‘Is Organic Food Worth the Price?’

September 4, 2010

In trying to decide what I want to write about today, I came across an article I tore out of O Magazine from back in March. Ooops! Well better now than never. Anyhow, the article is titled ‘Is Organic Food Worth the Price?”, and is written by Nina Planck. Nina is a food writer, and grew up on an ecological vegetable farm. She is credited with opening the first farmers’ market in London.[1] The girl clearly knows her food stuff!

The article answers the question that is on many people’s mind: “Why should I pay more for organic? What is so different about organic produce that really makes it worth the added expense?” These are questions I’ve even had myself. Can it really be that different? Well here are a few highlights from the article:

  • The term “organic” is defined by a strict set of federal regulations.
  • Crops with the USDA organic seal of approval are raised without synthetic pesticides, petroleum-based fertilizers, or sewage sludge.
  • Organic animals eat organic feed, and must have access to the outdoors. They are not given antibiotics or growth hormones.
  • Organic food is not genetically modified, or treated with radiation to give it a longer shelf life.
  • The French Agency for Food Safety confirmed that organics contain more antioxidants, heart-healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids, iron, and magnesium.
  • The UK Review showed organics contain more magnesium, zinc, and antioxidant phytochemicals like phenols and flavonoids.
  • A 5-yr study by 33 universities, research centers, and companies found that organics contain more vitamin C, more nutrients overall, and that organic dairy foods contain more omega-3 fatty acids and cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid.
  • A British study found that the average pint of organic milk contains 68.2% more omega-3 fats than non-organic milk.
  • Organic produce is free of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, which affects plants flavor and nutritional value.

So according to the research, not only is organic farming better for the environment, it does produce more nutritional food. The end of this article also had another snippet I want to share with you. It is also written by Nina Planck, and it’s titled ‘A 21st-Century Grocery Decoder.’

In it, she breaks down 3 more labels that are important to become familiar with:

  • Grass-Fed: Replacing cows’ natural diet of grass with one based on corn & soy decreases the amount of some nutrients, like omega-3s and conjugated linoleic acid in their meat. In 2009, research from the USDA and Clemson University showed that grass-fed beef is healthier in ten ways, including some that can lower risk of cancer & heart disease. Look for the seal of the American Grassfed Assoc.
  • Pastured: Chickens that roam free also eat grass, as well as nutrient-rich insects, which can make their meat & eggs higher in omega-3 fats, folate, and vitamin B12. Look for labels that say “pastured”, and don’t be fooled by the term “free-range” – it only means the hens aren’t penned in cages. (If the label calls the poultry “vegetarian,” you can be certain they never went outside, where they’d surely have dined on a bug or two.)
  • Local: Some foods, such as ripe peaches, are not meant to travel long distances. They bruise easily and spoil quickly. Superior flavor, of course, is one reason to purchase local produce – no long-distance peach can compete with a ripe local one – and nutrition is another: The shorter the shelf life, the more vitamins are left in the produce when it gets to your fruit bowl or salad spinner.  -N.P.

Here is the link for the complete article: http://www.oprah.com/food/Food-Writer-Nina-Planck-Gives-O-the-Lowdown-on-Organic-Food/1

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Reference: [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nina_Planck

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4 Responses to ‘Is Organic Food Worth the Price?’

  1. Organic food is not only healthier but tastes much better as well.Ive been on the organic bandwagon for a long time after finding out about growth hormones in meat and dairy products(ever wonder why our kids are developing so young?) and pesticide residue on fruits and veggies.Thanks for posting this informative article,I hope many people read it and are moved to switch to organic meat and produce.

  2. CatenaTravel says:

    Reblogged this on Catena Travel.

  3. We also prefer organic and local as much as possible, if for no other reason, the taste is out of this world.

  4. We try to buy local and organic as much as possible. All the health benefits are great but in general we do it because it just tastes so much better.

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