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Of course organic food is better for you – isn’t it?

13 Aug 2015

Vegetables are expensive these days and organic vegetables even more so. Commercially grown organic vegetables command higher prices due in part, to more expensive farming practices. So what is organic all about and are they really more nutritionally more dense than the non-organic?

Well much of the research is conflicting and it appears that the vitamin and mineral content seem largely the same for both at this stage. However organic farming avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed additives. The benefit of this means that the consumer (namely we) can reduce our toxic exposure to pesticides and chemicals both internally and within our immediate environment. Some studies have linked pesticides in our food to a wide variety of diseases and conditions — but still many experts maintain that the levels in conventional food are safe for most healthy adults. Most will concede, however, that low-level pesticide exposure can be significantly more toxic for foetuses and children.

So apart from the chemical free aspect – how does it work?

Organic farmers prefer crop varieties that are resistant to disease which tend to have higher levels of phytochemicals, whilst conventional farming methods opt for high-yielding strains. Phytochemicals are secondary metabolites (chemicals) made by the plant itself when exposed to environmental stressors. In the absence of pesticides and fertilizers, plants boost their own production of secondary metabolites to improve their resistance to bugs and weeds. In other words, when pesticides are applied, plants lose the need to generate antioxidants for their own defences. Good news for us as we go on to utilise the same antioxidants for our own disease prevention.

A recent study by Newcastle University 2014 on organic versus conventional crops confirms this. The results found substantially higher levels of antioxidants and lower levels of pesticides in organic crops versus conventional crops. “It shows very clearly how you grow your food has an impact, and that if you buy organic fruits and vegetables, you can be sure you have, on average, a higher amount of antioxidants at the same calorie level,” says Carlos Leifert, Professor of Ecological Agriculture at Newcastle University

So now you can choose that funny looking home grown apple above the polished store bought red one knowing that this “little battler” has the best nutrient count for the same amount of calories!

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has named 12 foods to try and avoid if you would like to minimise your pesticide exposure. EWG calls them the "dirty dozen" namely peaches, strawberries, nectarines, apples, spinach, celery, pears, sweet bell peppers, cherries, lettuce, potatoes, and imported grapes as being ones to avoid. These fragile fruits and vegetables often require more pesticides to fight off bugs compared to hardier produce, such as asparagus and broccoli.

http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/

Tags: balance, Diet, Health, Organic food

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Avoid the Chaos

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Iron Deficiency

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A question often asked of me is “Are low fat options better than full fat options?” It’s a difficult one as until recently, low fat diets have had the best press but people who are following these are really not losing the weight they had hoped to....

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Herb of the Month

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Dandelion root. Dandelion root is a significant detoxifying herb and works principally on the liver and gallbladder to remove waste products. It focuses on hormone metabolism, improving the bile-bowel functional relationship, and treating gastrointestinal toxicity, flora, and pelvic blockage....

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