It’s more expensive and it often looks just the same as conventional produce, so why should you invest in organic food? We look at the impact on nutrition…
There are lots of environmental, ethical and farming reasons why some people decide to buy organic produce, but I am just going to focus on the nutrition side of things. If you want more information, do look at the Soil Association website.
Why choose organic?
I have selected my top three reasons as to why choosing organic is a good decision for your health:
- Less Pesticides
Eating organic produce is an effective way to reduce your dietary exposure to pesticides. In the UK, pesticide residues are found in approximately 60% of non-organic fruits and vegetables. To date, there has been little research into the long-term impact of pesticides on our health, but it is understood that certain pesticides act as hormone disruptors and are potentially carcinogenic, so I tend to err on the side of caution and avoid them as much as possible.
- More Nutritious
With a shorter trip from ‘farm to plate’, organic produce is one way to protect the vitamin and mineral content of our food as well as the flavour. In 2015, The British Journal of Nutrition published a study by Newcastle University, which demonstrated organic crops are up to 60% higher in several key antioxidants than their non-organic counterparts which is equivalent to eating between 1-2 extra portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Antioxidants are great for our health and are linked to a reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and neurodegenerative diseases.
- No GM Ingredients and Less Heavy Metals
The use of genetically modified products or organisms (GMOs) is not allowed in organic food. If you want to avoid genetically modified food, opting for organic is an effective way to do so. Another health benefit of choosing organic is reduced exposure to heavy metals like cadmium, which can be found in high concentrations in artificial fertilisers and non-organic soils. Cadmium is known to accumulate in the body (especially the liver and kidneys) so the less we consume, the better.
What to prioritise
So, what do you prioritise when it comes to choosing organic? There are certain varieties of fruits and vegetables that are more exposed to pesticides than others. To make a small change to your shopping choices, refer to the Pesticide Action Network UK’s best and worst foods for pesticide residue.
I will often recommend to my clients that they join a vegbox scheme as it can be a convenient and cost-effective way to eat organically. “One of the best things I have done for my diet recently is to start ordering a weekly organic fruit and veg box. It means I eat seasonally, try new things – adding more variety to my diet” Sue, Bristol.
It is always better to eat non-organic fruit and vegetables than no fruit and veg at all. So, if organic is not an option available to you remember to wash everything thoroughly in warm water before eating it.
By choosing organic dairy and meat you can be assured that the animals did not receive any antibiotics or growth hormones. Plus, research has found organic meat contains more of the healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids and Omega-3 fats, but lower levels of saturated fats than non-organic meat. So, there are lots of health benefits for choosing organic. However, for a cheaper option I would suggest opting for pasture-fed, grass-fed or free-range meat instead.
Ginger, Orange and Plum Crumble
Serves 2. Pre-heat the oven to 180℃
- Start with the crumble topping. Place the almonds in a food processor and blend until a flour forms. Add to a mixing bowl with the oats, cinnamon and seeds.
- Next, place the coconut oil, honey and vanilla in a saucepan and gently heat until melted. Pour this over the dry ingredients and stir well until the oat mix is well coated. Leave this bowl to one side.
- Next, slice the plums into wedges. Then add the water, orange juice, zest, cinnamon, ginger, honey and plums to a pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for approx. 5 minutes until plums begin to soften.
- Spoon the plum mixture evenly into 2 ramekins (you may not need all the liquid), add the crumble topping and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 180℃ until the plum juice is bubbling. Serve hot.
(Adapted from: LeanLivingGirl recipe)