Updated: Jun 16
If you’ve ever wondered whether you should be buying more organic produce, then read on. Because in this short article we’ll be answering how organic food can impact Sjogren’s, as well as some practical tips to help you decide what to do for yourself.
What do we mean by “organic”?
Quite simply, organic food is grown or raised without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Additionally, livestock used for organic food production must be fed with organic feed and should not be given antibiotics preventatively or growth hormones.
Some products may call themselves organic, but lack the certification to back it up. The only way to really know if produce is organic is by checking for a recognised certification, like the ‘USDA Organic’ label in the US, the Soil Association logo in the UK, or the green-leaf ‘Bio’ label in the EU.
Why is organic important with Sjogren’s syndrome?
With Sjogren’s, there is by definition an underlying immune dysfunction, leading to a chronic inflammatory process taking place against various glands and tissues. The goal of any effective natural therapeutic approach to Sjogren’s has to have, at its core, the reduction/elimination of any possible inflammatory triggers that can contribute to this immune dysfunction.
And the introduction of any harmful chemicals into the body only furthers the burden that the immune and detoxification systems are already under, making it harder for the body’s self-healing mechanisms to function optimally.
In addition to avoiding harmful chemicals, organic produce has nutritional benefits that can also help the immune system operate more optimally, and support the body’s overall health and function. Studies have shown that organic produce can often contain higher levels of various vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients like antioxidants. Some of these additional nutrients, antioxidants in particular, are really important to help reduce inflammation in the body and can be lacking in conventionally grown produce.
Does everything you buy have to be organic?
While it's ideal to buy everything organic, it's not always possible or feasible. And some produce tends to have more pesticide residues than others, so making sure to buy those foods organic can help reduce your exposure to harmful chemical residues. Some of these foods include:
Meat and eggs
Corn and soy
Spinach, kale and spring/collard greens
Berries, grapes, cherries
This is just a partial list of the foods that have been found to contain higher levels of pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
If you'd like a longer list of the produce that is best bought organic click here to receive a more comprehensive list.
But isn’t organic really expensive?
While organic produce is usually more expensive than conventional options, it is nonetheless a worthwhile investment in our general health, and more importantly in helping to reduce Sjogren’s symptoms over time.
Here are some tips to find affordable organic vegetables, fruits and meat/eggs:
Searching Google for an organic food delivery service that services your area
Buying in-season and locally grown organic produce at the supermarket
Buying directly from growers at farmers markets (where available)
Additional benefits of buying organic
By choosing organic as much as possible, we are also playing a hugely important role in supporting more sustainable and eco-friendly farming practices, which can have positive environmental impacts such as reducing soil erosion, conserving water, and promoting biodiversity - all of which affects our own health, as well as the health of our families and friends, for generations to come.
By reducing our exposure to inflammatory pesticides and increasing the nutrient density of our food, prioritising organic produce can help support your body's natural healing processes. And if buying everything organic is not possible, prioritize the foods that are most likely to contain harmful chemicals. Finally, consider subscribing to a local, organic fruit and vegetable delivery service, and look for in-season locally grown organic produce when at the supermarket to help reduce the costs!
And if you’d like to receive a longer list of the produce that's best bought organic, click here.