The question: Is organic more nutritious than non-organic?
The answer: We don’t know! There is no strong evidence or research that unequivocally proves that organic fruit and vegetables contain more nutrients. Researchers don’t think there is much difference nutritionally. We do know that local tends to be the most nutritious. Why is this? Locally-grown fruits and vegetables that are ingested by your body within the shortest period of time after being picked or harvested have the greatest nutrient content due to the fact that nutrient content deteriorates through ripening and detachment from growth conditions.
Therefore, if the produce has to travel, its nutrient content is diminishing over time. There was a statistic I read that suggested the average meal made from ingredients found at a typical supermarket had travelled approximately 1,500 miles. You can imagine the nutrient damage that would have occurred in that time.
The real benefit of organic is the absence of pesticides and other chemicals.
The Environmental Working Group compiled a list of consistently clean and conistently ‘dirty’ fruit and vegetables. The ‘dirty dozen’ are the produce that were found to contain high levels of pesticides/chemicals when ‘conventionally’ grown. The most contaminated fruits and vegetables, of which you should buy organic, are apples, bell peppers, blueberries, celery, cucumbers, grapes, lettuce, nectarines, peaches, spinach, strawberries, green beans and kale/greens.
The produce that proved to contain the lowest levels of chemicals were asparagus, avocado, cabbage, cantaloupe, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi, mangoes, mushrooms, onions, pineapples, sweet peas, sweet potatoes and watermelon. These lists are based on American produce, but it gives you an idea of what foods to watch for. It is also a good idea to familarise yourself with the farming practices and regulations of your country, state and area.
Here are some take away tips for fruit and veggies:
1. Nutrient stand point: the best is to buy locally-grown fruit and veggies
2. Pesticide content: organic is the better option, but choose wisely from the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen lists, as well as be knowledgeable of the food industry in your location
3. If you have the means and you want to buy all organic, then great. But maybe look for local organic because then you’ll get high nutrient content with low pesticide contamination
4. If you’re on a tighter budget – buy local and wash them well.
5. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to minimise your exposure to any one type of pesticide.
The important point is that you include a good amount and variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet. They contain the substances we need for a strong immune system, detoxification of harmful chemicals and promotion of anti-aging properties.
Phil is a health practitioner and expert in body transformation. His services are available at Star Fitness (starfitnesssaigon.com), online or at your home. Contact him through his website phil-kelly.com or facebook.com/BodyExpertSystemsVietnam.