Health & Fitness
Stanford University Questions Organic as Healthier
Is organic food better for you? According to a new Stanford University study it may not. Well, or it may be depending on what you consider healthy. That is the question that each person and each mom has to ask herself. Do you want your children exposed to potentially harmful pesticides, fertilizers, or growth hormones? It is worth asking yourself and researching to make sure you are making the best choice for you and your family.
The new Stanford University study is casting doubt on organic as healthy, but why? There is a perception, maybe it is because of the typical higher price, that organic produce, meat, and dairy is healthy or contains higher nutritional value than conventional foods. However, after studying various organic and conventional foods, Stanford did not find strong evidence that organic was more nutritious or had less health risks than conventional. No significant vitamin differences were found in the foods and the protein and fat in milk content was approximately the same.
But for those that believe organic is better, it isn’t about having more, but rather less.
It may appear at first glance that this study is debunking the belief that organic is better, but I think the opposite is true. Stanford found that eating organic foods can reduce the risk of pesticide exposure. Why should we care about pesticides? For starters, pesticides are toxic and according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) can pose health risks to people such as skin, eye and lung irritation, hormone disruption, cancer, or brain and nervous system toxicity.
Studies, including this one, show that pesticides do enter our bodies through the food we eat. Other studies published last year by scientists at Columbia University, the University of California Berkeley, and Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, give a cautionary glimpse as to why mothers in particular, should be concerned about the exposure of pesticides. According to the New York Times, “The studies identified pregnant women exposed to higher amounts of pesticides known as organophosphates and then followed their children for years. In elementary school, those children had, on average, I.Q.’s several points lower than those of their peers.”
For more information on pesticides, and a list of the most contaminated fruits and vegetables, you can visit the EWG’s 2012 Shopper’s Guide Guide.
Even More Evidence of Health Benefits
If you still aren’t convinced that pesticides should be limited, the Stanford study found evidence that certain organics, like organic milk may be better for us because it contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, known to boost heart health, lower depression, and help with brain development in infants. They also found a small number of samples that showed organic produce contained more compounds known as phenols which are thought to help prevent cancer.
With these few advantages, it is abundantly clear to me that organic foods ARE overall healthier. The nutritional content may be the same as conventional food, but what it lacks in altered chemicals such as pesticides and growth hormones, gives me the confidence to serve it to my family.
What do you think? Is organic worth the extra cost or is conventional food just as good?