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Top 5 Foods You Should Only Buy Organic

  • LiveWell360 Staff
  • September 30, 2015

apples

As published on Figure Athlete.

Throughout the last decade, it’s become increasingly apparent that the farming and ranching choices we’ve become accustomed to, are no longer sustainable or supportive to our health or our future. There are many reasons to support organic farming, from keeping pesticides out of our environment, to keeping those same pesticides out of your bloodstream.

I’m sure that you, like me, would love to fill your grocery basket with nothing but organic foods, but the reality is that an all organic grocery bill can quickly add up. In today’s economy, it may not be financially feasible for some of us to buy more than just a few organic items each week, so how do we pick and choose? What are the organic essentials?

Based on an analysis of test results done by the U.S. government and research at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a research and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., here’s a list of the top five foods you should always buy organic.

Peaches

Peaches, with their thin skin, are the number one fruit to buy organic.

 

Top 5 Foods You Should Only Buy Organic

apples

As published on Figure Athlete.

Throughout the last decade, it’s become increasingly apparent that the farming and ranching choices we’ve become accustomed to, are no longer sustainable or supportive to our health or our future. There are many reasons to support organic farming, from keeping pesticides out of our environment, to keeping those same pesticides out of your bloodstream.

I’m sure that you, like me, would love to fill your grocery basket with nothing but organic foods, but the reality is that an all organic grocery bill can quickly add up. In today’s economy, it may not be financially feasible for some of us to buy more than just a few organic items each week, so how do we pick and choose? What are the organic essentials?

Based on an analysis of test results done by the U.S. government and research at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a research and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., here’s a list of the top five foods you should always buy organic.

Peaches

Peaches, with their thin skin, are the number one fruit to buy organic.

peaches

Almost 97 percent of peaches tested positive for at least one type of pesticide, and almost 87 percent tested positive for two or more pesticides. Some studies have shown that peaches have up to ten times as much pesticide on them as other fruits and vegetables.

These pesticides include the fungicides captan and iprodione, which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has linked to cancer, and methyl parathion, which is an endocrine disruptor.

According to Consumer Reports, a single serving of peaches “consistently exceeds” the EPA’s safe daily limit of pesticides for a 44-pound child.

Strawberries

The bright red color of conventionally grown strawberries is due to the fungicide captan. It’s estimated that strawberry crops receive up to 500 pounds of pesticides per acre!

It should also be noted that strawberries and other fruits and vegetables that are bought out of season are typically imported, most likely from countries with far less demanding pesticide regulations.

strawberries

Milk/Beef

Many dairy farms in the U.S. inject their cows with the genetically engineered hormone called recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). This hormone has already been banned in Canada and Europe, but here in the states, it’s injected as often as every couple of weeks in order to force the cows to increase their milk production by about 10%.

The rapid increase in milk production can cause mastitis on the cow’s utters, which can lead to puss getting into the milk. Mastitis is treated with antibiotics, which again can be passed into the milk.

When we drink contaminated milk, these hormones and antibiotics are absorbed through the digestive tract into the bloodstream, where they can affect hormone levels within our own body. A multitude of studies have shown all sorts of diseases to be associated with this absorption, some as frightening as different types of cancer.

The higher levels of IGF-1 hormone, for instance, will block the body’s natural defense mechanisms against early submicroscopic cancers. In the International Journal of Health Sciences, University of Illinois scientist Dr. Samuel Epstein warns that excess levels of a natural growth factor (IGF-1), found in milk from cows injected with rBGH, have been shown to cause breast, colon, and prostate cancers.

Now before you assume that you can no longer let little Suzie have her bowl of cereal with milk in the morning, you should know that organic milk has been shown to be completely hormone and antibiotic-free. Studies also state that this milk contains higher levels of vitamin E, omega-3 essential fatty acids, and antioxidants; so if you do buy dairy, just make sure it’s organic.

While you’re at the organic market picking up the milk, don’t forget to stock up on the meats there, as well.

Remember the cow that got injected with hormones and antibiotics? Guess where your burger came from! Most of these cows are butchered and used for hamburger meat, so be sure to buy organic beef products.

Eggs/Poultry

It’s best to consume organic poultry and free range organic eggs because they contain less antibiotic and hormone residue. They also have a higher omega-3 and vitamin E content.

For eggs to be labeled organic, the chickens must eat organic feed, be able to forage for food, have access to the outdoors, and live in a cage-free environment. Their nesting boxes are placed above a conveyor belt so that when the chicken lays the egg, it goes directly onto the belt and not on the ground.

Organic egg producers cannot use antibiotics in the absence of illness, and only natural molting can occur. Forced molting, through long exposure to light and starvation is not allowed.

Need more incentive? Most people agree that organic eggs and chicken taste much better than conventional poultry and eggs.

Apples

Last but not least on our Organic Musts list, are apples.

In many commercial orchards, apples are sprayed with pesticides from ten to twenty times per year. Approximately 92 percent of apples tested positive for one type of pesticide, and 79 percent tested positive for two or more pesticides.

Think peeling will help? This isn’t so; much like the peaches mentioned earlier, the skin on apples allows the fruit to absorb chemicals well into the “meat” of the fruit.

apples-1

What Does Organic Really Mean?

Some people are confused by what the word organic really means, so here’s a quick definition: The term Certified Organic refers to agricultural products that have been grown and processed according to uniform standards, without using conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients, sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation.

It’s not widely known that many of the pesticides approved for use by the EPA were actually registered before comprehensive data connecting the chemicals to cancer and other diseases had been fully reviewed. Today, the EPA states that 60 percent of all herbicides, 90 percent of all fungicides and 30 percent of all insecticides are carcinogenic.

Supporting Local Organic Agriculture

One last point: When purchasing the organic option for these foods, try getting them from a local farm source whenever possible. This will not only help promote organic agriculture in your area, but it may save you some cash, too! In addition, organic farming commonly uses sustainable farming practices such as utilizing renewable resources and conserving soil and water.

So the next time you choose to put one of these top five organic staples into your grocery basket, you get to feel great about what you’re putting into your body while also supporting our environment!

Resources

Consumer Reports, study on organic products.

Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Organic Farming Research Foundation.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“What is rBGH?” Organic Consumers Organization Association.

Samuel S. Epstein, M.D. Cancer Prevention Coalition. “What’s in Your Milk?”

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