A diet rich in vegetables and fruits keeps you free of disease and adds years to your life. But not all food is created equal.
There are some items at the store you should spend the extra money on to get organic. They’re usually the ones with thinner skins which are more vulnerable to pesticides and other chemicals.
These are five you won’t have to waste the extra money on. Their non-organic versions are safe to eat.
1. Onions: Their many layers of outer skin keep out insects so they don’t need as many pesticides.
Why they’re good for you: They’re a prebiotic, which means they feed the good bacteria in your system. This is essential for maintaining your gut health and fighting off harmful bacteria. Onions also help your body to produce glutathione, the “master antioxidant” that detoxifies and supports your liver.
Some onions are even a great source of polyphenols that help regulate blood sugar. Red onions contain more than tomatoes, carrots, and red bell peppers.1
2. Avocado: The skin of an avocado is pretty tough. It’s too tough for most insects to get through. And like onions, even if pesticides are used on your avocados, they won’t penetrate the skin.
Why they’re good for you: Avocados are rich in antioxidants and the natural form of vitamin E. They also contain the lutein you need to maintain clear vision. They’re high in good fats to help your body balance hormones and absorb nutrients. They also come with the added bonus of helping you feel full longer.
3. Sweet Potato: Some potato farmers will tell you that they won’t eat the potatoes they sell.2 That’s because most conventionally grown plain potatoes get heavy sprays of pesticides. Sweet potatoes don’t receive the same kind of attention.
Why they’re good for you: Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin A, which supports vision and reproductive health. Its carotenoids fight oxidation and help prevent skin cancer. They also make a great treat after a workout when your body needs to restore glycogen. (Just don’t overdo it. They’re still high in carbohydrates.)
4. Asparagus: When it comes to asparagus, bugs just don’t seem that interested in eating it. So these vegetables require less pesticide treatment. Unlike other foods on this list, it doesn’t have a thick shell or outer layers, but the nutrition is mainly in the tips which are dense.3
Why it’s good for you: This vegetable is high in vitamin B2, which helps reduce migraines by 50 percent. Asparagus is a good source of vitamin K, which protects your heart and keeps strong bones. Eating more of it may even help you to spice things up in the bedroom.
5. Coconuts: It takes quite a bit of effort to crack through a coconut. There’s not a bug or a pesticide that we know of that’s going to make it through that shell. It keeps the tender, nutty meat fresh and free of harm. That’s why you won’t find traces of pesticides or other nasty surprises in coconut oil or water.4
Why they’re good for you: You know by now that coconut oil is a good saturated fat. At one time doctors said to avoid it at all costs. Now we know it’s a potent weapon against Alzheimer’s disease. The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil acts like fuel for your brain, but it also helps your body burn fat. It starves cancer cells and keeps them from growing. You can also use coconut oil to cleanse your mouth of bacteria for a whiter smile.
It’s unfortunate but not everyone has access to a wide variety of organic foods. And not everyone has the budget for it either. This is the easiest, most economical way to sidestep that problem. A good rule of thumb to remember: If a fruit or vegetable has a thick, hard outer covering, it’s probably safe to eat the non-organic version.