(CARLSBAD, CA) – To buy or not to buy? Organics, that is. It seems as if the grocery store carries organic versions of virtually every consumable product. How can you possibly know when it’s actually beneficial to buy organic foods, and when it is simply a waste of money?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, certain produce carries higher levels of pesticide residue than other foods. These particular fruits and vegetables are the ones that are worth paying a higher price for organic labels. In fact, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that you can lower your pesticide exposures by up to 80 percent simply by purchasing organic versions of select produce.
Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett recommends doing your homework to learn which organic foods are worth the extra cash and which ones are unnecessary. To help you get started, Missett offers her list of foods that make the organic checklist.
Potatoes – Not only are potatoes vulnerable to above-ground pesticides, they are also exposed to fungicides in the soil.
Leafy Greens – Leafy greens, like spinach, are often contaminated with the most potent of all pesticides. Splurge on organic spinach or buy a less expensive alternative, such as cabbage.
Apples – An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but what if it is packed with pesticides? In conventional orchards, apples are assaulted with a slew of pesticides to kill-off insects and fungi. Even scrubbing or peeling the apple won’t remove the pesticides completely, not to mention that peeling the apple strips away important nutrients.
Peaches & Nectarines – These fruits are plagued with multiple pesticides in traditional orchards. In fact, EWG found 26 different pesticides on nectarines alone. Go ahead and spring for organic peaches and nectarines. Or if your budget is too tight, then go for a safe non-organic substitute, such as tangerines, oranges and grapefruit.
Berries – According to EWG, raspberries and strawberries are “must-buy” organics. Be particularly vigilant when you buy strawberries out-of-season, since they are most likely imported from countries with more lenient pesticide regulations.
Thin-Skinned Produce – Since it is impossible to wash off all the chemicals from conventional crops, always purchase organic thin-skinned produce. Bell peppers, for instance, do not have much of a barrier to pesticides. And celery has absolutely no protective skin. Other thin-skinned products that can be packed with contamination are pears, cherries, and grapes.
Sure, the list seems long for organic must-haves. But, the list of safe non-organic foods is even longer. Produce that is rarely threatened by pests in its growing stages is far less likely to be sprayed with pesticides. This is the case for foods such as onions, asparagus, cabbage, and broccoli.
Meanwhile, foods with thick skins are generally safe because the skin protects edible portions of the food from contamination. Safe thick-skinned foods include avocados, pineapples, bananas, oranges, grapefruits, and watermelon. Save a few bucks purchasing non-organics for these foods, and splurge on the ones where the organic label really makes a difference.
Jazzercise, created by Judi Sheppard Missett, is the world's leading dance-fitness program with more than 7,500 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in the U.S. and around the globe. Since 1969, millions of people of all ages and fitness levels have reaped the benefits of this comprehensive program, designed to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.