You’ve probably noticed the word “organic” popping up in grocery store aisles and restaurant menus. You know that foods marked organic are supposed to be healthier and noticeably pricier, but you can’t help wondering if an organic, non-GMO apple is really that much healthier than a regular apple. They’re both fruit, right?
The difference is in how the two apples are grown. Organic produce is grown without pesticides, synthetic fertilizer, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Before labeling food “organic,” the USDA sends a government-approved certifier to inspect the farm where the food is grown to ensure the farmer is following all the necessary rules to meet the USDA’s organic standards. Still wondering if the benefits outweigh the hefty price tag attached to all things organic? Read through the benefits of going organic in this healthy eating cheat sheet.
1. Pesticide residue
Conventional farmers apply anywhere from two to 12 synthetic pesticides to their crops. An average serving of leafy greens, peppers, berries, tree fruits, and grapes can contain three to four pesticide residues, which have been linked to serious health problems including ADHD, autism, obesity, and cancer. On the other end of the spectrum, USDA organic products cannot be grown with pesticides, additives, fortifiers, and other synthetic substances.