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Fruit and Vegetables: Is “Organic” Really Better?

What Does “Organic” Really Mean?

One of the things I told my friend I wanted to do when visiting the Houston / Galveston area was to visit some of the farmer’s markets and some of the organic supermarkets in the area. Where I live, in the desert of West Texas, beer and steak are staples, and buying organic food is impossible (hard to find) or difficult (super expensive).

Does Organic Taste Better?

When I have had the opportunity to try organic food, that is, food I knew for certain was truly organic, I was amazed at the difference in flavor between organic vegetables and fruits versus standard fruits and vegetables. The theory is that organic foods are not grown using chemicals, pesticides, or artificial things in order to make the fruit or vegetable grow or prevent damage to the plant.

The first time I tried organic baby carrots, I was amazed at how sweet and crunchy and juicy they were compared to the regular baby carrots in the small bag from the supermarket shelf. Organic apples are sweeter, though often smaller, and have a better flavor to them.

Is Organic Healthier?

So I like the taste of organic fruit and vegetables better, but what about health? Are organic vegetables healthier than regular vegetables? Does an organic apple have better nutrients in it? more of them?

According to studies performed at the University of Texas at Austin, organic foods usually contain a higher level of nutrients per calories than nonorganic foods, and they contain virtually no trace of pesticides or pesticide residue as compared to the nonorganic counterparts.

Why is Organic More Expensive?

Organic foods are harder to grow, because chemical pesticides cannot be used, so farmers have to take care to keep bugs and critters from destroying crops. Additionally, organic foods aren’t mass produced or mass purchased the same way large crops are produced, so it’s more expensive to produce, transport and sell. Until the consumers start asking for organic food and are willing to pay a little more for it on a consistent basis, organic food will continue to be more expensive.

Whole Foods Vs. Organic Foods

Whole foods are foods that are created without using artificial ingredients, such as all natural sweeteners that can be whole foods, but that doesn’t mean they are made with organic ingredients. All natural whole applesauce can be made with nothing but apples, but the apples themselves might not be organically grown, free of pesticides and chemicals.

Whole foods are healthier for the body than processed foods with artificial flavors and colors, but are not as healthy as organic foods. If you want to eat the healthiest you can eat while not growing your own garden, purchasing organic whole foods is your best bet for your body.

Of course, you can always grow your own garden of vegetables and keep your own fruit trees and bushes and thus ensure foods are organic and fresh. Self-grown foods tend to be smaller than store-bought foods, but at least you’ll be certain they are organic and chemical free.

Whether organic or nonorganic fruits or veggies, always be sure to properly wash and rinse your fruits and vegetables before handling and eating them.

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