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Is Organic Really Better?

By Rachel Lippmann-Turner, MS, RD

Spring has sprung, and soon the farmers markets will be chock full of seasonal fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products. The colors are vibrant, and they might suggest the possibility of greater health benefits due to their organic designation. With your favorite items in hand, you head home hearing that voice in the back of your mind asking “Is organic really better?”

The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) is responsible for overseeing the safety of the foods that we eat. This department determines the rules and regulations that farmers must follow. Foods can be grown conventionally or organically. Recently, concerns over the impact of large scale conventional farming in our community have emerged, leading some to choose organically grown foods. Organic food is free from most synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, growth hormones, and genetically modified organisms, many of which are cause for concern health-wise. Organic products have less of an impact on the environment, and have been shown to be nutritionally superior as well. According to a study by Dr. Charles Benbrook and colleagues at the Organic Center, organic foods are higher in antioxidants and have greater nutrients per calorie. You can read more about his study at the link below.

The results are in: organic food is the way to go! Get your reusable bags and head to your local farmers’ market. Let’s support our local farmers!

Nutrient Levels in Organic vs. Conventional Foods:

http://ndnr.com/botanical-medicine/nutrient-levels-in-organic-vs-conventional-foods/

Organic Standards:

https://www.ams.usda.gov/grades-standards/organic-standards

Rachel is a Registered Dietitian and the Nutrition Educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s Family Health and Wellness Program’s Parent Toddler Nutrition Program. She can be reached at ral326@cornell.edu

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