PESTICIDES & PRODUCE
You probably know that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is good for you. But the best diet is one rich in organic fruits and vegetables grown without synthetic pesticides.
Pesticides reside on the skin of almost all fruits and vegetables that are grown non-organically, and in produce with thinner skins the pesticides can permeate the flesh of the fruit or vegetable. You should of course wash your produce thoroughly before eating it to remove dirt and microorganisms like bacteria, but washing does not always remove pesticides. Synthetic pesticides commonly get trapped between layers of the natural wax on produce like apples and cucumbers. Peeling may remove some of the surface pesticides, but many nutrients that you want to retain are found in the peel.
The best way around these issues is to purchase organic produce grown without synthetic pesticides or with organic pesticides as a last resort. If you can’t buy everything organic, at least go organic for the “Dirty Dozen”: strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, pears, cherries, grapes, tomatoes, celery, and sweet bell peppers. Normal produce is fine for the “Clean Fifteen”: sweet corn, avocado, pineapple, cabbage, onions, frozen peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower, and grapefruit.
For more information, EWG at www.ewg.org keeps an updated list of safe and unsafe foods (plus other products such a plastics, cosmetics, and more).