woman carrying organic food from the garden

Shopping at the grocery store, you’re often bombarded with tons of options, one of which happens to be the choice to buy organic food or not. Many grocery stores even divide their produce section into two areas — one organic, one not. When a food has the word organic on it, this means that the food is grown without the use of chemical pesticides or GMOs (genetically modified organisms), as certified by the USDA.

This is why organic food products tend to be more expensive than non-organic foods. The higher price tag tends to make shopping organic for everything on your grocery list unrealistic. But rather than give up on organic food completely, we suggest you spend your dollars on the foods that matter.

10 Organic Foods You Should Spend the Extra Dollars For

While not every food needs to be certified organic to be safe to eat, there are certain foods that you’ll definitely want to shop organic for. Here are 10 foods we think you should always buy organic:

1. Apples

Apples are a great source of natural fiber, which is why we definitely recommend they be included in a healthy diet. That said, according to a study done by the Environmental Working Group in 2015, 99% of the tested apples had some kind of chemical pesticide residue lingering on the apple. That’s why we say you should definitely shop organic when it comes to apples.

2. Dairy

Whether you’re buying milk, yogurt, or cheese, make sure you buy organic. By purchasing organic dairy, you’re ensuring that the dairy products you’re consuming are free of any added antibiotics or growth hormones used to raise the cows.

3. Blueberries

Blueberries are a wonderful source of antioxidants, but like apples, they were found to contain tons of chemical pesticide residue on them. Actually, there were over 50 different pesticides found, to be exact. Therefore, make sure you go 100% organic when you’re shopping for these berries.

4. Tomatoes

You may be surprised to learn, but tomatoes were ranked 10th on the list of dirty produce by the USDA Pesticide Program. That’s because tomatoes were found to have 69 pesticides on them. If you didn’t buy organic tomatoes before, you should definitely spend the extra dollars to do so now.

5. Corn

Organic corn is all about avoiding GMOs, since 90% of the corn that is sold in stores is genetically modified. If you want to avoid the GMOs, you can either purchase organic corn or sweet corn, which is rarely genetically modified.

6. Cucumbers

Remember that list of dirty produce we mentioned, the one created by the USDA Pesticide Program? Well, cucumbers ranked 9th on the list. Cucumbers were found to have 86 different pesticides found on them, which is why you should definitely go organic when shopping for cucumbers. If you can’t, then make sure to peel the waxy skin off, as that’s where most of the residue lies.

7. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like kale and lettuce offer tons of surface area for pesticides to stick to, which is why you’ll want to shop organic for these. Not only that, you don’t really have the option to “peel” these greens, and rinsing them well enough to get any pesticide residue off of them can be difficult.

8. Animal Products (Meat, Poultry, Eggs)

Like dairy, conventional animal products are produced with the use of growth hormones and antibiotics. By purchasing organic animal products, you’re making sure that the cows or chicken in which that product is derived from were fed a diet free of synthetic fertilizers and herbicides.

9. Soy

If you eat foods like tofu, tempeh, or edamame, be sure you’re buying organic. As of 2015, 94% of the soybeans sold in the U.S. are genetically modified. If you eat packaged snacks and products, make sure you check the label for soybean oil and avoid those products.

10. Strawberries

If you enjoy a juicy, red strawberry, then you’ll be happy to know that they’re associated with increased heart health, and maybe not so happy to know that they contain residue from many types of pesticides. One pesticide that is found on many conventional strawberries is Captan, a possible human carcinogen that causes tumor development in rats. These are definitely a fruit you want to shop organic for!


Barron, J. (2018, March 22). 21 Foods to Always Buy Organic (Even If You’re On a Budget!). Retrieved April 10, 2018, from https://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1004202-20-foods-always-buy-organic-even-youre-budget/#slide=21
Born and raised in Southern California, Beeta has embraced a healthy lifestyle focused on farm-to-table cooking, natural products, and wellness routines. When she's not writing up recipes or discussing the latest natural living trends, Beeta enjoys spending time trying new restaurants, traveling with family and friends, and relaxing at home with her furry companion.