Looking for organic produce, meat or packaged foods rather than conventional options? Both the planet and your body will thank you for it if you do! Check out the meaning and benefits of going organic with these expert insights by Dr. Liz!
What does organic mean?
- Organic fruits, vegetables and grains are grown without the use of conventional pesticides, manmade fertilizers, sewer sludge, food additives or ionizing radiation.
- Organic meats must come from animals grown without the use of antibiotics or growth-stimulating hormones. Also, animals can only be fed organically grown grains and other feed.
- Organic packaged foods will have the “100% Organic” seal, which signifies all the ingredients have been certified organic, according to the USDA organic standards.
Why go organic?
- Organic growing procedures are friendlier to the environment, reducing chemical contaminants to soils, water supply and air. Eating locally grown produce (whether organic or conventional) also helps lessen fossil fuel use in transporting produce shorter distances.
- In some cases, compared to conventionally grown produce, organic produce has greater levels of various vitamins and minerals along with health boosting phytonutrients.
- When it comes to taste, organic produce wins out against conventionally grown as many of the complex taste compounds in fruits in vegetables are more plentiful in organically grown versions.
It’s important to note that when purchasing organic packaged food, “organic” doesn’t necessarily mean the food is healthier all the way around. Organic ice cream or cookies for example, while made with organic ingredients, still contain all the calories and fat of conventional versions, so use common sense when purchasing organic versions of your favorite treats.
When shopping for your favorite organic options, look for our Organic Lifestyle Icon on shelf tags throughout the store! This icon indicates that a product is certified organic by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) or CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers).
Dr. Liz Applegate, PhD is Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of California, Davis, Nugget Market, Inc.’s nutrition consultant and a nationally renowned expert on nutrition and fitness. Dr. Applegate is the author of several nutrition and fitness books in addition to the popular “Fridge Wisdom” nutrition column for Runners’ World Magazine for the past 30 years and Nugget Market, Inc.’s “Health Notes by Dr. Liz” for the past 9 years.