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Henry Wilson
Henry Wilson

Most Important Foods To Buy Organic !!HOT!!

While it may seem like the organic food movement became popular over the past two decades, it is actually a much older concept. Everyone ate organic fruits and veggies before World War II, because all crops were organic.

most important foods to buy organic

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Conventional foods differ from organics in several ways, including the use of chemical versus natural fertilizers (i.e. compost) to feed soil and plants. Conventional farmers also use synthetic herbicides to manage weeds, while organic farmers use environmentally generated plant-killing compounds. Therefore, organic produce has significantly fewer pesticide residues than conventional produce.

The USDA organic regulations also ban the use of food additives, processing aids, and fortifying agents found in conventional foods, like artificial sweeteners and coloring, preservatives, and monosodium glutamate.

Global organic food sales have skyrocketed from a total of $1 billion in 1990 to $29 billion by 2011. However, those numbers only represent about 4.2 percent of all food sold in the U.S. during this time period.1 And as more and more people buy organic foods for their health benefits, these foods often get a bad rap for higher costs.

In the conversation over benefit vs. price, some studies reveal doubt around organic foods truly having significantly higher nutritional benefits than conventional foods.2 Despite the skeptics, there is a rising agreement in the scientific community that small amounts of pesticides and other chemicals have negative effects on health. Pregnant women and mothers should especially be aware because studies show fetuses and young children are more prone to harmful exposure of low levels of pesticides.3

When deciding which foods to buy organic, potatoes are a must. Most conventionally-grown have one of the highest pesticide contents among fruits and veggies. The USDA discovered 81% of potatoes tested in 2006 contained pesticides even after being washed and peeled.

Peaches, while juicy and delicious, are high on the list of tree fruits for being the most susceptible to pesticide residue, and usually contain levels above the legal limits. Pesticide levels on peaches are shown to be repeatedly above legal limits, and ten times greater than other fruits. Contaminants in peaches are fungicides captan and iprodione, which have been linked to cancer.7

It can be difficult to find all of the produce you need when shopping in the organic sections at your local grocery store. And when you do find what you need, you might not want to pay the price (sometimes several dollars) for organic vs. non organic. Pesticides and the overall cleanliness of your food is most important, which is where the Dirty Dozen list comes into play.

Instead of going all organic, you can refer to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) for their handy shopping guide that helps you prioritize the shopping list. Their lists of the Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen foods will help you steer clear of those foods laden with the most pesticides and eat the cleanest diet you can.

People buy organic to reduce their exposure to synthetic chemicals. But price prevents many shoppers from filling their fridges with all-organic foods. So, which foods are most important to buy organic?

Once solely the domain of the granola crowd, organic foods have become big business. Spending on organic products has grown by nearly 20 percent over the past decade. Nearly two-thirds of American consumers purchase at least some organic foodstuffs [source: Consumer Reports]. By organic we mean foods that meet the standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Animals can't be given antibiotics or growth hormone. Farmers can't use chemical fertilizers or pesticides on their fruits and vegetables. These toxins can get into the food and be passed along to people. While the jury is out on just how harmful this can be, many people would rather not take a chance. Others prefer organic farming because its methods result in less pollution.

But other than the self-congratulatory thrill you feel after you've chosen an organic kumquat over its chemical-laden brethren in the grocery store, are there any real benefits in buying organic? While choosing foods produced without chemical pesticides and fertilizers is a "green" choice for our planet, it can also mean there's less "green" in your wallet. Organic farming is more labor intensive, and that can translate into the food being more expensive at the store. Since only the wealthiest among us can choose a diet composed totally of foods that bear the organic label, it's reassuring to know that there are only a few foods experts say should be purchased organic or not at all. Grab a pesticide-free Golden Delicious out of the fruit bowl, sit back and keep reading to find out what they are.

The outbreak of mad cow disease in the 1990s gave organic beef a big boost, but standards are the same for all animals raised to be sold as organic. Ranchers and farm owners cannot give their animals antibiotics to make them resistant to disease, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations. Some people feel overuse of antibiotics can lead to the development of drug-resistant strains of bacteria in animals and people. Growth hormone to speed the development of the animals is also banned in livestock raised for certified organic meat.

Organic meat and poultry must be fed grain that was grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides. No feed that includes meat by-products -- the means of spreading mad cow disease -- is allowed. Organic beef must come from a mother that was given organic feed during the last third of her gestation.

The organic label also means the animal had access to the outdoors for some period each day. However, these requirements are not clearly defined. You shouldn't imagine a barnyard full of frolicking animals, critics warn. Outdoors may mean that a chicken was kept in a cage with a screened wall open to the outside.

Nonorganic milk can contain small traces of pesticides. Since milk is a staple food for children, this is cause for concern. Organic milk is more pure. Organic dairies give their cows feed made from grain grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Growth hormone isn't allowed. Dairy animals are not given antibiotics, which could get into the milk. Widespread use of antibiotics also increases the possibility of antibiotic-resistant bacteria developing in the future. U.S. Department of Agriculture standards say organic dairy cows must graze in a pasture for at least 120 days a year [source: Skrzycki]. The avoidance of pesticides and fertilizers in the feed and in the pasture lessens the impact of the herd on the environment. Remember, too, to look for organics in products made from milk such as yogurt, ice cream, butter and cheese.

Small amounts of pesticides may pass from chickens to eggs, and from there, on to the many foods prepared with them. Organic eggs come from birds that eat organic feed and are not pumped up with growth hormone or dosed with antibiotics.

But it's not the lack of contaminants that make organic eggs a must; it's how the eggs are produced. The philosophy here is that happy chickens lay better eggs. Proponents of organic eggs say the source makes all the difference. Top-of-the-line organic eggs come from free-range chickens that have access to a yard not treated with chemicals. As stated earlier, the definition of free-range in the U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations is open to broad interpretation, so investigate the source of your eggs if humane treatment is a factor in your purchasing.

White eggs or brown? While many people think brown eggs are more nutritious, there's no difference. The color of egg depends on the breed of chicken. White chickens lay white eggs; brown chickens lay brown. It's that simple. You don't have to limit your organic egg purchases to chicken eggs. Some organic farmers now offer a variety of exotic choices -- goose, quail, even ostrich eggs.

The morning joe made quite a journey to get to your mug. The coffee beans that produced it were probably grown in a country that doesn't regulate the use of pesticides and fertilizers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture organic label means harmful chemicals weren't used in growing or processing the beans.

But there's more to consider than just the organic label here. Look for the Fair Trade Practices label that most organic coffee carries. That designation means the people who produced the coffee beans were paid fairly and treated well.

Ah, a peach -- the very word is synonymous with perfection. It's also No. 1 on the Environmental Working Group's list of foods with the most and the highest concentration of pesticides [source: EWG]. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a nonprofit concerned with public health and the environment. Even washing and peeling couldn't remove all the pesticides from a nonorganic peach. Peeling also takes away a lot of the fruit's nutritional benefit. Peaches aren't the only culprit for pesticide contamination, though. Many fruits have high levels of pesticides. Apples and nectarines rank high on the scale of pesticide-laden foods. Strawberries absorb a lot of poison through their thin skins. You can't peel a strawberry, either. The same goes for cherries. Grapes -- and raisins -- fall under this category, as well. Many fruit juices contain grape juice, so look for the organic label there, too, especially if the juice is for kids. Buying fruit out of season is risky since standards are lax in many of the countries where it's grown.

Our friend the spud gets a double dose of poison when grown under nonorganic conditions. Growers spray pesticides on the vines above ground, while the soil gets a dose of fungicide to prevent disease where the tubers are growing. The fungicides prevent potato blight, which was the villain in the potato famine of the mid-1800s in Ireland, resulting in the deaths of about one million people. There's no good organic means to combat it, and that keeps the price of organic potatoes to more than twice that of their nonorganic fellows. 041b061a72


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