Eating your fruits and veggies? Great! We all know how much these fiber, nutrient, and vitamin packed wonders can benefit our health. But there is one thing that some people may want to consider before buying just any piece of produce – the hidden dangers of non-organic products. The EWG (Environmental Working Group) releases a list of foods each year that you’d be better off buying organic. Called “The Dirty Dozen,” these fruits and veggies are the ones that most often test high for pesticide residue. When you eat them in your best effort to stay healthy, you’re also ingesting small amounts of pesticide which can add up over a lifetime and cause health problems.
Some non-organic fruits and vegetable are veritable sponges for pesticides and other non-organic farming aids that might be detrimental to your health. While not every piece of food you consume has to be organic, there are some fruits and veggies that you want to pay careful attention to. Here’s the short list.
They’re sweet and they’re good for you, so much that you may eat more apples than other fruits or vegetables. But that’s also a reason to buy organic, because if you are eating a lot of apples, you may also be ingesting a lot more toxins that have been used in the growing process.
Those divots in the strawberries that make perfect little beds for their seeds also make perfect little traps for pesticides and debris. Strawberries are prone to attacks by bugs and fungus while growing, which makes farmers spray them all the more. Thoroughly washing these red beauties can help, but buying organic will give you more peace of mind since you can only wash away what is on the outside of the fruit, not what has been absorbed while growing.
Like our friend the apple, people are eating a lot of kale. Whether it’s due to this vegetable’s ever growing popularity, or its health-boosting benefits, everyday people (not just health nuts) are consuming kale with more regularity. Which is great, since it has a ton of Vitamin K and calcium. You can even combine it in a smoothie with an apple to make a superfood drink that actually tastes good. But consider buying it organic – this plant is no stranger to pesticide residue.
Refreshing cucumbers are great for a healthy snack, or adding a crunch to your salad or sandwich. But they also have frequently been included on the EGW’s Dirty Dozen list. Studies have found more than 80 different pesticides on cucumbers. Peeling off the skin could help slim down your chances of ingesting something dangerous, but the skin is also a healthy part of the vegetable you’d be missing out on. Best to buy organic so you can enjoy the whole slice!
We love our American-grown peaches. They’re a sweet fruit you can eat as a dessert, and feel like it’s already summer. But these fruits, like so many others, also test high for pesticides.
If you have a good farmers’ market, use it. It’s worth spending a little more money on fruit and vegetables you know are clean, even if you only have a tiny organic section in your grocery store. Research also points to lower levels of chemicals in frozen and canned varieties of these foods, although you may not be used to using those products. It’s important to buy organic if you are pregnant, or if you are using these foods to make your own baby food. Pregnant women and young children are more vulnerable to ailments of any kind, and can be more affected by the “Dirty Dozen.”