Friday, March 2, 2012

Dirty Dozen

When checking out at the grocery store cashiers often strike up a conversation with me asking me about organic foods.  They've noticed my food choices and are curious if I think its worth it or not.  For me personally, as well as professionally, I definitely think this is a resounding YES.

There are a few caveats with organic, however, and the first one is that organic foods are usually more costly.  It can sometimes be hard to find a wide variety unless you are eating "with the seasons" (meaning, consuming certain fruits and vegetables when they are naturally in season).  Here is a list of the so-called "Dirty Dozen" list of produce that contain the most amount of pesticides so if you can, try and purchase these as organic.  Of course, not eating certain fruits and vegetables because they aren't organic isn't a good choice either.  Fruits and vegetables are GREAT for you no matter what.  Another plus?  No need to count calories when eating whole fruits and vegetables - fill up!!

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Nectarines (imported)
  • Grapes (imported, especially from Brazil)
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Blueberries (domestic)
  • Lettuce
  • Kale/Collard Greens

When fruits and vegetables are consistently sprayed with pesticides, fungicides, etc. the produce itself lessons in its natural immune protection.  What this means for us is that this protection isn't passed on to us in such a strong force.  Just one example of this is Resveratrol, a phytoalexin (think HEALTH to our immune system), that is found in the skins of blueberries, grapes, and mulberries as well as in cocoa, dark chocolate, peanuts and hops.  Studies have shown that spraying these foods with fungicides lowers the natural amount of Resveratrol in the skins of these foods!  Of course, this would mean that when we consume these we're not getting the amount of this important cancer-fighting nutrient as God had intended for us.

Whether or not to eat organic is a personal choice; however, if you can avoid the "Dirty Dozen" and choose organic in these instances, all the better.  Some examples of produce that is considered "Clean" (by the Environmental Working Group) and therefore much safer to eat in its conventional form are:  Onions, sweet corn, pineapples, avocado, asparagus, sweet peas, mangoes, domestic cantaloupe, kiwi and watermelon.

For more information on this, check out the EWG's website:

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