What Foods Should You Always Buy Organic?

Over the past couple years, the organic movement has rapidly picked up steam. Many health conscious individuals want to switch to the all natural organic products, but the price of organic foods has dissuaded them from doing so.

After doing some research about processed foods earlier this year, I decided I wanted to switch to organic. But when I went to Kroger to buy these organic items, I was disheartened by the high prices of the organic products. As a poor college student, I realized that a complete switch to an organic diet was not within my budget. So, I began to shift my strategy. I might not be able to switch completely to organic, but I could still eat some organic foods. I needed to narrow down which foods truly warranted an organic purchase.

Americans can eliminate many pesticides, antibiotics and hormones from their diets if they switch just a few of their purchases to organic. Here is a short list of foods that you should consider switching to an organic option:

  1. Apples -This popular lunchbox favorite topped the list of the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Dirty Dozen list of the most pesticide ridden fruits and vegetables. They tested positive for at least one pesticide residue in 99 percent of cases. With apples being the fruit of choice for so many children and adults, by switching to organic you would be ridding your family’s diet of harmful pesticide exposure.
  2. Meat – Most meat is produced from livestock that have been injected with growth hormones and antibiotics. In addition, corn fed cows are often times unhealthy, which creates a product with a much higher fat content than grass-fed organic meat. Antibiotic resistant E. coli and other microbes that are present in our meat supply are becoming increasingly dangerous to humans. So, switching to organic meat is an important step to purifying your diet.
  3. Strawberries – This fruit was second on EWG’s Dirty Dozen list right behind apples. The porous exterior of strawberries makes rinsing of pesticides that were used in their production difficult. Ninety percent of strawberries contain pesticides.
  4. Peanut Butter – Children’s lunches would not be complete without the traditional PB&J, so by swapping out your traditional JIF with an organic peanut butter, eliminates harmful pesticides and potential carcinogens in your family’s diet. For more wonderful information about the health benefits of peanut butter, check out this article from Positive Health and Wellness!
  5. Lettuce, Spinach and Celery – Spinach and celery were the most pesticide ridden vegetables on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list.

Looking at the list you can see that 3 of the 5 things listed are produce. Produce tends to contain a high volume of pesticides, so it is important to keep this in mind when deciding between organic and non-organic produce. Some fruits with peels or an outer barrier from the pesticides, such as pineapples, cantaloupes, watermelons and bananas, are much safer to buy not organic.

I also did not include milk on my list, because experts say that drinking skim milk (or switching to skim milk), even if it’s not organic, can drastically reduce ingestion of the growth hormone and estrogen.

The higher the fat content the higher the concentration of estrogen. So if you can’t give up your 1-2{3f67d5d22d5361fa72c7bd5e8e18baf70d398a2d581c9e99367caf83f4ceb942} milk, it would probably be a good idea to switch to an organic option.

For additional information check out the Dirty Dozen list compiled by the
EWG: The EWG also created a list countering the Dirty Dozen list called the Clean 15, which lists the un-organic produce that contained the least amount of pesticides and chemicals in their study.

For even further reading check out these articles:
More Data Tying Human Illness To Farm Antibiotics
Reports Support Organic Produce But Not Milk

This blog post was contributed by  team member, Amy Hollenkamp, RD