Are Organic Foods Healthier?

I have to confess that I  felt pretty smug about following the NHANES  anti-aging data and started to meet  the recommended 5-7 daily servings of fruits and vegetables.  Given that the study linked high levels of vitamin C to  fewer wrinkles I was convinced I was on the right track. My sense of accomplishment was rattled  when I read that vegetarians  can have  higher levels of pesticides in their body because  they eat more  produce.  Not what I wanted to hear.   The article suggested that vegans and vegetarians eat organic foods, grown without pesticides to  get the health benefits of increased intake of fruits  and veggies without risk of additional chemicals.

Sounds reasonable but organic foods are significantly more expensive  than traditionaly grown  fruits and vegetables.  In my local market organic carrots are $2.29/lb while regular carrots are just 90cents/lb.  Organic  yams are $1.49/lb while their comon cousins are 99 cents/lb.  Similarly onions are $1.99/lb, while regular onions are $1.29. On average, organic fruits and vegetables are at least 30%  higher.  Its  bad enough for one person, but for a family of four, it can become real money.

I was stumped until I found a shopping guide from  The Environmental Working Group.  They identified “The Dirty Dozen” — the 12  types of produce highest in pesticides and the cleanest 12 with the lowest levels.  Makes sense.   This list  decodes which  organic foods  are a smart idea — and those instances where its not necessary.  In other words, spend the extra money  where there  is a potential helth benefit  and save cash  where organics don’t offer an extra value.

The Dirty Dozen

* Peaches

* Apples

*Sweet Bell Peppers

* Celery

* Necterines

*Cherries

*Lettuce

* Grapes ( imported)

*Pears

*Spinach

Potatoes

Clean and Lean

* Onions

* Avocodo

* Frozen corn

*Pineapples

* Mango

*Frozen peas

* Asparagus

* Kiwi

*Bananas

* Cabbage

*Broccoli

* Eggplant

6 thoughts on “Are Organic Foods Healthier?

  1. Have you thought about purchasing frozen organic fruits and putting them in smoothies as a cheaper alternative to fresh organic fruit? I have found that a smoothie with frozen organic mangos, strawberries/any fruit with tofu, psyllium husks, and powdered protein can really hit the spot. Alternatively I put soy milk, banana, organic frozen mango, and almond butter with protein and psyllium husks.

    • That’s a really great idea! I saw an ad for frozen organic peaches but could not think what to do with them. Now I’m going to pick up a bag this afternoon and make a smoothie with them and a banana. Do you think that almond or rice mik would work too?

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