Is Buying Organic Food Worth It?

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Filed Under: Diet, General Health
Last Reviewed 05/05/2014

Blueberries are part of the

I’m often asked if buying organic food is truly necessary and worth the cost. My answer is that I believe buying organic food is superior from both an environmental and nutritional point of view.

It’s no secret that the bulk of the produce in your supermarket is grown in chemically enriched soils and sprayed with pesticides. Although organic food isn’t completely pesticide free, it is required to meet certain standards, so buying organic food is a step in the right direction.

A 2007 study funded by the European Union makes it clear that buying organic food has a nutritional advantage as well. Researchers discovered that organic vegetables and fruit contain more zinc and other health-enhancing minerals and up to 40 percent more antioxidants than conventionally grown produce. They also found that milk from cows raised on organic diets had 90 percent more antioxidants than regular milk.

The Higher Cost of Buying Organic Food

It’s true that buying organic food costs more, so I suggest checking out food co-ops and farmer’s markets. For the best deals on organic food, shop around closing time, when sellers are eager to unload their wares before packing up for the day. 

You can also prioritize which health foods you should be buying organic using the Environmental Working Group's research:

  • The “Dirty Dozen” most pesticide-ridden produce are apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce, kale/collard greens, and imported nectarines and grapes. Buying organic versions of these foods as often as possible is a good idea. 
  • The “Clean 15” with the least chemical residue are onions, corn, pineapples, avocados, asparagus, sweet peas, mangoes, eggplant, domestic cantaloupe, kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, and mushrooms. Buying organic versions of these foods is not really necessary.

The bottom line is don’t let the higher cost of buying organic food stop you from loading up on produce. No matter how they’re grown, vegetables (and modest amounts of fruit) are the best health foods around. Also, don’t waste your money on fancy fruit and vegetable sprays. The best way to remove pesticides and microbes from fruits and vegetables is to simply scrub them under running water.

Now it’s your turn: What are you buying organic food or conventional food? 

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