On Wednesday we posted the first 5 foods to switch to organic to make the biggest health impact on your tot (and family), as promised, here are the last five. Remember these are in the order of importance so these five would be less important to switch than the 5 we mentioned in the last post! Here's # 6-10...
- Cotton: Cotton accounts for 10% of all pesticide use, and 25% of all insecticide use and those used are among the most toxic. About 2/3 of the cotton crop is harvested as cottonseeds, which end up as cottonseed oil in our food supply (in salad dressing, peanut butter, crackers, cookies, chips, and pretzels. If a product lists cottonseed oil or an unidentified vegetable oil on the label - choose an organic brand instead. Also, wearing organic cotton would be a great choice for you and the planet, although this is a tough switch for most people, including myself.
- Apples: Apples are one of the most pesticide-contaminated fruits, yet they are one of the most popular fruit with tots (after bananas). Apples are powerhouses of antioxidant activity and choosing organic apples can make a big difference in lowering your family’s pesticide exposure. In addition, organic apples have been found to have higher levels of healthy polyphenols and other phytonutrients. An added bonus is that they are easily found in most stores, including Costco.
- Beef: Organic beef is more sustainable because it is fed with grass instead of corn and also tends to be leaner and has five times the omega-3 fats of its conventional counterpart. Thus, switching to organic beef is not only beneficial for your family’s health, but also for the health of the whole planet.
- Soy: Soybean pesticide use in the US ranks second only to corn. In recent years, soy has also been found most contaminated with organophosphate pesticides. Beyond this, soy leads the way in genetic modification, with 87% of the soy planted in the US being genetically modified. Because labeling regulations do not require companies to specify whether or not their products contain genetically modified ingredients, it can be difficult to know for sure what you are getting - particularly since soy is an ingredient in so many processed foods. Choosing organic is one way to be sure the foods you eat are GMO-free.
- Corn: Corn tends to fatten up beef cattle, while high fructose corn syrup fattens up people. Moreover, more pesticides and more chemical fertilizers are used to grow corn than any other crop, and most of the conventional corn is genetically modified. Off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico is a dead zone about the size of New Jersey , where aquatic life cannot survive. It doubled in size between 1985 and 1999. According to the Congressional Research Service, the main cause of this dead zone is fertilizer runoff - from corn production. It's a powerful picture of the cost of industrial corn production. Changing to organic corn is the most difficult, because it means looking at every ingredient label and skipping conventionally grown items that include corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn sweetener, dextrose, glucose, cornstarch, vegetable starch, corn solids, or corn oil. While it may be impossible for you to switch all products containing corn to organic, even switching some of them (preferably the ones you eat every day) may have a positive impact.
Here's my son, posing with some of our organic products!
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