If you’re looking for ways to eat healthier and live better, one of the best places to start is with fruits and vegetables. Not all produce is created equal though, and some have a much higher risk of containing pesticides than others. That’s why it pays to know which fruits and veggies make up the “Dirty Dozen” – so that you can be sure you’re eating the safest produce possible. Here’s everything you need to know about the Dirty Dozen of produce.
What is the Dirty Dozen?
The “Dirty Dozen” refers to a list of 12 specific fruits and vegetables that contain high levels of pesticides due to their growing process. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases an annual report on these foods based on USDA pesticide monitoring data. The most recent report revealed strawberries as the number one offender, but other items like cherries and carrots have also made the list in years past.
Here are the top 12 fruits and veggies on the Dirty Dozen list:
- Kale/ Collard Greens
- Bell Peppers
Other honorable mentions include:
- Snap Peas
It may be surprising to see some of these fruits and veggies on this list – after all, potatoes and celery aren’t exactly exotic! However, it is important to understand why these particular veggies have made it onto this dirty dozen list. The main reason is that conventional farmers use more pesticides on these crops than others because they are prone to disease or pests due to their higher water content or size. Additionally, some of these crops can absorb large amounts of pesticide residue from soil or water, making them even more dangerous for consumers.
- Strawberries – As far as berries go, strawberries are one of the “dirtiest” in terms of pesticide residue, so be sure to purchase these organically whenever possible.
Spinach – Spinach is especially delicate and absorbs pesticides easily which makes it one of the “dirtiest” veggies out there when it comes to contamination with harmful chemicals and toxins from pesticides and fertilizers used in conventional farming methods.. Choose organically grown spinach whenever available for optimal nutritional quality and taste!
Kale/Collard Greens – Kale and Collard greens often contain large amounts residues from various herbicides commonly used during conventional farming practices due to their porous leaf structure which can lead too dangerous levels of contamination if not source properly.. For optimal safety choose kale/collard greens from an organically certified farm whenever available!
Nectarines – Nectarines are similar in texture and flavor as peaches, making them just as vulnerable to absorbing harmful chemicals from pesticides used in conventional farming methods.. Whenever possible opt for organically grown nectarines instead!
Apples – Apples are the dirtiest fruit in terms of pesticide residue, so be sure to buy these organic if possible. Not only will this help protect your health, but organic apples also tend to have a sweeter flavor than their conventionally-grown counterparts.
Grapes – Grapes are another produce item that tends to have high levels of pesticide residue, so make sure you buy organic grapes whenever possible. Most grocery stores now offer a variety of organic grapes—so why not give them a try?
Peaches – Peaches tend to absorb pesticides quickly which makes them among some of the most contaminated produce items available on store shelves today. Opt for organically grown peaches whenever possible for maximum health benefits!
Bell Peppers – Bell Peppers tend to absorb large amounts of pesticides due to their porous skin structure which can lead to potentially dangerous levels of contamination if they are not sourced organically.. Choose organic bell peppers instead for peace of mind knowing they were produced without any use or exposure to synthetic fertilizers or pesticides!
Tomatoes – Tomatoes often contain traces of herbicides and insecticides used during conventional farming practices because they are especially prone towards absorbing these compounds thanks their soft skin texture.. Purchase tomatoes sourced from an organically certified farm for optimal health benefits!
Cucumbers – Cucumbers tend absorb large amounts residues from various insecticides commonly used during conventional farming practice due its thin layer skin structure which can lead too dangerous levels contamination if not source properly.. Opt cucumbers sourced an organically certified farm instead optimal safety health benefits!
Celery – Celery is one vegetable that tends to have a very high level of pesticide residue on its surface, so it’s important that you buy this item organically grown if at all possible. Additionally, organic celery has a much better flavor than its conventionally-grown counterpart!
Potatoes – Potatoes often contain large amounts residues from fungicides used during conventional farming practices.. Make sure you opt for organically grown potatoes whenever available since they will be free from any potential toxic compounds associated with synthetic fertilizers or pesticide use!
It’s important to note that while these foods may be slightly higher in pesticides than other produce items, they are still safe to eat. In fact, they can provide essential nutrients and antioxidants to your diet. But if you’re looking for ways to reduce your exposure to these chemicals, there are a few options available.
How Can I Reduce My Exposure?
The EWG recommends shopping for organic produce whenever possible as a way to avoid consuming extra chemicals from conventional farming methods. Additionally, you can buy frozen or canned versions of the Dirty Dozen fruits and veggies since they tend to have lower levels of pesticide residue due to the preservation processes used during packaging. Another option is rinsing fresh produce with warm water before eating it—especially if you don’t plan on cooking it first! This will help reduce some of the residue left behind by pesticides during cultivation and transportation.
Foodies and lovers of all things fruits and vegetables should be aware of The Dirty Dozen when shopping for produce at the grocery store. Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean skimping out on flavor – just make sure that your favorites from this dirty dozen list are washed properly before consuming them! Eating organic is always a great option for those looking for extra peace of mind when it comes to food safety. So go ahead and enjoy your favorite dishes without worry—just remember The Dirty Dozen!