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Organic: Your Shortcut to Healthy Food

Nourishing food is important, especially when you’re squeezing mealtime into a busy schedule. You want to feel good about what your family eats — but who has time to study advanced nutrition just to go to the grocery store? Here’s an easy shortcut to healthy food: choose organic.

Know for sure what’s in your food: look for the USDA Organic seal
Words like “healthy” and “natural” look good on a food package, but in reality those words can mean anything — or nothing.

The term organic means the...

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Nourishing food is important, especially when you’re squeezing mealtime into a busy schedule. You want to feel good about what your family eats — but who has time to study advanced nutrition just to go to the grocery store? Here’s an easy shortcut to healthy food: choose organic.

Know for sure what’s in your food: look for the USDA Organic seal
Words like “healthy” and “natural” look good on a food package, but in reality those words can mean anything — or nothing.

The term organic means the food inside the package was produced under the rigorous standards of the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program. By law, organic food is produced without toxic petroleum-based pesticides and fertilizers, and without genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Organic food contains no artificial ingredients, flavors, colors, or preservatives. It’s the food you want…and nothing you don’t.

To know for sure, look for the USDA Organic seal on the package. Fresh organic produce without packaging carries a sticker with a 5-digit number that starts with a 9.

Eating Organic reduces your family’s exposure to pesticides
All fruits and vegetables offer important nutrients that your body needs. Organic, however, is different in a way that’s especially significant for children: choosing organic reduces dietary exposure to pesticides.

Washing fresh produce removes surface dirt, but you can’t wash away any pesticides that the plant absorbed as it grew. When you eat the plant, you eat those pesticides, too. Studies have shown that when kids switched from conventional to organic produce in their diets, the measurable pesticide residues in their bodies were significantly and immediately reduced or eliminated. When the kids went back to conventional produce, evidence of pesticide residues returned just as quickly. Choosing organic food is a good way to help keep those pesticides out of your body — and that’s crucial for your kids, whose growing bodies are so much more susceptible to damage from environmental toxins.

Making the organic choice easier
When you can’t buy everything organic, you can prioritize your choices.

#1:  Choose organic for foods your kids eat frequently
In his “Organic Rx” guide, leading pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene suggests choosing organic foods based on the impact they have on your family and the environment. Here are Dr. Greene’s top 5 organic choices; are any of them on your shopping list?
1) Milk
2) Potatoes
3) Peanut butter
4) Baby foods
5) Catsup

#2: Choose organic for the “Dirty Dozen”
Another way to prioritize is to choose organic for produce items that have the most pesticide residues when they’re grown conventionally. The Environmental Working Group’s annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ ranks those items in order, using the USDA’s own test data. Choosing organic — especially for the top of the list — can help keep unwanted chemicals out of your family’s food (and their bodies, too):
 
1) Strawberries
2) Apples
3) Nectarines
4) Peaches
5) Celery
6) Grapes
7) Cherries
8) Spinach
9) Tomatoes
10) Sweet bell peppers
11) Cherry tomatoes
12) Cucumber
 

Nourishing food supports your whole body — and that’s especially important for growing kids. Choose organic to get the good, healthy food you want for yourself and your family…without the pesticides you don’t.

Want to learn more about your organic options? Get the 2016 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce from the EWG (there’s an app for that) or visit DrGreene.com.

References
Your Diet, Your Health — EverydayHealth.com
Healthy Food for a Healthy World: Food as Medicine — the Link Between Nutrition and Health  — The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, TheChicagoCouncil.org
The National Organic Program – The Organic Trade Association, OTA.com
Organic Diets Significantly Lower Children’s Dietary Exposure to Organophosphorus Pesticides — Environmental Health Perspectives, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov
Eating Organic Lowers Pesticide Levels in Children — Well Blog, NYTimes.com
Why Organic is the Right Choice for Parents — Time.com
Dr. Green’s Organic Rx — DrGreene.com
The Environmental Working Group’s 2016 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ — EWG.org

 

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