Understanding the difference between organic veggies and non-organic veggies can help you make the smartest decision as a consumer according to what's important to you. Contrary to a popular misconception, organic vegetables are not necessarily more nutritious than non-organic vegetables, but there are a few key differences.
How Veggies Are Produced
Vegetables that are labeled "organic" must actually meet USDA standards when it comes to the method with which the farmers grew the vegetables. "Organic" refers to vegetables that are grown without the use of chemical pesticides, weedkillers or fertilizers. The farms are typically more traditional and involve all natural pesticides, weedkillers, mulch and the like. Organic farmers may also practice field-swapping in order to produce healthier crops.
What Makes Vegetables Organic
To receive the label of "organic" from the USDA, the veggies must have been produced in an organic way for at least 95% of the production process. That means that some organic veggies are produced up to 5% in a non-organic way and veggies not labeled organic may have been produced with at least some organic practices. Only when a veggie says "100% Organic" as labeled by the USDA is food produced completely though organic means.
When discussing "nutrition," you are referring to the number of nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, that you will intake by eating vegetables. There are no requirements for nutrition when it comes to organic veggies. They may be more nutritious, just as nutritious or even less nutritious than non-organic veggies. The common misconception about organic vegetables is that they are somehow more nutritious because they are more naturally produced than their non-organic counterparts.
Advantages of Organic Veggies
Since organic veggies are not necessarily more nutritious than non-organic veggies, consumers may wonder whether or not spending the extra money on organic vegetables is worth it. There are two primary advantages to purchasing organic vegetables. The first is that you're using your money to support farmers who practice organic farming techniques, which are less harsh on the environment and less harsh on animals. If living green and reducing pollution are important to you, it may be worth spending extra money on your produce.
The second advantage of eating organic vegetables is up to debate. Some consumers worry about ingesting vegetables that have been treated with chemical pesticides, fertilizers and weedkillers. Although research suggests that these are easy to wash off and cause no negative effects on those who ingest non-organic veggies, you may wish to not take your chances. Just remember that if a vegetable is not labeled "100% Organic," its production may still have involved some small form of chemical treatment.
If you want to spend the extra money on organic veggies in order to support organic farmers, you're making a good choice when it comes to spending your money. However, if you want to save the most money and get the most nutritious vegetables, you should actually pass up all fresh veggies and purchase frozen vegetables.