Lana Farson, M.S., L.Ac., Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist

Organic – To Buy or Not To Buy?

To avoid proliferation of toxic, chemical pesticides in the body, it’s a good idea to buy Bing Cherriesorganic produce whenever possible.  Since this is not always feasible either due to availability or price, it’s helpful to make some distinction. Which fruits and vegetables should you be sure to buy organically?  Which are lowest in pesticides?  Some of this information is based on how much spraying is typically done with a particular food.  Other considerations are the shape of the produce and how much pesticides can enter or cover the edible parts.  For example, pesticides easily lodge in foods with lots of little crevices such as spinach, lettuce, strawberries or raspberries.  It is best to buy all berries organically.  Conversely, it is less crucial to buy organic when it comes to foods with thick, protective, inedible rinds such as melons or bananas.  However, choose organic if you plan on using the rind, as with citrus, since pesticides are concentrated on the outer surface.

Pesticides and the Brain

Repeated exposure to pesticides is associated with an increase in the risk for Alzheimer’s disease in later life, according to an observational study published in Neurology.

According to the study, commonly used pesticides (organophosphate and organochlorine) inhibit acetylcholinesterase—needed for learning, memory and concentration—at synapses in the somatic, autonomic and central nervous systems. There may be lasting effects on the nervous system.  In the study, the most common route of exposure was farming. Here’s yet another reason to purchase organic foods. The more we eat organic, the fewer people will be forced to work in agricultural jobs that expose them to pesticides.

Highest in Pesticides (buy organic or unsprayed):

  • Apples
  • Bell peppers
  • Blueberries (domestic)
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Collards
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Green Beans
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Potatoes
  • Red raspberries
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries

Lowest in Pesticides (less crucial to buy organically):

  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cranberries
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Mangos
  • Melons (Honeydew, Watermelon)
  • Onions
  • Papaya
  • Pineapples
  • Plums
  • Peas (sweet)
  • Sweet Potatoes


  1. Myfitnes says:

    I think everyone will choose organic, because it’s natural and no chemical.

  2. Lana Farson says:

    It’s surprising how many people don’t think about food in this way and don’t really think about pesticides as a problem for humans.

  3. PUI YEE LAW says:

    Since organic food is getting popular and more expensive, sometimes, I don’t know all organic labels are labelled correctly or not. Thanks for sharing the list! At least, I know which food I don’t need to buy organic now.

  4. Radha says:

    “blueberries…domestic” does that mean that nonorganic blueberries from other countries are still ok???

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