Organic Foods: More Money or More Health?

Organic produce and grains deliver more nutrition and less pesticide residue than conventionally-grown crops. That conclusion — from a review of 343 peer-reviewed studies just published in the British Journal of Nutrition — has generated a lot of buzz this week. End of story, eh?

USDA OrganicBut (you knew it was coming) the bottom line is not so simple. This study leaves little doubt that buying USDA Organic foods can help you limit your exposure to some bad stuff, like pesticide residues and cadmium. And you will get foods with more anti-oxidants. Of course you’ll pay more, too.

And bottom line, though it’s reasonable to believe these qualities offer a health benefit, there’s no definitive proof. That’s because conventionally-grown crops offer good nutrition, too. And the residues of bad stuff are at low levels that are regarded to be safe.

So, even with this definitive-sounding analysis, it comes down to what you believe, what you value, and, of course, money. Buy the best food you can afford. Favor quality over quantity. And enjoy your good health.

Click here to read more in the LA Times and here to read the study in the BJN.

Organic Broccoli Buds, photograph © / flickr

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