A Quick Reference Guide for Healthy Food Choices

Many people are confused and overwhelmed when it comes to choosing food based on nutritional value. Does it really matter if the food is organic, fresh or frozen? Although the debate will continue to rage on between scientists, doctors, and nutritionists, one thing is for sure: pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides are being linked to more and more disease. As these toxins begin to accumulate in our bodies, they are disrupting optimal function, and contributing to the symptomatic presentation of many chronic conditions. Organic foods are becoming increasingly popular for people wishing to maintain and improve their level of health.

A new report published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has provided a great “go to” list when it comes to choosing which produce to by organically, and which ones to buy conventionally. The group’s annual “dirty dozen” list of fruits and vegetables is based off of the highest levels of ingestible pesticide residues. The EWG uses compiled data from the USDA in order to publish these findings.

When purchasing your produce, fresh, raw, organic foods are always best, but not everyone is in a position to purchase food in this manner. The following list can be beneficial when purchasing fruits and vegetables if you do not already purchase 100% organic produce.

Dirty Dozen 2011

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines (imported)
  7. Grapes (imported)
  8. Sweet bell peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries (domestic)
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/collard green

Clean Fifteen 2011

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Asparagus
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Mangoes
  8. Eggplants
  9. Cantaloupe (domestic)
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Sweet potatoes
  14. Grapefruit
  15. Mushrooms

The EWG claims that if consumers eat the five recommended servings of fruit and vegetables from the least contaminated list over five from the dirty dozen, they would reduce the amount of pesticides ingested by 92%.

Conventional, non-organic farmers use a variety of pesticides to protect their crops from insects, bacteria, rodents, molds, and fungi. These substances can end up in the food supply. Washing and peeling fruit and vegetables can lower pesticide residues, but these practices do not guarantee absolute removal of these toxic substances. When the USDA tests for pesticides, they wash and peel fruit the same way a typical consumer would and then evaluate the residue content.

Many people that experience symptoms related to toxic burdens experience relief from altering their diet to the organic foods listed. Weight loss, headaches, chronic immune burdens, hormone imbalance, skin and hair health, and improved sleep are a few of the many symptoms that can change when the body’s toxic load is decreased by switching to organic produce.


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