Which Fruits and Vegetables Should You Buy Organic?
Despite washing and peeling the produce you buy, there still may be unsafe levels of toxic pesticides present if they haven't been grown organically. Read on for more information on organic fruits and vegetables.
According to trials done by the EWG, peaches had the highest likelihood in the fruit-offender category of multiple pesticides on a single sample—86.6 percent had two or more pesticide residues— followed by nectarines (85.3 percent) and apples (82.3 percent).
There’s no doubt that apples are good for you—but the EWG found that apples contained the most pesticides of all the top-contaminated fruits, with some combination of up to 50 pesticides found on the samples tested.
Sweet Bell Peppers
The vegetable found with the most pesticides detected on a single sample and the most pesticides overall, sweet bell peppers may be especially disadvantaged because we typically don’t peel them before we eat them.
Crunch! Sadly, super-snackable celery was found to be the vegetable with the highest of percentage of samples that tested positive for the highest number pesticides (94.1 percent), followed by sweet bell peppers (81.5 percent) and potatoes (81.0 percent).
Before you send your child off to daycare with one again, know this: Of the fruits evaluated by the EWG, nectarines had the highest percentage of samples test positive for pesticides (97.3 percent), followed by peaches (96.6 percent) and apples (93.6 percent).
Strawberries are a kid favorite because they’re oh-so-sweet and can be eaten by the handful. But especially if your family does eat lots of these, consider switching to organic: The EWG found eight pesticides on a single sample in its study.
Why be concerned about
pesticides on cherries and other produce? “Because the toxic effects of pesticides are worrisome, not well understood, or in some cases completely unstudied, shoppers are wise to minimize exposure to pesticides whenever possible,” says the EWG.
If you knew there might be nine pesticides on the head of lettuce your family was going to eat tonight, would you still buy it? Something to consider when you’re next choosing between organic and conventionally grown salad greens.
Grapes grown outside of the U.S. were tested by the EWG and found to have fare more pesticides than domestic ones. So if you’re not going to choose organic grapes, at least try for ones that are grown in the U.S.—and, of course, eating locally is the best option!
Yeesh: These treats scored a 65 on the EWG’s possible 100 points for toxicity. But if you opt for organic, instead, what exactly would that mean? Here, the Mayo Clinic details the differences between conventionally and organically grown produce.
If you’re looking for your family to benefit from the iron, calcium, and lots of vitamins in spinach, the EWG recommends choosing an organic variety. (Non-organic scored 60 out of a possible toxic 100 points.)
The EWG puts potatoes as number 10 on its list of most-contaminated produce. In fact, pediatrician and author Dr. Alan Greene even puts potatoes on his list of top five musts for parents interested in making the switch to organic; read his reasons here.
The Worst Offenders
To recap, these 12 fruits and vegetables carry the greatest amount of pesticides (in order from most to least): Celery; Peaches; Strawberries; Apples; Nectarines; Sweet Bell Peppers; Spinach; Cherries; Potatoes; Grapes (Imported); Lettuce; and Pears.
The Safest 12
Which was the top produce found to have the least amount of pesticides by the EWG? Onions; Avocado; Sweet corn (frozen); Pineapple; Mango; Sweet peas (frozen); Asparagus; Kiwi; Bananas; Cabbage; Broccoli; Eggplant.
Why is Organic Important for Babies and Toddlers?
Pesticides may harm a developing child by blocking the absorption of important food nutrients necessary for normal healthy growth. And if a child’s excretory system is not fully developed, the body may not fully remove pesticides.
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