Do you really need to buy organic to be healthy?

Here is my take on eating organic…if you have access to organic fruits and vegetables and can afford to buy them then yes, eat organic. If you have access to organic produce but not the money to go 100% organic than maybe only focus on buying the organic fruits and vegetables that land on the “dirty dozen” list classified by the EWG. If you do not have access to organic produce or the funds to buy organic then don’t. Yep, it’s that simple my friends.

Buying organic vegetables is a personal decision and not one that should hold the power we give it by thinking that “I can’t eat healthy if I don’t buy organic produce”. For example, broccoli is loaded with nutrients like:

  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Phosphorous
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Thiamin
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Vitamins A, B6, B12, D, E, and K
  • Folate

Plus, broccoli contains many natural chemicals that scientists are still learning about and two are getting a lot of attention: a sulfur compound called sulforaphane and carotenoids. Sulforaphane may help with certain health conditions like diabetes, cancer, and osteoarthritis and carotenoids can help lower your chances of getting heart disease and boost your immune system.

Now ask yourself this question: do any of these nutrients disappear if the broccoli is not organic? The answer is “nope”. Your body will benefit from all the above nutrients regardless of whether the broccoli is organic or not. So, tell yourself that it is a healthy and positive choice to include broccoli in your diet. Period. Don’t mention the “O” word…your mind doesn’t know the difference and your body will extract the nutrients it needs from the broccoli you give it.

Better Yet, Grow Your Own Broccoli!

If you have ever thought about growing your own vegetables to take the guesswork out of what is in the vegetables you buy from the market, broccoli is a great place to start. Click here for a complete guide to growing your own broccoli.

Data on Organic Vegetables

Here is a pretty comprehensive article on pesticides if you are asking yourself “why buy organic at all if our bodies will extract the same nutrients from organic and non-organic produce”. According to a recent study by consumer reports, 85% of Americans are concerned about pesticides. If buying organic can cost an average of 49% more than standard products, asking whether or not the expense to buy organic is worth the value is a valid question. Keep in mind here that your body will absorb the nutrients from standard versus organic produce; however, it will also absorb the other less preferred pesticides too.

The risk from pesticides varies—sometimes quite dramatically—depending on where your produce is grown and the type of produce. [Caution – there is a lot of information in the following resources!] Here is a scientific report you can download for more information on how to minimize your pesticide exposure. The Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program is also a good resource for understanding the pesticide risk in the foods you purchase based on where they were grown and the type of produce.

The takeaway from the information above is some products might be worth the extra $$ if it is in the high-risk category and some standard produce in the low-risk categories is equivalent to organic. If the idea of eating a high-risk standard fruit or vegetable terrifies you then maybe just skip eating that item and focus on the other foods you feel good about eating. There you have it…lots of choices… pick the one that is right for you.  If you want a general guideline to follow for deciding which fruit and vegetables to buy organic use the EWG Dirty Dozen list when you shop.

Back to our original question of do you really need to buy organic to be healthy…yeah, it was a trick question. I believe the answer is not binary…it is not a yes or no question and the only “right” answer is your answer to the question. If you can buy 100% organic, do it. If you can’t, use the dirty dozen list to spend your money as wisely as you can on the organic vegetables that can contain higher levels of pesticides.  

If you do not have the funds to buy organic get rid of the thought that the vegetables, you are eating are not healthy because they are standard produce. Tell your body that the fruit and vegetables you are eating have a ton of nutrients your body needs. Any vegetable you consume as a side dish, meal, or snack (with minimally added ingredients like butter, salt, and condiments) is more nutritious than white rice, a meal with no vegetables at all, or potato chips.

Just eat your fruits and vegetables. =)

In good health and healing, 



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