It’s no surprise that more and more people are trying to live a healthier life. For some people that means buying organic food. The drawback to organics are that they are significantly more expensive than buying non-organic products. The good news is that you don’t need to buy everything organic. Experts have determined that there are a number of products that should be purchased organic, but many products are a low-risk for pesticides or other unhealthy byproducts, so you only need to focus on the products that pose the most risk to you and your family. The following 20 items should be purchased organic if you can afford them.
Non-organic strawberries can have up to 13 pesticides on each piece of fruit with 40 various pesticides being detected overall. It’s also incredibly difficult to just wash those pesticides off because they often stick to those little bumps and seeds on the strawberries. Buying organic removes all of these issues and allows you to just wash and eat this delicious fruit. If you can’t afford organic, buy frozen berries, as they have been known to hold less pesticides.
Of all of the produce tested for pesticides, celery often comes up as the most contaminated. Celery retains a high level of the chemicals and pesticides it comes in contact with because it is very porous, which allows the pesticides to cling to the celery. As many as 13 pesticides or more can be on your celery at one time.
Like many of the fruits and vegetables on this list, grapes rank way too high on the pesticide list to be considered safe. Grapes can have as many as 50 pesticides on them and that’s just way too many. Likewise, raisins are also high, considering they start as grapes.
4. Bell Peppers
Like celery, it was recommended that people opt for organic bell peppers. Unfortunately, bell peppers also rank very high for pesticides, as well. Opting for organic ensures that you will avoid these pesticides.
People consume more potatoes than any other vegetable, so it should be worth some concern that they often score very high for unnecessary pesticides. Choosing organic will remove these pesticides from your diet. Organic potatoes are also one of the relatively cheaper organic options, so they are definitely worth making the switch as they won’t break your bank.
Kids might not want to eat spinach, but if you do you should consider switching to organic. Like a lot of the other vegetables on this list, spinach ranks high on the pesticide list. Rather than consume these dangerous pesticides, buy organic spinach and avoid the potential dangers.
If you buy one meat product that is organic, make sure it’s beef. Dr. Samuel Epstein, professor of environmental and occupational medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health points out that, “research suggests a strong connection between some of the hormones given to cattle and cancer in humans, particularly breast cancer.” Buying organic beef not only cuts out these hormones, it also removes unnecessary antibiotics that standard cows are given, which could lead to resistance of antibiotics in people.
Microwave popcorn bags are lined with a known toxin called PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid). PFOA prevents food from sticking to the paper of the microwave bags. Rather than risking cancer, opt for organic microwave popcorn or spring for an air popper and pop your own popcorn.
If you consume a lot of dairy you should definitely opt for the organic brands. Up to 70% of the estrogen that people consume is linked to dairy products. Milk contains a natural amount of hormones, but at least 17% of cows are given rbST, a hormone that stimulates milk production by increasing an insulin-like hormone. People that consume a large amount of milk are at risk of hormone imbalances and even certain cancers. Buying organic milk removes the risk of these added hormones and any problems that might occur as a result.
Apples are always on the Dirty Dozen list, a list of foods that you should avoid due to high pesticides. In fact, apples are so bad, that more than 45 pesticides have been detected on them. Pesticides are also found in apple products (apple juice and applesauce) so it’s in your best interest to opt for organic apple products.
Peaches come in contact with as many as 60 pesticides and many of those stick to the delicious fuzzy fruit. Save yourself some trouble and opt for the organic versions. If you can’t afford them consider less pesticide-ridden fruit like oranges or watermelon.
When you go to add your cucumbers to your dinner salad they could contain as many as 86 different pesticides living on the skin. While peeling the skin can remove some of them, your best and safest bet is to choose organic cucumbers instead.
The standard variety tomato comes in contact with loads of pesticides that live on the skin from initial growth to the time when you pick them up and consume them. If you can’t grow your own your best bet would be purchasing from local farmers or farmer’s markets. Otherwise, opt for organic no matter what kind of tomatoes you’re eating.
It was once believed that Kale was one of the safer vegetables and it’s certainly one of the healthier ones. In recent years, the added pesticides on Kale have raised some red flags about how safe it is. The good news is that most organic farmers grow kale so it’s easy to find and not that expensive.
15. Collard Greens
If you’re from the South, Collard Greens are likely a staple in your diet. Unfortunately, like Kale, they have recently been added to the dirty dozen list due to their access to as many as 45 pesticides. Choose organic and if you can’t consider other leafy greens or other green veggies like cabbage or Brussel sprouts.
The skins to zucchini are similar to cucumbers, so it’s no surprise that pesticides like to cling to this delicious vegetable, too.
Blueberries are often a regular staple on the Dirty Dozen list. This little fruit tends to have access to as many as 50 pesticides at any time. If you can’t afford organic, frozen blueberries are less contaminated, but organic remains the safest bet.
18. Snap Peas
Snap peas, especially the ones that are imported, are filled with nasty chemicals and pesticides. You’re best off either buying frozen or choosing organic, which is obviously the best option.
Similar to peaches, this delectable fruit is often found on the Dirty Dozen list. If you opt to enjoy it, for the safest product buy from local farmers or pick up the organic nectarines in your supermarket.
20. Hot Peppers
A number of hot, chili peppers are known for being ridden with pesticides. Often even the organic options are relatively inexpensive so it’s best that you opt for organic when adding these peppers to your diet.