Should We Only Eat Organic Strawberries?

Strawberries are an excellent source of antioxidants, but if they're  non-organic, should you still eat them? Find out here.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
2-minute read

Should We Only Eat Organic Strawberries?

Q. Two foods I love to eat, especially in summer, are fresh salmon and strawberries, but the strawberries at my farmer's marketplace are not organic, and I don't like the taste of wild salmon (or the price). Do the benefits of eating regular strawberries outweigh the potential harm of the pesticides? Do the benefits of eating farmed salmon outweigh the harm of PCBs?

A. I’m so glad you asked this question. In a perfect world, we would eat only organic fruits and contaminant-free seafood. But this is not a perfect world. Sometimes the ideal choice isn’t available…or affordable. However, in both of these cases, I think the nutritional benefits of the less-than-ideal option far outweigh the potential risks.

Strawberries are an excellent source of antioxidants and are relatively low in sugar. And while I think we have good reason to be wary of pesticides, the health benefits of a diet high in fruits and vegetables (even non-organic ones!) are indisputable. Wash the berries thoroughly, and enjoy them while they’re at the peak of flavor and nutritional value. Similarly, studies consistently link diets high in salmon, which is one of the richest sources of omega-3s, with better health outcomes, in spite of the potential for PCB exposure.

It’s good to be aware of pesticides and other harmful chemicals, and I think it’s worth doing what we can to limit our exposure. That includes lobbying for legislation that restricts the use of potentially dangerous chemicals, limiting our contact with environmental sources such as lawn and home care products, as well as making judicious food choices. But if it comes down to eating farmed salmon and non-organic strawberries or NO salmon or strawberries, I think you’re better off with the less-than-perfect choice.

Related Content:
Putting Pesticide Concerns in Perspective
Are Organic Foods More Nutritious?
Mercury in Fish

Appetizing Strawberry from Shutterstock

About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.