Like me, you may have noticed when you’re at the store that the biggest food brands dominate the shelf space. If you are rushing through errands and don’t have time to look at labels or be choosy about fruits and vegetables, most people end up buying the food that’s the cheapest and easiest to pick up.

However, after I learned about the benefits of organic foods, both to the environment and to my family, I started being a lot pickier at the store. Turns out, the cheap and easy options are also usually the least healthy. Here are 4 reasons why putting aside a little extra money to buy organic is worth it and which foods are must-buys.


1. Organic is the Safer Choice

Below I’m going to tell you about how buying organic food helps the environment, but I know not all of us have money to spare to prioritize the environment, even if we’d like to. That’s why I’m starting with something that you will have the money to spare for: you and your family’s health.

I’m not talking about nutrition – I want to be clear that organic foods are safer in terms of production, not just nutrients. Non-organic foods are often grown with hormones and sprayed with pesticides that can hurt our bodies over time. They can cause immediate sickness in young kids and lead to neurological problems or even cancer.

Organic foods are treated with natural pesticides, aren’t fed with hormones, and aren’t fertilized with chemicals. If you wouldn’t let your kids eat pesticide from the bottle, why let them eat it in their food?


2. Organic is Healthier

Now I am talking about nutrition because organic foods have that going for them as well. Organic foods don’t contain preservatives, making them fresher and more flavorful. They retain their natural nutrients because they aren’t treated with chemicals. In return, they help our bodies retain nutrients as well.

Our body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals depends on the quality of our digestion and our overall health. Organic foods improve this ability while non-organic foods hinder it. This means that your family’s health can be improved in the long run with an organic diet.


3. Organic Foods Protect the Environment

Whether protecting the environment is a priority for you or a luxury, it’s a big reason to buy organic. The same pesticides that get in our bodies when we eat non-organic foods are dumped by the gallons on the crops themselves. They run off when it rains and end up in the soil and water, polluting the ocean and our own underground reservoirs.

Organic farms treat their animals better as well. They receive certification based on how they feed and medically treat them.

Look for labels from environmental and animal welfare protection agencies to ensure that your products support a healthier environment, as well as a healthier you.


4. Organic Foods Taste Better

I’m ending with the most selfish reason to buy organic. But who doesn’t want food that tastes better? For the same reasons that organic food is healthier – more nutrients, no chemicals – it also tastes better.

The foods that are must-buys for organic food shoppers are those that most benefit from the taste upgrade and are also most notorious for containing pesticides.

Strawberries are number one – they consistently test positive for multiple pesticides. They’re followed by apples and grapes. These are all foods that we eat raw, so nothing is stopping the chemicals from getting into our bodies. If you can only afford to buy some foods organic, make these the priority.

Next on the list of must-buys is anything leafy, including spinach, kale, and celery. The taste difference between organic and non-organic with these foods is mind-altering (so is avoiding pesticides, by the way, many of which have been tested as having the potential to cause neurological damage).


The Takeaway

Buying organic foods is not the easy choice. It requires you to worry about one more thing, which is not what our busy schedules need. However, if you can budget for it, buying organic foods is good for the environment as well as safer, healthier, and tastier for you and your family.

You don’t have to break the bank – I certainly didn’t change my entire shopping list immediately. At first, just prioritize the big offenders and look for organic labels on strawberries and grapes, or animal care certifications on meat. For just a little extra money, your family (and everyone else’s) can be just a little bit safer.