A recent study published in the British Journal of Cancer monitored the health of 600,000 women aged 50 or older for nine years and concluded that eating an organic diet will not reduce your risk for developing cancer. Based on these findings should we now throw caution to the wind and eat a non organic diet? What exactly is this study trying to tell us?
Should we eat fruits and vegetables that were grown from genetically modified seeds? Where is the data from long term studies which shows the effects of eating foods that contain GMO’s? Is it safe to eat crops that were grown in soil that was supplemented with chemical fertilizers? Do the results of the study imply that we can now eat plants that contain chemical pesticide residue?
Can we now presume that it is safe to eat the meat from a cloned animal? Feeding your family meat and milk from a cow that isn’t strong enough to stand on its own makes sense? Instead of eating grass as nature intended that same cow is fed corn that has had it’s DNA altered in a lab and we are supposed to believe that our health and the health of our loved ones isn’t being put at risk?
Are you really comfortable feeding your children food that was grown with the help of chemical pesticides? How many pesticides that were used in conventional farming methods for years, have been banned or restricted by the federal government after they were determined to be harmful to humans and the environment?
If eating an organic diet really does not cut the risk of developing cancer why would the President’s Cancer Panel advise Americans to “reduce their cancer risks by choosing, to the extent possible, food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers.”
Eating an organic diet just makes common sense. I know organic foods can be a bit more expensive and might be harder to find on your grocery shelves but eating foods produced without the help of synthetic chemicals as nature intended is just the right thing to do. More long term research needs to be done but there are studies that clearly show the benefits of eating an organic diet.
A 2006 study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives showed that when children’s diets consisted of mostly organic produce as opposed to conventional produce, traces of pesticides disappeared from children’s urine within five days.
Other studies have shown that organic produce, including strawberries, leafy vegetables and wheat contain much higher levels of phenolic acids than conventional produce. That is an important distinction since phenolic acids act as powerful antioxidants that prevent cellular damage and guard against oxidative stress, inflammation and cancer.
If you need even more evidence as to the health benefits of eating an organic diet check out the results from a recent study that found that organic milk had approximately 62 percent more heart healthy omega-3s as compared to conventional milk.
We can only hope that there will be more research that will show the true effects of eating an organic diet on human health when compared to eating a diet comprised of non organic foods. In the meantime, eat organic foods when you can but if you question whether the health benefits associated with an organic diet are real, at least familiarize yourself with the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG)list of “Dirty Dozen” fruits and vegetables that are known to be highest is chemical residue. You should try to buy the following in their organic form whenever possible:
7. Sweet bell peppers
11. Cherry tomatoes
12. Hot peppers
In addition the EWG put together a list of the “Clean 15” fruits and vegetables that have lower concentrations of chemical residue. If you are on a budget the following are safer to buy in their conventional form:
2. Sweet potatoes
10. Sweet peas – frozen