While you probably know organic foods are great for you, you might have heard that it’s safer for you as well. The main reason is that organic fruits and vegetables are produced without using pesticides.1
Why is this so important?
Well, there are a lot of reasons you should try to purchase foods that are free of these dangerous chemicals.
Why You Should Purchase Organic Food – The Problem With Pesticides
A lot of scientific research details just how dangerous pesticides can be. Most studies focus on the effects of these chemicals on people who either work with them or live in areas where they’re heavily used.
For example, one study looked at how pesticides affect pregnant women in the farming community of Salinas County, California, where an estimated 500,000 pounds of pesticides are sprayed each year.
The study showed the children born to pregnant women with the highest levels of pesticides in their bodies had lower IQ scores.2
Research suggests the problem may also occur in heavily populated locations. Unborn children in urban areas exposed to pesticides were found to suffer brain issues as well.3
Cleansing Yourself of Pesticides Through an Organic Diet
Some people believe that regular produce is just as healthy as organic produce. They assume non-organic products contain very little pesticide contamination. Studies, however, paint a different picture.
Researchers studied pesticide levels in children who followed an organic diet for five days and then went back to their conventional diets. According to the results, levels dropped dramatically after they ate organic food. Researchers found no evidence of pesticides until the children resumed their regular diets.4
The drop in pesticide levels after changing to an organic diet applies to adults as well. In one study, a group of adults at mostly organic foods for a week. The results showed that the level of pesticides in their bodies dropped by almost 90 percent.5
Potential Side Effects of Pesticides
So, you know that non-organic produce contains pesticides, and people who eat safe, healthy organic food tend to have less of them in their bodies. Why should you care?
You should care because pesticides have been linked to several different types of serious health issues.
Here are just a few of the potential side effects of pesticides that can damage your health:
Brain problems – If you want your brain to function at optimal levels, consider changing to organic food. There is evidence that pesticides are linked to long-term issues associated with the brain, including “brain fog” and mental sluggishness.6
Breathing difficulties – Ingesting pesticides through different foods is also linked to respiratory issues.7 Eating organic foods will help cut down your exposure to pesticides, and could help support your respiratory system.
Kidney issues – Researchers looked at 100 patients who went to kidney clinics in India between January 2014 and March 2015. According to the results, the patients had three times the number of pesticides in their blood than healthy people.8
Skin irritation – When pesticides are absorbed through the skin and enter the bloodstream, that’s anything but healthy. In some cases, pesticides are even linked to serious toxic reactions.9
What Kinds of Foods Are Better to Purchase Organic?
It can be hard to decide which foods you’d be better off purchasing organic, and which ones are OK to buy the traditional way. A nonprofit organization known as the Environmental Working Group (EWG) provides an extensive list of foods that contain high levels of pesticides.
Here are five foods that you should try to buy organic whenever possible:
1. Strawberries – According to the EWG, about 30 percent of samples of conventionally produced strawberries tested by the organization had at least 10 different types of pesticides. One sample contained 22 different types.
2. Spinach – You will definitely want to add spinach to your organic food shopping list. The reason is that the EWG found pesticide residues in 97 percent of the spinach samples it tested. You can find organic spinach at just about any grocery store.
3. Nectarines – Nectarines are tasty and usually healthy – but the news on this popular fruit is pretty hard to stomach. A whopping 94 percent of samples tested by the EWG showed residue from at least two pesticides. Residues from 15 different pesticides were found in one sample.
4. Apples – An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but it’s best to stick to organic versions of the fruit. Pesticides were found in 90 percent of samples, according to the EWG.
5. Grapes – The delicious grape is another of the popular foods on the EWG list. Traces of pesticides were found in 96 percent of all samples. Buy organic grapes.10
Start Shopping Around
As you can see, there are a lot of reasons why you may want to switch to organic foods. They’re safe, healthy, and it won’t subject you to exposure to harmful chemicals.
Shop around, and see what kinds of organic options you can find at your local grocery store. If you don’t see as many healthy alternatives as you’d like, consider going to a specialty grocer that only offers organic food products. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.
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