I am a beginner in eating organic, and I've heard some fruit and vegetables are more important than others. Is this true?

It is true. However, a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables (both traditional and organic) can help you reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer! So, the benefits of a diet with a lot of produce far outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Many of my patients have little to no income and purchasing expensive organic produce would be near impossible for them. That is why I encourage them to get any sort of fruit or vegetable into their diet, whether organic or conventionally-grown (or canned or frozen!) The Environmental Protection Agency plays a pivotal role in helping to restrict the amount of harmful pesticides that reach our food. Unfortunately, some fruits and vegetables do have pesticide residue so the Environmental Working Group has put together a list of produce that one should try to buy organic and a list of produce that is fine to buy conventionally grown. They called the lists the “Dirty Dozen Plus” and the “Clean 15”. Produce on the “Dirty Dozen Plus” includes: hot peppers, apples, celery, sweet bell peppers, peaches, strawberries, nectarines (imported), grapes, spinach, leafy greens (Kale and collard greens), cucumbers, blueberries (domestic) and peaches. So, it is best to buy these items organic. Items one can purchase conventionally-grown and on the “Clean 15” include: onions, sweet corn, pineapples, avocados, cabbage, sweet peas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, kiwi, cantaloupe (domestic), sweet potatoes, grapefruit, mushrooms and papaya. Finally, I am a huge fan of Farmer’s Markets because generally you can find organically grown produce at a very low price. Happy shopping!

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