Considering that the cost of food is always rising, you might be wondering if the extra money that you are spending on organic milk is actually worth it. It really is. Even though organics are more expensive, they are worth the investment. Not only can organic products have a positive effect on your health now, they will also have a positive effect on your health in the future.
In order for a food to be certified organic by the USDA, it needs to meet specific government standards. For dairy, poultry, and meat to be considered organic, the animals that these foods came from can’t have been given any antibiotics or hormones. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, the crops must have been grown without synthetic pesticides, conventional fertilizers, or bio-engineering. If you want to know exactly what makes organic a better and healthier option than conventional for certain foods, read on.
Organic foods have more nutrients. While there have been reports that organic foods aren’t better for you, these reported are outdated. Over the past 7 years, an analysis of 100 studies regarding organic foods was performed, which included 40 published studies. It was determined that the average level of close to a dozen different nutrients was 25 percent higher in organic produce than conventional produce.
Choosing organic products can also help you lose weight. A study was done using lab rats. The rats that were fed an all-organic diet had less body fat, lower weights, and a stronger immune system than those who were fed a conventional diet. Also, the rats who were fed organic slept better and they were calmer.
When you switch to organic, you are avoiding toxins. If you eat the 12 most contaminated vegetables and fruits, you are exposing yourself to about 14 pesticides. After just 5 days of eating organic, the level of toxins in your system would be untraceable.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to go organic. The main issue about switching from conventional to organic is the cost. If you focus on organics in just a few core food groups, you can save money and become healthier overall. These food groups include:
#1 Fruits and Vegetables
When choosing fruits and vegetables, you should choose the ones who have the most pesticide residues. According to tests in a government laboratory, even if you wash your fruits and vegetables, they carry a much higher level of pesticides than others.
A non-profit organization called Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzed the results of close to 51,000 tests of pesticide residue on produce between 2000 and 2005. According to the data collected, the EWG created a list of the fruits and vegetables that had the most contamination. The foods on this list included potatoes, spinach, lettuce, apples, peaches, strawberries, nectarines, cherries, imported grapes, pears, celery, and bell peppers. These are the foods that you should start buying organic. If this is still too expensive for you, switch to organic with only the foods that you eat the most.
#2 Meat and Poultry
The journal, Meat Science, published a study that compared the nutritional content in non-organic and organic chicken meat. The research showed that the organic samples over 28 percent more of omega-3’s than non-organic meats. Omega-3’s are essential fatty acids that have been known to reduce high blood pressure, heart disease, inflammation, type 2 diabetes, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease. For these meats to be considered organic, the animals can not have been given any growth hormones or antibiotics.
According to nutritionists, the recommended portion for poultry and meat is 3 ounces. This is about the same size of a deck of cards. If you want to stick to your grocery budget, you should stick to this serving size. To make sure that you aren’t hungry after you eat, you should round out the meal with whole grains and vegetables, which are less expensive than organic meats.
Organic milk is more expensive than conventional milk. A half gallon of organic milk costs $4 while a half gallon of conventional milk costs $2.50. It is, however, worth the extra cost. According to recent studies, organic milk has 75 percent more beta carotene than non-organic milk. This is about as much beta carotene that is in one serving of Brussels sprouts.
When you compare organic dairy and conventional dairy, organic dairy has 50 percent more vitamin E. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that fights heart disease and cancer. It also supports the immune system. Vitamin E also contains three times more lutein, and zeaxanthin, which are eye-friendly antioxidants. Organic milk also contains 70 percent more omega-3s than non-organic milk.
Like organic meat, organic dairy contains no antibiotics and no hormones. Also, the feed that is given to the dairy cows is pesticide free. In 2005, 700 samples of non-organic meat were tested. The tests showed that a pesticide residue called diphenylamine was found in 92 percent of the samples.
According to today’s nutritional guidelines, you should have three servings of dairy each day. Of all the organic options available, milk is the least expensive. It costs about 50 cents for a one serving cup, while non-organic milk costs about 31 cents for a one cup serving. To save a bit more money, many organic dairy companies such as Organic Valley (organicvalley.coop) and Stonyfield Farm (stonyfield.com), offer printable coupons on their websites.