The Dirty Dozen: Produce You Should ALWAYS Buy Organic

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Ever heard of “The Dirty Dozen”?

(Hint: I’m not referring to the 1967 World War II film…)

If not, allow me to explain!

Environmental Working Group (EWG) consistently updates its “Dirty Dozen” list of the 12 most pesticide-prone fruits and vegetables.

Why does “organic” matter? According to an article in TIME magazine:

Fruits, vegetables and grains labeled organic are grown without the use of most synthetic pesticides or artificial fertilizers. (The National Organic Standard Board does allow some synthetic substances to be used.) While such chemicals have been deemed safe in the quantities used for conventional farming, health experts still warn about the potential harms of repeated exposure.

Still not convinced? Max Lugavere explains an additional perk of organic produce in his New York Times bestseller Genius Foods:

It’s well established that by opting for organic produce, you are avoiding the exposure to synthetic herbicides and pesticides that can disrupt neurotransmitter function and increase your rise for certain neurodegenerative diseases. Here’s another reason to look for the organic label: the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides on produce can dramatically handicap the plants’ creation of their own defense mechanisms – the very polyphenols we want. Many studies that compare vitamin content of conventionally grown produce with that of organically grown produce overlook this point. The most health-promoting nutrients in these plants are not always vitamins but the natural defense compounds that, when consumed, stoke genetic restoration pathways in us.

Okay, that’s all great…but time for a reality check: Organic produce can be pricey! In an ideal world, we’d all buy everything organic from farmer’s markets or the beautiful displays at Whole Foods. However, in the real world, our budgets sometimes don’t allow for this.

Enter: The Dirty Dozen!

The Dirty Dozen = produce items we should always buy organic.

This year (2018), be sure to spend a little extra money on organic varieties of the following:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Grapes
  6. Peaches
  7. Cherries
  8. Pears
  9. Tomatoes
  10. Celery
  11. Potatoes
  12. Sweet bell peppers

All of the above are likely to be covered in the most synthetic pesticides.

If your budget allows, it’s obviously best to buy everything organic, but don’t sweat if you can’t afford it. Produce is great for you no matter how you swing it!

Also, recognize that organic frozen produce is often cheaper and just as healthy as fresh. For more information on this, read my prior post “Frozen Produce Is Just As Good (If Not Better!) As Fresh Produce.”

Happy grocery shopping!


⇒ To optimize every aspect of your health, visit My Favorite Things! There, you’ll find links to healthy packaged foods, toxin-free products, and overall wellness boosters.

Picture of strawberries in a crate above title - The Dirty Dozen: Produce You Should ALWAYS Buy Organic

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