Buy organic produce!
We’ve all had this drilled into our heads by now regarding health concerns. Buying organic produce makes sense, right?
Pesticides are put on crops to kill things; you probably don’t want to ingest things that are intended to kill. Growth hormones are added to help raise food in an unnatural way; you probably don’t want to ingest things intended to make things grow unnaturally.
But, organic food costs more than non-organic food.
Is there a way to prioritize which foods you should buy organic? Why yes, yes there is!
Foods You Should Buy Organic
I’m not here to use any scare tactics and say you have a X% higher chance of sickness/cancer/dying if you don’t buy organic food. I definitely don’t buy all my food organic.
However, according to the Environmental Working Group, they agree with me. Nearly three-fourths of the 6,953 produce samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2014 contained pesticide residues. Eww!
Do I personally think organic food tastes better? A lot of times, yes. Do I try to buy organic when and where I can? Most of the time, yes.
I especially try to always buy the following dirty dozen fruits and vegetables organically. These dozen foods are the most susceptible to absorbing and retaining potentially harmful chemicals and toxins.
The Dirty Dozen
- sweet bell peppers
- cherry tomatoes
From the EWG’s 2016 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, here are some “fun” facts:
- More than 98 percent of strawberry samples, peaches, nectarines, and apples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
- The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other produce.
- A single grape sample and a sweet bell pepper sample contained 15 pesticides.
- Single samples of strawberries showed 17 different pesticides.
Guys, I’m not kidding here. I don’t want to eat a strawberry that has over a dozen pesticides on it!
Now that you know which foods you should buy organic, let’s talk about the foods that are ok to purchase regularly, or not organic. Introducing the clean fifteen.
The Clean Fifteen
- sweet corn
- frozen sweet peas
- honeydew melon
Most of the fruits and vegetables on this list have something in common. Can you tell what it is?
With many of these fifteen, you do not eat the outside layer – the skin, peel, whatever you want to call it. Since this outside layer is where the food contacts the potential contaminants, most of the bad stuff remains outside of the edible part. Therefore, you can save money by not purchasing foods on this list organic.
From that same EWG report, more (better) facts:
- Avocados were the cleanest: only 1 percent of avocado samples showed any detectable pesticides.
- Some 89 percent of pineapples, 81 percent of papayas, 78 percent of mangoes, 73 percent of kiwi and 62 percent of cantaloupes had no residues.
- No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides.
- Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on Clean Fifteen vegetables. Only 5.5 percent of Clean Fifteen samples had two or more pesticides.
Now of course there’s nothing wrong with buying all your produce organic! I assume, however, most people are on a budget when it comes to groceries. By using the lists above, you should be able to maximize both your health and your grocery bill savings!
Your turn -> Do you buy most of your produce organically? What do you think about potential harmful effects of pesticides?