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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

This is the most frequently consumed food on the planet. And this high-fiber, low-fat staple has many B-vitamins and minerals, including the important anti-oxidant, anti-cancer mineral, selenium. You should seriously consider buying organically grown rice and rice products, especially if it is one of your staple foods. The dangerous herbicide 2,4,5-T was sprayed on rice before being banned in 1984, and many persistent water-soluble herbicides and insecticides have been found to contaminate the ground water near major rice fields, such as in California's Sacramento River Valley. I suggest buying organic rice in bulk. You'll find that this way it's as economical as non-organic pre-packaged rice and much safer.

Cruciferous Vegetables (Broccoli, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, and Cauliflower)
Because of their healthy anti-cancer phytonutrients, vitamin and mineral content, high-fiber and low-calories, these are excellent foods to eat regularly. But since we eat the parts that may have been sprayed with carcinogenic chemicals, it's best to eat the organically grown versions of these vegetables.

A staple in many diets, they contain cleansing fiber, detoxifying pectin, and many nutrients. However, most apples have been found to be nearly as contaminated as strawberries. Forty eight different pesticides were detected by FDA testing in nearly 2500 samples from 1984 to 1991, while 36 different chemicals were found in their 1992 to 1993 evaluations. Nearly half of these 36 were either neurotoxic or carcinogenic chemicals. In the FDA analyses, apples and peaches were the two crops with the greatest number of different pesticides per crop--seven! Fortunately, a shift away from spraying the orchards is occurring in some areas; about 70% of the apple growers are using organic practices and integrated pest management. If you buy non-organic apples, be sure to peel them and discard the skin before you eat them since most of the chemical residues are on the apple skins. We might want to change our saying to "an organic apple a day keeps the doctor away."

Almonds and Sunflowers Seeds
These nutrient-rich life forms of Nature contain most vitamins and minerals as well as the vital essential fatty acids (EFAs). They also can hold more pesticides and other chemicals in their oils, since many are attracted to oil more than water. They are compact essences of nutrition with many B-vitamins, minerals (even hard-to-find minerals like zinc and selenium), and healthy, tissue-feeding essential oils. It is wise for humans to consume the freshest low-salt samples of these "mini-vitamins." Add to this list some pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pine nuts, and sesame seeds.

Tomatoes & Sweet Peppers (even though I wanted to say "Sweet Potatoes")
These "fruits of the vine" are full of healthy nutrients that include vitamin C, B-vitamins, carotenoids, and other phytonutrients, especially the prostate-helpful and tissue-supporting lycopenes. Both red and green bell peppers were found to have many pesticide residues from the most neurotoxic of the pesticides. In the FDA's measurement of both U.S. and Mexican crops, 64% of peppers contained at least one pesticide, while 36% contained two or more. These vegetables also may be waxed which makes it difficult to remove the residues and other chemicals within the waxes. One study found that as many as 30 different pesticides are used to spray tomatoes. Because the skins of tomatoes are thin and absorbent, and since this is a staple in many salads, soups and sauces, tomatoes are worth buying organically grown. At certain times of year, the price of organic plum tomatoes is competitive with non-organic varieties. And farmer's markets may be the best source of all for fresh unsprayed tomatoes, or better yet, grow your own.

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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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