Why Eat Organic Produce?

Organic produce can reduce exposure to potentially harmful pesticides

(RxWiki News) Should you be eating organic produce? Here's what you should know.

Organic produce is grown without the use of pesticides — chemicals that keep bugs and other pests from damaging crops. Meanwhile, non-organic produce can be sprayed with approved pesticides and then sold in stores.

The problem? Some pesticides have been linked to serious health problems in humans. Here are just a few of the health problems researchers have linked to pesticide exposure:

  • Cancer
  • Harm to fetuses
  • Reproductive problems
  • Nervous system problems
  • Immune system problems

Fortunately, organic produce is free of these chemicals, so you have a clear way to reduce your exposure. But does that mean you should be paying higher prices for the organic version of every fruit or vegetable you buy?

Ultimately, that's up to you, but you should know: Some fruits and vegetables have more pesticides than others. That's why the Environmental Working Group has created the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen.

The Dirty Dozen are 12 fruits and vegetables that typically are sprayed with the most pesticides:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collard and mustard greens
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Bell and hot peppers
  8. Cherries
  9. Peaches
  10. Pears
  11. Celery
  12. Tomatoes

And the Clean Fifteen typically require the smallest amounts of pesticides:

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet peas (frozen)
  7. Asparagus
  8. Honeydew melon
  9. Kiwi
  10. Cabbage
  11. Mushrooms
  12. Cantaloupe
  13. Mangoes
  14. Watermelon
  15. Sweet potatoes

There's nothing wrong with the organic varieties of the Clean Fifteen, but if you opt for the non-organic versions, you'll still be getting only a low amount of exposure to pesticides.

US government agencies do evaluate pesticides for safety, but some research has found that certain pesticides could have negative health effects over the long term.

Speak with your health care provider before making any major changes to your diet.