Hi again Salad Girl Family -
It's Crystal Herrington, Salad Girl's Nutrition Health Coach. As a health coach and nurse, I often get asked what the big deal is with buying organic foods instead of conventional products. I buy organic food as much as possible. If you know me at all, you know I dive deep into the research to make sure when I buy something that touts benefits, I’m not wasting my time (and money). In the general population (if you’re not a conventional farmer), food is the primary source of pesticide exposure that we experience. This has been proven in research by having participants take a urine sample after eating what they’d normally eat to check for “pesticide residues.” After the sample is taken, they only allow the participants to eat organic foods and then one week later, they recheck. To nobody’s surprise, they found a marked reduction in pesticide residues after just one week.
So, why do these pesticide residues matter so much? According to the research, these pesticide residues have long lasting effects, particularly on brain function. Exposure to pesticides has been shown to increase risk for Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancers such as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and childhood leukemia. Studies show that higher concentrations of these residues mean significantly increased risk for ADHD in children. Children with detectable levels were twice as likely to have ADHD as those without. This information isn't meant to scare you, rather to educate you on what the facts are behind eating organic.
Ingesting oil is another controversial topic under this similar umbrella. Organic vs. non-Organic? Expeller Pressed or Solvent Extracted?
Conventional seed oils (not certified organic) like grape seed, avocado seed, olive seeds, walnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds are grown and produced using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. When it comes to sunflower oil, like almonds, their high fat and oil content makes them sponges for chemicals. Conventional oils are extracted chemically with harsh solvents (i.e. hexane, ethanol, butanol, isopropanol, d-limonene, p-cymene, and α-pinene).
Only the organically grown, expeller pressed, chemical-free seeds offer all the health benefits without any hidden extra ingredients. Organic seed oils are extracted without the use of any chemicals or heat. Instead, they are pressed by an expeller that uses pressure to extract the oil from the seeds.
The quality of the original raw ingredients (olives, sunflower, walnuts, and other nuts or seeds) is important in determining the eventual quality of the oil. As a general rule, organic oils are much preferred to their non-organic counterparts because oils are so concentrated that even a small serving of a non-organic oil contains pesticides and chemicals from the solvents used to extract the oil from the seeds.
I always prefer to use organic oils whenever possible, and Salad Girl uses only the highest quality, Certified Organic, expeller pressed, high oleic sunflower oil. Oil that is "high oleic" has a larger percentage of omega-9 fatty acid. In addition to enhancing heart health, eating these healthier types of organic oils with your veggies, fruits, and greens helps you absorb more nutrients.
The results of a 2017 study in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171009124026.htm) may ease the minds of countless salad lovers who fret about adding dressing to their salads. This study found that adding oil to salads aided in the absorption of seven different micronutrients in salad vegetables. Those nutrients include four carotenoids (alpha and beta carotene, lutein and lycopene) and two forms of vitamin E and vitamin K. The oil also promoted the absorption of vitamin A.
Furthermore, the study demonstrated that better absorption of the nutrients promotes a range of health benefits including cancer prevention and eyesight preservation. The study also found that the amount of oil added to the vegetables had a proportional relationship to the amount of nutrient absorption. That is, more oil means more absorption.
When shopping, it's also good to know the following:
- When you purchase produce, try to buy these 12 items
- Organic dairy products have been shown to have 50% higher levels of beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids compared to conventional products.
- Eating a healthy balanced plate is always encouraged.
Salad Girl is made with 100% certified organic ingredients. You can rest assured that whichever flavor you choose, you are nourishing your body with the highest quality ingredients. In addition to the health benefits, when you purchase organics, you are also supporting regenerative farming and the health of the environment.
Crystal Herrington, BSN, RN