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Eating Organic Is Important For Your Fertility

A blog by Sarah Clark, November 14, 2014

So what is all the fuss about buying organic? Everyone seems to be jumping on the organic ban wagon. I have to admit I was resistant at first. Organic produce, meats and dairy are expensive. Could I really trust that the food I was buying was organic? I never used to worry much about where my food came from, what hormones or pesticides were in it and how it impacted my health. After doing my research, the facts don’t lie. As they say, knowledge is power and once you lift the blinders you can’t go backwards.

What is organic?
Organic basically means it is grown in pesticide free soil or raised with chemical pesticide free feed, without the use of antibiotics, hormones and GMO seeds/feed.1

How do pesticides affect your fertility?

  • Male exposure to pesticides is linked to altered sperm quality and sterility2
  • Exposure to pesticides in women may interfere with puberty, menstruation and ovulation, and fertility3

The pesticides in our food are known endocrine disrupters and can cause hormonal imbalance, unexplained infertility and thyroid problems. It is especially important for male factor infertility as pesticides in food mimic estrogen. These xeno estrogens wreak havoc on men’s sperm. One study found that men with high levels of pesticides in their urine are 10 times more likely to have low quality sperm. 4

How do I know it is organic?

Look for these labels:

  • 100% Organic – Foods that are completely organic or made with100% organic ingredients may display the USDA seal.
  • Organic – Foods that contain at least 95% organic ingredients may display the USDA seal.
  • Made with organic ingredients – Foods that contain at least 70% organic ingredients will not display the USDA seal but may list specific organic ingredients on the front of the package.
  • Contains organic ingredients – Foods that contain less than 70% organic ingredients will not display the USDA seal but may list specific organic ingredients on the information panel of the package5

What should you do?

  • Make the switch to organic a gradual process. Don’t feel you need to change your shopping habits overnight. Commit to reading the labels and become aware of what you toss in your grocery cart.
  • Shop locally. It’s best to get your produce, meats and dairy from a local farmer that you trust.
  • If it is not organic. Peel or thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables with soap and water
  • Not sure which products should be organic? Refer to the Environmental Working Group list of the Dirty Dozen (these are foods that are the most contaminated produce and buying organic is recommended) and Clean Fifteen (this is a list of the least contaminated produce)
  • Dirty Dozen

    (in order of contamination)

    Clean Fifteen

    (in order of least contaminate)

    Sweet bell peppers


    Sweet Corn
    Sweet peas
    Sweet potatoes

    Remember it takes time to change a habit. The first step is bringing awareness to the habit. If you are like many people, you may be mindlessly tossing the food in your grocery cart, without giving it a second thought. As you begin to read labels, chat to your local farmer and experience the flavors of new foods, you form a new habit around your food. Start with introducing a few organic products each week. Be kind to yourself. As Robin Sharma says, “change is hard in the beginning, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end”.



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