What Foods Should I Buy Organic?

Organic is always very appealing when you see it on a label.  But is it worth the price? Organic food is regulated on different things.  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), regulates organic status by soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and the use of additives.

For organic produce the produce is deemed organic when grown on certified soil that has had no prohibited substances applied to the soil for three years. Prohibited substances can include synthetic fertilizers, and pesticides. 

Organic meat meets the requirements of the USDA when the animals are raised in normal living conditions accommodating their natural behavior, such as allowing them to graze. The livestock must be fed 100% organic feed and no hormones or antibiotics can be given to them. 

Just because something is organic doesn’t mean we have to buy everything organic.  There are some things that are much better bought organically though. Usually this is because of the amount of pesticides that are found on samples of the items.  

Organic beef is much better than regular beef.  Beef is the most important protein to get organic.  There are no hormones given to the livestock. Also there are no antibiotics given to the cows that can lead to anti-resistant bacteria in humans.  

When it comes to produce there are some factors on when to buy organic.  Some chemicals can pass through the skin or peels of certain fruits. Also some produce when sampled has shown that more than 90% of the produce has chemical residue left on them.  Some produce has been shown to have carcinogens left on them as well.

Apples are one of the main products to buy organically.  They have shown to have the most amount of chemicals that can pass through the very thin peel.  This includes apple juice and applesauce too.  

Strawberries also are an important one to buy organically.  More than 90% of sampled strawberries show two or more pesticides left on them.  Some even have more than 22 different pesticides on them. They can contain Captan, a carcinogen.  

Spinach is also important to buy organic.  This is because the leaves of the spinach soak in the pesticides.  Spinach has shown the highest amounts of pesticide residue by weight.  Spinach is usually very easy to buy organically, and there are lots of options to choose from. 

Other produce that is important to buy organically are tomatoes, peaches, nectarines, grapes, cherries, peppers, potatoes, celery, and pears.  Peppers are important to get organically because their edible skin absorbs chemicals. Grapes have shown that they can have up to five different pesticides per grape.  Cherries have been tested and found to have Iprodione, a chemical that can cause cancer. 

Though it is very important to buy some things organically.  There are other things that aren’t necessarily important to buy organic.  Most things you can skip buying organic are produce that have thick outer peels that you either don’t eat or are so durable that the chemicals won’t be able to get through.  Others are because pesticides just aren’t used when growing the fruit. 

Produce you can skip out on buying organic are avocados, asparagus, cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapples, corn, onions, broccoli, eggplant, kiwi, mangos, papayas, cauliflower and frozen peas.  The outer peel of avocados, melons, and pineapples are so thick that the chemicals can’t penetrate through to the fruit. Onions don’t have to be consumed organically because they have lots of layers.  So as long as you don’t consume the top layer of the onion then you will be fine. Pesticides aren’t usually used on kiwis. 

Though we like to think that organic means it is healthier for us we don’t always have to buy organically.  You can make sure you can afford organic even if on the budget. Make sure you buy produce that is in season.  And take advantage of sale items. Another way to shop on a budget is to shop at budget friendly stores and opt out for name brand organic for store brand organic.  You can always make your own garden to grow your own healthy organic foods. This can be a very inexpensive way to have accessible produce right at your fingertips. And remember there are those foods that you don’t have to buy organic that will help you save money as well.  Eating organic can help reduce the pesticide residue and carcinogen intake that is left on fruit and vegetables.  

Onions don’t have to be consumed organically because they have lots of layers.  So as long as you don’t consume the top layer of the onion then you will be fine.

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