Written by Dr Sandra Miranda, ND
There are 2 key goals that I urge my patients to aim for when looking for optimal health – first is to be hormonally balanced and second to be nutritionally balanced.
You may be someone trying really hard to eat healthier, however due to the increased amount of pesticides, additives and sugars added to our food, their nutritional value has dramatically declined compared to how they used to be years ago.
“Certified organic” labels in foods means that the item needs to be at least 95% free of synthetic additives like pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and dyes, and must not be processed using industrial solvents, irradiation, or genetic engineering.
The growing consensus among scientists is that even small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can cause lasting damage to human health, especially during fetal development and early childhood. Scientists now know enough about the long-term consequences of ingesting these powerful chemicals to advise that we minimize our consumption of pesticides.
It is hard and impractical to try to buy all our food certified organic. The good news is that not all foods retain as much of the pesticides and chemicals from their environment.
For fruits and vegetables- you can follow the “Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen” guidelines from the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org).
EWG research has found that people who eat the “Dirty Dozen” which are the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Those who eat the “Clean Fifteen” which are the 15 least contaminated conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables, ingest fewer than 2 pesticides daily. The Guide helps consumers make informed choices to lower their dietary pesticide load.
Here is the list:
Dirty Dozen (if possible buy these organic) – (Starting from the Worst one) peach, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarine, strawberries, cherries, kale, lettuce, grapes (imported), carrots and pears.
Clean Fifteen (no need to buy these organic) – (Starting from the Best one) onion, avocado, sweet corn, pineapple, mango, asparagus, sweet peas, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, papaya, watermelon, broccoli, tomato, sweet potato
Washing the Dirty Dozen
You should use common sense when it comes to fruits and vegetables on the Dirty Dozen list. Non-organic produce can be washed to reduce or eliminate a lot of pesticide residue that might be on them. Scrub non-organic fruit and vegetables with water. If they are not easily scrubbed, such as berries, put them in a bath of vinegar and water, soak them for a minute and then rinse with water.