Organic or non-organic? That is the question. Or is it? I believe the more important question is: How do you like your cake?
You might be wondering what cake has to do with organics. In recent years, there has been much debate about whether organics are really better. Some studies show that they have greater nutritional value; others don’t.
Let’s put aside the issue of nutrition for now and look at what the studies do tell us. First, there’s a clear difference in pesticide content. Organics are less likely to contain pesticide residues than conventional produce. Their presence can be explained through wind blowing residue from nearby farms, or cross-contamination in the storage or transportation stages.
However, some scientists are quick to point out that the levels of pesticides in conventional produce are well within safe limits. But how do we know these levels are truly safe? After all, frequent pesticide exposure has proven harmful to farmers. What’s more, children who eat organic produce have fewer traces of pesticide in their urine.
Studies also show there is a correlation between the level of pesticides in a pregnant woman’s diet and residues found in the umbilical cord blood. Recent studies followed for many years the children of pregnant women who were exposed to higher amounts of pesticides known as organophosphates. In elementary, these kids tested seven IQ points lower than their peers on average.
In addition, organics tends to contain more compounds called polyphenols, which act as antioxidants and protect against inflammation. According to multiple studies, organic chicken and pork are less likely to be contaminated by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Buying organic benefits the planet too. The negative environmental impact of large-scale farming is a well-known phenomenon and can be offset in part through organic farming. Scientists also agree on the public health threat presented by antibiotic-resistant bacteria becoming more prevalent in the environment.
In the end, it comes down to where you are on your wellness path. For some, the challenge may lie in making sure their diet contains enough fruits and vegetables. For others, it may be getting regular exercise or managing stress. Eating organic is like the icing on the cake. And who doesn’t love icing?
Got a question?
Dr.Melissa Rodriguez is a mom of two and a wellness consultant. She also works as a naturopath at International Medical Center. Check out her website at www.drmelissarodriguez.com.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Hokkey
This article originally appeared on p24 of the beijingkids March 2014 issue.
Check out the PDF version online at Issuu.com