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We have all heard that buying organic is important, but rarely are we given an explanation as to why.
Attune Health nutritionist and research associate Natalie Fortune explains why pesticide- and toxin-free food from local, free-range, grass-fed and organic sources are extremely important for brain health.
Organic foods are grown without the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Organic meats, poultry, dairy and eggs all come from animals that have not been raised on antibiotics or growth hormones Free-range meats come from beef, buffalo, chicken, or lamb that have not been fed corn or other grains but have been allowed to roam free and eat grasses.
Because these animals are provided with a healthy diet themselves, the meat and dairy they provide are naturally higher in healthy omega-3 fats and lower in saturated fats. Research has shown that organically grown fruits and vegetables retain greater nutritional value than foods grown with pesticides and other chemicals.
Even though organic foods have many benefits, we cannot neglect the price difference between conventionally grown produce and organically grown produce. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases an annual list of the “dirtiest” and “cleanest” fruits and vegetables available to U.S. consumers. This is a tool that is highly valuable.
If you are buying conventionally grown produce it is best to stick with the “Clean 15”, if you want to purchase the “Dirty Dozen” it is best to buy organic.
The EWG recommends rinsing produce under tap water to reduce pesticide levels before consumption. However, research conducted by the University of Massachusetts shows that soaking produce in a baking soda and water solution may do an even better job at killing pesticides.
These foods were found to have higher levels of pesticides than other produce types tested. In fact, more than 98 percent of the top four foods listed tested positive for at least one pesticide residue. On average, spinach samples contained nearly double the amount of pesticide residue by weight than any other crop. Overall, close to 70 percent of conventional fruits and vegetables had some level of pesticide residue