For this week's Food for Thought, we'll be talking about Organic vs Conventionally Grown Potatoes.
If you didn’t already know, potatoes are an excellent source of potassium, fiber, vitamin C, B6, iron, and magnesium. In fact, they contain more potassium than a banana! So why do we care about potassium? It's a mineral found in every body cell. One of the biggest challenges with the traditional American diet today is too much sodium, too little potassium. Studies suggest reducing your sodium intake can reduce your stroke risk and may also lower your odds of developing heart disease.
Conventionally Grown Potatoes
As with all root vegetables, potatoes absorb pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides from the soil they are grown in. Not only are these chemicals absorbed from the ground, but also from the plant itself. When pesticides are sprayed on the plant's leaves, it is then absorbed into the growing plant as it matures. For consumers, this means there is no way to eliminate these toxins, as they cannot be washed off or removed by peeling as they exist in the flesh of the potato itself.
According to the USDA’s Pesticide Data Program, conventionally-grown potatoes contain 37 different pesticides: 7 carcinogens, 12 hormone disruptors, 9 neurotoxins and 6 reproductive toxins.
One toxin found in over 80% non-organic potatoes and at alarmingly high rates is Chlorpropham. This chemical is designed to prevent the potatoes from sprouting, which can wreak havoc on the body. In studies, researchers have found it to cause irritation of the eyes or skin, as well as inflammation of the stomach and intestinal lining. In addition, it can cause congestion of the brain and lungs, and degenerative changes in the kidneys and liver. So naturally, the more we expose ourselves to these types of chemicals, the higher the risk to our bodies and our well-being.
Organically Grown Potatoes and Sustainable Growing Methods
In short, organic potatoes do not receive any chemical baths during their growth cycle and are maintained by sustainable guidelines. This means they do not contain the chemicals that conventional potatoes do. In addition, by choosing produce and meats based on sustainable growing practices, we can help protect the environment, public health, animal welfare, as well as our own well-being and of those we love.
Coming in next week's Farm Box, we will be including organic,
sustainably grown red potatoes for you to enjoy!
Eat Well | Be Well
Rooted Gypsy Farms
- Harvard Medical – Health Publications