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Organic Foods – Some Common Questions and Answers

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Organic Foods – Some Common Questions and Answers

By Heidi Scarsella

Organic food was once difficult to find, but today it can be easily found at most grocery stores. As shoppers stand in the produce section of their grocery store they often struggle with the decision, should they buy the conventionally grown produce or should they buy organic. They wonder if it is worth it to spend the extra money on organic. Here are some facts about organic food from organic.org:

What does organic mean?

Organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Organic farming promotes soil and water conservation and reduces pollution. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has established an organic certification program that requires all organic foods to meet strict government standards. These standards regulate how such foods are grown, handled and processed.

How do I know if something is organic?

When choosing to buy organic, it is helpful to look for the following USDA regulated terms on food labels:

100% Organic: Made with 100% organic ingredients

Organic: Made with at least 95% organic ingredients and can display USDA organic seal

Made With Organic Ingredients: Made with a minimum of 70% organic ingredients with strict restrictions on the remaining 30% including no GMOs (genetically modified organisms)

Products with less than 70% organic ingredients may list organically produced ingredients on the side panel of the package, but may not make any organic claims on the front of the package.

Fruits and vegetables are either grown organically or not, so the organic ones always fall into the 100% organic category.

Meats, eggs, poultry, and dairy labeled “organic” must come from animals that have never received antibiotics or growth hormones.

Is organic food more nutritious than conventional food?

At this time, there is no conclusive research that makes this claim. Most of the research appears to indicate that organically and conventionally grown produced foods are comparable in their nutrient content. Research in this area continues.

Are there downsides to buying organic?

One common concern with organic food is price. Organic foods typically cost more than do their conventional counterparts. Higher prices are mostly attributable to more costly farming practices. Because organic fruits and vegetables aren’t treated with preservatives, they may not last as long because they spoil faster. Also, some organic produce may be smaller in size and not look as perfect.

It’s your decision

Although there is not consistent proof that organic foods are better for adults’ health than conventional foods, some choose to limit their exposure to potential pesticide residues. A helpful resource when deciding to choose more organic produce is to use the “Dirty Dozen” list which can be found on the Environmental Working Group’s website,www.ewg.org

Keep in mind that eating ANY fruit or vegetable is better than NOT eating fruits or vegetables simply because they are not organic. Research studies have shown that the more fruits and vegetables a person eats, the lower his or her risk of cancer and other diseases.

Another option for your fresh fruits and vegetables is to buy local. Local foods tend to be higher in nutrients because they are picked fresh and sold to you soon after picking. Also consider planting a garden and growing your own supply of fruits & vegetables. You can find a local farmer’s market by visiting http://www.localharvest.org

Summer is a great season for fresh and local produce. So whether you decide to buy organic or not – be sure to enjoy a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables! Also check back in our blog often for healthy and delicious recipes as well!

http://blog.lungevity.org/2014/05/12/or ... d-answers/


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