NUTRITION HOTLINE: Organic Foods
Q: Do you recommend organic foods?
A: Organic foods do have extra health benefits for a price. For example, pesticides in fruits and vegetables are believed to cause some cancers and other adverse health effects. If my clients have had cancer or if they express a concern about pesticides, I encourage them to choose organic when purchasing the following fruits and vegetables: peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, cherries, lettuce, grapes, and pears, as these fruits and vegetables have the highest pesticide count. If cost is an issue and they cannot afford organic produce, I encourage them to buy fruits and vegetables only grown in the US, as other countries have different (usually weaker) pesticide laws than the US. Local farmer’s markets can be a good option, as they typically offer organic fruits and vegetables for a lower cost than the supermarket. Organic produce is also better for the environment.
Organic dairy products come from cows that are not given pesticides, growth hormones, or antibiotics. Health experts are concerned about the presence of these compounds in dairy products, particularly when it comes to children. One study done in the Netherlands found that children breast fed by mothers consuming only organic milk, cheese, and yogurt, and then weaned onto only organic dairy products had a one third lower risk of eczema and asthma. Organic milk can be twice as expensive as non-organic milk, but Target and WalMart now carry it for a lower price. Also local dairies may have less costly organic products. I encourage anyone who consumes a lot of dairy products to buy organic when feasible.
By Diane Keddy, MS, RD
Reprinted with permission from Eating Disorders Recovery Today
Winter 2008 Volume 6, Number 1
©2008 Gürze Books