Fruits-and-VegetablesTHERE are lots of reasons to buy organic produce. Obviously there are no pesticides, which is better for us and for the environment. No pesticides also mean healthier soil, water, and wildlife. Buying organic supports small farmers. But apart from those obvious reasons, organic fruit and vegetables are much better for you. Scientists have now finally explained why. It’s because organic produce have higher levels of antioxidants because they have to activate their own defence systems against pests and disease, rather than relying on protection from pesticides. 

Organic tomatoes have higher levels of phenolic compounds – antioxidants that protect against cardiovascular diseases, degenerative diseases and some cancers – than conventionally grown ones.  Even tomato juice and ketchup made from organic tomatoes have higher phenol levels than the non-organic brands, say researchers at the University of Barcelona.

If you’re on a tight budget or find getting hold of organic produce a challenge, the following have been found to be the least contaminated by pesticides: cauliflower, corn (but watch out for genetically modified), kiwi, mangoes, onions,

Papaya, pineapples and sweet peas while celery, pears, peaches, apples, cherries, strawberries, grapes, raspberries, spinach and potatoes contained the highest levels.

(Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2012; 60: 4542-9)