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This Is How Eating Organic Food Affects Pesticide Levels in Your Body


Mother and daughter picking green beans

Many people wonder if purchasing organic food is worth the higher price.

A study and a viral video from Sweden's organic grocery chain Coop and the Swedish Environmental Research Institute confirm the effects of eating organic on the amount of pesticides and chemicals absorbed into your body —  and the results are not pretty.

The scientists studied a family of five (two adults and three kids ages 12, 10 and 3) that ate conventional food for one week and then ate an entirely organic diet (fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, etc.) for two weeks. Every day during the study, each family member provided a urine sample, which the scientists tested to analyze the presence of 12 different pesticides.

Watch the video below:

The family's exposure to pesticides drastically dropped when they switched from conventional to organic eating.

A February 2015 Boise State University study of the dietary exposure of nearly 4,500 people from six U.S. cities to organophosphates (OPs), the most common insecticides used on conventionally grown produce in the United States.

According to the Boise State report, “OP pesticides are linked to a number of detrimental health effects, particularly among agricultural workers who are regularly exposed to the chemicals.”

The study showed that the people who had eaten organic produce had significantly lower OP pesticide exposures than those who had consumed conventionally grown produce.

Cynthia Curl, an assistant professor in Boise State University’s School of Allied Health Sciences, who led the study is quoted as saying, “The study suggests that by eating organically grown versions of those foods highest in pesticide residues, we can make a measurable difference in the levels of pesticides in our bodies.”

[Read More: The Problem With Cage-Free Eggs]

Here’s another video that explains why organic food is more expensive and that three out of every four Americans has made the conscious decision to purchase organic foods in the past year:

To help our readers to budget and prioritize the foods that are most important to buy organic, we created a list of the 20 most important foods to buy organic (even if you’re on a budget).

Readers - What do you think of this video and this study? Do you eat organic food? Why or why not? Which foods do you think are most important to buy organic? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Jess Barron is Editor-in-Chief of LIVESTRONG.COM. Read some of her other health and fitness articles here. A longtime foodie and fan of farmers markets, Jess particularly loves heirloom tomatoes, fresh figs with burrata cheese and anything with pumpkin or peanut butter in it! Her love for food fuels her desire to exercise daily. In the summer of 2012, Jess lost 20 pounds in a test group for a fitness program. Some of her favorite workout routines include walking, running, yoga, P90X, INSANITY and mixed martial arts. Jess's writing can also be found at She has appeared on MSNBC's The Most, ABC News Now and XM satellite radio, and her writing has appeared on and

Follow Jess on Twitter,Google+ and Pinterest.

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