Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Organic and Conventional -- What Choices Do You Have?

Organic food is a healthy choice to make, but it generally costs more. What can you do to maximize benefits to your health but save a bit of money in the process?

Although eating organic and natural foods is always important, if you must make a choice about buying some foods organic and others not, make certain as many of those foods which are fat and protein-based such as meats, dairy, eggs, and even oils and nuts are of the organic variety. Though pesticides and other residual toxins from produce can be found on conventional fruits and vegetables, you can wash some of these substances away. Also, if you are able to purchase locally-produced fruits and vegetables, prices are normally reasonable and many local growers have joined in the effort to reduce or eliminate pesticide and chemical use on their crops and foods. If you are in doubt, call local produce merchants and ask about their growing practices.

Here is a list of fruits and vegetables that are ranked by The Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) from highest to lowest based on tests done for pesticides on produce collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You are better off buying organic bell and hot peppers, carrots, celery, cucumbers, green beans, lettuce, potatoes, spinach, apples, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, raspberries and strawberries.

If you must choose conventional, the following are better choices: asparagus, avocadoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, onions, okra, peas, mushrooms, radishes, sweet corn, tomatoes, bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, U.S.-grown grapes, honeydew, kiwi, papaya, pineapples, plums, lemons, limes, mangoes, oranges, tangerines and watermelon.

For more information on this list, visit FoodNews.

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