As you walk through the produce section of your grocery store, you are presented with numerous options. Will you choose the organic or the non-organic piece of fruit? Will you choose the locally grown vegetable or the one that’s shipped across the country? Will you pay more for higher quality foods?
Buying organic produce is a challenge in many places because of availability, cost, and confusing labels. Therefore, you may have to make some hard choices about which foods to buy organic and when to settle for non-organic varieties. Even if you’re on a tight budget, these are the most important foods to buy organic to benefit your health and reduce the risks of pesticide exposure.
Risks of Ingesting Pesticides
Pesticides kill pests, but they also affect humans who are regularly exposed to high amounts of them. Pesticides enter our bodies by eating foods that have been sprayed with them and also through inhalation and the skin.
Certain people are highly sensitive to pesticides and suffer from skin and respiratory symptoms when in contact with them. Mild symptoms of pesticide poisoning include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and irritation of the nose and throat. Moderate pesticide poisoning symptoms are vomiting, abdominal cramps, and blurred vision. Severe signs of pesticide poisoning include breathing trouble, muscle spasms, and unconsciousness.
Apples are, by far, one of the most important foods to by organic because they are so often associated with pesticide use. Farmers use pesticides on apples because these fruits are prone to insects and fungus. The outside skin of an apple is highly nutritious, so you don’t want to simply peel off the skin of an apple to reduce your pesticide risk. Also, be mindful of how the apples are grown for applesauce and apple juice that you buy because these products likely contain pesticides too.
Grapes are another fruit that should always be bought organic, when possible. Grapes are grown to eat and also to make wine and raisins, so it’s a smart idea to look for wine and raisins with organic labels too. Always wash grapes well before eating them, even if they are organic grapes. For our Grape Seed Extract, we ensure all our red grapes from the local vineyard are tested by a California State Certified lab to be 100 percent free of all pesticides and chemicals.
Spinach grown by traditional, non-organic methods is known to have the residue of dozens of pesticides. This is true of fresh spinach, canned spinach, and frozen spinach. In addition to spinach, other leafy greens, such as kale and collard greens, should also be bought organic as much as possible to reduce pesticide consumption.
Tomatoes are often sprayed with pesticides as well and are always best when grown organically. This is because you always eat the skin of tomatoes without pealing it off. Gently scrub tomatoes you buy before eating them. For our Lycopene supplements, we use our own fish fertilizer to grow these tomatoes, which is free from all pesticides and chemicals.
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants that are great for the body, but they also are often sprayed with pesticides to help them retain their desired shape, color, and texture. Testing has shown that blueberries can have more than 50 pesticides on them, although frozen blueberries sometimes have less contamination.
Meat production practices are often questionable and make even the most meat-loving carnivores question their choices at times. Beef fat contains pesticides more often than beef muscle, and the same is true for chicken thighs and pork fat. In addition to pesticides, it’s also important to know where your meat comes from to avoid exposure to potentially harmful hormones and antibiotics.