Should you go organic?

When you're pregnant, you want to keep your body healthy and strong for your baby, but is going organic worth it?

Photo: iStockphoto

Photo: iStockphoto

Should you spend the extra few dollars to buy organic vegetables and fruit, or not? What are the advantages, especially during pregnancy?

While the environmental benefits of organic farming are clear, there is very little nutritional difference between organic and conventional foods, except for slightly more vitamin C in some organic produce. The biggest benefit is that certified organic food production strictly regulates the use of chemical pesticides and antibiotics.

Read more: The benefits of eating organic>

There isn’t a lot of scientific certainty about the health benefits of eating organic. What is certain is that:

– There are significantly fewer chemical residues in organic foods, and in children who regularly eat organic foods.

– Those most vulnerable to the effects of pesticides are unborn babies, infants and children.

Read more: Organic: A brand you can trust?>

Choosing organic food does not have to be “all or nothing.” If your budget is limited, you can make the greatest reduction in the pesticides you consume by avoiding the biggest offenders. Washing and peeling produce helps too; however when you peel, you are losing most vitamins and minerals that are just under the skin, as well as fibre.

High pesticide levels:

Choose organic

  • strawberries
  • raspberries
  • cherries
  • apples
  • bell peppers
  • peaches
  • pears
  • nectarines
  • spinach
  • celery
  • avoid imported grapes

Lowest pesticide levels:

  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • sweet corn
  • peas
  • bananas
  • asparagus
  • avocadoes
  • mangos
  • pineapple

Originally published in April 2013.