What Foods Are Not Worth Buying Organic? and how to reduce pesticides in fruits and vegetables

a person holding a basket

If you’re looking to minimise pesticide exposure but your budget is a concern or simply there are no organic food markets in your area, this post is for you:) Organic foods are often praised for being free from synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals. However, some conventionally grown foods have a low pesticide residue or even similar residue levels as their organic counterparts. Avocado for example is one of the cleanest foods that is not worth buying organic if you try to stay healthy on a budget. So let me share with you a brief list of other low pesticides foods. Additionally I will share how to further reduce pesticide content in non organic fruits and vegetables.

As a rule of thumb, the thicker skin of a fruit or vegetable the less likely it will highly contaminated with pesticides. 

10 fruits and vegetable low in pesticides

Pesticide concentration in fruits and vegetables varies depending on various factors like thickness of the skin, farming methods and whether certain fruits and vegetables are prone to pests. Environmental conditions like climate and soil type also play a role, affecting how plants absorb and chemicals degrade.

A. Fruits not worth buying organic

sliced avocado

1. Avocados – avocados are one of the cleanest foods if it comes to pesticide content. They have a thick skin that protects the fruit from pesticide residues. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has consistently listed avocados on its “Clean Fifteen” list, meaning it’s one of the least contaminated fruits in terms of pesticides. 

Nutritional benefit: source of healthy fats, potassium and much more! Eggs are one of the most nutritional animal foods, avocado is the queen of the plant based world

2. Pineapple – The tough, spiky exterior of pineapples acts as a natural barrier against pesticides. Like avocados, they frequently rank low in pesticide residue tests.

Nutritional benefit: great source of bromelain – natural digestive enzyme and potent antiinflammatory (especially for joint pain an can help speed up recovery from injuries.

3. Bananas – Bananas have a thick peel, which is removed before consumption. Therefore, the edible part of the banana is less likely to contain significant amounts of pesticides compared to fruits and vegetables that are consumed whole.

Nutritional benefit: good source of potassium and fibre (best unripe banana)

close up photo of kiwis with black seeds

4. Kiwi – Although the fuzzy skin of kiwis isn’t usually consumed, it serves to protect the inner fruit from pesticides. Therefore, conventionally grown kiwis generally have minimal pesticide residue.

Nutritional benefit: excellent source of immune boosting vitamin C.

B. Vegetables not worth buying organic

person s chopping onion

5. Onions – Onions, due to their layered nature and outer skin, have minimal contact with pesticides. Hence, they consistently rank low for pesticide residues.

Nutritional benefit: Onions have sulfur-containing amino acids, which aid in detoxing your liver. Red onions on the top of that are AMAZING source of antioxidants.

6. Cabbage– Cabbage has a protective outer layer that can be removed, significantly reducing the potential for consuming any pesticides that might have been present.

Nutritional benefit: another good source of vitamin C and part of cruciferous vegetable family which also means good for balancing hormones and removing excess oestrogen. If fermented – great source of beneficial gut bacteria

flat lay photography of asparagus

7. Asparagus– Asparagus ranks low in terms of pesticide residues. Its rapid growth rate means less exposure time to pests and, subsequently, fewer pesticides.

Nutritional benefit:Asparagus contains glutathione, a well-known antioxidant that promotes detoxification. It is also a good source of fiber, folate, iron, and vitamins A, C, E, and K – all important for your hormones.

basket of mushrooms

8. Mushrooms– Mushrooms grow in controlled environments, often on specialized growth mediums or composted organic matter. Because of this controlled environment, there is often less need for pesticide applications compared to open-field crops.Most commercially sold mushrooms go through a cleaning process before packaging, which can help reduce any potential surface contaminants

Nutritional benefit: Source of beta glucans – important for immune system and managing high cholesterol.

photo of an eggplant

9. Eggplant – With its protective outer skin, eggplants have a natural defense against pests and, consequently, fewer pesticides are used in their cultivation.

Nutritional benefit: High in antioxidants (protect your cells from damage) and also  very rich source of polyphenols – help to lower excess estrogen

close up photograph of chopped sweet potatoes on a cloth

10. Sweet potatoes – Sweet potatoes have fewer pest problems compared to some other crops, which can reduce the need for extensive pesticide applications.

Nutritional benefit: a good plant source of B6 – essential vitamin for hormonal balance and also to relief PMS symptoms

Other low pesticides fruits and vegetables:

Papaya, mangos, honeydew melon, watermelon, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli,  sweet peas

4 effective ways to remove pesticides from fruits and vegetables

Choosing organic or choosing foods low in pesticides is one step towards better health but there are few other things we can do to further reduce harmful compounds in food we eat.

  1. Salt – Soak in salt water using Himalayan salt or sea salt for 20 minutes. Researchers discovered that 10% salt water solution is effective for removing common pesticide residues including DDT. Rinse with water afterwards.
  2. Bicarbonate of soda – Also known as bicarb and baking soda to clean. Add 1 teaspoon of bicarb to 2 cups of water and soak for 15 minutes. Rise with water afterwards.
  3. Vinegar (any type) – Soak for 20 minutes. You need to use 1-part vinegar to 4-parts water, so 10 ml of vinegar would need to be mixed with 40 ml of water. Porous fruits such as berries may become soggy when soaked for too long.
  4. Peel – Particularly when you have food allergies and are starting The Hypoallergenic Diet, it is beneficial to peel the skin off fruits and vegetables to reduce pesticide exposure. 

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