The “organic” title is reserved for foods that have been produced through approved methods that foster the cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. While an organic product is not necessarily superior nutritionally over a non-organic product if measuring purely on the vitamin and mineral content (although studies do show more phytonutrients in organic foods), it is free of the neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors found in synthetic pesticides. This is especially important for purchasing apples. Apples are considered the number one offender on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list for having the most pesticide residues of the tested produce. Purchasing organic apples allows you to eat the skin of the apple too, which offers nearly double the fiber, adds 25% more potassium, and 40% more vitamin A than its peeled counterpart. So purchase organic apples when you can and when you can’t, don’t eat the skin.
Other produce on the 2016 Dirty Dozen list include: strawberries, nectarines, peaches, celery, grapes, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. The Environmental Working Group also puts out a Clean Fifteen list of produce that testing shows the least amount of pesticide residues. That list includes avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, eggplant, honeydew melon, grapefruit, cantaloupe, and cauliflower. We understand organic produce can be tough on grocery budgets, so if you can’t buy organic all the time simply prioritize buying organic varieties of the “dirty” items (like apples) and go for conventional varieties of the “clean” items when you need to.
Source: Today’s Dietitian, January 2015 and The Environmental Working Group www.ewa.org
Written by Emily, Bastyr intern, and revised by Flannery, Bastyr intern