NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Has this ever happened to you?
You walk into the local supermarket, shopping list in hand, and find yourself in the colorful produce section. You snag a plastic bag, and start picking out some shiny conventional apples. Just as you think you've selected the right ones, you notice another display of similar looking apples (maybe even more odd shaped and of various colors) in a fancier rack with a sign that reads, "Organic," in bold letters.
The first thing you'd notice is the difference in price, and you say to yourself: Is it worth paying more?
It's true that organic foods tend to be more expensive --sometimes 40%-50% more-- but that's often because of the higher cost of organic farming practices.
What is the difference between organic and non-organic foods?
The Mayo Clinic says the word "organic" refers to the way farmers grow and process agricultural products, designed to encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution. Examples of organic farming practices include the use of natural fertilizers to feed soil and plants, and using crop rotation or mulch to manage weeds.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires all organic foods to meet strict government standards which regulate how foods are grown, handled and processed. The three factors the USDA considers include pesticides, food additives, and the environment.
Pesticides: When farmers spray pesticides, it leaves residue on the produce that we later consume. Organic farmers use insect traps, careful crop selection, predator insects or even microorganisms in place of pesticides to control crop-damaging pests.
Food Additives: Organic regulations also ban or severely restrict the use of food additives, processing aids and fortifying agents used in non-organic products like preservatives, artificial sweeteners, coloring and flavoring, as well as monosodium glutamate.
Environment: Organic farming practices benefit the environment by reducing pollution and conserving the quality of water and soil.
Although non-organic foods may have the same amount of nutrients than organic foods, they also can have synthetic pesticides, hormones and additives, none of which may be good for our bodies.
Check out this list of the 10 foods you should only buy and eat organic...
...and any other fatty meats you love to shop for. Research shows that there is a strong connection between some of the hormones given to cattle and cancer in humans, particularly breast cancer, according to professor emeritus at University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health, Samuel Epstein, MD. Animal feed is often laced with antibiotics and synthetic growth hormones.
The Cancer Prevention Coalition believes that U.S. meat possess increased risks of hormonal cancers, which have escalated since 1975: breast cancer by 23%, prostate cancer by 60%, and testicular cancer by 60%.
9. Peanut Butter
No more Skippy! Non-organic peanut butters are high in pesticides as well as fungus. They contain aflatoxin, which is a potential carcinogen.
Kids love those PB&Js, so buy organic if you can.