Which Foods Should You Buy Organic?
Nearly everyone is now familiar with the benefits to organic food, especially those grown at home. Not everyone can grow everything they eat at home, of course, so the grocery is still where we go to get the bulk of our food.
Buying organic is the best choice in most circumstances, but not always in the budget (or available). Given that, making informed choices about your healthy buying habits can go a long way towards maximizing both your budget and nutrition while limiting your family’s exposure to chemicals and pesticides.
Pesticides and Pesticide Residue in Foods
Chemical pesticides have long been known to cause problems for farm workers and those in the food production industry. Only recently have they been shown to also have negative effects on consumers – especially children. In 1993, the National Research Council brought this to the forefront with a study showing how much exposure many infants and children are given just through their diet.
Foods with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Organic seal are grown with no artificial pesticides (they usually use natural pesticides derived from plants). This doesn’t mean these USDA certified organics are pesticide and chemical-free, however. It does mean that they will have about 65% less chemical residue, on average, than their counterparts.
Health Reasons for Organic Eating
The fewer chemicals you consume, the less likely you are to have a toxic level of any chemical in your body. That is logically obvious. Other benefits to organic foods include generally higher nutrition levels, often better taste, and more health benefits (thanks to fewer toxins).
For many people, though, the psychological benefits are the best reason. Eating organically means you’re supporting more sustainable, natural methods of farming and that you’re not taking in as many chemicals – which your body has to spend energy filtering and cleansing. These both can mean better living emotionally as well as physically.
Top Ten Foods to Buy Organic
The Environmental Working Group has compiled a list of the best and worst foods in regards to their pesticide residue retention. The full list can be found here: Environmental Working Group’s Food List
Here are the ten foods that rank the worst on their list and thus should be purchased as organic whenever possible:
- Bell Peppers
Other items such as onions, avocadoes, sweet corn, and pineapples have very low pesticide levels even when not grown organically.
That list of the top 10 to buy organically is made up of items that, for the most part, can be grown in your own home garden easily. Most gardeners can easily grown their own celery, peach trees, strawberries, apple trees, bell peppers, nectarine trees, spinach, and potatoes. This can be a great way to get good food, pesticide-free, at lower cost.