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10 Foods to Buy Organic

Written by Adrienne Wolter, Community Blogger | Sep 16, 2014 9:08 AM

Organic foods are usually more expensive than their non-organic counterparts. Which ones are worth splurging for, and what are tastier or have greater nutritional benefits than generics? It can be hard to tell which items to reach for, but I’m here to save you from grocery store stress.

Last week I wrote about which ten foods and consumables are okay to buy generic. Today I give you a list of ten foods that – due to safety reasons – are definitely worth the extra expense. These ten foods are best bought in organic form:

1. Apples

Apples – whether you eat them in pure, sauce or juice form – rank at the top of the Dirty Dozen list. Tests show that more than 40 different pesticides can be found on apples, and so they’re worth buying organic. Pesticides are prevalent because bugs and fungi pose a serious threat to orchards, and farmers need to combat them with chemicals. The organic versions may not look as pretty, but they’re loaded with interior nutritional benefits.


Photo by Jennifer Chait

2. Berries

All of these fruity little delicacies can carry loads of pesticides. Strawberries and blueberries sit at the top of the dirty list, but raspberries, cranberries and cherries are also foods to be bought in organic form. Almost 60 different pesticides have been found on strawberries, while almost 50 can be found on blueberries. Their frozen counterparts seem to be less contaminated, and can be, I as mentioned in my last post, 10 Groceries to Buy Generic, bought in generic form.

3. Tomatoes

As far as tomatoes go, it’s best to buy organic or grow your own. They consistently land near the top of the Dirty Dozen list, with up to 13 different pesticides appearing on them. These pesticides are also found in the more popular, processed versions of tomatoes – ketchup, tomato sauce and tomato paste (especially during October – which is National Pizza Month!). So if you’re in the market for anything tomato based, reach for the organic. Plus, a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry shows that organic ketchup offers more antioxidants than generics.

4. Celery

This crunchy stalk is another food on the Dirty Dozen list. Over 60 pesticides can be found on celery, and it should be bought organic. Luckily, this is a common item found at the local market and finding organic varieties isn't too challenging.


Photo by Thomas Hawk

5. Peaches

Peaches can carry more than 60 different pesticides. Nectarines are also dirty and both should be bought organic. Canned varieties carry fewer pesticides and are safe to buy generic.

6. Potatoes

Americans love potatoes, but do they know how dirty they can be? Over 35 pesticides have been found on potatoes. Go for the organic ones, or reach for a sweet potato (it will carry fewer pesticides).

7. Fatty Meats

Lunch meats were on my list of generic buys, but fatty meats are not. Beef, in particular, is worth splurging for organic. It’s not that beef and other fatty meats carry lots of pesticides, but the pesticides found in them are ones you definitely want to avoid. Plus, organic meat cows, like organic dairy cows, need to have access to a pasture during grazing season. Their diets and living conditions are somewhat decent, so the meat will deliver greater benefits to the human consumer. Who wants to eat a cow that was pumped with chemicals and lived in its own muck?

8. Eggs

When eating eggs, you want ones from chickens that have had low pesticide exposure. When the chickens are pumped with chemicals, you can’t be sure what’s getting into those eggs. Opt for organic to avoid any questionable chemical consumption.

9. Leafy Greens

Spinach is the worst leafy green where pesticides are concerned – with more than 50 appearing on the plant. Frozen spinach brings nearly as many pesticides, and canned is only slightly better.

Lettuce, kale, collards and other leafy greens rank pretty poorly too. With all that surface area, these foods carry loads of pesticides and chemicals. Don’t miss out on the many health benefits of these foods, though – just opt for the organic ones.

10. Baby Foods

In my article about buying generic foods, I said canned foods were a safe purchase. However, baby food is one that you’ll want to buy organic. Little infants are more vulnerable to pesticides, so you want to eliminate them from babies’ diets as much as possible. When pear, sweet potato and green bean baby foods were sampled for pesticides, all of them held traces. So whether you’re buying them premade or making them yourself, make sure you’re buying organic.

The next time you head to the store (or market!), you’ll know which foods to reach for. Swapping organics for generics – in the cases of these items listed above – will expel countless pesticides from your kitchen and, ultimately, your digestive system. Do the healthy thing – buy organic!

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