Most of us know that buying organic is better for our health and better for the planet. Pesticides present health risks, especially to children and those with health concerns, and can include disruptions in the normal functioning of the nervous and endocrine system. However, it is not always easy to keep our budget in check since organic products tend to be more expensive than its conventional counterparts and your pocket can feel the difference at the end of the month.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a US health and environmental research organisation, has elaborated two lists of the fruits and veggies that are the most and least likely to be contaminated by pesticides, the so called Dirty Dozen and Clean 15. These guides are based on an analysis of more than 28,000 samples and looked at six measures of pesticide contamination. You can read more about the guide here.
These lists can give us an idea to figure out when it is worth spending more for organic produce or not. When shopping, I usually go 60-70% organic, 30-40% non-organic but now I know how to make more informed choices. For example, apples topped the toxic list for the fourth year in a row!
The fruits and veggies with the most pesticides (the “Dirty Dozen”):
- Sweet bell peppers
- Nectarines (imported)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Snap peas (imported)
And the fruits and veggies with the least pesticides (the “Clean Fifteen”):
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas (frozen)
- Sweet potatoes
And if you are on a tight budget don’t forget that, as the EWG says:
The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure.
So keep calm and eat your veggies! 🙂
Credits: Lettering by Linda Dieschbourg.