Scan any supermarket produce section and you would see rows of brightly hued, blemish-free fruits and vegetables. They’re gorgeous. But plants, like people, have natural imperfections and some require more help than others to look good, not to mention maintain their youthful looks as they age. In the plant world, the equivalent of beauty products are the dozens of chemicals that farmers use to fend off insects, pests, weeds, fungal attacks, and rot that keep them looking good.
Nowadays you will find people buying everything organic- from cosmetics to food. Well, here I have compiled the top foods that are more exposed to chemicals and you certainly need to buy organic:
Strawberries may be a superfood but they pose a potential risk unless you go organic. Strawberries topped this year’s list of fruits and vegetables most contaminated with pesticides. According to the Environmental Working Group there are 300 pounds of pesticides applied to each acre of conventional strawberries. Strawberries have a large surface area and all those tiny bumps, which makes the pesticides hard to wash off, so you’re ingesting more of those chemicals. If you’re concerned about pesticides, consider buying organic.
An apple a day is a great way to keep the doctor away. That’s because apples are a great source of fibre keeping your digestive tract in tiptop shape. Sadly, they have ranked the highest on the list of pesticides in produce. Give your apples a good wash and go organic; this goes for applesauce and apple juice too.
Another perennial food on the dirty dozen list is celery. USDA tests have found more than 60 different pesticides on celery. Can’t find organic celery? Safer alternatives with a similar crunch include broccoli, radishes, and onions. Fresh bok choy is another option, familiar to the farmers’ market crowd.
Even if you’re on a budget, reach for organic milk, cheese, yogurt when in the dairy section of your grocery store. Certified organic dairy means that the cows did not received any antibiotics or growth hormones and they only consumed 100 percent organic feed. If you want to take the extra step, look for organic, grass-fed milk. This means the diet of the dairy cow enjoyed a grain-free diet comprised mostly of grass and forage.
About 90 percent of the corn that you find in today’s market is genetically-modified. In many instances, you’ll find it in the form of corn-based sweeteners, oils and starches in processed foods. So if avoiding GMOs is important to you, go organic. This goes for popcorn too. Sweet corn on the other hand which is typically found on the cob is rarely ever genetically modified so this may be a safe bet if you go conventional.
SWEET BELL PEPPERS
Another food that adds this list is sweet bell peppers because it tends to have high pesticide residue, in all of its colourful varieties. Nearly 50 different pesticides have been detected on sweet bell peppers.
Peppers contain a chemical called capsaicin, which can help relieve nasal congestion and even fight against cancer. Unfortunately, conventional peppers also can contain 75 pesticide residues, including known carcinogens and neurotoxins. Can’t find or afford organic hot peppers but looking to add some extra flavour to your recipes? Buy onions instead, since they are tested as a clean vegetable.
If you eat meat, it’s important to be aware that conventional meat contains hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides. The pesticides found in cows, chicken, turkey and other animals comes from their feed which is grown using synthetic fertilizers and herbicides. The negative impact that the hormones, antibiotics and additives can have on your body make organic meat worth the extra money.