Buying organic fruits and vegetables is important – some more so than others. It can be expensive to buy organic, though, so I thought I would give you some guidelines on which foods you should always choose organic, and which ones you can settle for conventionally-grown.
Why buy organic?
There are five great reasons to buy organic foods.
Reduce your exposure to pesticides
Research has repeatedly shown that pesticides increase your risk for cancer. They also inhibit your body’s immune system (making you more susceptible to major diseases) and can even affect brain function.
There have also been studies that have shown that women who have been exposed to pesticides have an increased risk of giving birth to babies with birth defects. If you’d like to know more about all the different effects of pesticides on humans, kidsforsavingearth.org has a great summary.
Organically-grown food is better for the environment
The use of pesticides has a profound adverse effect on the environment. They are damaging to water, soil, and wildlife. Pesticides that get soaked into the soil run off into our water systems, killing millions of fish every year. Pesticides also add to air pollution, and some even harm the ozone layer, which contributes to global warming. Pesticides also take a very long time to break down, which means their adverse affects continue over a long period of time.
More vitamins and minerals
It’s a fact that organically-grown fruits and vegetables retain more of their natural vitamins than non-organic foods do. This chart shows you what a difference there is between the two.
Help farmers and their families
Pesticides are such strong, harsh chemicals that you can imagine what long-term exposure does to the people who work on farms. Researchers have shown a link between pesticides and asthma in farm workers. The regular exposure also increases a farm worker’s risk of cancer.
If you’ve ever tasted organic produce, you know it tastes very different from conventionally-grown foods. Even after washing your fruits and vegetables, it’s not the same. When you buy non-organic foods, you are definitely sacrificing taste!
Which foods are most important to buy organic?
You know all the reasons to buy organic, but we also know buying organic is more expensive. One way to decide which foods to buy organic is based on which foods tend to retain the most pesticides. The most contaminated foods are the ones you want to try to buy organic as often as possible, if not always. The least contaminated ones might be the ones where you can choose non-organic and save a little money. The Environmental Working Group produced a guide of the most and least contaminated produce, and they include the following:
Sweet bell peppers
You can download and print the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide, which you can take with you whenever you go to the store. They will also send you tags with the same information that you can hook to your shopping bags.
I hope this article has given you a better understanding of why you should choose organic foods when you can, and which foods are most important to buy organic. When you do choose inorganic foods, don’t forget to always wash those foods as thoroughly as possible. There’s an all-natural produce cleaner called Eat Cleaner that you can buy in a spray or in wipes (for eating on the go) that has no smell or taste, and it gets rid of pesticide residue, as well as E. coli and Salmonella. I’ve read some rave reviews about Eat Cleaner from people who are very knowledgeable in the field of environmentalism. I think it’s worth a try if you buy non-organic produce.
If you are curious about going organic and think you might like to start moving in that direction, let us know how it goes! And if you already shop organic when you can, I’d love to hear from you too. What made you go organic? How much do you think it affects your food bill? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!