Monday, March 5, 2012

When to go Organic

I often get people asking me how important it is to buy organic fruits and vegetables. I think going organic is wonderful if you are able to. However, I wouldn’t say that being unable to buy organic should ever stop you from buying produce or eating well. It is most important to be eating the fruits and vegetables you can, and go organic when it is possible.


Unfortunately, non-organic fruits and vegetables are grown with potentially toxic chemicals, including pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. Those chemical residues remain not only on the skin of the fruit, but also can be absorbed into the inner flesh. That is why when you are unable to buy organic, it is especially important to wash your produce before eating and be aware of where you buy your produce from. It’s always a bonus to buy local!

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a not-for-profit environmental research organization, released a list of fruits and vegetables that are most and least contaminated with pesticide residues.

By eating some of the most contaminated fruits and vegetables, you and your children are exposed to about 10 different pesticides a day, according to EWG. Fortunately, by avoiding the most-contaminated produce out there, and concentrating on the least contaminated instead, you can reduce your exposure to pesticides by almost 80 percent, and be exposed to less than 2 pesticides per day, EWG says.

With that in mind, if you’re trying to decide which food products to buy organic, focusing on those on the following 2009 list of the MOST contaminated fruits and vegetables would be money well spent.

The MOST Contaminated Fruits and Veggies (Buy These Organic)

  1. Apples           image
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches       
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines - imported
  7. Grapes - imported     
  8. Sweet bell peppers  
  9. Potatoes       
  10. Blueberries - domestic 
  11. Lettuce         
  12. Kale/collard greens

On the flipside, the produce with the LEAST amount of pesticide residues were:

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet Corn image
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Asparagus
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Mangoes
  8. Eggplant
  9. Cantaloupe - domestic
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Sweet potatoes
  14. Grapefruit
  15. Mushrooms

Just be aware and do what you can to make healthy changes. That is what is more important!

Have a great Monday!

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