UNITED STATES—A nutritional scoop has come out that, I believe, threatens to weigh down minds and possibly shackle people to processed and packaged food offerings. It is the news that a pioneering study has found organic food is more nutritious.
This month the British Journal of Nutrition published the first major research to back the popular belief that eating organic is â€œbetterâ€ for you and brings it into the realm of verified scientific fact. Also, the findings dispute the claim, generally from big-agribusiness, that organically grown foods are no better than those grown conventionally with pesticides. â€œAfter reviewing 343 studies on the topic, researchers in Europe and the United States concluded that organic crops and organic-crop based foods contained higher concentrations of antioxidants on average than conventionally grown foods,â€ the Los Angeles Times reported.
So naturally fertilized crops grown pesticide-free are healthier? What is there to fear? What I fear is that people who may be teetering on the edge of embracing fruits and vegetables, see these findings, and they think, â€œI need to buy organic to be healthy, but I canâ€™t afford organic.â€ So they go back to their Doritos and Big Macs.
As an embodiment of the fruit and vegetable eating style, even I scaled back, a full embrace of organic foods because the important thing is to embrace fruits and vegetables, and not get snared by how they are grown. The organic-conventional divide becomes just another thing to bedevil us, like wild-caught or farm-raised salmon, or martinis shaken or stirred. The pocket book was definitely a factor, too. As the research and my taste buds show, organic versus conventionally grown produce does matter, but when you are a newcomer to the fresh food revolution it pales in comparison to that first unconditional yes to fruits and vegetables. Itâ€™s like weâ€™re on a train, and thereâ€™s first and second class compartments, separating the haves from the have nots, but the main thing is we are all aboard the fruit and veggie train.
This view is emphatically supported by the study co-author Charles Benbrook, a researcher at Washington
State University. â€œThe first and foremost message is people need to eat more fruits and vegetables,â€ says Benbrook. â€œ… By all means, people need to increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables whether itâ€™s organic or conventional.â€
The best way to do this is cultivate our love for fruits and vegetables. If you like bananas get bananas; if turnips are your cup of tea, by all means, indulge. If somebody said blueberries are the antioxidant bomb, but you detest themâ€”spit them out.
â€œFruits are the crispy crunchy glorious good stuff that nature has produced abundantly,â€ as I wrote in â€œLighten Up Now.â€
â€œCooked or raw, in soups, salads or smoothies, home-grown or store bought, purple, orange, green, yellow or red. Be bountiful. Keep a fruit cornucopia on your table and vegetables in your fridge.â€
You will seldom ever hear me mention the C-word (calories), and this is one of those times. Fruits and vegetablesâ€”the stuff that grows on trees or sprouts out of the groundâ€”is low-cal, which is why we can eat them freely. Also, fruits and sweet vegetables, such as yams and carrots, are great for satisfying our sweet tooth. Always welcome fruits and veggies onto your plate.
The study in the British Journal of Medicine found that conventional foods were four times more likely to contain pesticide residues, in comparison to their organic counterparts. In an upcoming article, I will address washing and cleaning of conventional fruits so that a flashlight is shined on the pesticide Bogey
Man. Iâ€™d like to draw a line between what is truly harmful and what is a waste of time, water and worry, when cleaning and cutting produce.
When we do something out of fear rather than knowledge, it is superstition. When knowledge starts to replace fear that is freedom.
Humorist Grady Miller is the author of â€œLighten Up Now: The Grady Diet,â€ available on Kindle. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.