Billeater: Why and When Organic Food is Worth It
Organic foods have long been praised for their numerous health benefits. Organic farmers prohibit the use of pesticides on their produce, creating higher quality food that does not contain a potentially harmful mix of chemicals. Ideally, we could all eat organic produce all the time. In reality, most of us can't afford to eat organic all the time.
Pesticides have a connection to a long list of diseases, including cancer and nervous system disorders. Pesticides are nearly everywhere--in fruits, vegetables, meat, and even drinking water. It can be hard to avoid exposure to them, but people who consume organic foods on a daily basis can see fast results in their health and energy levels.
Organic is Pricey
An organic lifestyle, while no doubt healthy, can also be very expensive. Many organic fruits and vegetables are twice the cost of their conventional counterparts. It's important to know when to buy organic products that will provide greater health benefits and when to stick with traditional foods. For example, onions, mango, asparagus, grapefruit, and cantaloupe are naturally low in pesticides. Thick skins protect some, while others need fewer pesticides because fewer insects prey on them. Going organic on these foods to avoid pesticides doesn't make a lot of sense.
Just as some types of produce come to market with little toxic residue, others arrive with extremely high amounts of toxins and harmful pesticides. Buying their organic counterparts can greatly lower your risk of exposure.
Washing Not Enough
Although consumers can wash their vegetables before eating them, this only reduces pesticide exposure by small amounts. For example, the soft skin on celery absorbs pesticides, locking them within the vegetable. Other fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries and peaches, are often subject to rigorous pesticide use to destroy the insects that prey on them.
Even stringent washing might not be enough to remove most of the pesticides on this produce once it's in your home. The tests in the study that identified the "Dirty Dozen" were performed on produce that was already washed, yet still showed high levels of pesticides.
Go Organic on the Dirty Dozen
Nicknamed "The Dirty Dozen," these foods include cherries, kale/collard greens, strawberries, domestic blueberries, celery, nectarines, apples, potatoes, imported grapes, spinach, peaches, and sweet bell peppers. Peaches, celery, and strawberries are the worst culprits. You can drastically reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals without breaking the bank by going organic just on these 12 fruits and vegetables.
Jessica Bosari writes for the money-saving site, Billeater.com. The
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