It's common knowledge that organic food is healthier for you than ordinary non-organic food, which is contaminated with pesticides. The main reason why people don't opt for organic is because of the price difference. There is typically at least a dollar difference between organic and non-organic fruit, vegetables, and meat. If you're restocking your fridge for the week, buying organic will cost you at least an extra $25. Although the cost is higher, the rewards start to pay off after just a week!
A study was conducted by the University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco that looked into the immediate benefits of eating organic vs non-organic food. The researchers uncovered that toxin levels in the body were dramatically lowered after less than a week of eating organic.
The study used two families from different backgrounds for a total of twelve days. The researchers had the families eat a conventional diet for 6 days then switch to an all organic diet for another six days. The researchers based their conclusions off of the results of the urine tests. The families were tested before and after eating organic. After the six days of eating organic, the researchers found a huge drop in bodily pesticides. These pesticides have been linked with cancer, hormonal imbalance, neurological disorders and more.
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The biggest change they noticed was a 95% decrease in malathion, which has been linked to brain damage in children. Dr. Kendra Klein, co-author of the study and senior staff scientist at an organic research organization, said "Right now, farming with toxic pesticides is the norm. But we can turn the system around. The science is clear that we can grow abundant food without pesticides. We need to organize, raise our voices, demand that our leaders step up and shift support, research, and policies to create a system where organic is for all."
This study mainly focused on exposure and not health outcomes when it comes to eating organic. Studies that do focus on health outcomes are much more costly and take a lot longer time to conduct. There have been recent breakthroughs in other studies including one in France where they found a 25% reduction in cancer levels after including more organic foods in the diet. A different study found that eating organic food improved fertility rates.
Eating organic not only improves your own health but also the health of the planet. Talk about a win-win. Not only is organic farming more sustainable in the long run, but it also is supportive of biodiversity, less pollutive of water, and preserves quality of soil. Klein said, "Organic works. We already have the solution. And yet, many people across the country still don't have access to or can't afford organic food. This is unacceptable. We all have the right to food that is free of toxic pesticides."
Klein offered some tips for going organic on a budget. She suggests purchasing less meat; as meat is typically the most expensive part of a meal. Klein said you can save money by also buying frozen vegetables, checking out your local farmer's markets, and buying in-season fruit and veg. If you want to ease yourself into buying organic, have a look at the Environmental Working Group's list of the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen, which tell you the best and worst fruit and vegetables to buy in regard to pesticides. If you want to live fully organic, you can look into organic skincare too!