Is Eating Organic Better for Health?
Whether at the farmers market or grocery store, organic goods typically cost more, but they are also touted as being better for your health. Is it true?
Organic products, including produce, grain, dairy and meat, are cultivated and processed without the use of chemical fertilizers, synthetic pesticides or herbicides, or genetically modified organisms. To be labeled organic, a product must be certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and meet national organic standards.
“Many people choose organics because they feel it’s the right moral and environmental choice, as well as the health-conscious choice,” Evelyn Khoo, M.D., a Mills-Peninsula family medicine doctor, says. “But unlike substances such as mercury, which can be present in some fish, studies have yet to show that chemicals used on conventionally grown foods accumulate over time in the human body.”
Dr. Khoo suggests a compromise – choosing organic rather than conventionally farmed produce when it comes to the “Dirty Dozen,” foods that typically carry the highest pesticide residues:
- Sweet bell peppers
- Grapes (imported)
“If you’re thinking about switching to organic foods,” Dr. Khoo says, “this might be a good place to start.”