You’ve probably heard the argument that organic food is better for you quite a lot in recent years. Eating O’Naturel produce, in theory, means our bodies will be digesting fewer (or no) pesticides and improve our overall health and well-being.
Consuming only organic food also means that you don’t have to fight off nasty chemicals, terrible bacteria, bugs, and diseases that could contaminate your food and make you equally sick. It’s a little difficult to pick a side.
To make life a little easier, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) have completed a report that helps you sort out the dirty from the clean, or in more scientific terms, the fruits and vegetables with the highest amounts pesticide residue (the concentration of pesticides that doesn’t get washed off during cleaning). So, here are the eight fruits and vegetables you should always buy organic.
Pesticides cling on to the skin of apples like there’s no tomorrow. They stay on for long enough to seep into the skin, helped by the apple’s concave shape near the stem. A gross funnel for pesticides, if you will.
Those who grow Strawberry use jaw-dropping volumes of poisonous gasses, some that were even developed for chemical warfare (now banned by the Geneva convention). Now they are used to sterilize the ground before planting, killing every pest, weed and living thing in the soil.
In the sample the EWG collected, 97.3 percent of nectarines were found to contain pesticides. On top of this, they contain 33 chemical pesticides, according to the Dirty Dozen list.
Buying organic pears is particularly important for breastfeeding, as the pesticides used for pears interfere with normal growth and development.
By the time your favorite greens reach your kitchen, they’ve been treated with over 50 types of chemicals. Kale and lettuce are leafy greens that have a similar pesticidal fate. Some of the chemicals used are even cancerous.
Grapes (and raisins too) have over 50 types of pesticides. Imported grapes (i.e. from Chile) in particular are quite toxic. 86 percent of a sample was found to contain pesticides, regardless of grape color.
Domestic cherries contain a particularly high level of pesticide residue compared to imported cherries. Purchase organic cherries to avoid the chemicals and benefit from their qualities, such as vitamin C and fiber.
Biting into a fuzzy, sweetly flavored peach is one of the pleasures of summer, but makes sure it’s an organic one. Conventional peaches were number one on the dirty dozen list in 2009 and two in 2010. Now they still contain around 62 pesticides in regular production.
A tomato’s thin skin allows a lot of chemicals to be absorbed during processing. Cherry tomatoes, in particular, aren’t as fresh as you would think. One of the most commonly found chemicals is Endosulfan, a hormone disruptor, and a concerning risk to human health.
If you’ve got a bit of a green finger and want to keep your produce clean, you can get some good tips on the USDA’s website. Otherwise just be wise about what food you buy in general. No one’s asking you to go fully organic – for one, it’s bloody expensive, and foods are treated to be prime for human consumption.
These treatments are ultimately put in place to keep us from falling ill every other second. A good rule of thumb to go by is: if it looks radioactive, it probably shouldn’t go in your body. Also try to stay away from this amount of McDonald’s.