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Health, Beauty & Fashion

'Organic' not the only way to good health

Have you ever wondered whether it was worth spending more on organic rather than conventional food?
The Straits Times - October 25, 2012
By: Ng Wan Ching
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'Organic' not the only way to good health

Have you ever wondered whether it was worth spending more on organic rather than conventional food?

Organic food is grown without the chemicals used to kill insects.

It is pricier than conventionally grown produce, but contains less pesticides. Hence, they are generally considered the healthier option.

But a recent report by the American Academy of Paediatrics says that the health advantages are inconclusive. It’s more important to continue eating enough fruits and vegetables, even those that are not organic.

Already the controversy has started. Long-term studies do not yet exist to show that eating pesticide-free food makes people healthier, although for some, taking in less pesticides is already the healthier option.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), an organisation in the United States that focuses on public health and the environment, acknowledges that cost constraints make it hard to eat organic food all the time.

So the group released a guide to highlight the foods that they found to have consistently high levels of pesticides.

Apples, celery, bell pepper and strawberries make up part of their “Dirty Dozen”. EWG recommends that people choose organic versions when it comes to these produce.

Other items which they nicknamed the “Clean 15”, such as onions, sweet corn and avocados, have lower levels of pesticides on average (for the complete list, go to Ewg.org/foodnews/).

So even if you can’t go all organic, it’s possible to choose to go organic for some foods. But to eat well isn’t just about consuming organic food. Mr Michael Pollan, the author of In Defense Of Food, recommends avoiding “edible food-like substances” (processed food), and using real ingredients, preferably from the plant kingdom.

Organic food is just one part of the equation of eating well. Eating organic potato chips may seem better than eating ordinary potato chips, but it’s still junk food.

Before going organic, perhaps we should start cooking more and using more fruits and vegetables.

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