organic strawberry

Not all foods are created equal, and that includes their potential to have chemicals or toxic residues on them. While it would be nice to be able to buy all of your foods in an organic state, that is not always a practical approach. By knowing which foods are likely to have the worst chemical load, you can avoid them and make sure these are the foods you only buy organic.

The reasons for the differences usually stem from growing practices and which foods are more susceptible to insect pests. If a particular fruit or vegetable is very vulnerable, then they will get more sprays and treatments than another, hardier plant. It also depends on the form of the fruit or vegetable. Something with a thick rind will have little or no toxins on the inside, making it much safer to eat.

If your budget or local availability only allows for a few organic purchases, these are the ones you should buy:

  • pears
  • peaches
  • nectarines
  • cherries
  • strawberries
  • apples
  • sweet peppers
  • celery
  • raspberries
  • spinach
  • cucumbers
  • carrots

You probably notice that many of these are fruits, mainly the softer ones that are not usually peeled before eating. They are sprayed more and absorb more of their chemical treatments. Apples and peaches are generally considered the worst of them all. Carrots are a little different. They tend to absorb the chemicals from the soil (usually fertilizers and herbicides) and store them in their thick roots.

Another thing to consider is that corn and potatoes are frequently genetically modified. So it’s not only chemical residues you need to watch out for. Buying these two foods organically will ensure you aren’t getting any GMOs (genetically modified organisms).

So scour the local grocery stores and farmer’s markets to find organic sources for at least these foods. If you can’t find a place to buy organic produce for these particular foods, you may want to consider avoiding them altogether. When you do buy these fruits and vegetables from conventional sources, take extra care to wash them well, and peel if possible (like the apples or cucumbers).