If you’ve been making strides towards a healthier, greener lifestyle, you may think the answer to “when to buy organic produce” is “always.” And if you prefer that option, certainly no one is going to stop you. But there are some items that should always be purchased organic while others aren’t quite as important. Let’s take a look at what those are.
The Dirty Dozen List
Most of you have probably heard of the “Dirty Dozen,” which is a list of produce considered the most likely to have harmful toxins sprayed on or around them during growth. These harmful toxins can lead to health problems, especially in young children. Common fruits and vegetables found in our homes are on the list. At the top of the 2018 list are strawberries. You should never buy a non-organic apple if you don’t want to ingest pesticides.
Strawberries are followed by nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes
On the other hand, there are some food items that don’t necessarily have to be purchased organic. They are classified as “Clean Fifteen”. The list contains 15 fruits and vegetables with the lowest level of pesticides residue.
Asparagus is one of the least likely produce items to contain any trace of pesticides. The full 2018 list has the following: avocado, sweet corn, pineapple, cabbage, onions, sweet peas (frozen), broccoli, mango, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower, and papaya.
Another consideration with produce is that some items, like bananas, we don’t eat the outside of. Avocado, mango, and pineapples can usually be safely purchased non-organic because we won’t be ingesting the part that came into contact with chemicals. Mushrooms are usually also safe to purchase commercially because pesticide residue simply can’t stick to the texture.
Let’s think about our health
Some other foods have big benefits when purchased organic. Organic grains have more heart-healthy nutrients that help prevent strokes and disease than their non-organic counterparts. Soy and tofu should be purchased only by brands that are labeled non-GMO because soy is one of the most genetically modified products currently on the market.
Organic meat can be a big expense, but the health benefits far outweigh the cost. Meat that has been treated with chemical hormones has less iron, less zinc, and can be a possible link to cancer and other conditions.
You don’t have to change what you eat if you change the quality of the ingredients. You can still enjoy your favorite meals, but by knowing which products to spend your budget on, you’ll be able to have organic, eco-friendly meals that keep you and the Earth healthy.