-- By Alicia Saunders, DC
A: The truth about which foods to eat organic
We all know pesticides are toxic to our bodies but where do you start when it comes to buying organic foods? Every year the Environmental Working Group researches which veggies and fruits contain the highest amount of contamination from pesticides. These pesticides linger on our produce even after they have been thoroughly washed or peeled. The top 12 fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides (listed here from most contaminated to least contaminated) include:
Strawberries, Spinach, Nectarines, Apples, Grapes, Peaches, Cherries,
Pears, Tomatoes, Celery, Potatoes, Sweet Bell Peppers
Strawberries take the cake for the most pesticides found per sample compared to any other produce. 99% of sampled strawberries contained at least one pesticide, with 20% containing 10 or more.
When it comes to spinach, about 40% of the samples contained DDT, a banned neurotoxic insecticide in the US.
Nectarines contained at least two pesticides in 94% of the fruits tested. 80% of apples contained diphenylamine which is banned in Europe.
On average grapes contain at least 5 different pesticides.
When it comes to peaches 99% were positive for pesticide residue.
It was found that cherries contain a potential cancer causing pesticide iprodione which is also banned in Europe.
Pears were found to have fungicides and insecticides present. Celery and tomatoes contained multiple pesticide residue, some as many as 13-15. Potatoes had more pesticides residues by weight compared to any other food.
Eating higher levels of pesticides can cause many different symptoms or dysfunctions. Some include fertility problems in women and men, cancers or diabetes, asthma, and decreased cognitive function.
Trying to stay on a strict grocery budget? There is also a list of 15 foods that have had the lowest amounts of pesticide residue which are safer to consume non-organic. These are called the “Clean 15.” Keep in mind however that 70% of non-organic produce tested was positive for at least one pesticide.
Avocados, Sweet Corn, Pineapples, Cabbages, Onions, Frozen Sweet Peas, Papayas, Asparagus, Mangoes, Eggplants, Honeydews, Kiwis, Cantaloupes, Cauliflower, Broccoli.
For more information turn to the Environmental Working Group website. So next time you’re shopping at the grocery store pay extra attention to the Clean 15 list to better your health and the health of your family!
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