As we begin to understand the subtle health effects of very low dose herbicides and pesticides in and on our food, buying organic produce becomes more of a necessity. However, in these hard economic times, I get asked a lot if it’s really necessary to buy everything organic. The answer is No. If a food is known to have high amounts of pesticide residues, buy organic and those with the lowest amount, buy traditional. If you have a lot of food or other sensitivities, have high estrogen or hormone levels or neurological issues, buy everything in between organic. Some herbicides stimulate the estrogen receptors and your body thinks it’s estrogen so if you have high levels or a family history of prostate or breast cancer, you may be more sensitive.
The Environmental Working Group has a shoppers guide to produce listing many foods from highest pesticide residue to lowest and to get it, you must sign up at www.ewg.org . The short list is below.
There is what is called “The Dirty Dozen” that is foods with the highest amount of pesticide residues: Peaches, Apples, Sweet Bell Peppers, Celery, Nectarines, Strawberries, Cherries, Pears, Grapes, Spinach, Lettuce and Potatoes.
The “Cleaner Dozen” or the 12 least contaminated foods are: Onions, Avocado, Sweet Corn (frozen), Pineapples, Mango, Asparagus, Sweet Peas (frozen) Kiwi, Bananas, Cabbage, Broccoli, and Papaya.
Wash all produce thoroughly, buy local and enjoy!