Eating organic food is certainly in style, but is the higher price of organics really worth it? While some may argue that organic foods are only a marketing scheme, I would like to illustrate the reasons I recommend that everyone eat organic.
The rate of cancer is increasing, autoimmune diseases are on the rise, and more and more of our population suffers from chronic diseases. While we can venture a guess as to the cause of these problems, in reality, we don’t know. There is, however, growing evidence that environmental toxicity plays a key role in these and many other diseases. In particular, chronic low dose exposure to pesticides can affect your health. In other words, just eating conventionally grown foods can make you sick.
When food is grown with the use of pesticides and herbicides to control undesired “pests”, these chemicals accumulate in foods and are incorporated into their cellular structure. In other words, these chemicals do not wash off, but rather they become a part of the plant. In turn, when we eat these foods, the chemicals are incorporated into our cellular structure and become a part of us as well. These cellular changes play a significant role in our overall health.
Pesticides, by design, are toxic. They are used to kill bugs, weeds, rodents, fungi, etc. Unfortunately, they are also toxic to us. These chemical substances are poisons to our nervous and immune systems.
Exposure to low doses of pesticides, as found in conventionally grown foods, can be linked to fatigue, headaches, problems with memory and learning, decreased resistance to infections, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, increases in allergies, and increases in certain cancers, i.e., leukemia, multiple myeloma, and cancer of the liver, colon, lung, and pancreas.
Some pesticides are endocrine disruptors, meaning that they affect and change the normal functioning of our hormones, which may contribute to infertility, miscarriages, as well as breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers.
However, when we eat organic food, we limit our exposure to these toxic chemicals. Studies have shown that organic foods have one third the chemical residues of conventionally grown foods. We may still be affected by the unavoidable chemicals found throughout our environment, but our personal toxin exposure will be lowered significantly when we eat organically grown foods.
Aside from limiting your exposure to toxins, organic foods are better for you nutritionally. Research has shown that organic foods have greater amounts of nutrients, including trace minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. For example, chromium, a micronutrient that is often deficient in Western diets, is found to be higher in organic foods by 78%. Chromium deficiencies are associated with Type 2 Diabetes and hardening of the arteries.
Selenium is an antioxidant that protects us from damage caused by environmental chemicals. It is found to be 390% higher in organic foods. There is 63% more calcium found in organic food sources of calcium, 70% more boron, 188% more lithium, and 138% more magnesium found in organic foods than in conventionally grown foods. Because of these higher amounts of nutrients, organic foods provide more nutrients that help to prevent and treat many diseases.
In fact, having these “extra” nutrients in your diet improves your overall health. Experiments with animal feeding indicate that health and reproductive performance are improved when animals are organically fed. Although no human studies of this nature have yet been completed, it is easy to understand why this is true, and how these same outcomes should be true for people as well.
Sometimes the cost of organic foods deters the consumer from buying them. However, a good argument can be made that the cost of prevention is much less than the price of treatment. So treat yourself and your family to a more nutritious, healthful, and better tasting diet—choose organic.