12 Foods that You Should Buy Organic – The Dirty Dozen List

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12 Foods that You Should Buy Organic – The Dirty Dozen List

When I started consuming more organic food due to concerns about harmful pesticides that can’t be completely washed off or cooked away. Oh man, it was expensive. But then I realised I wouldn’t have to painfully experience the dilemma between eating more organic food and not hurting my wallet if I chose to buy organics selectively.

There’s a popular list known as “The Dirty Dozen” containing foods with the most pesticide residues. It is released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) each year to the US consumers. But I think it’s applicable for the Australian market as well. To be honest, I do not always buy them organic but I’d try to buy these foods organic when I can. Here are the list in 2018, check them out and keep in mind when you do your grocery shopping:

1.      Strawberries


Who doesn’t love a sweet and juicy strawberry? According to the EWG[1], one-third of all conventional strawberry samples contained 10 or more pesticides.  In fact, strawberries landed on top of the EWG’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ list of fruits and vegetables with the highest level of pesticide residues[2]. No matter how much you love strawberry, always remember to opt for organic strawberries to savour the wonderful aroma and taste without worrying about other nasties.

2.      Spinach

a bowl of spinach

To those who are friends with salads like me, it’s hard not to come across the versatile and nutritious spinach. But do you know 97 percent of conventional spinach samples collected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) contained pesticide residues[3]? Even worse, conventional spinach had relatively high concentrations of permethrin, which is likely to be carcinogenic to humans if it was eaten[4]. So ensure you get organic spinach when you want to whip up your next salad bowl.

3.      Nectarines


These sumptuous stone fruits are sweet, low in calorie and rich in powerful antioxidants. But think twice before you pick up the non-organic variety in the supermarkets. Nearly 94 percent of nectarine samples contained two or more pesticides. USDA also noted that one sample of conventionally grown nectarines contained residues of 15 pesticides.

4.      Apples


An apple a day keeps the doctor away. One-third of apple’s total fiber and most of its vitamin E and K is in the peel[5]. However, many people toss the apple peels in the trash because 90 percent of conventional apples had detectable pesticide residues. 80 percent of apples tested contained diphenylamine, which is harmful to human’s cardiovascular and central nervous system[6]. Fret not! You can still enjoy the goodness from apples’ flesh and skin by doing the following: buy organic apples, rinse apples under cool water to remove the residues and use a clean towel or paper towel to gently scrub away the remaining wax.

5.      Grapes


Coming in different green, red, black or pink colours, seeded or seedless varieties, grapes are packed with nutrients and never go out of season. I love eating grapes, adding them to green salads or desserts. However, beware about the fact that grapes also contain an average of five pesticide residues.  Therefore, make sure you buy organic grapes whenever you are treating yourself to this healthy snack.

6.      Peaches


During hot summer days, I love to eat these succulent and refreshing fruits with salads, add them into my smoothie or simply snacking on them. Sadly, conventional peaches are not very safe since more than 99 percent of them had detectable pesticide residues. Also, EWG stated that an average of four pesticide residues was detected on conventional peaches. That’s why we should always go for organic peaches to enjoy this fragrant sunshine-filled fruit with a peace of mind.

7.      Cherries


Cherries are pricey, hence my family and I never get to eat enough of them. Despite many health benefits, an average of five pesticides was detected on conventional cherries. Worse still, 30 percent of cherry samples examined by USDA contained iprodione, which may greatly affect reproductive health and is currently being phased out in Europe[7]. Next time when you want to pick up a box of wonderful sweet and tart cherries to enjoy with your family, go organics.

8.      Pears


Feeling tired of having an apple a day, try pears instead. During hot summer days, they are crunchy, juicy and refreshing. During chilly winter nights, the same fruit turns buttery, mellow after poaching or roasting. But there is something you need to know. Pears contain several pesticides in relatively high concentrations and more than half of conventionally grown pears tested had residues of five or more pesticides. Therefore, never hesitate to go for organic pears to snack or whip up some fantastic desserts.

9.      Tomatoes


We eat tomatoes at least once every week in sandwiches, salads, soups and ketchup. This means on a weekly basis, we are consuming not only tomatoes’ nutrients but also nearly four pesticides on average when eating conventionally grown tomatoes. Because we eat tomatoes so often, let’s ditch conventional tomatoes and go for organics all the way. In doing so, we can capture all that tomato goodness while minimising the intake of harmful chemicals.

10. Celery


Celery juice to lower blood pressure, celery sticks for weight watchers, celery-based snack for better sleep, there are so many health benefits in just one celery stalk. But more than 95 percent of conventional celery samples collected by USDA tested positive for pesticides. So as to fully enjoy the best of health benefits from celery, remember to pick up the organic variety only from your supermarket.

11. Potatoes


Baked, fried, mashed, boiled and sautéed, potatoes can be eaten in so many ways. However, conventional potatoes are sprayed with pesticides and the soil is treated with fungicides[8]. As a result, conventional potatoes have more pesticide residues by weight than any other crop. Buy organic potatoes will help you and your family to avoid these threats.

12. Sweet bell peppers or capsicums

sweet bell peppers

Sweet, crisp and colourful bell peppers always catch my eyes in the supermarket. Loaded with lots of vitamin A and C, they are great additions to salads, sandwiches and stir-fry dishes. Unfortunately, conventionally grown bell peppers are often contaminated with many toxic compounds that might lead to hormonal disruption and even cancer[9]. If you are a fan of bell peppers like me, always go for organic variety to protect you and your family from potentially harmful chemical residues.

Although many may argue that the overall pesticide chemical residues found on these fruits and vegetables are far below the limits for human consumption, only a few hundred out of about 80,000 registered chemicals have been tested for safety and even that testing is considered inadequate by most toxicologists [10]. Therefore, if you want fresh and nutritious food, look no further because organic produce contains fewer pesticides and safer to consume. If buying everything organic is just not affordable for you, sticking to this “Dirty Dozen List” to buy organics selectively, while opting for local seasonal produce will be ideal.

To kick start your journey to consume more organic produces, why not shopping for organic fruits and vegetables online? Sydney shoppers can buy organic food home delivery voucher from Ooooby Sydney on our Naturely Shop platform. Ooooby Sydney offers fresh, local certified organic vegetables and fruits to many suburbs in Sydney. For a limited time until the end of this year, you’ll get 5% off on the vouchers when buying from our site (discount will be automatically applied at checkout).

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  • Tina_Hill_88 Reply

    I am trying to eat clean and detox my body. Will make sure to add these foods into my grocery list next time I visit an organic store. Thank you lots xx

    November 21, 2018 at 1:19 pm

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