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The Environmental Working Group recently  released the top “dirtiest” fruits and veggies list. The Dirty Dozen is a list of fruits and veggies that are the most contaminated with pesticides. What was first this year? APPLES!! According to the group, picking five servings of fruits and vegetables from the 12 most contaminated would cause you to consume an average of 14 different pesticides a day even after the foods had already been washed or peeled. So why does it matter if we consume pesticides? Consumption of pesticides can cause birth defects, nerve damage, cancer and developmental delays in children such as a reduced IQ and ADHD (attention deficit disorder). That does not mean stop eating these foods because the benefit of consuming any form of fruits and vegetables outweighs not consuming any at all.

So what are we to do??? Eating organic is the first option. Can’t afford organic? Choose from the shopper’s guide (see here) that pinpoints foods with fewer pesticides. Eat with the seasons. Eating with the seasons keeps the price of organics low. Talk to the farmers at farmers markets and demand better quality produce. Studies show that people who eat organic have lower levels of pesticides in their bodies than those who do not.

Naysayers claim that you’d have to eat hundreds to thousands of pounds of produce per day to reach the level of harm that can be caused by pesticides. But pesticides from foods, mixed with pesticides and chemicals in the water, mixed with radiation from our phones and computers, mixed with processed foods and artificial ingredients can really add up and cause a toxic mess in us!!

The Dirt Dozen (in order of pesticide amounts)

1. Apples

2. Celery

3. Strawberries

4. Peaches

5. Spinach

6. Nectarines

7. Grapes

8. Sweet bell peppers

9. Potatoes

10. Blueberries

11. Lettuce

12. Kale/collard greens


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