Buying organic is the new black, but is the trend grounded in science?
Some foods are more resistant to pesticides than others; it all depends on the type of fruit or veg in question. Make your life easier and check out our list of 10 fruits and vegetables you should always buy organic.
What Does “Organic” Even Mean?
Some farmers use chemical fertilisers to help their crops grow, while others use artificial herbicides, fungicides and pesticides to keep nuisances away.
These chemicals can sometimes have harmful health effects for both the farmers who use them and the people who eat the food. Among the chemical traces regularly found in our food there are known carcinogens, hormone disruptors, neurotoxins and reproductive toxins. Many pesticides are also harmful to our bee population – essential for the fertilisation of the fruits and veggies we all enjoy.
“Organic” refers to food grown without using any artificial chemicals. Some non-organic fruits and veggies are relatively safe to eat (avocados, for example, are usually protected from pesticides by their thick outer shell), but many others absorb these chemicals from groundwater, so even a thorough washing won’t get rid of the nasties.
Here are 10 fruits and vegetables you should always strive to buy organic:
We’re going to start off strong with the worst offender here. Nearly all non-organic apples contain pesticide residue.
One study even indicates that organic apples are better for you, containing more antioxidants and other health goodies.
Grapes can have more than 50 types of pesticides on them by the time they get to the supermarket, and raisins are no different. Buy organic to enjoy these refreshing treats without the chemical risk.
Who doesn’t love spinach leaves in their salad? Whether fresh or frozen, spinach, like grapes, can have over 50 different pesticides coating its leaves by the time they reach your kitchen.
Lettuce is no better; like spinach, more than 50 different pesticides have been identified on washed lettuce.
They’re such a refreshing summer favourite for salads and sides, but the high water content of cucumbers means they soak up chemical-laden groundwater like a sponge, potentially storing nearly 90 different pesticides.
Root vegetables are particularly bad for hoovering up the pesticides, herbicides and fungicides that end up in the soil. Sweet potatoes are somewhat less susceptible, but potatoes are nonetheless guilty of bringing artificial chemicals with them to the shop shelves.
They’re a British staple, which is partly why many farmers continue to use pesticides on them. It’s to remove a common fungus that likes to infect strawberries.
Relying on pesticides to take care of this issue, however, often leaves strawberries coated in over 40 different types of chemicals.
- Cherry Tomatoes
We use them in so many different dishes and salads, but non-organic tomatoes aren’t as fresh as you would think. They’re actually among the most heavily-sprayed crops.
One of the most commonly found chemicals is Endosulfan, a hormone disruptor. Just search for the effects of this chemical to understand why it is being phased out globally.
Ninety-seven percent of all nectarines test positive for pesticide residue. The next time you’re craving that nice nectarine flavour, head to the organic produce section and purchase some peace of mind.
Kale is one of the most nutrient-rich foods there is, making it a champion of the health food movement. It’s such a shame that it’s often drowned in pesticides.
Non-organic kale often contains high traces of DCPA, a potential carcinogen, as well as Imidacloprid, which is highly toxic to bees. For your sake as well as theirs, embrace the foodie spirit of kale and always buy organic.
Healthy Eating Made Easy
There are many fruits and vegetables that have natural protection against artificial chemicals, so don’t stress. Buying organic produce is a sure-fire way to ensure that your shopping trips are as happy and healthy as possible.
If you don’t have time to hunt down pesticide-free fruits and veggies on your own, however, check out Balance Box. Using only fresh, ethical and unprocessed food, you’ll never have to worry about what’s going into your meals.