The Key Foods to Eat Organic

April 21, 2008 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 The Key Foods to Eat Organic
It remains a considerable challenge for the American public to find fresh food of adequate quality. We all know we should eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, but many of them are contaminated with pesticides, fungicides, and insecticides.

Government officials at the EPA and FDA are known to be a revolving door with the very industries they regulate – enabling various industries to profit at the expense of your health. The concept that a given chemical in your food is not adequate to cause cancer is no longer a standard that is adequate for protecting the public health.

Virtually all chemicals work by poisoning the nervous system of the pest, meaning they are fat-soluble and able to irritate the lining of your arteries and cross your blood brain barrier. Levels far below what causes cancer are able to initiate metabolic disruption, thyroid dysfunction, and cardiovascular irritation.

In addition to eating organic food because it contains far fewer chemicals, organic food has also been shown to be more nutritious. It has more antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals – all key factors that promote health.

The consumer demand for organics has created a flood of “organic” food coming from other countries ranging rather dramatically in appearance, taste, and quality. My simple motto is that if it doesn’t look very alive, it probably isn’t worth eating whether it is organic or not. I prefer grown in the USA, especially on a nearby family farm, whenever possible.

Many small family farms in your area are practicing mostly organic farming but cannot afford organic certification. Get to know your local community and farmer’s markets – ask questions and support those who are trying to put quality food on your table. Your health over the course of your life depends on it.

Organic Priorities

Dairy products are the most important, especially those from the U.S. Cows in large farming operations often eat feed contaminated with chemical pesticides, mold residues (not fit for human consumption), antibiotics, and are also stimulated with synthetic growth hormone.

Many higher quality cheeses made in this country and in Europe have very little, if any, chemicals, although they are not listed as organic. High end cheese making relies on flavor produced by cows eating grass in various regions of the world.

Meat and egg quality is the next issue. Organic certification is best, free range is next best. Animals that are allowed to run around are healthier to eat – by far.

There is no way to avoid all chemicals on food or in water. It is truly a numbers game. The better the quality of food you consume the less chemical-induced damage your body will have to repair. One reason I designed Daily Balancer was simply to help protect your liver against inevitable exposures to all these chemicals, as well as enhancing your detoxification capacity.

Fruits and Vegatables

It is also nice to know which fruits and vegetables you should never buy unless they are organic or farmed with near organic standards. Here is the most recent list of pesticide load on commonly eaten foods, provided by the Environmental Working Group. It is important to buy organic when purchasing foods from the top of the list – especially any in the top 15 that you eat on a regular basis.


1 (worst) Peaches 100 (highest pesticide load)
2 Apples 96
3 Sweet Bell Peppers 86
4 Celery 85
5 Nectarines 84
6 Strawberries 83
7 Cherries 75
8 Lettuce 69
9 Grapes - Imported 68
10 Pears 65
11 Spinach 60
12 Potatoes 58
13 Carrots 57
14 Green Beans 55
15 Hot Peppers 53
16 Cucumbers 52
17 Raspberries 47
18 Plums 46
19 Oranges 46
20 Grapes-Domestic 46
21 Cauliflower 39
22 Tangerine 38
23 Mushrooms 37
24 Cantaloupe 34
25 Lemon 31
26 Honeydew Melon 31
27 Grapefruit 31
28 Winter Squash 31
29 Tomatoes 30
30 Sweet Potatoes 30
31 Watermelon 25
32 Blueberries 24
33 Papaya 21
34 Eggplant 19
35 Broccoli 18
36 Cabbage 17
37 Bananas 16
38 Kiwi 14
39 Asparagus 11
40 Sweet Peas-Frozen 11
41 Mango 9
42 Pineapples 7
43 Sweet Corn-Frozen 2
44 Avocado 1
45 (best) Onions 1 (lowest pesticide load)

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