The older we get, the more aware we become of the way we’re eating, both what we’re putting into our bodies and what our nutrition is lacking.
In the last few decades, an increasingly popular brand of nutrition – organic food -has been the rage of health nuts, cautious parents, and others who seek to reduce the amount of artificial substances that they ingest, and give themselves, and in many cases their children, the freshest, most natural food possible as often as possible.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the term organic refers to the way that farmers raise or grow the food in question -whether it’s an animal, a vegetable, a fruit, dairy product, or grain. Organic farming means that no conventional fertilizers or methods are used, rather natural fertilizers are employed on plants and natural foods are fed to livestock. As a result, organic foods are often smaller than their produce and livestock brethren, which often have growth stimulants added. For fruits, vegetables, and grains ,this also means no pesticides are used on them to keep off insects that can damage crops.
They also are free of the sort of preservatives that can make them stay fresh and consumable for longer periods of time.
There is not scientific evidence that says that organic foods are healthier than other types of farm food, but the fact is conclusive that eating organic food exposes the body to fewer man-made products used to enhance food’s taste or shelf life, which is a big selling point for eating organic.
One of the biggest detriments to eating organic food, particularly for older adults on a fixed budget, is the price. Farmers using pesticides and preservatives, along with growth stimulants, administer these chemical processes en masse to thousands of animals or acres of crops. But organic foods have to be treated differently, and that means pricier processes to do everything the natural way, when the chemical way is generally easier and less expensive.
Since the cost of production of organic foods is a lot higher, but farmers are still concerned with making a profit, the store cost of organic food is also noticeably higher, a fact that can price an entire pantry and refrigerator of solely organic food stuff’s out of most seniors’ budget.
That combination of facts usually means it’s best to pick and choose which foods to eat organically and which to eat conventionally. Thus, your organic budget should focus on foods that are markedly better for your body when they come organically. Here is a list of a few that fit the bill and why:
- Beef – Americans put down more beef than any country in the world, meaning the market is uber-competitive to get the best, biggest cuts out there as rapidly as possible. However, some of the hormones that are often injected into cows used for beef production have been linked to cancer, in particular breast cancer, making it an easy one to skip over when it comes to making a decision.
- Strawberries – Berries of all kinds are some of the very best things to eat to keep yourself healthy over a lifetime, but strawberries have a notably short shelf life which can see up to 13 types of pesticides and preservatives put on them, according to a study by the Environmental Working Group. With so many chemicals spread across a service area full of bumps and ridges, things can get left behind, even after a thorough washing.
- Milk – Considering how much milk children drink between ages 0-18, and how important it is for senior citizens to get much-needed calcium as they get older, this is a doozy. Not surprisingly, the risk comes from dairy cows injected with hormones – in this case a form of estrogen – to stimulate their milk production. Those hormones have been linked to cancer in humans, and increase with usage, meaning if you’re a senior citizen committed to a lot of dairy to overcome a calcium deficiency, you could be setting yourself for a far worse problem if you don’t buy the right type of milk.
- Celery – Everyone’s favorite dipping vegetable, particularly at Crimson Tide and War Eagle football watching parties, celery ranked No. 1 among a survey of fruits and vegetables for most contaminated product by pesticides. It’s likely a product born of the vegetable’s size and combination of stalk and leaves that makes it tougher to keep clean.
- Tomato/Pasta Sauce – You can’t beat a hot bowl of your favorite sauce over noodles as a comfort food, but try and pick up the sauces that come in glass jars, not metal cans, even f the shelf like is dramatically lower. Said cans sometimes are made with BPA – that’s biphenyl A used to line food storage containers – and it occasionally leaks out, and has been linked to everything from heart disease to asthma to trouble in fetal development
Unless you live on a farm or have a personal chef at home, it’s unlikely you’ll be eating all organic foods all the time. However, picking the right ones to focus your budget and your taste buds on can amp up your health and have you living a longer, healthier life.
Discovery Village at Southlake offers a variety of senior living programs to keep seniors healthy and active. Learn about our senior living options and amenities today when you contact us at 682.253.8966.