When farming first began all food was organic. Now, pesticides, additives and preservatives are added to foods and crops to retain freshness, improve yields and modify taste. These additives increase the toxic load that the human body must break down and eliminate. Research has found organic produce to contain less harmful pesticides and more health promoting nutrients and antioxidants.
Whilst organic food prices are decreasing due to high demand, they are still more expensive and therefore choosing where best to spend your money on organic produce is important. The dirty dozen/clean 15 list shows the 12 foods containing most pesticides and the clean 15 are those that have been found to contain the least. This is a great guideline for choosing where best to spend your ‘organic’ money. What you’ll notice about the dirty dozen is that all these foods have thin skins. This is what allows chemicals to be absorbed easily. Examples include: blueberries, celery, cucumbers and grapes. The clean fifteen foods generally have thicker skins and as a result the foods absorb fewer pesticides. These include avocados, onions, sweet potatoes and mangoes.
Dirty dozen = best buy organic
Clean fifteen = buy non-organic
When it comes to meat and dairy it is best to buy organic where possible. Non-organic animal produce contains remnants of the GMO foods, antibiotics and added hormones that the animals were fed. As well as containing more nutrients organic raised animal produce have generally been raised without cruelty in more humane conditions with time spent outdoors.
Guidelines to remember:
1) If it has a thick skin it’s ok to buy non-organic
2) if it has a thin skin it is best to buy organic
3) clean/wash all non-organic produce thoroughly. Soak produce in a vinegar/water solution (1:4) for 30-1hr to remove pesticide residues
4) Meats and dairy – buy organic where possible
5) Canned produce – buy organic to avoid extra additives and preservatives.