Sales of organic food rose to a record $43 billion in 2016, an 8.4 percent increase from 2015. And it’s no surprise – not only does buying organic foods support sustainable agriculture, it’s also healthier: after all, organic doesn’t contain the harmful chemicals and pesticides that you’ll find in conventional foods.
But while it would be awesome if we could buy only organic foods, unfortunately, it can be tough on our bank accounts. So if you have to choose, here are our recommendations for organic foods that are especially worth the price hike.
Strawberries are worth buying organic for two very important reasons. The first is that conventional strawberries are heavily treated with pesticides. They’re culprit number one on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list – a ranking of produce that contains pesticide residue – and because they’re so delicate, people don’t always wash them as well as they should. Seeing as the recommendations on EWG’s list are made for produce prepared for eating – in other words, already washed – if you’re not washing your conventional strawberries well enough, you could be ingesting even more pesticides.
But studies have also shown that organic strawberries are demonstrably better than their conventional cousins when it comes to their antioxidant profile. EWG scientist Dawn Undurraga notes that the results of this study show that you could eat “three servings servings of organic fruits and vegetables and get the equivalent of five servings of conventional.”
She also notes that while data isn’t available for all berries, “that doesn’t mean the same isn’t true for blackberries.” “If we only talk about the foods that are tested, we’re assuming that they’re better, and that’s probably not the case,” she continues. So if strawberries aren’t your favorite, you could probably opt for any organic antioxidant-rich berry and get the same benefits.