Most people know it’s a good idea to buy and eat organic foods whenever possible. Even those who aren’t particularly health-conscious are aware of this. However, it’s all-too-common for consumers to stare blankly at their kitchen’s subway tile backsplash, trying to make a shopping list filled with organic options that don’t empty their wallet. Healthy organic foods are almost always more expensive than nonorganic items — often dramatically more expensive. This can leave many people wondering if it’s even possible to be health-conscious and budget-conscious at the same time.
Fortunately, it’s absolutely possible, as long as you know which foods to buy organic and which you’re safe buying from the regular aisles.
Some foods aren’t much different, whether they’re organic or not. However, the foods on this list should always be purchased organic to avoid accidentally ingesting nasty chemicals. Knowing which foods are most important to buy organic will help you stretch your dollars as far as possible, helping you stay healthy and save money.
Coffee is the third most sprayed crop in the world, just behind tobacco and cotton. And while neither cotton nor tobacco ever makes its way into our diets, 30% of the entire population drink coffee occasionally. For many people, two or even three cups of coffee is a part of their daily routine. So if you’re only going to buy one organic food regularly, you should make it this one.
Pesticides used on coffee plantations are supposed to be partially neutralized during the roasting process, but even worse than the effects they have on your body may be the effects they have on nature. These herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides can have negative long-term effects on farmers and the environment. If more people choose organic coffee, however, this won’t have to be a problem forever.
The right dairy products are an essential part of a balanced diet. They are also important in having strong teeth and a healthy smile, which 99.7 percent of adults believe is socially important. Don’t settle for the cheapest butter, cheese, or jug of milk on the shelf, though. Nonorganic dairy products usually come from cows that received antibiotics, growth hormones, and a grain-only diet. What goes into the cow eventually makes its way into the milk and unhealthy animals can only produce poor-quality products.
And as if that wasn’t enough, animals in conventional industrial farms typically aren’t treated well and don’t enjoy lives that are healthy or pleasant. Not only does this ultimately mean poorer health for those who consume the animals or their milk, but it also means the animals themselves suffer needlessly while alive. Buying high-quality organic dairy products is a better option for you and our animal neighbors.
Grapes (and Wine, Too)
There are a lot of reasons to buy organic, but when it comes to grapes and products made with grapes, the reasons become even more convincing.
Many people enjoy a glass of wine now and then, especially at celebratory events like weddings and anniversaries. Even if you don’t drink wine, you probably eat grapes at least once in a while. Unfortunately, grapes have been found to contain multiple different types of pesticide residues. To make sure that your healthy treat or relaxing drink doesn’t carry any adverse effects with it, always buy organic grapes and wines and try to wash your grapes well before eating them.
As we all know, you should visit your doctor at least once per year and you should eat an apple a day so you don’t have to see them more often. One reason apples are so famous for being healthy is that they’re a good source of fiber, which helps keep your digestive tract in shape. But if your apples aren’t organic, you may want to reconsider: most apples contain residue from at least one pesticide.
Besides washing your apples before eating (which is something you should do with just about any fresh food you buy), try to find apples that are organic. This also applies to products like apple sauce and apple juice, which can be even worse than nonorganic apples because they’re so highly concentrated.
If you love topping hamburgers with tomato slices or adding grape tomatoes to salads, you’ll want to make sure the tomatoes you’re buying are organic. The USDA Pesticide Program showed that tomatoes can carry 69 different pesticides. And since you always eat them with the skin left on, you’re even more likely to get those pesky chemicals in your system. When you’re looking for tomatoes for your next barbecue, go organic.
Peppers are fascinating fruits. Not only do they possess an unusual flavor spectrum, from mildly sweet to intensely spicy, but they’re also known for a variety of health benefits. That’s because peppers contain a chemical known as capsaicin, which may help relieve nasal congestion and even fight off cancer.
Unfortunately, nonorganic peppers are likely to contain other chemicals that aren’t so helpful. Conventional grocery store peppers can carry up to 75 different pesticide residues, including recognized carcinogens and neurotoxins. No matter what kind of budget you’re on, when you buy peppers, they should always and only be organic.
Sadly, organic hot peppers aren’t as easy to find as other organic options, especially in smaller grocery stores. If you can’t find or can’t afford hot peppers, try using onions instead. They offer a similarly spicy flavor and they’ve been shown to be fairly clean, even when they’re not organic.
Dietary experts recommend that you eat five servings of vegetables every day and for many people, those servings come from tasty salads. From spinach to kale, leafy greens are worth splurging on to get organic. This is because the leaves offer a wider area for chemicals to stick. Considering that you can’t peel leafy greens and you need a lot of them to make a satisfying salad, the result is a concentration of pesticide residue on your plate. To avoid this problem altogether, go organic and be diligent when you’re rinsing or soaking greens as you prepare them.
And there you have it: these are some of the most important foods to buy organic. Even if you’re on a budget, to enjoy the best health possible, try to always buy these foods in the organic section.