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 10 Healing Foods To Buy Organic  
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Staying Healthy Tips by . View all columns in series
There are some key aspects of foods' nutrition and healthfulness to consider when choosing healing foods - we want ones that are high in supportive nutrients and that are clear of toxic chemicals. Consuming foods as they are grown from Nature is where to begin - fresh fruits, wholesome vegetables, hearty whole grains, lively legumes, nutritious nuts and seeds, some calming low-fat dairy, and non-toxic animal proteins, from eggs to flesh if these are desired and feel right for you. Then, make sure the main foods you eat are not filled with additives or exposed to pesticides and other chemical sprays, or contaminated in other ways, such as from the water, soil, or industrial treatments.

The key foods to buy organically grown and/or manufactured from organic ingredients are:

  1. Those that are commonly heavily treated, such as strawberries and animals;
  2. Those where you consume the parts that are sprayed, as in leafy greens or broccoli;
  3. Those that you consume frequently, whereby you'll get higher accumulated exposure over time, as in apples or bananas.
Ideally, our entire diet could be made up of wholesome, healthy organic and clean foods.

My list for Ten Healing Foods To Buy Organically Grown includes:

Strawberries are red and energizing, rich in vitamin C and carotenoids (beta-carotene and others). But this fruit is the most heavily contaminated produce food in the U.S., according to data from a number of environmental groups, including a 1993 study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG of Washington, DC) and an analysis by the Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA). Strawberries in California are treated with more than 300 pounds of pesticides an acre, and some areas of the country use up to 500 pounds per acre. As a comparison, conventional farming currently uses about 25 pounds of pesticides an acre on the average crop. Also, some growers may be spraying the harvested strawberries for shipping. This adds to the amount of chemical concentration in the fruit. Strawberries were also found to have the highest level of hormone-affecting pesticides, including benomyl, vinclozolin, and endosulfan. Methyl bromide is another common toxic spray used on strawberries. Note that out-of-season strawberries may be even more heavily treated because they come from other countries and are sprayed before shipping.

Leafy Greens, such as Lettuces, Spinach, Kale, and Chard
These foods are considered vital and nutritious. They contain folic acid as well as calcium, iron and other minerals. However, sprayed chemicals tend to remain on the leaves of these vegetables, which is potentially more harmful since we eat those leafy parts. In FDA studies, spinach was the most frequently found leafy green to contain the more potent pesticides, especially the organophosphates (neurotoxins) and permethrin (noted as mildly carcinogenic).

All grapes contain cleansing fibers, B-vitamins and vitamin C, plus some minerals from the soil. Red grapes contain many phytonutrients, including the healthy proanthocyanadins, which appear heart protective. Unless they are organically grown, however, grapes may receive multiple applications of a variety of chemical agents during their growing period. Many fruits, including grapes, ripen quickly and attract insects and molds. Thus, they tend to be more heavily treated in order to get them to the market (and to protect the financial interest of the grower). FDA research indicates that imported grapes are even more heavily treated than the U.S. samples. During winter and early spring, almost all grapes available in the U.S. are from Chile, and these are found to have an exceptionally high percentage of pesticide residues (79%). They also have a higher percent of the carcinogenic pesticides, captan and iprodione. However, U.S. grape growers use high amounts of sulfites and the fumigant, methyl bromide, so these are all good reasons to buy organic grapes and grape juices.

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 About The Author
Elson M. Haas, MD is founder & Director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin (since 1984), an Integrated Health Care Facility in San Rafael, CA and author of many books on Health and Nutrition, including ...moreElson Haas MD
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