7 Foods You Should Always Buy Organic

food groups, balanced diet

Source: iStock

Depending on your budget and how much money you put aside for groceries, you may feel like anything purchased from the produce section of the grocery store is already too expensive. While it may cost more to buy a bag of fresh Heirloom tomatoes than a can of diced tomatoes, the difference in nutrition alone makes it worth the extra money. Vegetables are often canned with salt to enhance the taste and help preserve the food for longer. Canned fruits are often packed in heavy, sugar-laden syrup that can increase the risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes.

Your body needs fresh eggs, meats, vegetables, grains, and fruits. Eating these items in their natural state (not dried, canned, pickled, or marinated) means you’re getting the full nutritional benefit of the food without any added ingredients. Once you’ve got the hang of spending your money in the produce, meat, and dairy section of the supermarket, you’ll want to splurge on a few organic items to avoid chemical pesticides and hormones that are used in the growth process of many foods.

Apples

woman holding crate of red apples

Source: iStock

How many times have you grabbed an apple for a quick, “healthy” snack? This popular, portable fruit tops the list when it comes to levels of pesticides. If you love apples, don’t snack on the pesticide packed version of the fruit. Spend a little extra to buy your fruit from the organic section of the produce area  or better yet, shop for apples at your local farmers market.

Grains

Conventional, non-organic grains contain 15 pesticide residues according to the USDA Pesticide Program. These pesticides can lead to serious health problems down the road. Spend the extra bit on organic oats, popcorn, and flour to reduce your risk of chronic diseases, stroke, and heart disease.

Milk

Source: Thinkstock

If you’re a milk guy or have kids who guzzle milk regularly, it will pay to go organic. Approximately 20% of milk in the U.S. comes from cows that have received a genetically engineered growth hormone. If you go organic, that milk you pour on your cereal every morning will come a cow free of growth hormones or routine antibiotics that eats organic feed.

Beef

You may glance at the organic beef and then pass it by for the cheaper version. While the savings on non-organic meat can look substantial, organic animal products shouldn’t be overlooked. Not only are the animals treated better, but research suggests a strong connection between some of the hormones given to cattle and cancer development in humans, particularly breast cancer. The concern is that estrogen-like agents used on cattle are then passed on to the consumer, increasing your risk of cancer.

Strawberries

Strawberry slices, strawberries

Source: iStock

Even if you religiously wash your fruits and vegetables, strawberries can be a tricky one to get completely clean. Strawberries are eaten with the skin on and the bumpy surface area can make it near impossible to get the surface pesticides washed off. This means you’re ingesting more chemicals as you’re enjoying your super food treat. Go organic to avoid the risk of pesticides and to enjoy the complete, natural taste of a strawberry.

Potatoes

This house staple tends to absorb the fungicides, herbicides, and pesticides added to the soil they’re grown in. This means, all those additives are passed on to the consumer in the form of baked potatoes, homemade french fries, or even those butter-filled mashed potatoes. If you go organic you can avoid the slew of pesticides and enjoy your favorite potato dishes worry free.

Tomatoes

tomatoes

Source: iStock

Tomatoes are a big one as we use them in so many dishes. What would a hamburger be without a thick slice of tomato or a pizza without a gooey layer of marinara sauce? Tomatoes are full of vitamin C and lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, but they also test positive for toxic chemicals like Chlorothalonil, which is a known carcinogen. Simply by going organic, you can avoid added chemicals and decrease your risk of cancer or other life threatening diseases.

More from Health & Fitness Cheat Sheet: