Organic vs. Non-Organic: weighing the costs and benefits

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August 9, 2013 by thehealthyheartcenter

Purchasing organic products at the grocery store is not always possible. They are more expensive and are not always readily available at the grocers closest to you. So is it worth it to buy organic? If so, what products?

For some products, it is beneficial to buy the organic versions. These include produce and meat/poultry. For produce, though, it is not necessary to buy the organic version of everything, especially when you’re on a budget. The non- organic fruits and vegetables with higher remnants of pesticides, like apples, grapes and celery, are the ones that should be at the top of the “buy organic” list.  It isn’t necessary to pay more for organic products with a peel or rind, like onions, bananas, or melon.

Some organic snack products may seem like the healthiest option, but they have similar amounts of sugar, fat, and sodium as their non-organic equivalent. To be sure you’re getting benefits from organic products for the price you pay, compare nutrition facts of a product to its non-organic equal.

Ultimately, purchasing and consuming organic products is not required. The important thing is for you and your children to get the recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables each day. So if buying organic produce is not within financial means, no sweat! All produce should be washed thoroughly and properly following these guidelines:

  1. Use clean water
  2. Use a vegetable brush for produce with thick skin
  3. Porous vegetables, like cauliflower and broccoli, should be soaked for 1-2 minutes in cold water
  4. Dry with a paper towel
  5. Don’t wash pre-packaged and already washed produce

Below are the number of servings of fruits and veggies you and your family should have each day:

Fruit: Children—1-1.5 cups/day*

            Adults—1.5-2 cups/day

Vegetables: Children—1.5-2 cups/day

                        Adults—2-3 cups/day

 

* You can visit myplate.gov to learn what is equivalent to one cup of fruits/veggies

 

Sources: http://umaine.edu/publications/4336e/; www.myplate.gov; http://www.chicagoparent.com/magazines/chicago-parent/2013-january/need-to-know/good-sense-eating-organic

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Authors

Dr. Wali Gauvin

Kendra Fink RD CPT

Jessica Griffin: Intern

Julianna Yi: Intern

Marielle Mangano: Intern

Jackie Page: Intern

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