Always buy organic varieties of these 12 fruits and vegetables:
Another tip: Buy in-season fruits and vegetables, which will likely be locally produced or at least not imported from countries who don't have strict organic standards. In-season fruits and vegetables are also typically cheaper than produce that is shipped in.
A recent report from the nonprofit agency Consumer Reports found almost 40 percent of bagged or packaged salads from 16 brands (including organic varieties) were contaminated with bacteria that is a common indicator of fecal contamination. Packaging puts all produce at a higher risk of contamination (and makes it more expensive compared to unpackaged), so opt for fresh bunches of greens and heads of lettuce as opposed to prewashed or triple-washed packaged greens.
Although the only leafy green on the "dirty dozen" list is spinach, other greens like lettuce, kale and arugula should be purchased organically – and not packaged – because they are frequently contaminated with pesticides. Additionally, tomatoes are another salad ingredient to purchase organically to minimize your exposure to chemicals.
If you are purchasing produce from a farmer's market, the best way to determine if it is organic is to ask the vendors, who will likely be the farmers who grew the produce. They will be more than happy to explain how they grow their fruits and vegetables and can let you know if their produce is organic.
When you are buying produce in a grocery store, fresh fruits and vegetables don't come with a nutrition label as you find on packaged foods, but produce does come with a sticker. Although most grocery stores have signs designating organic produce, you can also look at the numbered sticker on the item to make sure you are buying organic.
Here are the meanings behind the numbers:
Reading labels is important regardless of the type of food you are buying.
Fruits and vegetables that have hardy exteriors and are peeled before consumption have a decreased risk of passing pesticides on to you and your family.
Produce you can buy conventionally:
Buy as much organic produce as you can afford and certainly opt for organics when buying any of the "dirty dozen." When cost is an issue, though, opt for conventional buys of these 12 fruits and vegetables because they will be the least contaminated.
Organic and conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables should be washed well before consumption. This even includes the produce you peel; you can transfer bacteria from the outside of a fruit or vegetable to the flesh when you cut it with a knife.
And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .
SheKnows is making some changes!