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Foods That You Should Always Buy Organic

In an effort to save some money while still doing right by your health (because honestly, not made of $$$ here!), Schapiro says these are the five foods beyond the "Dirty Dozen" that you should always try to get organic:

foods that you should always buy organic

Organic foods continue to increase in popularity across the U. S. with many believing eating organic is better for health. About 5% of total food sales are organic, and that is projected to increase by an average of 6% each year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines organic as crops that are produced on farms that have not used most synthetic pesticides herbicides or fertilizer for three years before harvesting the food. There needs to be a significant buffer zone to decrease contamination from adjacent farm lands. Farms also have to be free from any genetic engineering, ionizing radiation or sewage sludge (yuck). And as it relates to livestock, animals must be fed organic feed, live on organic land and be raised without routine antibiotics or hormones.

Organic foods are usually good for the environment. But they're often hard on your wallet: The USDA found the costs of organic fruits and vegetables typically run more than 20% higher than conventional produce. Sometimes the difference is much higher, especially for things like organic milk and eggs. Are they worth the extra expense? In some cases, yes. It may lower your exposure to chemicals and artificial ingredients. In others, it may not be healthier than buying conventionally grown products. Some basic information can help you make the smartest choices for your budget and the health of your family.

This spring berry is one of the most sought-after superfoods, but conventional blueberries were found to contain up to 50 different pesticide residues. Use organic blueberries to make these four wonderful desserts that will help you lose weight.

Conventionally raised eggs face the same risks as the conventionally raised chickens. Organic eggs are free from agricultural chemical residues and come from chickens that are free to roam around and are fed an organic feed.

Whether they're baked, poached, or added to salad, pears are usually consumed skin and all, which can be a problem for a food that's covered in chemicals. A 2010 USDA pesticide report found that conventionally grown pears contained 40 percent more pyrimethanil (a broad spectrum fungicide) than those grown organically.

How your food is grown or raised can have a major impact on your mental and emotional health as well as the environment. Organic foods often have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally-grown counterparts and people with allergies to foods, chemicals, or preservatives may find their symptoms lessen or go away when they eat only organic foods.

Organic food is often fresher because it doesn't contain preservatives that make it last longer. Organic produce is sometimes (but not always, so watch where it is from) produced on smaller farms nearer to where it is sold.

Organic meat and milk can be richer in certain nutrients. Results of a 2016 European study show that levels of certain nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, were up to 50 percent higher in organic meat and milk than in conventionally raised versions.

Organic food is GMO-free. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) foods are plants whose DNA has been altered in ways that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding, most commonly in order to be resistant to pesticides or produce an insecticide.

As mentioned above, one of the primary benefits of eating organic is lower levels of pesticides. However, despite popular belief, organic farms do use pesticides. The difference is that they only use naturally-derived pesticides, rather than the synthetic pesticides used on conventional commercial farms. While natural pesticides are believed to be less toxic, some have been found to have health risks. That said, your exposure to harmful pesticides will likely be lower when eating organic.

According to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that analyzes the results of government pesticide testing in the U.S., the following fruits and vegetables have the highest pesticide levels, so are best to buy organic:

Remember that organic doesn't always equal healthy. Making junk food sound healthy is a common marketing ploy in the food industry but organic baked goods, desserts, and snacks are usually still very high in sugar, salt, fat, or calories. It pays to read food labels carefully.

For example, you can pick an apple grown with usual (conventional) methods. Or you can pick one that's organic. Both apples are firm, shiny and red. They both provide vitamins and fiber. And neither apple has fat, salt or cholesterol. Which should you choose? Get the facts before you shop.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has set up an organic certification program that requires all organic food to meet strict government standards. These standards control how such food is grown, handled and processed.

No, "natural" and "organic" are different. Usually, "natural" on a food label means that the product has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. "Natural" on a label doesn't have to do with the methods or materials used to grow the food ingredients.

Some data shows possible health benefits of organic foods when compared with foods grown using the usual (conventional) process. These studies have shown differences in the food. But there is limited information to prove how these differences can give potential overall health benefits.

One common concern with organic food is cost. Organic foods often cost more than similar foods grown using usual (conventional) methods. Higher prices are due, in part, to more costly ways of farming.

Leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, lettuce and arugula should be bought organic as often as possible. If it is not an option be sure to wash these foods very thoroughly to minimize pesticide residue.

Conventional potatoes have gotten a bad wrap for the high amount of toxins typically found in them, but the price of organic potatoes can seem unreasonable. This is where a little knowledge can make a big difference. It turns out that conventional sweet potatoes are considered clean and often completely free of these toxins. Making this little switch will save you cash and add a tasty spin to your meal.

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.

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.

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. 041b061a72


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