Shopping Smart and Healthy with the EWG Safe Produce Guide
Why Choose Organic?
The benefits of eating organic foods, especially produce are many. First studies have found that organic produce is likely to have up to 50% more vitamins than “conventional” produce.
Furthermore, the pesticides, fungicides, and artificial fertilizers can have a negative impact on human health, including the nervous system of both adults and especially the developing nervous system of children. Be aware that the body can often have a problem processing these chemicals and as a defense mechanism it may store these offending substances in the fat – this can lead to increased fat production!
Finally, Organic is better for both the environment and better for the economy as it creates more jobs. Since organic farms don’t use pesticides they rely on more traditional methods of cultivation which is more labor intensive.
Eating Organic on a Budget
However, in this economy many people have to think about their budget just as much as their health. The good news is that you can eat healthy AND save money by knowing exactly which vegetables should always be organic and other vegetables that are safe to eat as non-organic.
The following is a list of vegetables that you should always eat organic as research has found they are far more likely to absorb pesticides than other produce. The list is in order of organic necessity (e.g. apples must always be bought organically as it easily absorbs pesticides). The Environmental Working Group refers to this list as “The Dirty Dozen”.
Produce That Should be Organic:
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Snap peas (Imported)
- Hot Peppers
- Kale/Collard Greens
For those on a budget, the following list are the fruits and vegetables found with the least amount of pesticide residues. They are listed in order of “cleanliness” thus earning the moniker: “The Clean Fifteen”
Produce Least Affected by Pesticides
- Sweet Corn*
- Sweet Peas
- Cantaloupe (Domestic)
- Sweet Potatoes
*Conventional sweet corn can be GMO. Currently 1% of corn-on-the-cob is GMO, while up to 40% of frozen and canned corn is GMO. All papayas from Hawaii are GMO.
Being aware of these general rules can help you improve your health while living within you budget.