Just like everywhere else, the cost of organic food in Lakeland, Florida, is slightly higher than conventionally grown food. However, there are benefits of eating organic that make the extra price worthwhile. There are very strict standards set by the USDA—the United States Department of Agriculture before a food product can be called organic. For crops, there are no synthetic pesticides, irradiation, biotechnology or artificial fertilizers used. For animal products, the feed must be organic and the animals need to be free range at least part of the time. Animals don’t receive growth hormones or antibiotics either.
Just eliminating the pesticides and hormones can make the food healthier.
Several studies link pesticides to many serious conditions and events. These can be as minor as headaches or as debilitating as cancer. Some studies show it can cause birth defects, which is why it’s important for pregnant woman or new mothers to be extremely cautious. While there’s evidence that conventionally grown food can be safe for most healthy adults, it doesn’t hurt to error on the side of caution. Animal products that contain hormones and antibiotics can also affect your health, including antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Studies show that organically grown foods contain higher nutritional value.
A new mega study found that after reviewing more than 343 studies found that while the amount of traditional vitamins and minerals didn’t vary in organic food. However, they contained more antioxidants. Antioxidants are a phytonutrient that play a significant role in our health, protecting every cell in the body from oxidation. The organic fruit and vegetables had from 20 to 40 percent more.
Organic food doesn’t have to break your budget.
When selecting vegetables and fruit, there’s a list called the “Dirty Dozen” and another called the “Clean 15.” The EWG—Environmental Working Group—tests hundreds of vegetables and fruit from groceries to find which ones have pesticides, even after washing. The results of those tests are ranked by the amount of pesticides they contain. The Dirty Dozen are the worst and the Clean 15 the most pesticide free. You can save money by choosing organic for the Dirty Dozen, while buying traditionally grown fruits and vegetables that are often lower in cost from the list of the Clean 15.
- Pregnant and lactating women should focus on using more organic vegetables from the “Dirty Dozen list.
- The Dirty Dozen list includes strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery and potatoes.
- The Clean 15 list includes sweet corn, pineapples, frozen sweet peas, onions, papayas, eggplants, asparagus, kiwis, cabbage, cauliflower, cantaloupes, broccoli Mushrooms and honeydew melons.
- To be your healthiest, you need nutritious food and regular exercise. At Habitat Health and Fitness, we can help you shed weight, while getting other health benefits.