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
*Sweet Bell Peppers
* Grapes ( imported)
Clean and Lean
* Frozen corn