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Bananas: Organic vs. Conventional

Deciding whether to buy organic or conventional bananas is a toughie. Organic ones are more expensive (usually at least 30 cents more per pound), and I've noticed that they seem to bruise more easily – anyone else notice that, too? The major difference between the two are that conventional bananas are grown with synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides to protect the crops from mold, bugs, and disease. On the other side, organic farmers use natural fertilizers such as manure and seaweed, insect predators and barriers to prevent pests, and they weed by hand or mulch in order to prevent weeds.

You may be thinking that all those chemicals used to grow conventional bananas are no big deal because you peel the fruit. But the chemicals are not just on the outside of the banana — they leach into the soil that is used to grow the produce. So even if you peel your banana, it doesn't prevent you from ingesting small amounts of those chemicals. Although you may feel better knowing most experts agree that the amount you ingest poses little threat to your health. If you're concerned about the nutritional value of your food, there are ongoing studies exploring the connection between pesticides and nutrients in foods; so far it looks like organic is healthier. Organic produce is also better for the planet since chemical pesticides make their way into the soil and run off into water sources.

With the sky-rocketing prices of food, buying organic may not be feasible all the time. Bananas, along with avocados, mangos, papayas, and pineapples have been found to have the lowest pesticide residue. However, apples, cherries, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, raspberries, strawberries have very high pesticide residues so you might want to splurge on organic.

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