How clean are your fruits and vegetables?

by | July 10, 2016

We all know that consuming as many vegetables and fruits as possible is beneficial for overall well-being. I am always trying to find ways to add more vegetables and fruits into one’s diet (discovery of Spiralizer was an amazing one!). As a mother of two growing children and wife of a slightly overweight husband, I feel the urge to introduce a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits daily and encourage them to eat more of them. It is also a great deal for our optimal intestinal health.

If you are eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, are they organically grown? If no, are you washing them well?

Here is a question: how clean are your fruits and vegetables?




 

Have you ever heard of the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” by Environmental Working Group(EWG)?

EWG is an organization that analyzes pesticide residue on popular fresh produce items. Pesticides are toxins that were created to kill living organisms such as insects, weeds, and fungi. Many pesticides can cause a large number of health problems to human bodies.

EWG comes up with rankings of measurable pesticide on fruits and vegetables. This information can help consumers decide whether they should buy organic products or continue purchasing conventionally grown ones.

Note: Smallest numbers indicate the most “dirty” or the most “clean”.

Dirty Dozen (You should buy organically grown ones)

  1. Strawberries
  2. Apples
  3. Nectarines
  4. Peaches
  5. Celery
  6. Grapes
  7. Cherries
  8. Spinach
  9. Tomatoes
  10. Sweet bell peppers
  11. Cherry tomatoes
  12. Cucumbers

 

Clean Fifteen (You can buy conventionally grown ones)

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Sweet peas (frozen)
  6. Onions
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Papayas
  10. Kiwi
  11. Eggplant
  12. Honeydew Melon
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Cantaloupe
  15. Cauliflower

 

Should we still eat more fruits and vegetables, even though some are considered “dirty”?

The answer is Yes, because the health benefits of consuming as many fruits and vegetables as possible should be encouraged over the risks of pesticide exposure. When you go grocery shopping, use EWG’s lists as a reference and choose products carefully. Even eating conventionally grown produce is more valuable than avoiding fruits and vegetables.

Then, should we still eat fruits and vegetables from Dirty Dozen list?

The answer is Yes, because it is still better to choose fresh products in Dirty Dozen than eating junk food. You can look for these products in the organic section of the store. However, if you cannot find organic options, then you can still buy conventionally grown products and wash them thoroughly.

Then, how should we wash fruits and vegetables?




 

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Wash and scrub them thoroughly under running water

Doing so will remove dirt, bacteria, and traces of chemicals from the surface. However, some pesticide residues might remain. You can peel them, but they will lose some fiber and nutrients.

  1. Use commercial produce wash for fruits and vegetables

You can find ones at health food stores. They may be effective and safe to use, but a bit costly.

  1. Make homemade fruit and vegetable wash product

This is an inexpensive way to clean your fruits and vegetables, using items that you can find at home. Common ingredients are white vinegar and lemon. Sometimes people also add baking soda and salt. You can soak fruits and vegetables in diluted white vinegar or fresh lemon juice solutions. Let them sit for awhile and rinse them thoroughly with cold water. You can also make a spray bottle with the same solutions for easy use.

 

All is well and all the best!



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