Want to eat healthier but not sure where to start? Consider buying organic foods. Organic foods are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, both of which have been linked to potential health benefits. But, what are the best foods to buy organic? Here are some of the things you may want to consider when buying organic.
1. Fruits and Vegetables
One of the easiest foods to buy organic are fruits and vegetables. Organic produce options offer higher levels of beneficial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Certified organic fruits and vegetables are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or other chemicals. They also tend to have higher levels of beneficial nutrients than conventionally-grown produce. Not to mention, organic produce is often fresher and tastes better than conventional produce.
According to the Electronic Working Group’s (EWG) Dirty Dozen list of fresh produce in the U.S., the top five fruits and vegetables with the most exposure to pesticides are, in order:
- Kale, collard & mustard greens
Don’t forget to buy organic wine as well! According to the Dirty Dozen list, grapes are the sixth dirtiest produce in terms of pesticides usage. And wine can be fermented with high levels of pesticide residue since wine is often made with unpeeled grapes.
Organic wine making excludes the use of pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers. Organic wines are also made without preservatives, such as sulfates, which can cause allergic reactions for many individuals.
Simply put, the best way to avoid pesticides and sulfites, while still enjoying a refreshing glass of vino is to buy organic.
Coffee and tea are two of the most widely purchased organically grown products in the world. Around the world, 12 billion pounds of coffee beans are produced annually. Due to coffee’s high production volume, coffee beans are often exposed to pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers. In fact, conventional coffee is among the most heavily chemically treated foods within our normal diet.
The average person in the United States consumes 3 to 4 cups of coffee per day. With such a volume of consumption, coffee drinkers may want to seek organic options. Organic coffee drinkers enjoy a richer product and organic coffee is known to have more antioxidants than regular coffee, as well as higher levels of health-promoting compounds like polyphenols.
4. Dairy Products
In the U.S. , the dairy industry is a $102 billion industry! With products ranging from milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter, most Americans consume dairy on a daily basis. Yet, dairy products are some of the most important foods to buy organic because they can contain lower levels of contaminants such synthetic growth hormones and antibiotics. Plus, organic dairy products contain higher levels of beneficial fats, proteins, and vitamins than conventional dairy products. Organic dairy products are also more likely to come from pasture-raised cows, which means they have access to fresh grass and a more natural diet. This results in higher levels of beneficial nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids.
Organic meats come from animals that have never been treated with antibiotics or hormones to promote growth. They are raised on organic feed, which is free of pesticides and other contaminants. The animals are more humanely raised, meaning the animals are not kept in overcrowded or unsanitary conditions. Instead, they have access to the outdoors and the ability to graze in pastures.
Organic meats are better for you than conventional meats because they are not treated with antibiotics, hormones, or other chemicals. They also tend to be higher in nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins. They are also better for the environment because they don’t contribute to pollution and climate change caused by conventional farming practices.
If you have to choose which specific meats to buy organic, start with poultry and pork.
If you’re wondering which foods to buy organic, we recommend starting with the five listed above!