Do you find yourself asking, “What food is really worth buying organic?” If pesticides and other contaminants worry you when shopping for fruits and vegetables, you may consider buying organic. Many people’s budgets are limited, so you may not be able to afford to buy all organic produce. Therefore, it’s important to determine the produce that should be bought organically vs. what is safe to buy conventional (non-organic). Strawberries, for example, top the list of fruits and vegetables contaminated with the most pesticides. According to the Environmental Working Group there are 300 pounds of pesticides applied to each acre of conventional strawberries!
We will begin with the most contaminated foods. The foods listed below are considered the “Dirty Dozen” and should be purchased organically if possible:
- Sweet Bell Peppers
Some fruits and vegetables are not as contaminated as others. Some produce have a natural defense because of an outer layer of skin, such as corn or pineapple. If you are looking to simply avoid pesticides, there are several conventionally-grown produce that have little to no residue. In general, you are going to be safe from pesticide residue by purchasing conventional versions of the following fruits and vegetables, known as the “Clean Fifteen":
- Sweet Potato
All the produce on “The Clean 15” list has little to no traces of pesticides and is quite safe to consume in non-organic form.
Look for the USDA Organic Seal when selecting your organic purchases. The organic seal means the food is grown, harvested, and processed according to government standards that include limits on pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics. Natural pesticides are allowed. Organic food cannot be treated with any sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation.
Look for this seal when purchasing produce on the “dirty dozen” list.
eni's Wellness Experts are available to provide our members with information on developing a nutrition plan that works for them!