Do you think eating organic is better for you? Recent studies are backing up what many thought: organic foods do indeed have a healthier nutritional profile than their conventional counterparts, plus they are lower in pesticide residues. Below is a little education regarding some of the science behind the nutritional benefits of organic foods as well as pesticide residues.
Did you know?
- Conventional crops have four times more pesticide residues than organic crops.
- Eating organic foods can decrease your exposure to dietary pesticides.
- It’s especially important for pregnant women and children to avoid pesticides in their food.
Organic crops have lower levels of pesticide residues.
On average, conventional crops have four times as many pesticide residues as organic crops, and several studies show that an organic diet can decrease dietary pesticide exposure. There’s been a lot of research on the health risks associated with pesticides. In adults they’ve been associated with a wide variety of disease risks, and the President’s cancer panel suggests avoiding foods produced with pesticides to decrease cancer risks. It is especially important for pregnant women and children to avoid pesticides, because they can have disproportionate adverse effects on developing immune systems. A joint report by the American College of obstetrician and Gynecologists and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine suggests that environmental chemicals such as pesticides are a risk to pregnancy. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development also published a paper showing that pesticide exposure can harm reproductive health.
Multiple pesticide exposure may increase risks.
Many pesticides are used in combination with others and researchers are beginning to look at this because preliminary research is finding that pesticides can have synergistic negative effects on health, where being exposed to multiple pesticides is more harmful than the effects of each individual pesticide on its own. For example, one recent study found that exposure to a cocktail of five pesticides led to increased effects. The portion of a pesticide formulation that causes the desired killing, repelling, or controlling is known as the active ingredient. The other components are known as inert ingredients and may range from 0% to 99.99% of the total ingredients of the mixture. Their purpose can be to aid in sticking, spreading, transporting, stability or dilution. A recent study out of France found that inert ingredients could increase toxicity by up to a thousand times higher than active ingredients alone.
So, now you know: eating organic foods can reduce your exposure to pesticide residues.
Tip of the Day
Time saving tip: get the most out of your cooking time with “planned extras.” Different from leftovers, planned extras are on purpose! Planning meals to include extra food you can enjoy at another meal lets you make the most of your time. Just plan to cook a little more than you need for one meal. Roast a whole chicken (or two!) for dinner, and then use the extra meat for a pasta dish the next day. Grill an extra batch of vegetables during the week to use in a frittata for a weekend brunch, or cook up a double batch of brown rice and use the extra for tomorrow night’s stir-fry.
“Faith tells me that no matter what lies ahead of me, GOD is already there”
~ Isaiah 7:9