The Environmental Working Group, also known as EWG, puts together a list of ‘dirty dozen’ fruits and veggies every year to aid consumers in making healthier shopping purchases. These are the fruits and vegetables contaminated with the largest amounts of insecticides. EWG conducts close to 90,000 laboratory tests prior to producing the list. You might want to start an organic shopping list.
Though low on the nutrient scale, celery is a good choice for a lo-cal snack with a high moisture content that fills you without adding bulk. We love the crunchiness of celery, often eating it with a bit of peanut butter for added protein. Its thin skin allows pesticides to get down inside even with lots of rinsing and scrubbing. Organic celery would be a better choice. Alternate non-organic: radishes, onions or broccoli.
This fruit is high in vitamins C and A. Its high fiber content works well as a laxative in cleansing the bowels. It is also easily digested. When peeled to rid them of contaminants, nutrients just beneath the skin are lost. Look for organic peaches. Alternate non-organic: watermelon, oranges and grapefruit.
This fruit is full to the brim of antioxidants in addition to vitamins A and C. They are also low in calories. We thoroughly enjoy slicing them into hot or cold cereal. As they cannot be scrubbed, peeled or rinsed with any success, consider purchasing organic strawberries. Alternate non-organic: kiwi or pineapple.
We know that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Why would we even consider peeling them? The skin can take a good scrubbing under running water. Alternate non-organic: bananas or tangerines.
According to studies this minute fruit packs a wallop of nutrients more than any other fruits or veggies. However, they also appear to hold many differing contaminants and scrubbing or peeling would only turn them to mush. Non-organic alternate: raspberries.
These fruits resemble peaches in looks and healthful properties; however they also share in the pesticide problems. Rinse and scrub or purchase organics when possible. Non-organic substitute: papaya or mango.
We love munching on these vegetables and their bright colors tell us they’re loaded with good nutrients. But peeling them won’t work, so rinse and scrub. Green peas and cabbage are a suitable non-organic alternate.
Popeye’s specialty for building strong muscles. They should be well-rinsed and dried before use, although best purchased as organic. Alternate non-organic choice: cabbage or broccoli.
Cherries are our family’s favorite fruit. They are packed with nutrients but also carry lots of pesticides. Cherries produced outside the country might be a wiser choice. Alternative non-organics: cranberries and raspberries.
Kale and Collard Greens
These two veggies compare to spinach in both healthful and pesticide levels. My husband is a southern boy and was raised on cooked collard greens. That solved the pesticide problems but nutrients were lost. Non-organic substitute: asparagus or cabbage.
Potato skins are a delight to fry and eat, but that requires peeling. Once peeled, most of the potato’s nourishing ingredients are gone. Scrub thoroughly and eat the skin or go for eggplant and mushrooms as alternative non-organic.
Because this fruit has been singled out as one of the dirty dozen by EWG, be sure to check where they were grown before purchasing. Home-grown grapes would be a better choice, or opt for non-organic kiwi or raspberries.
To learn more about making healthy food choices, check out the EverydayHealth website. They have an excellent Diet and Nutrition Center. Look for nutritional recipes geared toward maintaining good health.
Many of us are health-conscious and would like to eat organic foods only. But because they are a bit pricey, consider purchasing locally grown whenever possible. Much easier on the pocketbook and helps the local farmers and producers.