- Dr. Melyssa Hoitink, ND
Organic Foods: Yay or Nay?
Updated: Aug 10, 2022
Wondering if you should switch to organic foods, but worried about the cost?
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases a "Dirty Dozen, Clean Fifteen" list every year. The Dirty Dozen consists of the 12 foods with the most pesticide residues. The Clean Fifteen are the 15 food items with the lower pesticide residues, meaning you can choose the non-organic options at the store without compromising your health. Choosing organic options of the foods listed on the Dirty Dozen will help you to avoid the harmful pesticides, but won't break the bank.
See the link below for your own copy of the 2019 Dirty Dozen, Clean Fifteen list.
Pesticides are used to increase the number of plants that survive to harvest time by protecting them from pests and plant diseases. This increases the food available to the general population and decreases the cost for farmers. Because of the utility of pesticides, it's not surprising that popular foods (such as kale) have moved higher on the "Dirty Dozen" list. The agriculture industry is trying to meet the demand with adequate supply.
Consumption of foods high in pesticide residues have been linked to increased incidence of cancers, food allergies, developmental disorders, and fertility issues in humans. Pesticides also have a devastating effect on other animal populations. Levels of synthetic pesticides detected in human urine decreases, even after a few days of switching to an organic diet (1).
It would be ideal if we could all consume a fully organic diet, but I get it, it's expensive to eat without choosing all organic foods. Even switching out the worst offenders (the Dirty Dozen) can be beneficial to your health. If you can't do it all, at least start there.