We all know by now that organic trumps non-organically grown produce. But buying all organic adds up. Quick.
If you want to buy organic but can’t afford to buy organic for everything you juice, check out this list from the Environmental Working Group of fruits and vegetables that are highest in pesticides to see what you absolutely should buy organic and what you can get away with buying non-organic.
The below is EWG’s Dirty Dozen™ list of fruits and vegetables that are commonly contaminated with highly toxic insecticides that are toxic to the nervous system and have been largely removed from agricultural practices for the past decade, but are not yet banned and still persist in the growing of some food crops.
So, here they are. The Dirty Dozen™. Literally.
1. Apples: Apple peels contain much of the nutritional benefits of this fruit. According to Cornell University’s Chronicle Online, apple peels are especially rich in powerful phytochemicals like flavonoids and phenolic acids since it is at the peel where the fruit interacts directly with the sunlight. Another study from the University of Illinois says about two-thirds of an apple’s fiber content exists in its peel. Apple peels also contain important minerals such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, folate and iron as well as antioxidants (vitamins A and C). Another fairly recent study singles out apple skin for its potential to prevent loss of muscle tissues.
The point is: apple skins are highly nutritious and this is one fruit you should plan to buy organic so you can get the full benefits!
2. Celery: Also another important vegetable for juicing, since it helps dilutes the taste of stronger vegetable juice concoctions. Vegetables like celery that cannot be easily peeled should definitely be bought organic.
3. Sweet bell peppers: Yet another vegetable that is impossible to peel. Buy this organic.
4. Peaches: Peaches can be peeled so its not an absolute necessity to buy these organic.
5. Strawberries: Strawberries – and other berries – can’t be peeled so they’re best bought organic.
6. Nectarines: Same as peaches.
7. Grapes: Grape peels are really difficult to peel. It can be done – it’s just too time-consuming to be really worth it. Plus, red and purple grapes contain resveratrol – the anti aging miracle that’s been making headlines all over the news and the main reason why red wine is touted as a nutritious drink.
Resveratrol is an antioxidant that helps to protect your body against free radical damage that leads to the aging and disease. The studies that back up resveratrol as an anti aging marvel are based on studies in which mice that were fed resveratrol supplements had better motor coordination and lived longer than mice that didn’t receive any resveratrol. According to these studies, resveratrol works by boosting enzyme activity in the mitochondria of muscle tissue.
This is one of the biggest reasons to eat (organic) red grapes with the skins on – the concentration of reseveratrol is much higher in the skin of red grapes than it is in red wine.
8. Spinach: Leafy greens like spinach should absolutely be purchased organic.
9. Lettuce: Same with lettuce.
10. Cucumbers: Cucumber peels are full of nutritious benefits. The skins are rich in fiber and contain a variety of beneficial minerals such as silica, potassium and magnesium – making it ideal of hydration as well as for maintaining healthy tissue. Silica is an essential component of healthy connective tissue in muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bone. Cucumber juice – with the (organic) peels left on – is an excellent source of silica to improve skin health.
11. Blueberries: Blueberries – like all berries – don’t really have skins you can peel. Buy these organic!
12. Potatoes: If you plan on juicing potatoes, make sure you don’t leave out the peels. Potato peels contain more vitamin C than an orange and should always be left on (granted the potato is organic).
Plus, green beans and leaf greens – including kale and collard greens – don’t meet the Dirty Dozen criteria but are also commonly contaminated with highly toxic insecticides. Kale and other leafy greens should not be left out of any healthy juicing diet so be sure to get these organic!