Buying organic food sometimes seems like a leap of faith.
Organic and conventional foods often look the same. And they taste pretty much the same. But buying organic is far more expensive.
We do it because we have faith that foods raised without pesticides, chemical preservatives, hormones, or antibiotics are better for us.
A new study shows that spending extra for organics is especially justified when it comes to chicken.
Researchers from the Pennsylvania Department of Health tested 2,500 samples of ground beef, pork chops, and poultry. The meat was bought from random markets.
Many of the samples were infected with salmonella. That was expected. Salmonella is a common bacterial infection in chicken, both organic and conventional.
What wasn’t expected was that conventional chicken was twice as likely as organic to harbor drug-resistant salmonella germs.
Large factory farms often feed their chickens antibiotics. It helps keep the birds from getting sick in the crowded conditions. But it also leads to types of salmonella that are “superbugs.” If they infect you it can be difficult if not impossible to treat.
Earlier this year, the CDC investigated an outbreak of drug-resistant salmonella in which 129 people in 32 states were infected. One died. The source was antibiotic-fed chicken.
Dr. Marc Siegel of NYU Medical Center says antibiotic use on farms is endangering human health. “Stopping the use of antibiotics in animals will result in fewer antibiotic-resistant strains,” he said.
4 Science-Backed Benefits of Eating Organic
In addition to avoiding superbugs, eating organic foods gives you other proven health benefits…
- Healthier fats. A study in the British Journal of Nutrition tested meat and milk. Organic varieties had about 50% more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
- More antioxidants. A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that organic onions are 20% higher in antioxidants.
- Lower pesticide exposure. The pesticides used in conventional farming are hazardous to your health. One famous example is the herbicide Roundup. It has been classified as a likely cause of cancer. Pesticides are also linked to asthma, Parkinson’s disease, depression, and anxiety. 
- Fewer toxic heavy metals. Organic farming does not use chemical fertilizers. Because of that, the resulting vegetables are 48% less likely to contain cadmium. That’s a toxic heavy metal that accumulates in the liver and kidneys.
There’s no question that organic is the way to go. You may wonder if it’s worth the cost. But in terms of your health, you can’t afford not to eat it.
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