Organic Food Basics: What to Buy? What Not to Buy?

What Is Organic Food?

Organic food is produced through farming and agricultural methods which do not use chemicals, genetic modification, or irradiation. This highly sought after process has catapulted organic food markets into becoming the fastest growing division of the food industry in the Unites States. The reason for this is because food that has not been organically grown, poses a vast array of potentially threatening consequences to one’s health and well-being. With the production of organic foods, you are given the opportunity to nourish your mind, body and your health with the highest standard of nutrition that you deserve.

Is Organic Food Necessary?

Over the last few years there has been a lot of conflicting discussion in the media about the benefits of eating organic foods. The most common question always seems to be: “Is organic food worth its cost or even necessary?” The answer to this question varies depending on the specific food in question as well as the frequency in which you are consuming that food. My suggestion is to choose fruits and vegetables based on how often you eat them. If it is a particular food that you eat more than a few times per week, then it would be in your best interest to choose organic.

Which Foods Should & Shouldn’t I Buy Organic?

If the additional cost of purchasing organic food poses a problem then it is important for you to know how to navigate around this dilemma. Although organic food is always the best option, there are some foods that you can buy conventionally. These foods are referred to as “The Clean 15.” These 15 fruits and vegetables are the least likely to be contaminated with pesticides, therefore I would encourage you to spend your organic dollars on foods that pose a higher risk to your health. This brings us to “The Dirty Dozen” which are the top 12 fruits and vegetables that are most likely contaminated with pesticides. These are the foods I would suggest you spend your money on:

The Top 12 Most Contaminated Fruits & Vegetables

“The Dirty Dozen” – It is best to purchase these foods organic:

  1. Apples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Grapes
  4. Celery
  5. Peaches
  6. Spinach
  7. Sweet Bell Peppers
  8. Nectarines (imported)
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Potatoes
  11. Cherry Tomatoes
  12. Hot Peppers

Honorable Mention:

» Kale
» Collard Greens
» Summer Squash

The Top 15 Least Contaminated Fruits & Vegetables

“The Clean 15” – Not particularly necessary to always purchase these foods organic:

  1. Corn
  2. Onions
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Cabbage
  6. Sweet Peas
  7. Papayas
  8. Mangoes
  9. Asparagus
  10. Eggplant
  11. Kiwi
  12. Grapefruit
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Sweet Potatoes
  15. Mushrooms

Organic Food Label Meanings:

“100% Organic

» Made with 100% organic ingredients
» GMOs allowed
» Qualifies for USDA seal


» Contain at least 95% organic ingredients overall
» No GMOs allowed
» Qualifies for USDA seal

“Organic Ingredients”

» Only required to contain 70% organic ingredients
» 30% conventional ingredients
» No GMOs allowed
» Does NOT Qualify for USDA seal

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