10 Organic Foods That Are Worth the Money

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by Joseph Mercola: CDC
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1. Apples

The FDA states
that more pesticides are found on apples than are found on any other
fruit or vegetable – a grand total of 36. One test found seven
chemicals on a single apple. Sounds like a good reason to switch
to pesticide-free organic produce to me.

Of course,
if you do eat apples or any other fruit, use them sparingly and
never consume them in the form of fruit juice, which is basically
just a glass full of fructose.

2. Baby
Foods

An infant’s
immune system is less developed than an adult’s, and more vulnerable.
Nonorganic baby foods tend to use fruits and vegetables that have
been treated with chemicals.

3. Butter
and Milk

Dairy cows
eat grains that are heavily treated with chemicals, which show up
in the milk. Non-organic milk can also contain bovine growth hormone
and antibiotics.

However, RAW
milk is nearly always better than organic milk if it is purchased
from a conscious farmer. In that case, it may not be certified organic,
but it will essentially be organic anyway, and drinking your milk
raw is KEY. The linked article should have written loads about this
difference, but failed entirely to do so.

4. Cantaloupe

Cantaloupes
often are contaminated by five of the longest-lasting chemicals.
Dieldrin, a very toxic and carcinogenic insecticide, still gets
taken up through the cantaloupe’s roots even though it was banned
in 1974.

5. Cucumbers

Cucumbers
were ranked the 12th most contaminated food and the second in cancer
risk due to their pesticide content.

6. Grapes

Grapes get
treated with numerous chemicals, especially Chilean grapes, which
can be sprayed with as many as 17 of them. Grapes are also, whether
organic or not, especially high in fructose – you might want
to consider eating the grape skins and leaving the grape itself
alone.

7. Green
Beans

There are
over 60 pesticides that are registered for use on green beans in
the U.S.

8. Spinach

The chemicals
used to treat spinach may cause cancer or interfere with hormone
production.

9. Strawberries

Strawberries
are among the most contaminated of all produce. Once again, be wary
of overdoing it with fructose when you eat fruit.

10. Winter
Squash

Winter squash,
like cantaloupe, can absorb dieldrin from the soil.

Source: Real
Simple November 2010

Dr. Mercola’s
Comments:

Organic
food can be more costly
than its conventionally grown alternative,
but your payoff of good health should more than make up for it –
and reduce your overall health care costs in the future.

It sure makes
a load of sense to me to invest a bit more now so you can avoid
paying much larger medical bills in the future, as well as avoid
the physical and mental disability and dysfunction that inevitably
follows from eating heavily contaminated foods for a lifetime.

That said,
when you do buy organic you want to be sure you’re getting the most
bang for your buck, and your dollars are not being wasted on food
that is only marginally better than its non-organic counterpart.

The list above
is an excellent starting point if you’re looking to switch to an
organic lifestyle a little at a time, rather than converting 100
percent, but there are some additional points that can help you
out too.

Why Organic
Foods Appear Expensive

Most people
fail to appreciate that their view of what food should cost is seriously
warped by agribusiness. They don’t realize that these multinational
corporations, that care nothing about health, have perverted the
entire system to provide “food” very cheaply through factory-farming
methods.

As a result
many now believe real food should be inexpensive.

For virtually
all of human history, our ancestors paid proportionally far more
for food, and many primitive cultures spend 75 percent of their
time and money in simply acquiring food.

The upside
of this, however, is that these very factory-farming technologies
that make “food” cheap now make it possible to eat about as healthy
as it has ever been possible in the history of this planet. And
amazingly, it costs far less to do so now then it did previously.

We just need
to do it with knowledge and wisdom. That is a large part of what
I seek to explain on this site. To warn you of the pitfalls to health,
and help you to identify the healthiest, most cost-effective approaches
to health so you don’t have to rely on drugs that can kill you.

You can also
justify the higher cost of eating healthy by looking at the LONG
TERM potential benefits which you will most likely appreciate, like
avoiding disability and time in the hospital and most likely, avoid
a premature death.

At least in
the US, everyone has choices to make in terms of what type of food
they will eat and how it will affect their health. The question
becomes do you want to sacrifice your current and future health
for convenience and taste or choose more expensive healthy foods
and cut back in other areas?

The Most Important
Foods to Buy Organic

If you’re on
a tight budget but want to improve your diet by shopping organic,
animal products like meat, poultry and eggs is the place to start.

Since animal
products tend to bioaccumulate toxins from their pesticide-laced
feed, concentrating them to far higher concentrations than are typically
present in vegetables, I strongly recommend you buy only organically
raised meats.

Unlike conventional
fruits and vegetables, where peeling and washing can sometimes reduce
the amounts of these toxins, the pesticides and drugs that these
animals get exposed to during their lives can become incorporated
into their very tissues, especially their fat.

While you can
cut off some of it, you may still be ingesting
high amounts of toxins
if you consume such foods regularly.

Another important
factor that sets organic meat apart from its conventional counterpart
is it will not contain antibiotics and other growth-promoting drugs.

When choosing
organic beef, taking the additional step to make certain the cows
are exclusively grass-fed
, including the three months before
they are slaughtered, can make a big difference in the quality,
taste, and nutrient content of the beef.

For chickens,
it would be important to make sure they are cage-free, or free-range,
chickens, as well as being organic.

Eggs from truly
organic, pastured chickens are also FAR less likely to contain dangerous
bacteria such as salmonella, and their nutrient content is also
much higher than commercially raised eggs. However, the organic
eggs in your grocery store
may have undergone additional treatments
during cleaning and processing that you’re better off avoiding.

So look for
organic eggs as well, but buy them locally from a farmer you trust.
If you’re choosing between organic eggs from your supermarket or
locally grown eggs that are not certified organic but come from
a reputable source, the locally grown eggs are probably the better
choice.

Dairy: Is
Organic Worth It?

Organic dairy
products are important because they’ll be free from pesticides and
Monsanto’s
genetically engineered growth hormone rBGH
. However, the real
issue is not organic vs. non-organic milk, but pasteurized vs. non-pasteurized,
or raw, milk.

Hands down,
raw milk, even if it’s not organic, is the superior choice.

Pasteurization
transforms the physical structure of the proteins in milk, such
as casein, and alters the shape of the amino acid configuration
into a foreign protein that your body is not equipped to handle.
The process also destroys the friendly bacteria found naturally
in milk and drastically reduces the micronutrient and vitamin content.

Pasteurization
destroys part of the vitamin C in raw milk, encourages the growth
of harmful bacteria, and turns milk’s naturally occurring sugar
(lactose) into beta-lactose. Beta-lactose is rapidly absorbed in
the human body, with the result that hunger can return quickly after
a glass of milk – especially in children.

The pasteurization
process also makes insoluble most of the calcium found in raw milk.
This can lead to a host of health problems in children, among them
rickets and bad teeth. And then there’s the destruction of about
20 percent of the iodine available in raw milk, which can cause
constipation.

When pasteurized
milk is also homogenized, a substance known as xanthine oxidase
is created. This compound can play a role in oxidative stress by
acting as a free radical in your body.

Raw milk contains
good bacteria that are essential for a healthy digestive system,
and offers protection against disease-causing bacteria … so I don’t
recommend you waste another penny on pasteurized organic milk, seek
out milk (and other dairy products) from a reputable raw dairy instead
.

Which Produce
Should You Buy Organic?

When it comes
to produce, if you can’t find the best of both worlds, which is
locally grown organics, then buying fresh, vibrant locally grown
conventional produce may actually be better than wilted organics.
However, it can be tricky, since some conventionally grown produce
simply LOOKS fresher due to all the chemicals they’ve been treated
with.

Perhaps your
best bet, if you can’t find locally grown organics, is to opt for
USDA certified organic, but not imported organic, over the conventionally
grown variety.

Just be aware
that wilted organic produce is not going to provide the nutrition
that fresh produce will, even if it’s conventionally grown.

That said,
organic produce has been shown to have a much
higher nutrient-content
than conventional fresh produce, which
should offer plenty of incentive to locate organic produce that
has also been grown locally. On average, conventional produce has
only 83 percent of the nutrients of organic produce.

In terms of
pesticides, the Environmental Working Group has done the work for
you and identified the 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest
pesticide load, making them the most important to buy or
grow organic:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet bell
    peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Lettuce
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Pears
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes

Meanwhile,
the produce below has the lowest
pesticide load when conventionally grown
. Consequently, they
are the safest conventionally grown crops to consume:

  • Broccoli
  • Eggplant
  • Cabbage
  • Banana
  • Kiwi
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet peas
    (frozen)
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Sweet corn
    (frozen)
  • Avocado
  • Onion

Making Sure
Your Organic Foods are Really Healthy

As I’m fond
of reminding you, 90 percent of the money Americans spend on food
is spent on processed foods, which is a disaster for your health
even if you’re buying “organic” processed foods.

Just because
someone slaps an organic label on a food product, that label does
not somehow magically transform a junk food into a health food.
Organic processed foods – ice cream, potato chips, soda, etc.
– are just as detrimental to your health as conventional processed
foods.

So when planning
your food budget, make sure your organic choices are centered on
whole foods like meat, raw dairy and produce – not processed
imposters.

Also be aware
that if you shop at farmer’s
markets or food coops
you’ll often come across food that is
extremely high quality and grown according to organic standards,
but not certified as such. Often small farmers cannot afford the
costly organic certification process but still grow their food according
to these principles.

Again, this
comes down to knowing where your food comes from so you can make
informed choices about whether it’s better to buy non-organic locally
grown produce or organic produce from your supermarket.

Overall, though,
the old saying “you get what you pay for” applies perfectly to the
food supply in your 21st-century stores and supermarkets.

Your grocery
bill might be less if you purchase only processed foods, along with
conventionally grown vegetables coated in pesticide residue with
an artificially high nitrogen content, and corn-fed beef, or irradiated
chicken filled with growth hormones.

But although
they may cost you less at the checkout, are these foods really less
expensive over time?

What about
the cost to your health and quality of life from eating these foods?

These costs
don’t show up on your food bill, but they’ll show up later in your
health. Since your health is literally priceless, it makes sense
to do all you can to protect its value, including buying foods that
are as pure and natural as possible.

November
22, 2010

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