6 Clean Foods That Are Worth Spending More On—for Your Health's Sake
Saving money on your grocery bill is a beautiful thing. And when you're committed to eating clean, there are plenty of ways to do it—seriously. It's possible to make entire meals out of cheap bulk bin foods like oatmeal and dried fruit, or rice and beans.
Of course, there are some foods where springing for the pricey organic option isn't going to be that much more beneficial. (We're looking at you, $7 bag of organic sugar.) But in some cases, the cheaper option isn't always better. Here are 6 items on your list that are worth splurging on—for the sake of your health. (Never diet again and finally drop stubborn pounds with this plan that naturally retrains your fat cells for weight loss.)
Wild salmon isn't just significantly lower in potentially harmful toxins like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). It also delivers a way bigger nutritional bang for your buck. Wild salmon contains half the fat and 32% fewer calories than its farmed counterpart. It also serves up higher amounts of minerals like calcium, potassium, and iron. Plus, some research suggests that the omega-3s found in wild salmon may be of higher quality.
High-pesticide fruits and vegetables
Not every piece of produce that gets tossed in your cart has to be organic. It's perfectly fine to pick conventional versions of some fruits and veggies—like avocado, onions, or asparagus—either because they're naturally highly resistant to pests (and therefore are sprayed with fewer pesticides) or because their skin or shell is inedible. But it is worth shelling out a little more for organic fruits and vegetables that tend to retain high pesticide residues—like apples, grapes, strawberries, and others on the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen list.
Organic butter, cream, and cheese
Organic isn't just important for certain fruits and vegetables. Environmental toxins like dioxins tend to accumulate in animal fats like dairy products, which could raise the risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and reproductive issues, according to the FDA. And though it's tough to steer clear of these pollutants completely (they're in the air, water, and soil), you can significantly minimize your impact by springing for organic dairy.
It's worth seeking out organic beef for the same reason it's worth buying organic dairy. But it's also worth going the extra step for grass-fed. Compared to grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef is a leaner choice that can help improve heart health and fight inflammation. That's because it's lower in saturated fat and higher in omega-3s and antioxidant vitamins like vitamin E.
Cold-pressed or expeller-pressed oils
Even though the ingredients list on that bottle of olive or canola oil doesn't include any weird chemicals or preservatives, it might still be highly processed. Most oils are highly refined—meaning they're processed at high temperatures that destroy their beneficial antioxidants. The extraction process might also use hexane, a chemical solvent linked to nervous system problems. Cold-pressed oils and expeller-pressed oils, though pricier, are produced at lower temperatures without the chemicals. So they retain more nutrients, and don't serve up a side of scary health risks.
Raw pickles and sauerkraut
You might've heard that pickles and kraut are a good source of probiotics (along with these 9 tasty fermented foods). And they can be—but not always. Most versions of these condiments get their sour flavor from a vinegar brine, not through fermentation. And even if they are fermented, pasteurization kills off the good bacteria. For the biggest benefits, look for raw, fermented pickles and sauerkraut, and skip the other stuff. (Usually, you'll find it in the cold case, near the dairy and eggs.)