Most of us know that we need to eat plenty of fruit and veg every day, the current recommendation being in the range of 10 per day. The way in which you consume the fruit and veg is for the most part of little difference, whether you eat it raw, in salads, smoothies getting the veg in is key. However many of you may not be aware of the importance of buying and using organic veg. Luckily the next few paragraphs will seek to enlighten you.
Eating organic fruit and veg has many benefits to your health, and to the environment. From reducing the amount of chemicals such as pesticides, growth hormones and artificial fertilizer residue to reducing water pollution, and even helping the local economy if you source from local markets and farms.
Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition has found significant differences in nutritional content between organic and non-organically farmed foods. In 2014 their paper showed that organically grown crops had a 60% increase in the concentration of anti oxidants and a number of key minerals when compared to non-organic foods. This research came from analyzing 343 other studies results and collating the data into one report. In all but 2 of the 21 anti oxidants tested for they found an 85% or higher increase in concentration in organic foods with only TEAC and Stilbenes being 26% and 1% different respectively. The organic crops also showed increased concentrations of Rubidium, Magnesium and Zinc all key micro minerals for health and well being. The Non-organic crops were also found to have a 4 times higher concentration of Cadmium, a very toxic trace mineral used in some pesticides and agricultural practices.
Eating organic is very important. Especially if you are coming at nutrition from a health perspective and I would strongly advise you to buy and eat as much of your food as possible from organic sources. However I wanted to highlight specifically the 12 main foods that you should make sure to get organically.
They are known as the dirty dozen as they tend to contain the highest levels of toxins retained from farming practices, such as silage, fertilizer, pesticides and other pollutants. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) have compiled the following list:
- Cherry tomatoes
- Snap peas
- Sweet Bell Peppers
These are the dirty dozen.
If you eat a lot of these in your diet consistently like I do then you need to make sure you source quality organic produce as soon as possible. If you live in the UK I tend to find that Sainsburys do a great range of organic fruit and veg that cover most of this list, but you will find berries of all kinds more difficult, however fear not because they also tend to be the easiest and cheapest to grow from home yourself. If you live outside of the UK then Wholefoods and other large scale food shops tend to be a great option. However do not over look the local organic farms in your area, they tend to be great value, and if its anything like the one that we buy from they are always reliable and providing variety week after week.
If you are worried about the cost of organic food compared to non-organic I tend to find that the long term savings as well as the taste more than make up for it. Thinking about your health, if you can save money on medicine and health care by eating a healthy diet then its definitely worth it. Plus the organic veg tends to be larger then the rest so you actually get more for your money too.
In summary the research is beginning to show a significant difference in the concentration of key minerals for health between organic and non-organic foods, you should aim to get as much food from these organic sources as possible, if not to get the added benefits then to avoid the bad side effects, such as increased toxins, chemical residue and in some cases antibiotic residue.,
To leave you on a brighter note these foods have been cleared by the EWG as RELATIVELY safe. So if you can’t source them organically you can still get them from regular suppliers. They are the ‘clean fifteen’
- Egg Plant
- Sweet Corn
- Sweat Peas
- Sweet Potatoes