One of the questions I hear a lot is about organic food and whether it’s worth it? It’s a really interesting question and one that I have often wondered myself. Growing up, my parents were really into growing their own veg and buying organic but when I went to university I really noticed the price tag. I began to think that organic was a waste of money, there just to rinse the pockets of those silly enough to buy it.
When the price of food is on the rise it’s so easy to just go for the cheapest option but over the years I’ve come to realise that there are some things that really are worth spending that little bit more on. In an ideal world we would all eat organic, homegrown, free range food with no air miles and bought from the farm shop next door. But that’s just not possible and everybody’s food budgets are different. That’s why I’ve put together a list of the foods that are worth buying organic:
1. Milk – organic whole and semi-skimmed milk has more beneficial omega-3 fatty acid, Vitamin E and beta-carotene than non-organic milk, and studies have found that organic milk has 68 per cent higher levels of the essential fatty acid than non-organic.
2. Bread – This everyday favourite has a really surprising number of pesticides, which have been used on the wheat grains, so choosing organic flour or bread helps to reduce your exposure to pesticides.
3. Tomatoes – Tomatoes have very delicate skins that pesticides can easily get through. These chemicals cannot be washed off and removing the skin will not help as the chemicals have seeped through.This includes all fruit and veg with thin skins so things like berries, cucumbers, spinach, celery, carrots etc. are worth getting organic too.
4. Eggs – Eggs are an easy place to start going organic. Organic means free-range too, so those chickens enjoy a much happier life outside, producing rich, delicious eggs.
5. Leafy Greens – These tend to have a large surface area for their size so can absorb lots of chemicals.
6. Chicken – Organic standards insist that animals are given plenty of space and fresh air so they can grow more naturally, with a truly free-range life. They also forbid they use of antibiotics.
7. Soft fruit – Fruit with soft skins such as peaches and nectarines, tend to absorb more chemicals. Generally the skins of these fruit are often eaten, despite the surface having been treated with pesticides.
10. Oranges – Organic oranges are one of the best organic foods to buy, with a study by PAN UK finding that 97 per cent of oranges tested had pesticide residues in them.
Now this can all sound a bit intimidating but there are foods around that are much safer to eat when it comes to pesticides. This list includes avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, frozen peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, aubergine, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower and sweet potatoes. They tend to absorb much less pesticide so you can be more relaxed when it comes to buying the non-organic versions of these ingredients.
It can be a bit overwhelming if you decide to change your weekly food shop to all organic products. But I hope these two lists make it a bit easier to decided what is worth buying organic and what to not be so worried about. You can be kind to your body and your wallet!
I must just mention that although eating organic is great, it’s much more important to eat lots of fresh veggies and we can only do the best with what we’ve got. So eat organic where you can but in the end just aim to eat as wide a variety of fresh ingredients as you can to give your body the goodness it really needs!
P.s To keep up to date with what foods you should be eating organic look up ‘Dirty Dozen’ organic, they update their list yearly.