environmental advantages of organic foods compared to their conventional counterparts. A similar analysis of studies conducted by researchers at
One of the main attractions for eating organic goes beyond increased nutrient content to lowering one's exposure to pesticide residues. "Don't buy organics to increase phytochemical intake, but because organics generally have lower levels of pesticides," urges Alyson Mitchell, Ph.D., professor and food chemist at the
A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives detailed a dramatic and immediate protective effect against exposure to pesticides among 23 elementary school children who participated. They were fed organic food items as substitutes for the conventional foods in their diet. "Although the
Impact on Mother Earth
The organic food movement also takes into consideration how agricultural practices affect the environment.
Organic food considerations
Consider these factors when deciding whether to go organic in these food categories.
Fruits and vegetables.
When it comes to eating your daily quota of fruits and vegetables, it may be best to start at square one by simply focusing on increasing your daily intake. According to a 2010 report released by the
When health is a priority, it's important to keep in mind the type of food eaten, not just the farming or production method it undergoes.
Surveys continually report that consumers believe organic food -- regardless of its ingredients -- is nutritionally superior to conventional foods. Spending your money on low-nutrient organic junk foods, such as cookies, chips and sugary beverages is not the best use of your organic dollars.
Because of organic regulations, organic dairy farmers are prohibited from using antibiotics or synthetic hormones, including the artificial growth hormone rBST or rBGH, and cows must feed on organic pasture at least four months out of the year; organic pasture has been associated with higher omega-3 fatty acid content in milk, which have been linked to protection against heart disease and cognitive decline.
Like organic dairy, animals used for the production of organic meat cannot receive synthetic hormones or antibiotics. The less-confined organic cows on organic farms are given space to roam freely, reducing their potential to contract disease, which also gives the meat a better fatty acid profile than animals living in confined spaces.
What does it mean to be "certified organic?"
Prioritize your organic purchases
It's recommended that consumers buy produce items of the Dirty Dozen in the organic variety.
Sweet bell peppers
Organic Really Matters
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