Knowledge is power. Pesticides are substances commonly sprayed on fruits and vegetables for a better crop but this does not come without a price. Pesticides contain toxins that have adverse effects on health. Some pesticides are known to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing), others can disturb the hormone system and nervous system.Buying organic fruits and vegetables is ideal. But when it’s not possible to buy all organic, and you only have a certain budget for organics, knowing which ones are most contaminated can help you in your selection. The Environmental Working Group has provided a shopper’s guide 2011, pointing out the 12 most pesticide loaded produce, also known as the “dirty dozen” as well as the “clean fifteen” that is considered the least pesticide contaminated produce.
Here’s the dirty dozen list: apples, strawberries, peaches, domestic nectarines, imported grapes, domestic blueberries, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, lettuce and kale/collard greens.
The clean fifteen list includes onions, sweet corn, pineapples, avocado, asparagus, sweet peas, mangoes, eggplant, domestic cantaloupe, kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, and mushrooms.
According to Environmental Working Group (EWG), having 5 daily servings from the dirty dozen list, would mean consuming 14 different pesticides per day. Having 5 daily servings from the clean fifteen would mean consuming less than 2 pesticides per day.
Take the list with you on your next grocery trip, and if organic is not affordable or available to you, aim for locally grown produce. Locally grown produce are more fresh and better on the environment because they don’t have to travel as much to get to your dinner table and they are more seasonal which is generally healthier and more in tune with your body. It also supports your local economy and community and of course tastes better!
Wellness Naturopathic Centre, North Vancouver, BC
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