As interest in organic food has grown, so have your options at most grocery stores, and for a lot us, all of these additional options are sometimes a little overwhelming.
It used to be that you could only find organic options at health food stores, but not anymore. Now as you shop, you probably wonder if paying more for organic at the grocery store makes a difference.
- Are organic foods more nutritious?
- Are the health advantages great enough to make it worth the cost of choosing organic?
- Are organic foods safer?
- Are these even the right questions?
You want to serve the best food to your family, but how do you know what is the best when there are even organic Doritos touting health benefits now?
When it comes to food choices, price and safety are important factors, but in this blog post, we're going to focus on nutrition.
An organic label doesn't necessarily mean a food item is more nutritious. Doritos are still Doritos - and, even if they taste good, they don't pack the same nutritional punch that you'd get from snacking on an orange instead. But, when ti comes to produce like oranges, how do you know if an organic orange is more nutritious than one that has been grown conventionally? What's the difference?
Though comprehensive research isn't yet available and current findings are limited, some studies have shown there are nutritional health benefits of organic foods over those that been conventionally grown, according to the Mayo clinic.
For example, researchers have found moderately higher levels of nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids in organic produce, meats, dairy, and eggs.
Some thoughts on safety
Although the health outcomes are still unclear, organic produce tends to have less detectable pesticide residue when compared with conventional produce. Additionally, researchers have found that conventionally-produced meat sometimes has a higher level of antibiotic-resistant bacteria compared to organic meat.
Don't ignore labels. They are your best tool to use as the basis for making a nutritional comparison. You're better off checking a packaged food's nutrition facts than choosing an option just for its organic sticker alone.
Did you know...in order to feature an organic label, a food's ingredients must meet certain requirements consistently and be verified by a USDA-accredited certifying agent?
For some, the reason to choose organic over conventional food is less about nutrition and more about the environment. According to the USDA researchers, organic farming practices can:
- Improve water quality
- Conserve energy
- Increase biodiversity
- Contribute to soil health
Though the cost of organic foods is higher, some people make a personal choice to choose organic food for ethical reasons, but if you are mostly worried about nutrition, buying organic may not be worth the extra expense.
Create a nutrition plan for a healthier future
What you're eating - and how much and in what balance - means a lot. Many people eat foods loaded with fat and salt (and not enough fiber). Foods high in fat and salt can be more detrimental to your health, whether those foods are organic or not.
Still have questions? Make an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss your nutrition and create a plan for a healthier future.