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Home  /  Integrative Cancer Care  /  Body  /  Cancer Diet  /  Why Organic Foods?

Why Organic Foods?

By Jeannine Walston


Learn about organic foods and cancer with strategies to eat the healthiest food possible, including with high levels of vitamins and minerals. Protect your internal physical environment through avoiding food chemicals.

What are organic foods?

Organic foods are produced without using toxic chemicals such as pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides, as well as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Studies suggest that foods from organic farms contain higher amounts of vitamins and minerals than non-organic foods. The vitamins and minerals in organic foods support health and healing in cancer patients and every other person.

What is a pesticide?

Any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest.

Are pesticides used on foods?

Today’s food supply in the United States contains many pesticides.

Have pesticides always been used on foods?

No. Conventional farming was organic until the 1940s in the United States. Farmers began using pesticides in the 1940s and 1950s.

Why should you avoid pesticides?

Scientific studies demonstrate that pesticides harm human health and the environment and even at doses previously declared “safe” by the pesticide industry and the government.

Pesticides have been linked with a variety of toxic effects, including carcinogenic, nervous system, and hormone system effects, as well as skin, eye and lung irritation, according to United States and international government agencies.

Data from the United States Department of Agriculture shows a decline in the average nutritional content of food since the 1940s when pesticides were first used in farming. Information about organic foods and cancer can support your decisions toward healthier eating with enhanced nutritional intake through vitamins and minerals.

Eating conventional foods reduces nutrient intake, while eating organic foods increases nutrient intake. These research study results explain some examples.

 

How are pesticides different from other chemicals?

Compared to other chemicals in the environment, pesticides have inherent toxicity since they are designed to kill living organisms or pests. Pesticides are toxic by design and therefore pose health risks to people.

Have pesticides been associated with cancer?

Yes. Studies indicate an association between some pesticides and cancer. Some of these chemicals have been banned in other countries. Learning about organic foods and cancer will hopefully motivate you to eat pesticide free foods without chemicals and to optimize food intake of vitamins and minerals.

Do people have pesticides in their bodies?

The majority of the United States population has detectable concentrations of multiple pesticide residues in their bodies, according to several research studies through groups such as the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Children are especially at risk. Pesticides harm vital organ systems, especially during critical periods of development, throughout infancy, childhood, and later in life.

Will washing and peeling foods eliminate pesticides?

Washing and rinsing fresh produce may reduce levels of some pesticides, but it does not eliminate them. Peeling also reduces exposures, but some valuable nutrients are lost when foods are pealed.

How can I protect myself against pesticides? How can I consume healthy nutrients in foods?

  • Consume a varied diet
  • Wash all produce
  • Eat organic

What labeling is used with organic and non-organic foods?

  • “100% organic” means none of the product contains pesticides
  • “Organic” means 95% of the produce contains no pesticides
  • “Conventional” means pesticides were used
  • “Natural” is undefined and unregulated by the government

Where can I purchase organic foods?

Depending upon where you live, your regular grocery store may have an organic section. Many communities have Co-op stores with organic health foods. The best place to buy organic foods is your local farmer’s market, if you have one. Local Harvest has information about grocery stores, Co-ops, farmer’s markets, family farms, restaurants, and other sources of sustainably organic grown food hopefully in your area where you can buy high quality produce. If you eat any meats and daily products, make sure they are organic grass-fed.

What if I cannot afford organic foods?

Do the best you can. People can lower their pesticide exposure by almost 80 percent by avoiding the top twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated instead, according to an EWG study. Eating the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables will expose a person to about 10 pesticides per day, on average. Eating the 15 least contaminated will expose a person to less than 2 pesticides per day.

What foods have the highest and lowest levels of pesticides?

The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides from Food News lists foods with the highest and lowest levels of pesticides. The produce ranking is based on an analysis of 87,000 tests for pesticides on these foods, conducted from 2000 to 2007 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. Criteria used in developing the rankings is available on the EWG website.

EWG explains that people can lower their pesticide exposure by almost 80 percent by avoiding the top twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated instead. Eating the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables will expose a person to about 10 pesticides per day, on average. Eating the 15 least contaminated will expose a person to less than 2 pesticides per day. You choose!

Pocket Guide from EWG of the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15

The Full List: 45 Fruits & Veggies from EWG

 

For More Information