How important is it, really, for a MTHFR to eat organic? Is "organic" just a buzzword used to drain the naive's wallets? Or is it a critical label to seek that's integral to one's health? In my opinion, it's very important for someone with an MTHFR variant to eat organic as much as possible. However, there are a few caveats.
What is organic, anyway? A food that is organic was grown/harvested in a way that abides by specific standards set by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). For fruits and vegetables, this means that there was no use of synthetic pesticides or bioengineered genes (GMOs), as well as petroleum-based or sewage sludge-based fertilizers. For animal products such as meat, eggs, and dairy, livestock must not be given antibiotics, growth hormones, or animal by-products. They must also have access to the outdoors and be given organic feed.
It's been said that organic fruits and vegetables have no additional nutritional value than conventionally grown produce. That may be technically true, but additional nutritional value is not why you want to purchase organic. The benefit of organic food is in what harmful substances they don't contain. In other words, it's in what you avoid.
That is where the real benefit of eating organic lies. This is also why it's so important for someone with an MTHFR variant to eat organic. With an impaired ability to detox, harmful substances such as pesticide residue can wreak even more havoc than in an average person's body. This is not to mention the dangers of GMOs, as well as growth hormones and antibiotics used in animal products.
While it's a good rule of thumb to always purchase animal products USDA organic, there are some exceptions for produce. Ever heard of the Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen? The Clean Fifteen refers to fruits and vegetables that contain little to no pesticide residue, whether due to peeling before you consume or farming methods. These types of produce are generally considered to be safe to purchase conventionally grown. The Dirty Dozen, on the other hand, refers to produce with the highest levels of pesticide residue, meaning they should always be purchased organic. This is a nifty little tool to save a few bucks. After all, eating organic is certainly more expensive. The lists change a bit each year, but below is the basic idea:
Clean (Safe to Buy Conventional):
-Frozen sweet peas
Dirty (Always Buy Organic):
-Sweet corn (due to GMO seeds)
-Papaya (due to GMO seeds)
-Summer squash (due to GMO seeds)
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