Do I really need to eat organic foods?

There is so much information out there regarding organic vs. non-organic and sometimes can be contradictory information.  First, the cost of organic food can be a definite deterrent for most as it does cost more.  However, when you know the reasons why you should eat organic foods – it can help you make the right decision when having to choose between organic vs. non- organic foods especially when it comes to your health and your family’s health.

There are certain fruits and vegetables that are more likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues, so if you are worried about pesticides in your food then it is worth buying organic.

So the question is – which of these fruits and vegetables should you buy?  Choosing organic can limit your exposure since pesticides can be absorbed into fruits and vegetables, and leave trace residues. Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, releases a Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides that identifies fruits and vegetables with the highest and lowest pesticide residues.

 Eating more fruits and vegetables—organic or not—is better than eating none at all. If buying all organic isn’t a priority—or a financial reality for you—you might opt to buy organic specifically when you’re selecting foods that are most heavily contaminated with pesticide and insecticide residues. EWG’s Dirty Dozen is the list of foods with the highest amount of pesticide residues, so consider buying these 12 fruits and vegetables organic, starting with the most contaminated food.

1.  Strawberries

Strawberries topped this year’s list of fruits and vegetables most contaminated with pesticides. According to the Environmental Working Group, one-third of all conventional strawberry samples contained 10 or more pesticides (one strawberry sample contained 22 different pesticide residues). If you’re concerned about pesticides, consider buying organic strawberries.

2.  Spinach

3.  Nectarines

Almost all of the conventional nectarine samples (94 percent) contained two or more pesticides.

 4. Apples

A large majority of the conventional apple samples (80 percent) contained diphenylamine, a pesticide that’s banned in Europe.

 5. Grapes

 The conventional grape samples contained an average of five different pesticide residues, with almost all (96 percent) containing some pesticide residues.

 6. Peaches

 Almost all of the conventional peach samples (99 percent) contained pesticide residues.

 7. Cherries

8. Pears

9. Tomatoes

10.  Celery

11.  Potatoes

12. Sweet Bell Peppers

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Something to feel good about is that there are some fruits and vegetables that are less likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues, so you can buy these conventionally if you are trying to stick to a budget.

Most of us would love to be able to buy organic produce all the time, but it can be expensive. You may wonder if the price is worth it for your health. But if that’s not a financial reality for your family, you can also shop smarter: buy conventional produce that’s the least likely to contain pesticide residues and save your organic dollars for produce that tends to have the highest amounts of pesticide residue (aka the Dirty Dozen).

 The Clean Fifteen is the list of foods that are least likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues, so if budget is a concern, you can feel good about buying these 15 fruits and vegetables conventional, starting with the least contaminated food.

1. Avocados

Good news, guacamole lovers! Avocados once again top the Clean 15 list. Of the conventional avocados tested, fewer than 1 percent contained pesticides (with only one pesticide found).

2. Sweet Corn

When it comes to pesticides, sweet corn is one of the cleanest conventional foods you can buy (less than 2 percent had any detected pesticide residues). A small amount of sweet corn is grown from genetically engineered seeds, so if you choose to avoid genetically engineered crops, opt for organic corn.

3. Pineapples

Almost all (90 percent) of conventional pineapples tested had no pesticide residues.

4. Cabbage

A large majority (86 percent) of conventional cabbage tested had no pesticide residues, and only two of more than 700 cabbage samples contained more than one pesticide residue.

5. Onions

Of all the conventional onions tested, less than 10 percent tested contained pesticide residues.

6. Frozen Sweet Peas

A large majority (80 percent) of conventional frozen sweet peas tested had no pesticide residues, with no more than two pesticides detected.

7. Papayas

A large majority (80 percent) of papaya tested had no pesticide residues. However, a small amount of papaya is produced from genetically modified seeds, so opt for organic papaya if you want to be sure to avoid genetically modified produce.

8. Asparagus

9. Mangoes

10. Eggplant

11. Honeydew Melon

12. Kiwi

13. Cantaloupe

14. Cauliflower

15. Broccoli

LEARN MORE

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Karin Lyle

Certified Health Coach

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