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*This originally appeared in my weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report. Sign up here to be the first to get this exclusive content!

Every week I share information about a different food and almost always I strongly recommend buying organic. You may have wondered if it makes much of a difference so I thought I should address that issue. 

Before I even talk about whether purchasing certified organic foods is worth any extra money they may cost, it’s important to understand exactly what that label means. 

Right now it is the most meaningful label on your food, in terms of upholding specific government requirements. For a product to be certified organic, it’s required to meet specific standards: 

Organic crops cannot be grown with synthetic fertilizers, synthetic pesticides or sewage sludge. 

Organic crops cannot be genetically engineered or irradiated. 

Animals must eat only organically grown feed (without animal byproducts) and can’t be treated with synthetic hormones or antibiotics. 

Animals must have access to the outdoors, and ruminants (hoofed animals, including cows) must have access to pasture. 

Animals cannot be cloned. 

Why it’s Healthy:

If you are truly serious about preserving and restoring your health, nutrition is where it all begins. Think about it – from conceptionuntil the day we die, nutrition is foundational. So choosing clean, pure, nutrient-dense foods to truly nourish us at the cellular level is where physical health begins. 

There are definitely ways to save money and still buy organic and I’ll share some of my favorites below in the Secrets and Tips section. So here are the most important reasons to choose organic whenever you are able to: 

1)You reduce your toxic load by significantly lowering your exposure to pesticides and other harmful chemicals used in conventional agriculture. Why is that of utmost importance? Long-term pesticide exposure has been linked to infertility, birth defects, endocrine disruption, neurological disorders, and cancer. 

Organophosphates are among the most commonly used pesticides on American farms. Researchers evaluated the diets of nearly 4,500 people living in six US cities, assessing the level of exposure to organophosphates through their food consumption. 

Their findings were not surprising: those who ate conventionally-grown produce had high concentrations of these organophosphate metabolites, whereas those who ate organic produce had significantly lower levels. Those who "often or always" ate organic had about 65% lower levels of pesticide residues compared to those who ate the least amount of organic produce. 

Glyphosate, is the active ingredient in Monsanto's best-selling herbicide Roundup. It is one of the most commonly used herbicides in the world, both on conventional and genetically engineered plants. It is estimated that the average American eats several hundred pounds of glyphosate-contaminated food every year. It’s important to know that recently glyphosate was classified as a Class 2A probable carcinogen by a division of the World Health Organization.  

This refers specifically to organic produce, but in the case of meat and dairy, livestock are given all organic, hormone- and GMO-free feed; they are raised in their natural habitat, which means access to outdoors and disease is prevented with natural methods such as clean housing, rotational grazing, and healthy diet rather than antibiotics and other drugs. We now know that the use of antibiotics is creating antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. 

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) foods are plants whose DNA has been altered in ways that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding, most commonly in order to be resistant to pesticides or produce an insecticide and when you purchase certified organic food, you are also purchasing non-GMO food. By the way, no long term studies have ever been conducted to confirm the safety of GMO use, while some animal studies have indicated that consuming GMOs may cause internal organ damage, slowed brain growth, and thickening of the digestive tract. 

The only US beef that has been free of the fatal prion brain disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob, is organic. 

2) Organic foods provide more nutrients than conventionally grown.  (Continue here)

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