Have you been walking the grocery aisles and seeing “organic this, organic that”? Organic foods don’t generally look that much different in comparison if at all, but they’re price sure seems to be. How can you be sure it’s worth the extra money to invest in what you think is good quality foods if they’re labeled as organic. Considering from country to country the regulations change when defining the term organic, it is important to make sure to always buy locally and always buy from your own nation if you want the purest form of organic produce and meat.

There are different characteristics to look for when buying organic produce and buying organic animal products. For starters, buying organic produce means they are grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and ionizing radiation. Whereas buying organic animal products means the animals do not take antibiotics or growth hormones. Buying organic animal products, according to USDA regulations also includes that the animals eat organic feed, must spend time outdoors and have enough space to live comfortably. But do you have to buy all fruits and veggies and meat organic? This is not always the case. Any fruits or veggies where you do not consume the peeling such as oranges, banana, avocado, pineapple etc. may not be crucial to buy organic because of the peeling acts as a protectant shield. Generally speaking, anything that you might have to wash before you eat is well worth buying organic.

1. Apples

When it comes to pesticides apples are known to be one of the highest contaminated crops. If there was ever a fruit that you wanted to make sure to buy organic, this is it. Apples become contaminated from the pesticide spraying operations. The pesticides then adhere to the skin of the apple and can even trickle into the core due to the fact that it has a concave shape. No amount of washing can help that! The best thing to do is make sure you look for locally sourced organic apples and stay clear of the pesticides.

2. Celery

Celery is a tricky crop to grow. It likes fertile soil and cool temperatures as well as needing constant moisture. They’re considered an all year crop because they are grown in the summer in the north and are grown in winter in the south. Skip the risk of contaminated fertilizers in the soil your celery is grown in and buy organic!

3. Cucumbers

Regular cucumbers are in the top 10 for having high pesticide usage. They also may have synthetic waxes on the skin (to preserve moisture) that contain a number of pesticides. It is best to buy organic for this reason. At the very least if organic is not accessible to you be sure to peel off the skin before you eat your cucumber.

4. Cherry Tomatoes/Tomatoes

Although organic tomatoes may look smaller in size they are actually filled with higher amounts of vitamin C. The reasons for this phenomenon is that regular tomatoes are treated with artificial fertilizers and pesticides whereas organic tomatoes are forced to guard themselves. The stress that organic tomatoes go through to help promote healthy-giving chemicals can help produce a better nutritional value of vitamin C.

5. Peaches

Peaches are high up on the list when it comes pesticides levels. It is recommended that it would be better for you to consume canned peaches than to eat non-organic peaches, woah!

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6. Grapes

Farmers like to use pesticides on grapes because they are known to mold, attract insects and they can ripen quickly. The pesticides help subside all these negative features however it isn’t great for your body to absorb all these chemicals. Over 50 pesticide residues were found on grapes in a recent study. It is best to find locally grown grapes.

7. Collard Greens

Although collard greens may be known to be a hardier vegetable they still showed high levels of pesticides. The same applies to Kale. Both of these are generally easy to find organic but if not opt for a safer alternative such as cabbage or broccoli.

8. Nectarines

Although nectarines are very similar to peaches they are still their own fruit. Like a peach in its shape and similar in taste a nectarine doesn’t have any fuzzy textured skin. Nectarines are also considered a highly contaminated tree fruit. The higher levels tend to show more in imported nectarines so it is best to buy organic or at the very least always buy local if it is in season.

9. Potatoes

Grown in the ground potatoes are known to be North America’s favorite vegetable. This delicious vegetable can be prepared in a variety of ways such as mashed, baked, barbequed you name it there is a way to make them so that almost everyone will love them. However, because they require nutrient soil they are often grown with artificial fertilizers and have been tested that the can contain a variety of pesticides and it is best to buy them organic. On the contrary sweet potatoes contain much lower levels of pesticides and are recommended if you do not have access to regular organic potatoes.

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10. Spinach

Spinach is a great leafy green full of nutrition such as protein, fiber, a plethora of vitamins and so much more. The use of pesticides can quickly diminish it’s health benefits it has on your body. There were over 50 different pesticides found on spinach in a recent study. If you think frozen spinach might contain fewer pesticides, think again it was just as bad. Canned spinach showed decreased amounts but it still wasn’t recommended. When in doubt, buy organic.

11. Snap Peas

Snap peas, as well as string beans, were both tested for high levels of pesticides. The pesticides are used to control insect attacks but the high levels of toxic chemicals may not be worth it. Try to always buy these organic.

12. Strawberries

Strawberries can be prone to fungus growth which encourages farmers to spray pesticides on them. Unfortunately, pesticide residue remains present when they get purchased at the grocery store or market. In a recent study, there were more than 40 different kinds of pesticides found on the strawberries. If you can’t find organic strawberries it’s best to stay clear and try a different fruit like a pineapple.

13. Bell Peppers

These beautiful sweet bell peppers are produced in a variety of appealing colors but each year they continue to make the high levels of pesticide list. It is best to buy these organic!

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14. Hot Peppers

Just like their relative, the bell pepper, it is best to buy these hot peppers organic as they have shown high levels of pesticides. Since it doesn’t take much pepper to add spice to your dish, best to spend the tiny extra to get organic to bring up the heat in your favorite dishes!

15. Cherries

Like strawberries and other berries, cherries are high up on the list. Farmers like to use pesticides because they are prone to insect harm and to control bacteria growth. However, due to this fact, there are high levels of pesticides present on cherries. It may be in your best interest to buy these organic!

16. Chicken

Buying organic chicken is a good idea because they may contain less salt and other additives. Most regular chickens (even sometimes, natural chickens) are injected with salt, water, and preservatives to help boost their flavor and to add moisture. Which may make your next chicken dinner taste better but it may not be the healthiest choice. Since non-organic chicken is often injected with antibiotics, it may create drug-resistance strains of bacteria, which just isn’t good for us. Organic chickens are allowed access outdoors and are not injected with antibiotics except to prevent pain and or death. If this is the case the chicken is no longer labeled organic and will not be sold. It can be better for you and our environment to buy organic chicken. but be sure to not mix up natural chicken and organic chicken, as they have different meanings.

17. Eggs

Considering eggs are a by-product of chicken the same qualifications apply to eggs when making sure you’re getting the best quality when buying organic eggs. Since backyard chicken coops are becoming more and more popular, you may even be able to buy some fresh eggs from a local!

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18. Pork

Purchasing organic pork is a good idea because conventional pigs injected with vaccinations, hormones and pharmaceuticals. This is used to help make the pigs grow faster and fattier, grow more meat in a shorter period of time. By consuming non-organic meat you are indirectly consuming these pharmaceuticals, which you most likely would not choose willingly. Secondly, buying organic pork can be better on our environment. Considering organic pork is not injected with chemicals and pharmaceuticals it can help dilute the pharmaceutical waste. Also, a lot of organic meat uses less packaging, and we all know the less plastic the better it will be for our earth.

19. Beef

For the same reasons as eating organic chicken and pork the same applies to beef. To prevent all the extra additives and chemicals it is beneficial to buy beef organic. Don’t let the extra costs scare you, you’re likely in for a high quality meal.

20. Milk

Buying organic milk means that your milk comes from cows that graze. This also includes that their diet is 30%  grass-fed, the rest of the cow’s feed must be grown without any genetically modified seeds, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides. Whereas conventional cows are living in cramped environments being fed corn. Many health experts agree that organic milk is worth the extra money because it contains no antibiotics or growth hormones. As well as the organic production process is more sustainable and humane in comparison to some conventional dairy farming practices.

Clarissa Vanner

Clarissa loves experimenting with food of all cultures to make unique healthy dishes. When she’s not browsing Pinterest for new recipe inspiration she likes to pick up a DIY project and use her creative hands to make art or crafts. In her down time you can find her watching the latest documentaries on Netflix or going for nature walks.

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