Tips for Buying Organic Produce

Organic foods are everywhere, but does it really make a difference to buy organic for all fruits and vegetables?

IMG_8582

USDA_organic_seal

The organic label to look for on products.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has developed organic labeling standards for farmers to follow specific practices from farm to table, including soil and water quality, pest control, livestock practices, and rules for food additives. The environment has benefited when it comes to soil and water conservation and less pollution, but what about the consumers themselves?

Studies show the nutrient content of organic foods is comparable to those that are inorganic. Stanford University researchers found “little difference in nutritional content, aside from slightly higher phosphorous levels in many organic foods, and a higher omega-3 fatty acid content in organic milk and chicken.”

Even so, much more research is necessary to determine if organic foods are significantly healthier and safer than inorganic foods. Until then, here are five easy ways to reduce pesticide residue without buying organic:

  • IMG_9864

    Tomatoes and cherry tomatoes are both included on the “Dirty Dozen” list.

    Wash your hands for 20 seconds

  • Cut away any damaged or bruised areas
  • Wash produce before you peel it
  • Dry produce with a clean cloth
  • Throw away the outer leaves

The Environmental Working Group, which produces an updated list of produce based on pesticide testing each year, identifies produce with the highest pesticide residue as the “Dirty Dozen.” If you choose to buy organic fruits and veggies, these foods should make the list and will help reduce exposure to pesticides.

  1. Strawberries
  2. Apples
  3. Nectarines
  4. Peaches
  5. Celery
  6. Grapes
  7. Cherries
  8. Spinach
  9. Tomatoes
  10. Sweet bell peppers
  11. IMG_8761

    Avocados, part of the “Clean Fifteen.”

    Cherry tomatoes

  12. Cucumbers

Likewise, The Clean Fifteen are fruits and veggies with the least amount of pesticide residues and may not be work spending more for organic.

  1. Avocado
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Cabbage
  5. Sweet peas
  6. Onion
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mango
  9. Papaya
  10. Kiwi
  11. Eggplant
  12. Honeydew melon
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Cantaloupe
  15. Cauliflower

Sources:

  1. http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1355685
  2. http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/organic-food-no-more-nutritious-than-conventionally-grown-food-201209055264
  3. http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/040715p40.shtml
  4. https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php

Guest contributor Kate Moran, RD, LDN, lives in Naples and is the sports dietitian for the Minnesota Twins, based out of the Twins Academy in Fort Myers, and owner of The Educated Plate LLC. Follow Kate on Facebook and Twitter and find her blog here.

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One Comment

Tom OB

Please,the environmental working group is a fraud and most intelligent people know it. They work for the organic trade and like politicians they can lie about any subject. Numerous,very many scientists have debunked everything they say but like politicians they just keep on saying it until someone believes you. Bottom line people eat more fruits and vegetables organic or conventional and enjoy life. Farmers have families too and want their kids to grow strong and healthy and it is working without organics or with.

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