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Is organic better for me?

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Ripe green apples with leaves isolated on white
Ripe green apples with leaves isolated on white

With rising food costs is it worth it to spend additional money on organic foods? Just the other day I saw organic milk listed for almost $7/gallon, and the produce was almost twice as much as the conventional food items. There are many debates on whether or not organic food is healthier for you, but in reality the studies are inconclusive. A review in Annals of Internal Medicine (2012) concluded that there is no significant difference in vitamin content between organic and conventional foods. There were, however, higher amounts of the mineral phosphorous in organic foods.

The review also concluded there were higher amounts of pesticide residue in children’s urine who ate a conventional diet as opposed to an organic diet. The study did not conclude that this was harmful to the child, just that higher pesticide residue was present. Lastly, it was found conventional chicken and pork had a higher risk for contamination for bacteria resistant to 3 or more antibiotics than organic food options. But it remains unclear if antibiotic use in livestock leads to resistant bacteria in humans such as MRSA.

To be honest there are not enough studies at this time to conclude organic food is better for your health. However, I personally feel that if you can afford to go organic, go for it! It might be better for the environment and your health. But if you cannot afford organic it is better to continue eating fruits and veggies than forgoing them all together. Just make sure to wash them really well before consuming and try to choose items grown in the USA because they tend to be lower in pesticides than those that are imported.

Resources

Smith-Spangler, C., Brandeau, M. L., Hunter, G. E., Bavanger, J. C., Pearson, M., Eschbach, P. J., Sundarum, V., & Liu, H. (2012). Are organic foods safer or healthier than conventional alternatives? a systematic review. Annals of Internal Medicine, 348-359.

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