Which foods are better to eat organic?
More and more Australians are going organic – but which fruit, veggies and other food are you better off sourcing organically, and which ones don’t matter so much?
An increasing number of Australians are spending money on organic products.
Recent figures show we’re now splashing out around $2.4 billion a year on foods such as fruits and vegetables, and household goods.
That’s an increase of about 46 per cent since 2012, with six in 10 households now choosing to buy some organic foods.
Australian Organics found people choose organic products because they believe these foods are fresher, higher quality, taste better and are safer and kinder to the environment.
Is it worth buying organic?
Nutrition Australia dietitian Aloysa Hourigan says in many cases the jury is still out as to whether organic foods are more nutritious.
And she adds there are strict controls around the use of pesticides in food production.
“We need to eat more fruits and vegetables generally and you can be comfortable that you won’t harm your health by eating non-organic fruits and vegetables,” says Aloysa.
“You can also help environmental sustainability by buying fruits and vegetables that are in season and produced locally.”
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But if you are buying organic, which foods should and shouldn’t be on your shopping list?
Milk and meat
British researchers found organic milk and meat contain around 50 per cent more healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Organic meat had a little less saturated fat, and organic milk contained 40 per cent more of conjugated linoleic acid, which has been linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Fruits with thinner skin, like berries, can be sprayed more as they grow to ward off pests.
While pesticides are regulated, buying organic berries can reduce your exposure to these chemicals.
Research on strawberries found nutritional values were the same for organic and non-organic fruits, but organic strawberries can contain less pesticides.
“Organic berries may be a good choice but don’t spend your money on thick-skinned fruits and vegetables, like pineapple and avocado, because pesticides are unlikely to penetrate them,” says Aloysa.
Vegetables like broccoli and spinach have a large surface area and, for conventionally grown produce, this can mean a larger area coming in to contact with pesticides and fertilisers.
Some research confirms that organic leafy greens may not be more nutritious, as they can contain fewer microbes.
Brazilian research found organic tomatoes have more vitamin C and healthy antioxidants than traditionally-grown tomatoes.
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Written by Sarah Marinos.