It’s a constant battle at the grocery store. The healthy eater in you wants to buy everything organic and eat clean all the time, but the budgeter in you balks at the typically higher prices of organically grown produce.
Why not make both halves happy? Learn the 12 foods that are definitely worth buying organic and the 15 for which buying organically isn’t so necessary right here!
Foods to Buy Organically-Grown
The main issue with buying organically-grown produce is that you want to avoid ingesting as many pesticides as possible. While eating more fruits and vegetables will always be better for you than not, eating potentially toxic chemicals at the same time isn’t ideal.
Many of the foods on this list have thin skins that allow contaminants to pass more easily into the produce. This means that even after washing and peeling, the chemical residue could still be in the food.
Strawberries - thin skins allow pesticides to pass through easily. Plus, organic strawberries taste better and are usually more nutritious.
Apples - tested samples contain an average of 4.4 pesticides
Cherries - organic cherries get expensive, making it tempting to go conventional. However, 30% of tested cherries contain iprodione, a potential carcinogen
Pears - like other think-skinned fruits contain traces of pesticides
Spinach (and other leafy greens, such as kale) - the porous leaves soak up pesticides, making them a dangerous source. However, organic spinach is readily available in supermarkets either fresh or frozen.
Peaches - about 93% of tested peaches contain pesticides
Cucumbers - a lot of pesticides are typically used to grow cucumbers. Plus, they are often coated with a wax that helps preserve moisture and also unfortunately traps chemicals.
Celery - like spinach, celery is porous and can soak up chemicals you’d rather not be eating
Potatoes - it might be surprising but potatoes have the most pesticides out of all the tested produce. Living underground means they soak up all the pesticides sprayed on the soil.
Sweet Bell Peppers - again, thin skins mean harboring pesticides
Grapes - are susceptible to a number of pests which means many pesticides are used in their production. Plus, it’s tempting to grab a handful to snack on without even washing them, a big no-no.
Tomatoes - organic tomatoes are another expensive piece of produce, but their thin skins allow in the enemy. Purchasing organic canned tomatoes and other tomato products can help reduce the burden.
Foods that are OK to buy conventionally-grown
Now that you know which foods are the most important to buy organically-grown, it’s time to please your budgeter side. Some fruits and vegetables don’t soak up as much of the pesticides used on them. Also, some types of produce simply aren’t as vulnerable to pests, meaning they don’t require as many pesticides to ensure a healthy crop.
Avocados - the thick peel of the avocado keeps this fruit safe and clean
Pineapples - despite the fact that tons of pesticides are used in pineapple production, the thick skin keeps the flesh safe to eat
Onions - as you might imagine, there are few pests that enjoy chowing down on fresh onions, limiting the need for pesticide use in onion farming
Sweet Corn - with its thick, protective peel, sweet corn is one of the cleanest conventionally-grown foods you can buy
Eggplant - is somewhat borderline as its skin is only thick enough to keep out some pesticides
Papaya - the thick skin protects the flesh
Mango - the fruit is safer, but always wash it
Kiwi - the fuzzy brown skin protects the fruit and pesticides are rarely used anyway
Honeydew - the thick skin keeps the flesh safe
Cantaloupe - same goes for cantaloupe
Cauliflower - tested cauliflower has very low levels of pesticides
Broccoli - has even lower levels than cauliflower
Cabbage - most sampled cabbage has no pesticide residue
Asparagus - few insects like asparagus so fewer pesticides are used
Grapefruit - the thick peel staves off invading chemicals