People always ask whether buying organic is healthier, and the answer is yes. Eating organic protects you from potentially harmful chemicals such as pesticides. But going green is rarely cheap, and it's not always essential, which is why we've created 3 simple rules for when you should spend your green to go green and when to save your cash with conventional foods.
1. When the skin is thin. Fruits and vegetables with a thin skin that is difficult to remove or that you typically eat should definitely be organic. They have high levels of pesticides even after washing. Produce with thicker skins has a better barrier to pesticides, and when you throw the peel in the trash, the chemicals go with it. But be sure to give all fruits and veggies a good scrub down before eating or peeling them, because cutting them can bring any chemicals on the skin into the flesh.
Go Organic: Apples, peaches, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, grapes, pears, nectarines, peppers, celery, potatoes, and carrots
Save Your Cash: Avocados, eggplants, pineapples, bananas, corn, kiwi, mangoes, papaya, sweet peas, oranges, grapefruit, and squash
2. Go green with leafy greens. Can you imagine scrubbing every leaf of a head of romaine lettuce? It's too difficult with leafy greens to make sure you remove all of the chemicals, and greens are particularly susceptible to pests, so they are often grown with high levels of pesticides. Fortunately, other vegetables, such as broccoli, either don't retain pesticides very well or don't need a lot to begin with, so it's okay to go with conventionally grown varieties.
Go Organic: All lettuces and greens such as kale, collards, mustard, swiss chard, and spinach
Save Your Cash: Broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, cauliflower, eggplant, melons, and sweet potatoes
3. Milk it! Although much of the hormones and antibiotics used in conventional milk production are washed out before we drink it, the process isn't perfect and some make it through. Plus, there is evidence that organic milk has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep our hearts healthy.
But be wary when you see fish touted as organic. Fish grow in the ocean, where it's impossible to know what (if any) pesticides they've encountered, so the USDA has no guidelines for certifying organic seafood.
Go Organic: Milk, yogurt, and cheese
Save Your Cash: Fish and other seafood