Aside from the fact that organic food contains higher levels of vital nutrients, organic foods are also lower in other residues and compounds that are seriously detrimental to your health, such as herbicide- and pesticide residues.
Additionally, the use of pesticides and herbicides in conventional farming practices contaminates groundwater, ruins the soil structure and promotes erosion. They’ve also been linked to the mysterious “colony collapse disorder” that threatens pollinating honeybees around the world. With that in mind, buying or growing as much organic food as possible is not only best for your health, but for the health of the entire planet.
That said, however, certain fruits and vegetables are subjected to far heavier pesticide use than others. And with food prices rising, many are looking for ways to buy the healthiest foods possible at the lowest cost. One such way would be to focus on purchasing certain organic items, while “settling” for others that are conventionally-grown.
This is where the EWG study of pesticide residue on produce really helps.
Of the 43 different fruit and vegetable categories tested, these 12 fruits and vegetables had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy or grow organic:
Sweet bell peppers
Conventionally-grown strawberries, in particular, were found to be highly toxic due to a poisonous blend of pesticides in a previous 2007 EU study as well.
But be VERY careful as the list above is for fruits and vegetables. Non-organic meats have far higher concentrations of pesticides than all of the fruits and vegetables. And the highest concentration of pesticides is actually in non-organic butter.
So if you can only buy one organic food item it should be butter. Next priority would be meats and once those are addressed, you will want to focus on the fruit and vegetable list above.
Locally-grown organics are your absolute best bet, but bear in mind that many times buying locally-grown food is your best choice even if it’s grown conventionally, as the environmental impact of shipping organic produce across the globe can cancel out many its benefits. Organic farming standards are also questionable in many parts of the world.