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Most Americans know, more or less, what good nutrition looks like and how far their diet diverges.

The processed food and fast food industries work hard to convince us that fried, hormone-raised meat; fried potatoes; and 20 ounces of flavored sugar water are food; but even those of us who eat that way know better.

Good health is one of several reasons to favor organically-grown food; i.e., real food grown or raised without chemicals like pesticides, antibiotics and hormones.

There are other good reasons to avoid manufactured food-like products, and one health reason you’ve never considered.

  1. Keep the poisons out of your body – and your family’s bodies. Pesticides seep into foods to be ingested by you – about 16 pounds of it annually for every American consumer. The FDA tests just a small portion of food for sale and can’t guarantee that the chemicals added to your food are safe.
  2. Keep the mystery molecules out of your body – genetically engineered food and genetically modified organisms might be perfectly safe for you. And they might not. No one knows for sure. All we know is, they’re being added to nearly everything you eat. We won’t find out for decades if they’re really harmful.
  3. Sleep better! That’s right, because eating certified organic means eating healthier food. Unhealthy food can lead to imbalances in the brain’s neuro transmitters that cause problems, like added girth, that constrict the breathing airway during sleep. A lack of deep, restful sleep is vastly underrated as a source of Americans’ health problems. Poor sleep can cause fatigue, lack of concentration, a weak immune system, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and a cascade of other health issues. Good nutrition, one free of man-made chemicals, is a key component in productive sleep.
  4. Bulk up on nutrients. Organically-grown vegetables provide 21% more iron, 27% more vitamins and 29% more magnesium on average than commercially grown foods, according to various studies.
  5. Reduce pollution in the water and soil. Almost all of the pesticides applied to crops end up somewhere else, not on their intended targets. Much of it ends up in the soil, and then into the groundwater to be carried into streams, creeks and rivers, and potentially into your drinking supply.
  6. Preserve agricultural diversity. Nearly all french fries are produced from the same species of potato; consequently, that is what potato farmers grow. This is the very situation that led to the Irish potato famine of the mid-19th century, when a blight attacked the single-species potato crop upon which the country depended. A lack of genetic variety prevented any potatoes from resisting the attack. Crop rotation, a key element of organic farming, encourages genetic diversity by forcing farmers to grow a variety of crops.
  7. Keep your anatomy intact. The groundbreaking early 20th-century dentist Weston Price discovered that within a generation of introducing white flour, refined sugar and other processed foods into households, the jaw structure of family members narrowed, their teeth became more crowded and they suffered more cavities. He theorized that processed food predisposes humans to smaller jaws – and smaller airways as well. That takes us back to the sleep issue, which is often caused by blocked airways.

Our grandparents had a name for organic food – food. Those were the days before cancer rates skyrocketed, before rampant autism and ADHD, auto-immune conditions like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, before rampant sleep apnea and a host of other health problems common today.

For our health and the health of our planet, we should all eat organic.