The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has created a list of the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables. They have tested produce samples from more than 28,000 farms around the country and found that nearly 70 percent of samples had pesticide residues on them. The results are startling and will make you rethink how often you buy organic food. Let’s take a look at this dirty dozen!
Buying organic is about choosing whole foods that are grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. The risks of pesticide exposure alone are enough to make you want to switch over—but it also comes with a host of other benefits.
Organic farming methods help keep our soil healthy by avoiding the use of toxic chemicals on crops that harm plants and wildlife alike. And since organic produce doesn’t use any hormones or antibiotics in livestock, it’s healthier for us too!
Below are foods on the dirty foods list. These foods should be bought organic for the best health. As you can see, it’s not just fruits and vegetables that should be purchased organic. Most of the foods we eat frequently are genetically modified or have been treated with harmful chemicals during their production. The bottom line is this: Buying organic is not only better for your body but also for the environment!
Dirty Dozen List
Number one on our dirty dozen list is apples
Apples are one of the most pesticide-contaminated fruits, and they’re on the Dirty Dozen list. When possible, buy organic apples. If you can’t find organic apples at your local store, try a local farmers’ market or grow your own to avoid contamination from pesticides sprayed in fields near where you live.
Number two on our dirty dozen list is celery
Celery is on the dirty dozen list and a high-risk food for pesticide residue. The Environmental Working Group recommends that you buy organic celery to avoid the pesticides sprayed on non-organic celery.
Sweet bell peppers
You should buy organic sweet bell peppers if you want to avoid pesticides. A member of the nightshade family, sweet bell peppers are a good source of vitamins C and A and potassium, as well as fiber. They’re also rich in antioxidants that help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals, which are highly reactive oxygen molecules produced during metabolism (the breakdown of food).
In addition to their nutritional value, they’re also a great source of antioxidants that help prevent cell damage caused by free-radical molecules produced during metabolism (the breakdown of food). They are number 3 on the dirty dozen list.
Peaches are another fruit that often contains pesticides and fungicides. They’re also one of the more common allergens in North America, so if you or your family have allergies to peaches, they should be avoided altogether. Peaches are number 4 on our dirty dozen list.
The strawberry is another fruit that’s on the dirty dozen list. Strawberries are one of the most pesticide-contaminated fruits, and because they’re grown in soil, they can absorb pesticides from their surroundings. In fact, a recent study found that strawberries had one of the highest levels of pesticide residues among all conventionally grown produce. Buy organic strawberries to avoid absorbing harmful chemicals into your body!
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While nectarines are generally considered a healthy fruit, they are one of the most contaminated fruits on the list. Imported ones tend to be more contaminated than domestic ones.
Buy organic if you can afford it and don’t want to risk consuming pesticides. If you can’t afford organic, then wash them thoroughly before eating or peeling them (even if they look clean). Domestic as well as are on the dirty dozen list.
Grapes are a fruit that is usually eaten raw, and they’re also used in some of our favorite summertime drinks. You can eat them straight off the vine or use dried grapes in your recipes. While there are many benefits of eating grapes (like their high water content), you should try to buy organic if you can, since they tend to be on the dirty dozen list and have been found to contain higher amounts of pesticides than other fruits.
If you do decide to purchase non-organic grapes, make sure you wash them thoroughly before eating! This will help remove any residue from pesticides that might have been sprayed onto them during the growing season.
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One of the most heavily pesticide-contaminated crops is spinach, so it’s a good idea to buy organic spinach if you can. Since it is on the dirty dozen list, make sure you wash it multiple times if you are eating it raw in salads.
Kale, collards, and mustard greens
Like most leafy greens, these are full of nutrients and antioxidants. They also tend to be high in pesticides, so it’s a good idea to buy organic versions whenever possible. If you can’t find any organic kale, collards, and mustard greens at your local store, make sure you wash them thoroughly before eating them raw or steaming them briefly with some lemon juice. Since they are on the dirty dozen list, sometimes eating them cooked rather than raw might be a better idea.
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The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has determined that cucumbers have the highest amount of pesticide residue by weight. Since cucumbers are mostly eaten raw, they should be organic.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has determined that pears have the highest amount of pesticide residue by weight. They are on the dirty dozen list and should preferably be bought organic.
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Tomatoes are another popular food that should be consumed and bought with caution. It is on dirty dozen list and hence should be bought organic.
Remember the list is often updated! You can get an updated list of dirty dozen foods from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) https://www.ewg.org/
When it comes to organic produce, there are a lot of myths out there. Some people think that organic food is more expensive or tastes different than conventional produce. But we’ve debunked those myths and shown you why buying organic is important. By following the Dirty Dozen list and choosing what you can buy in season, you can make sure that your product will be as healthy as possible—and save money at the same time!
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