What Does Organic Mean to You?

OrganicWhat do you think of when you hear the word organic? Before I knew what organic meant, some words that would come to my mind were “natural”, “healthy”, “hormone free”, “additive free”, but also, “expensive”.

However, the questions that people really want answered are:

  • Is organic food really healthier?
  • Is it more nutritious?
  • Why is it so expensive?

The word “organic” refers to how a food is grown. How foods are grown or raised can impact both your health and the environment. Farmers who grow organic foods have to follow specific farming practices which reduce pollution (air, water, soil), conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and use less energy. Organically raised animals aren’t given antibiotics or growth hormones, and they’re also given more room to move around with access to a natural outside environment.

Organic fruits and vegetables aren’t necessarily more nutritious than conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. However, without preservatives and fewer chemicals than regular produce, you might notice that organic foods taste fresher.

If you’re thinking about making the switch to organically grown food, you might want to start with 12 fruits and vegetables that have, on average, the highest pesticide (chemical) levels. These fruits and veggies are commonly referred to as “The Dirty Dozen” and include: apples, bell peppers, carrots, celery, cherries, grapes (imported), kale, lettuce, nectarines, peaches, pears, and strawberries.

Because of their high pesticide levels when traditionally grown, it’s best to buy organic…especially if you’re trying to decide what produce to purchase because of cost!

-Nutritionist Lauren