Since, I've become a vegetarian, as you can guess, my primary source of energy comes from leafy greens, fruits and other veggies. As a rule of thumb, I always try to purchase organic fruits and veggies to stave off any harmful side effects. In a 2008 article in the Seattle PI, it cited a study where the urine and saliva of children eating a variety of conventional foods from area groceries contained biological markers of organophosphates, the family of pesticides spawned by the creation of nerve gas agents in World War II. YIKES!
I was reading an article in the April 2009 of Glamour called "5 Food Every Woman Should Eat Organic"and was a little surprised by the five foods listed. As a rule of thumb, I always buy organic fruits and vegetables that have skins that you eat (ie. apples, pears peaches, etc.) so I was a little taken aback when I saw Glamour's list.
To determine the prized five, the journalist looked at the foods women eat most, then considered which ones that are the worst when grown or raised using mainstream methods.
Dairy: I'm not a milk drinker, but I do have yogurt from time to time. According to the article, like all organic dairy, organic yogurts are made without the use of hormones and antibiotics and can have higher levels of omega-3s, the heart-healthy we don't get enough of, as well as beta-carotene, which may play a role in cancer prevention.
Lettuce: According to the USDA, lettuce has the highest levels of pesticides in any foods. Also women tend to eat more salad than men and are more likely to be exposed to these chemicals. Be sure to wash your lettuce thoroughly, but keep in mind it doesn't eliminate all the health risks. For more protection try a vegetable and fruit wash. For an inexpensive alternative, try washing your fruits in veggies in baking soda or Palmolive dish liquid.
Apples: Apples are the second most popular fruit behind bananas and rate high on the toxic pesticide list. Organic apples tend to be higher in nutrients, and have been found to taste better in blind studies. My favorite organic apples are Fuji. They tend to be firm and super sweet.
Marinara Sauce: Did you know most Americans consume approximately 90 pounds of tomatoes a year, most of which are in the form of sauces? In a number of studies researchers have shown that organic tomatoes have significantly more lycopene which gives tomatoes their deep red hue, and has been found to lower cancer and heart disease risks, and help repair cell damage.
Meat: If you are going to eat meat, at least buy organic. Some scientists are concerned about a possible link between the hormones that are found in conventional beef and breast cancer in young women. Although there isn't a definitive answer to whether these hormones pose a cancer risk, grass-fed beef tends to be leaner and can have about five times the healthy omega-3 fats of non-organic beef.
BONUS....Wine: There's nothing like a nice glass of vino after a long day of work, but if you're going to have a sip, try organic wine. Organic wines average 32 percent higher resveratrol levels which has been shown to have gentle antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, neuroprotective, anti-aging and life-prolonging effects. Unlike the USDA seal for foods, there is not always an organic seal for wines, but ask your local wine store connoisseur to point you in the right direction. The article recommends Grgich Hills and Bonterra.
So, next time you're at the grocery dismiss the guilt and the few extra pennies and go organic.