HEALTH: The Dirty Dozen

We all know that buying organic foods may be the most obvious option for knowing exactly what goes into the meals you prepare, but it is not that easy on our wallets. I am often asked about my eating habits, most likely because people tend to assume that if you live an active lifestyle then you must automatically eat healthy as well. This for me is not necessarily true. Besides the fact that I cannot simply resist the temptation of high sodium foods, I also cannot afford to purchase solely organic meat and produce.

What I do consider when I go shopping at the local grocery store, are the Dirty Dozen. The Dirty Dozen is a list of foods with the highest pesticide residue. These are the produce that I always buy organically, the rest I can deal with.

For your information, eating organic basically means that no pesticides and chemical fertilizers were used to grow the organic produce. Workers and farm neighbours are not exposed to potentially harmful chemicals, which also means less fossil fuel converted into fertilizers and healthier soil that should sustain crops for generations to come.

Here is the list of the 12 Dirtiest foods that you can buy, if not organic:

1 Apples – Topping the 2011 dirty dozen is a tree fruit that always makes the list. More than 40 different pesticides have been detected on apples, because fungus and insect threats prompt farmers to spray various chemicals on their orchards.

2 Celery – 60 different pesticides on celery.

3 Strawberries – Strawberries are always on the list of dirty dozen foods, in part because fungus prompts farmers to spray, and pesticide residue remains on berries sold at markets.

4 Peaches

5 Spinach

6 Imported Nectarines – Nectarines, at least imported ones, are among the most highly contaminated tree fruits.

7 Imported Grapes

8 Sweet Bell Peppers

9 Potatos – Tip: Sweet potatoes offer a delicious alternative with less chance of pesticide residue.

10 Blueberries

11 Lettuce

12 Kale – A superfood, kale is traditionally known as a hardier vegetable that rarely suffers from pests and disease, but it was found to have high amounts of pesticide residue when tested in each of the past two years.

*Images by Gloria Dawson and Christine Glade (Istock)


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