Healthy organic foods a nutritionist advises you to stock up on

Nutritionist Steph Geddes tells us when to splurge (and when to save).

The age-old debate over whether we should eat organic continues and although there is much to consider in terms of the nutritional value of organic foods versus conventional foods, as well as the effect of pesticides on human health ; from a practical point of view, we also have to take into account the cost of organic food, which of course is not always possible.

As a nutritionist, it is important that I emphasize the benefits of organic foods, but also encourage people to eat whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds , meat and fish, whether organic or not.

Why eat organic?

First, there are certainly studies that show that organic products are more nutritionally superior than conventional products, especially the levels of vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, as well as omega-3 fatty acids in products. biological animals.

I also recommend organic foods when possible, as they are free of synthetic pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones, which research shows can pose serious risks to human health.

Finally, there are the environmental benefits to consider with organic farming leading to long term sustainability, more biodiversity in crops, less water contamination, less fossil fuels and better soil quality. Soil quality is what determines the nutritional value of food that ends up in our mouths and is highly underestimated to ensure that our products are of the highest quality and most nutritious.

However, I also know that reality dictates that it is not always possible for Australians to eat 100% organic 100% of the time.

When should you splurge?

Those at higher risk of exposure to toxins should definitely choose organic whenever possible, such as children, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune activity.

For everyone else, it’s a good idea to have a budget that you’re willing to spend on organic food each week.

1. Fruits and vegetables

Vegetables and fruit should be a big part of everyone’s diet, and the Environmental Working Group has an excellent guide to which foods contain the least and most pesticide residues.

Those with the least – dubbed the “Clean 15” – include avocados, sweet corn, pineapple, sweet peas, onions, papayas, eggplant, asparagus, kiwi fruit, cabbage, cauliflower, cantelope, broccoli, mushrooms and honeydew. These foods are the best conventional foods to buy if you can’t afford organic. Just rinse and rub them before consuming.

On the other hand, produce with the most pesticide residues – the “dirty dozen” – includes strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes and peppers. Better to buy them organic.

2. Products of animal origin

Another thing to note: some pesticides are fat-soluble, which means they accumulate in high-fat foods, such as animal products, nuts, seeds, and oils. Additionally, animal products may contain higher levels of pesticides due to the potential buildup of pesticides in the foods they consume. So if you consume a lot (chicken, meat, milk, cheese, yogurt), then I advise you to opt for organic.

Shopping at farmers’ markets and local farms, as well as buying seasonal foods, can make organic produce much more affordable.

We have to look at the big picture when it comes to eating organic as well because making sure your diet is full of whole foods, and also dietary diversity is very important for overall health, so making sure that this is a priority, regardless of the organic label should not be ignored.

Steph Geddes is a Nutritionist and Nutrition Manager at Sam Wood’s 28 Program. She is also the founder of Body Good Food.

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