How important is it, really, for a MTHFR to eat organic? Is "organic" just a buzzword used to drain unsuspecting souls' wallets? Or is it a crucial label to seek that's integral to one's health? It's actually very important for someone with the MTHFR gene mutation to eat organic. However, there some caveats that I will get into later in this article.
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. Below is a useful chart showing differences between organic and non-organic methods.
It may be said, for instance, that organic fruits and vegetables have no additional nutrition value than conventionally grown produce. That may be true at first glance, but the key is in what harmful substances organic produce doesn't contain. That is where the real benefit of eating organic lies. This is also why it's so important for someone with the MTHFR gene mutation 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, meaning it's safer to purchase these conventionally grown varieties, rather than organic. The Dirty Dozen 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 (eating organic is expensive as heck), but it can also be a bit misleading. Corn, papaya, and summer squash can be included on the Clean Fifteen list due to having little to no pesticide residue, but may be produced from genetically modified seeds. Therefore, I would move them from the "clean" list to the "dirty" list. Below is my modified version:
Clean (can buy conventional):
-Frozen sweet peas
Dirty (buy organic):
Another helpful tip to cut corners is to buy organic veggies whole and do the chopping/preparing yourself. It involves more work but can definitely save some money!
Do you buy everything organic? Or do you try to cut some corners to save money? Have you noticed a difference in your health since eating more organic? Share your story!