I try to buy organic fruit and vegetable when possible. Yet faced with a tiny withered apple or black banana that costs the equivalent to a down-payment on a pair of Pradas, my resolve rapidly weakens. Suddenly I find myself drifting towards the more attractive (modified) variety. I like my fruit bowl (and wardrobe) to look chic and inviting.

Clearly I am not well versed enough in the area of organics, so when I came across the article by Caroline Young on the Huffington Post, I devoured it like a bright yellow genetically-engineered banana. It’s brilliant and has me rethinking my grocery list.

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While it may seem like the organic food movement became popular over the past two decades, it is actually a much older concept. Everyone ate organic fruits and veggies before World War II, because all crops were organic. It was after that when many farmers started “conventionally” growing crops: spraying them with new, synthetic pesticides and chemicals to reduce weeds, insects and rodents. Now many of us enter the produce section with some confusion, as we are offered every fruit and veggie grown in two very different ways.

 In the conversation over benefit vs. price, some studies reveal doubt around organic foods truly having significantly higher nutritional benefits than conventional foods. Despite the skeptics, there is a rising agreement in the scientific community that small amounts of pesticides and other chemicals have negative effects on health. Pregnant women and mothers should especially be aware because studies show fetuses and young children may be more negatively affected by harmful exposure to low levels of pesticides.

1 Potatoes

Organic potatoes are a must. Most conventionally-grown have one of the highest pesticide contents among fruits and veggies.

2  Beef

When animals are conventionally raised, they are fed growth hormones and medications to fight disease and speed growth, which inevitably end up in our bodies. The hormones push cows’ estrogen and testosterone levels unnaturally high. In turn, those hormones can possibly have strong effects on our natural body processes. The European Union actually banned all hormones in beef. On the other hand, organic farmers try to match the natural behavior of animals and permit access to the outdoors. To reduce diseases, organic farmers take measures like rotational grazing, clean housing, and organic balanced diets with no animal by products.

3 Milk

To increase the quantity of milk produced, cows raised conventionally are given rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone), which is banned in the European Union and Canada, among others. While there is no solid scientific evidence rBGH can harm us, it may benefit us to drink milk free of rBGH given theAmerican Cancer Society has determined the potential harm to humans is inconclusive and rBGH can cause adverse health effects in cows.

4 Apples

Apple peel is one of this popular tree fruit’s healthiest parts, offering phytochemicals that can reduce risk of cancer and heart disease. Unfortunately, the peel is where pesticides accumulate, putting apples at the top of the organic foods priority list.

5 Strawberries

Do you wonder why the conventional strawberries sometimes appear a bit brighter in color than their organic counterparts? It’s because some of them are enhanced with a substance containing the contaminant fungicide captan. Plus, conventional strawberries with the most pesticides are often the imported ones because pesticide restrictions are not always the same in other countries.

6 Kale and Spinach

While spinach and kale offer many nutrients with very low calories, they are often sprayed with more than 20 kinds of pesticides before being tossed in our salads and cooked in our omelettes.

7 Peaches

Peaches, while juicy and delicious, are high on the list of tree fruits for being the most susceptible to pesticide residue, and usually contain levels above the legal limits. Contaminants in peaches are fungicides captan and iprodione, which have been linked to cancer.

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