Organic vs commercially Grown Foods

Even though summer is almost over, it is still the best time of year to find a whole rainbow of colors of fresh food.  It’s also the best time of year to revive the taste buds and retrain the brain to eat in a more healthful manner.  A good place to start is by adding those vibrant summer fruits and vegetables to your daily meals and snacks, preferably using the most densely nutritious organic options.

What is organic?

Generally speaking, organic means food has been grown in safe, healthy soil using natural fertilizers free of synthetic pesticides or additives.  An “all natural” label on a food does not mean the food is organic.  Look for the food labeled with the words “certified organic” or “certified organically grown”.  These labels have added credibility if they list the certifying agency, such as California certified organic.  Independent third party certification is required for a food to be labeled as “certified organic”.  Texas is one of the few states which has state supported staff or inspection programs to certify organic farms whose program requirements are quite stringent.  That is good for the consumer!

Organic farmers use only natural fertilizers, such as manure and compost, and natural methods to control insects.  This means that organically grown foods do not contain pesticide residue and other chemicals that are harmful to human health.  Comercially grown fruits and vegetables are not only exposed to pesticides on their outer surfaces, but take the chemical fertilizers up through the soil and the root, into the vine or branch and then into the fruit or vegetable.  Cadmium and Agent Orange are examples of highly toxic materials in pesticides and fertilizers.

Mineral Depletion Research

The organic farmer begins by rotating crops.  The soil is depleted of minerals after years of growing seasons without replenishing the earth through crop rotation.  Soil mineral depletion was the subject of a study at Rutgers University.  The study compared organically grown vegetables with those grown comercially, and came up with some astonishing facts regarding minerals.  Results of one mineral in particular, magnesium, revealed that to equal the magnesium content in one organic tomato, it takes twenty four commercially grown tomatoes, and for one head of organic lettuce, it takes four commercial heads.

Commercially grown, inorganic foods are not only lower in minerals, but the high toxic pesticide residue causes further depletion of minerals from the body.  Magnesium is one of the most critical nutrients to the human body.  Countless scientific studies show that magnesium depletion in the human body is a direct cause of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, strokes, other cardiovascular events, and other diseases.

If you can’t always eat organic, keep these numbers in mind when it comes to buying fresh fruits and vegetables.  Buy these organic; they are the highest in pesticides and most toxic:

1. Peaches

2. Apples

3. Sweet bell peppers

4. Celery

5. Nectarines

6. Strawberries

7. Cherries

8. Lettuce

9. Grapes

10. Pears

These ten fruits and vegetables are the least toxic commercially grown products, but still treated with pesticides.  They are listed from best to worst.

  1. Onions
  2. Avocado
  3. Sweet corn
  4. Pineapples
  5. Mango
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Kiwi
  9. Bananas
  10. Cabbage

Purchasing from local farmers is the best way to obtain the freshest produce.  Though not always certified organic, the local farmer frequently grows organically.  For the small, local farmer obtaining the organic certification can be quite a costly process.  If you can’t grow your own, get to know your local farmer.  Find out how he grows his crops, what he uses for fertilizers, and how he controls insects.

As for cost, the densely nutritious organic foods will satisfy more quickly, so less is required.  Eating whole, clean, live organic food now instead of junk food, fast food and fake food will dictate the difference for today and tomorrow in how you think, how you feel, how you act, and how you look.  Hooray for summer!

This article was written by Dr. Sharon Price, PhD,

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