For years I wondered whether the push to buy organic food was more hype than truth. But when my husband got cancer, we began studying about how nutrition could help heal his condition. We suddenly understood why eating organically matters.
Eating organic foods helps protect human health by providing more nutrients and antioxidants, as well as reducing our exposure to pesticides. Many pesticides are carcinogens and when we eat food that has been heavily sprayed, these toxins lodge in our colon and begin to slowly poison the body. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over time, this exposure can permanently alter the way our biological system operates,.
Pesticides have been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, ADHD, and even birth defects. That’s a terrible list of impacts! Children are especially vulnerable because their internal organs are still developing and their immune systems are not as strong as an adult’s. The elderly are also more fragile having had a lifetime of exposure.
The EPA reports that more than a billion pounds of pesticides are annually used in the U.S., but only a few hundred have been tested for safety. What can we do to protect our health in the face of such pollution? Become your own health advocate and eat organic food, for starters.
Do Organic Foods Have Pesticides?
Organic foods do have pesticides, too, but these come from natural sources such as plants. Typically, organic crops are grown in safe soil, are not modified, and are not exposed to synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes (GMOs), or the petroleum-based or sludge-based fertilizers. They are also subjected to less amounts of spraying. Whenever possible, look for the USDA Organic seal—these products are grown and processed according to USDA organic standards and are 95-100 percent organic.
I like to do some of my shopping at a local farmer’s market (always a good idea to buy local where the food has had to travel shorter distances). The other day as I was mixing a salad with fresh greens I’d just brought home, out popped a little green bug from among the leaves. Instead of being upset, I laughed! If these vegetables were fresh enough to still have bugs, they had certainly not been sprayed with poisonous toxins that ended up on my plate!
Nutrition, Health and Healing
More and more Americans are waking up to the importance of a healthy diet and environment. While it took a family crisis to wake me up, today I’m convinced of the benefits of eating organic foods. My husband’s cancer has disappeared, for one, and we know eating the right organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains played a huge part in his recovery. I, personally, have also lost several pounds rather effortlessly and feel more clear-headed and energized than I have in years.
Good Safety Tips
According to the Mayo Clinic, whether you go totally organic or choose to mix conventional and organic foods, it’s good to keep these tips in mind:
- Select a variety of foods from a variety of sources – this gets you a better
mix of nutrients and reduces your exposure to a single pesticide.
- Buy fruits and vegetables in season, whenever possible.
- Read food labels carefully. Even organic labeled food can be high in sugar, salt, fat, or calories. Avoid these.
- Wash and scrub fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water. This helps remove dirt, bacteria and traces of chemicals. Peeling also helps, but you do lose some nutrients and fiber by doing that.
For more helpful health tips and healing cancer strategies please check out the book Healed, Healthy and Whole, How We Beat Cancer with Integrative Therapies and Other Healing Strategies.