Is Organic Really Better?


Jennifer Buchner, ND

Is buying organic really worth the extra money? 


It’s no secret that buying organic can have a larger price tag but in this blog I’ll break down some of the reasons why I think organic products are often worth the splurge. 


What does organic mean? 


If a product is labeled “USDA Organic” this means that it has passed stringent third party verification and follows guidelines set in place by the FDA. These rules help protect natural resources, promote better farming practices, and ensure the welfare of all animals involved. 


While labeling with the term “organic” is monitored closely, common buzz words such as “all natural”, “heart healthy” and “better for you” are not. This means that you could be paying more for that fancy packaging without actually getting a healthier product. 


What you’re NOT getting with organic:


Toxic pesticides & fertilizers 

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) 

Irradiated Crops 

Antibiotics or Synthetic Growth Hormones 


But is organic really better? 


Studies have shown that eating one serving of organic produce has more antioxidants than eating two servings of their conventional (non-organic) counterparts. Antioxidants are crucial for supporting our immune system, avoiding cancer & other chronic diseases, so more is better. 


The fats found in organic, grass-fed meat have demonstrated a more anti-inflammatory effect than conventional meat. Inflammation is at the root of most chronic diseases which plague this country and switching to organic meat could help us prevent them. 


Organic fruits and vegetables often taste better because they don’t have preservatives which keep them shelf stable. This means you’re generally getting a fresher, tastier product. 


Do I always need to buy organic? 


Since organic products are often more expensive, I recommend patients try to buy organic as much as possible but can buy conventional produce based on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) ranking. I’ve included pictures of this list which you can take with you next time you go shopping. 


“The Clean Fifteen” are the crops ranked lowest in pesticide residues this year & can be bought conventionally when necessary.  


“The Dirty Dozen” are the crops ranked highest in pesticide residues this year and should always be bought organic. 


To ensure your produce is squeaky clean, especially if you bought non-organic, you can always use a homemade fruit & veggie wash. All you need is 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar, 2 tablespoons baking soda and 1 cup filtered water. 


Now what? 


Buy organic as often as you can (bonus points for buying local, seasonal produce)

If you must buy conventional, stick with the “Clean 15” and use a fruit & veggie wash. 

Visit the EWG’s website for more information on all things organic (

Seek care from a Naturopathic Doctor to help you build more health-promoting habits! 

2020 Clean 15/Dirty dozen Chart