March 28, 2016

Top 10 Organic Foods to Buy

By Selene Wilkinson

By choosing organic food we decrease our exposure to pesticides and other chemicals, all while supporting a sustainable and environmentally friendly agricultural community. Unfortunately the cost of organics can be upwards of 50% higher compared to conventionally grown food. The issue then becomes affordability.

Considering the impact pesticides and other harmful substances have on our health and environment, should the question then be – can we afford not to buy organic?

Luckily there are options. By carefully choosing the food we purchase both organically and non-organically, we can decrease our exposure to pesticides and other chemicals while not placing a burden on our bank account.

The following is a list of the top ten products that contain the highest level of chemicals and therefore should be purchased organically.

1. Peaches
Peaches are the number one fruit that should be purchased organically. This juicy fruit has been shown to contain ten times the amount of pesticides than any other fruit. The contaminants include the cancer-linked fungicides captan and iprodione, and the neurotoxin pesticide methyl parathion. Pesticide levels on peaches are shown to be repeatedly above legal limits. That should be enough to convince you to buy organic when you reach for that peach.

Conventional apples can be sprayed with up to 36 different types of pesticides. Furthermore, 91% of tested apples in Canada were shown to be contaminated. Peeling an apple decreases the amount of pesticides absorbed, but will not completely eliminate the chemical residue. To get all the fibre and vitamin C without the pesticides, buy organic apples.

3. Bell Peppers
Bell Peppers have thin skins and are heavily sprayed with pesticides which make them the most contaminated vegetable available. When eating these vegetables that are packed with vitamin A and C, go organic to get all of the nutrients without the toxins.

4. Strawberries
Some conventional strawberries are colour enhanced with a substance containing the fungicide captan, as well as containing a number of other pesticides. Imported strawberries contain the highest amount of chemicals, as the pesticide regulations may not be as strict in other countries. The next time you dive into a bowel of the most popular berry fruit in the world, make sure they are organic.

5. Celery
Celery lacks a protective outer layer, which makes the many different chemicals required for conventional growth almost impossible to wash off. Stick with organic celery to add more crunch and flavour to this healthy snack that can decrease blood pressure.

6. Grapes
Grapes are high in both antioxidants and chemicals. Vineyards can be sprayed with over 30 different types of pesticides throughout the growing seasons. Because grapes have an extremely permeable, thin skin, even peeling will not eliminate the residues. Also remember to keep organic in mind when you are indulging in your favourite glass of wine.

7. Spinach
This super green food can be sprayed with over 20 different types of pesticides before it reaches your dinner table. Buying organic will give you all the strength of Popeye, without the absorption of toxic chemicals.

8. Pears
Although the fungicide methyl parathion was banned from use on pears (but continues to be used on both strawberries and peaches) studies show it is still a common residue on these sweet smelling fruits. Choose organic when it comes to pears to absorb all of the vitamin C, copper and fibre, without the toxins.

9. Cherries
These sweet little treats are not only full of powerful antioxidants, beta carotene, and vitamin C, but also numerous chemicals. Eat organic cherries to skip the toxins but gain the therapeutic properties which treat ailments such as gout, heart disease, and diabetes.

10. Animal products
Due to antibiotics and other chemicals such as the bovine human growth hormone (rbGH) found in conventional milk, dairy products, eggs and meat, these products should be purchased organically where possible to reduce the amount of pesticide exposure.

If buying organic is not an option, the following list of foods have the lowest levels of pesticides and therefore are the safest non-organic nutritional foods to eat:

• Asparagus
• Avocados
• Bananas
• Broccoli
• Cauliflower
• Kiwis
• Mangoes
• Papayas
• Pineapples
• Onions

Eating organically is extremely important to decrease your exposure to harmful chemicals. Even though it may cost you a little more, by choosing your food carefully you can remain close to your food budget. Your body and the environment will thank you for it.