Megna Nutrition Associates, Inc.

Published Articles

Published in: Boston Women's Journal
By: Camille Hendsbee, RD, LDN
Date: August/September 2006

An Organic Primer...

      Many of my clients ask if organic foods are really worth the price that would have to pay for them. I tell them that, well, the answer is both yes and no. There are some foods that are best purchased organic while with others it is not as critical to do so.

The “Dirty Dozen”...
      There are actually 12 foods that should be bought organic. Experts call these foods the “Dirty Dozen” because even after being washed these foods consistently have higher levels of pesticide reside in them. The list is as follows: strawberries, apples, celery, bell peppers, cherries, imported grapes, potatoes, spinach, nectarines, peaches, pears, and red raspberries with nectarines found to be the food highest in reside. You may pay sometimes 50 % more for these foods but it worth the price !

How About Meats and Other Foods?...
      If when you buy meats, poultry, eggs and dairy and you are purchasing these foods organic, then you have done so wisely. Your pocketbook may experience pain but it would be nothing compared to being possibly exposed to the toxins that cause mad cow disease. Also, when livestock are fed organic feed you are limiting your exposure to the toxins found in non-organic feed, as well as those added hormones and antibiotics. So what’s wrong with this? Ingesting meats and meat products treated with antibiotics can lead to an increased resistance to those antibiotics that you may need in the future to combat infection. Ingesting added hormones has been linked to the early onset of puberty in girls and also could be carcinogenic.
      Regarding fish - don’t waste your money buying so-called “organic” fish. There are no set regulations for seafood to date. It is important to note however that fattier fish such as bluefish, swordfish and tuna contain high levels of mercury and should be consumed sparingly. If you love tuna - switch to “chunk light” rather than “solid pack white” - the mercury content is much less.

Don’t Forget The Baby !...
      When buying jarred baby foods for Junior it is wise to purchase organically. Infants and children, because they are developing rapidly, are especially susceptible to pesticide ingestion. In fact a study conducted by the EPA in 2005 found that a switch to an organic diet in children really makes a visible difference. Pesticide residue was measured in the urine of 23 children before and after an organic diet was administered. After just 5 days pesticide reside was virtually undetected until the previous diet was reinstated. This lets us know that it is never too late to begin healthy habits!

A Personal Choice...
      Though there have been very few long term studies on the effects of pesticide ingestion and overall health, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) of Washington D.C. and as reported to Consumer Reports Magazine “accumulated effects of even low levels of multiple pesticides is both worrisome and little studied at this point”. I say why even take the chance?

Some Ways Around The Cost Issue...
      Buying locally from organic farms helps everyone - including the local farmer ! Purchasing foods in bulk while in season and freezing them in plastic sealed bags (like strawberries after the stem is removed ) allows you to enjoy these wonderful treats year round. Remember , don’t wash them before freezing but instead wash them before each use. You can also compare prices of different markets and watch the sales. Better yet, corral the family together and start your own little garden, even if in patio pots, and grow your own organic fruits and vegetables. Though you may want to leave the organic cows to someone else… the neighbors may begin to complain !

Hope you are enjoying a happy healthy summer!

~ ~ ~

fruit basket

site by