Passionate about nutrition, food and fitness Jenna Hope has knowledge, qualifications and ambition. Jenna shares with us the straight up, backed up truth on why organic is better than non-organic, to celebrate awareness as part of the Soil Associations Organic September campaign.
The word ‘organic’ has jumped on the list of buzzwords. For many sceptics, it’s merely an opportunity for manufacturers to drain away our wallets and build on their own profits. On the other side are those who believe in contributing to their health and the ‘cleanliness’ of their bodies. Yes, you guessed it, I fall into the latter but with good reason, and please let me explain.
Nowadays, more and more of us are focusing on reducing our intakes of sugars and refined ingredients and devouring fruits, veggies and superfoods. That all sounds fantastic (and don’t get me wrong, it is!) However, let us turn our attention to some of the effects which non-organic produce may be having on our health. As we rattle up our fruit and vegetable intakes we are consequently multiplying our exposure to pesticides, herbicides and chemicals. One big issue is that the amount we consume in an apple or even our salad isn’t going to be harmful. The effects arise as we continuously pack in the non-organic foods. You may ask what exactly I mean?
1. Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Autism – research has shown there to be a strong correlation between mother’s exposure to pesticides and chemicals and autism. Another study linked babies with low chemical exposure and higher IQ scores later on in life.
2. Increased Cancer Risk – There is a strong link between chemicals present in breast tissue and the risk of breast cancer. These chemicals are an accumulation from the environment and from foods. Therefore we can attempt to minimize them by ensuring we chose organic produce where possible. Links have also been found with Leukemia and brain cancer. What’s more there is one key herbicide: heterocyclic aromatic amine imazethapyr which is strongly positively correlated with bladder cancer. Those with the greatest intakes had 137% increased risk and 78% increased risk of colon cancer.
3. Neurological Disease – Alzheimers disease is a disease which lately seems to be affecting far too many people. The exposure to chemicals and pesticides strongly increases this risk as they disrupt oxygen metabolism and the role of mitochondria in producing ATP which is the body’s form of usable energy. The pesticides retinome and paraguta have also been linked to Parkinsons disease as they inhibit the production of dopamine which in turn impacts coordination and muscle control.
4. Pesticide toxicity – This is caused from an overdose of pesticides, but the problem is we don’t understand at which point they become toxic. The reality of assessing how many pesticides you consume is just impossible. Chlorpyrifos toxicity can cause inhibited nerve conduction, tremors, memory issues, modified senses, fatigue and muscle loss. Whilst parathion toxicity has lesser yet still evident effects such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and dizziness/headaches.
It seems to be clear that there is vast evidence for the negative effects of pesticides on our health. By no means am I suggesting we become absolutely neurotic but I strongly suggest that where possible organic options are better. Some great tips to help you save the pennies and eat organic is to buy organic frozen produce, local produce and organic canned fruit or vegetables as they too last longer. These also contain fewer additives than their non-organic counterparts.
This post isn’t a scare tactic but we need to be aware of the risks we are taking and that if we are going to put so much effort into eating well, let’s at least ensure we are fully reaping the benefits! Finally, you may argue it costs more but you can’t put a price on your health, can you?
To celebrate Organic September, when you spend over £180 on the Plenish website you will receive a FREE organic hamper worth over £80.
Jenna has a Nutrition BSc (hons) and is now studying for her masters in nutrition.