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BUYING ORGANIC

Maintaining a healthy eating style and buying quality foods such as organic can be difficult if you are not familiar with the organic industry. Fortunately the Environmental Working Group has complied two lists; The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15, which help consumers know when it is appropriate to buy organic foods. The Shopper's Guide to Pesticide in Produce will help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic. You can lower your pesticide intake substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated produce.

The Dirty Dozen: Fruits and vegetables with most pesticide residue (Buy these organic) 

1. Apples
2. Celery
3. Strawberries
4. Peaches
5. Spinach
6. Nectarines-imported
7. Grapes-imported
8. Sweet bell peppers
9. Potatoes
10. Blueberries-domestic
11. Lettuce
12. Kale/collard greens

The Clean 15: the least pesticide revenue

1. Onions
2. Sweet Corn
3. Pineapples
4. Avocado
5. Asparagus
6. Sweet peas
7. Mangoes
8. Eggplant
9. Cantaloupe
10. Kiwi
11. Cabbage
12. Watermelon
13. Sweet potatoes
14. Grapefruit
15. Mushrooms

INTERPRETING FOOD LABELS

Understanding the different terms on food labels can also be difficult! Below is a dictionary provided by the Huffington post of the top 7 nutrition terms and what they mean.  

High
In order for a food label to claim that their product is high in a nutrient (e.g., high in fiber) one serving must provide20 percent of the Daily Value. If the food contains 10-19 percent, then it's considered a good source.

Low Carb
Surprisingly, there are no set guidelines for this claim. FDA? This leaves a lot of room for misleading labeling and frivolous purchasing. Often, when a high carbohydrate food is modified to become a low-carb food, the fat and calorie content goes up. It's better to choose foods that are naturally low in carbohydrates such as nuts (in moderation), tofu and of course, vegetables.

Low Sodium
Foods that claim to be low sodium must contain140 milligrams or lessper serving. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendfewer than 2,300 milligramsof sodium a day to prevent hypertension and risk for stroke. Needless to say, this is an important label to pay attention to!

BPA-free
BPA-free products have become a hot topic right now. BPA stands for bisphenol A, which is an industrial chemical used to make certain plastics, particularly those used in the food industry. The American Chemistry Council stands by their claim that products that contain BPA pose no risk to consumers, yet other associations feel differently. There are various products that are BPA-free including cans, baby products and beverage containers.

Non-GMO
Genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) are crops that have been modified in a lab to remain resistant to herbicides and increase nutritional content. Often referred to as Franken-food, this experimental farming practice represents 80 percent of the North American crops, yet53 percent of consumersclaim they wouldn't buy something that's been genetically modified. To be absolutely certain about the status of your favorite food, check out the Non-GMO Project, which provides a complete list of foods that have gone through their rigorous verification process. Large food companies are also taking the guesswork out of GMOs.

Enriched
Not to be confused with fortified, enriched means that the nutrients have been added back into a food that may have lost them during the refining process. People often think that this means the food has additional vitamins and minerals, but that's not the case. Food companies simply put back what was once there. The most common example of this is enriched flour. During the refining process, essential B vitamins and iron are lost; therefore, they are added back in.

Fortified
The fortification process means that an item has added vitamins and minerals in addition to the ones that are naturally-occurring. Plenty of foods are fortified to ensure adequate nutrition for the general population. For instance, milk is fortified with Vitamin A and D and pasta and bread with folic acid, an essential nutrient in preventing neural tube defects in infants.