Avoid Your Grocery Store’s “Dirty Dozen”

Posted on Jun 8, 2010 | 0 comments

Avoid Your Grocery Store’s “Dirty Dozen”

June is here — and, among the many hallmarks of the upcoming summer, perhaps the most welcome is the widening availability of fresh, delicious, seasonal produce. There’s no better (or more appetizing) way to ensure you lasting health than eating an abundance of multi-colored fruits and vegetables. But if you aren’t careful with your choices, you could be doing your body more harm than good.

Pollutants in our Food

In the last issue of Better Health News, I shared a frightening new report that underscores the danger that environmental pollutants pose to your health — and more specifically, shines a spotlight on their insidious and under-recognized role in the country’s growing cancer epidemic. It goes without saying that pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and chemical fertilizers — all of which are routinely used in commercial farming practices — are among the most notorious offenders.

I probably don’t have to tell you that buying organic and locally-grown produce is one of the best ways to minimize your exposure to these toxic compounds. But I also don’t have to tell you that it can be considerably more expensive to do this — and that it’s not always possible due to either limited access or availability. Ultimately, it’s practically impossible to know where all your food comes from… and that’s why educating yourself before you go shopping is so important.

Fortunately, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released their annual list of “the dirty dozen” and “the clean fifteen” fruits and vegetables, to help you make smart choices at the market, even if you’re not able to buy organic.

“Clean Fifteen”

If non-organic commercial produce is your only option, you should know that some fruits and vegetables are known to be “cleaner” than others. According to the EWG, these include: onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, mango, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi fruit, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, sweet potatoes and sweet onions. You’ll notice that, for the most part, the fruits and vegetables on this list are more likely to be encased by a protective, non-edible pod, husk, or skin — which means less of the dangerous chemicals make their way into your body when you eat them.

“Dirty Dozen”

The “dirty dozen” however, includes primarily fruits that you would eat whole — including peaches, strawberries, apples, domestic blueberries, imported grapes and cherries — along with nectarines, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, spinach, kale, collard greens and lettuce. Their abundance of pesticide residue means that you should always seek organic versions of these fruits and vegetables whenever possible. That’s because simple washing is not enough to prevent your exposure to carcinogenic compounds. While it may reduce your risk of encountering pathogens such as E. coli, pesticides are impervious to this popular household precaution — in fact, all of the EWGs evaluations were conducted on produce that had already been subject to rigorous USDA cleaning practices.

You can visit the Environmental Working Group’s website (www.ewg.org) for a wallet-sized version of this crucial list, to keep handy during every visit to the grocery store. In fact, I encourage you to do so now — because going organic today is by far one of the most powerful forms of preventive medicine you can practice at home.

Interested in clearing your body of toxins that you’ve already accumulated? Download a FREE detoxification guide.

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