Should I Buy Organic Produce?

Buying organic is just one example of a small change that can positively affect your well-being. Spending time in your hot tub is another. Like eating organic produce, spa time can be part of a holistic approach to wellness with positive benefits. Just 20 minutes a day can help you reduce stress, increase flexibility, help increase circulation, assist muscle recovery, improve sleep and promote wellness.

With very little extra time or effort as you shop, you can make a long-term commitment to your well-being by knowing when to purchase organic or when it’s not as necessary.

The overall time commitment is negligible. The benefits are potentially great in the long run. But the cost? It can really add up over time. So is it important that every piece of produce you buy be labeled organic? We’ll break that question down in a minute. But first…


What’s Required For A Food To Be Labeled “Organic” Or “100% Organic?”

       •  100 Percent Organic: means only organically produced ingredients and processing aids, excluding water and salt. No other ingredients or additives are permitted.

       • Organic: must contain at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt). Any remaining ingredients must consist of non-agricultural substances that appear on the USDA National Organic Program list of allowed and prohibited substances. (link to

These products must be grown, handled and processed without the use of pesticides or other synthetic chemicals, irradiation, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or bioengineering in order to bear the USDA organic seal.


Which Foods Should You Make An Effort To Buy Organic?

Some produce tends to have a higher “pesticide load,” so it’s a good idea to buy them organic. A list of those fruits and vegetables is listed by the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization, in its Shoppers’ Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

•    apples

•    peaches

•    nectarines

•    strawberries

•    grapes

•    celery

•    spinach

•    bell peppers

•    cucumbers

•    cherry tomatoes

•    snap peas (imported)

•    potatoes

•    hot peppers

•    kale

•   collard greens


Which Foods Are Acceptable To Buy Conventional And Why?

The same guide lists its “clean 15” foods with the smallest pesticide load, and therefore safer to buy “conventionally grown.” Often, it’s because there’s a peel or rind you don’t eat that protects the fruit or vegetable.

•    avocados

•    sweet corn

•    pineapples

•    cabbage

•    sweet peas (frozen)

•    onions

•    asparagus

•    mangoes

•    papayas

•    kiwi

•    eggplant

•    grapefruit

•    cantaloupe (domestic)

•    cauliflower

•   sweet potatoes

While there’s still a benefit to buying these foods as organic (even less exposure to pesticide residue), buying these foods conventionally grown can save you money while limiting your exposure. Make sure you wash these products before cutting through the peel into the part of the food you’ll eat.


Is It Necessary To Wash Organic Produce?

Yes. You should wash all produce before eating it. Organic produce may be handled by many people before you buy it, and it could come into contact with other pesticide-tainted food.

• Rinse or scrub your vegetables under running water for 30 seconds, which can eliminate 98 percent of the pesticides and bacteria that may be present.

• For more cleansing power, try washing produce in a mixture of one part vinegar to three parts water. Scrub smooth produce and soak vegetables or items with hard-to-reach nooks and crannies in the solution for 5 minutes. You should be aware, though, that the vinegar could affect the flavor of your food.


It all comes down to choice and just a small investment of your time. All in all, choosing the right organic foods and washing all your produce are good ideas that can positively affect your health with very little effort.


What Do You Think?

Do you currently purchase organic fruits and vegetables? Why or why not? We’re interested in how you wash your food before you eat it. Do you purchase and use a produce cleaning solution, or do you just rinse your produce? Have you ever tried vinegar and how much did it affect the taste of your food, if at all?  


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