By Dr. Jessica Warnecke, PT, DPT, OCS
Want to know ONE simple thing you can start doing NOW that can protect you from cancer, help to prevent diabetes, and improve your chances for a healthy pregnancy and child? A simple switch at the grocery store can make all these benefits possible.
Picture this: as you’re making your weekly grocery trip, you get to the produce aisle. You know that apples and oranges are on your shopping list but as you look at the fruit in front of you, there is a conventionally grown apple to your left and an organic apple to the right of you. Both look the same, provide the same vitamins, are an excellent source of fiber and are fat and sodium free, so what really is the difference between these two fruits? Which should you choose to take home to your family?
The term “organic” is defined as being produced without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents. It refers to the way that farmers grow and process agricultural products including fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products, and meats (Organic foods, 2018). All organic foods must meet strict government standards established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); these regulations deal with how foods are grown, handled, as well as processed.
The organic food industry is becoming more and more common especially with stores such as Whole Foods becoming so popular. So what really is all this hype about? What are the benefits that come with going organic?
The USDA requires that all produce labeled organic must be grown without the use of most synthetic pesticides or artificial fertilizers. Research has linked repeated exposure to herbicides used in conventional farming with developmental delays in infants, reduced sperm quality in men, and pesticide residues, at levels commonly found in the urine of children in the United States, that may contribute to a higher ADHD prevalence (Naftulin, 2017).
When it comes to dairy products and meat, organic products can have an estimated 50% more Omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that has been found to fight cancer and improve heart health. CLA is a trans fatty acid and a cis fatty acid. The cis bond allows for a lower melting point, leading to healthy benefits, and unlike most trans fats, CLA is much more beneficial than harmful. It has been shown to contain antioxidant and anti-cancer properties that slow the growth of tumors in mammary, skin, and colon tissue. CLA has also been found to reduce body fat, especially in the abdominal area, and help fight the onset of diabetes. A cow that is fed on a natural diet of grasses and green plants, produces organic meat with high levels of Omega-3 and CLA and very little Omega-6 (Organic Meat, 2018).
Finally, organic meat and milk come from livestock that aren’t fed with antibiotics or synthetic growth hormones. Often times farmers raise animals in crowded or unsanitary conditions, so they feed their livestock antibiotics to protect against illnesses. Traces of these antibiotics have been found to make their way to consumers. Farmers will also inject their livestock with growth hormones in order to increase the animal’s weight and milk production. These hormones have been linked to an increased risk of cancer. Organic meat and dairy cannot contain synthetic hormones (Naftulin, 2017).
With organic meat, dairy, and produce becoming more and more popular, significant amounts of research have proven the benefits of going organic. Not only are there healthier fats and antioxidants found in organic food, eating organic leads to less of a chance of developing diabetes, cancer, and other diseases.
The next time you’re faced with the dilemma of a conventionally grown apple versus an organic one, put the price difference aside and consider all the benefits that come with making the organic choice. It will save you valuable time, health, and money in the long run.
Want to know how injury prevention, healthy eating, and rehab all affect one another? Ask our Doc a question!
1. Naftulin, A. M. (2017, July 27). 4 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Eating Organic. Retrieved May 17, 2019, from
2. Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious? Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018, April 04). Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/organic-food/art-20043880
3. Organic Meat - If You Eat Meat, Why Should It Be Organic Meat? (2018). Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.natural-and-organic-choices.com/organic-meat.html
Meet Your Therapist
Jessica has been in Austin, TX for the past four years. She grew up in Idaho and attended PT school at Idaho State University. She completed an Orthopaedic Residency and became a Board Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist in 2016.