Category Archives: Vegetables

Will Travel :: Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen

4.2.7After numerous media reports attesting to the fact that organically grown food wasn’t more nutritious than conventionally grown food, the results of a large study published in the British Journal of Nutrition says otherwise.

No surprise to me after eating organic fresh vegetables, you can TASTE the difference.

My opinion notwithstanding, this study, a meta-analysis of 343 studies comparing the nutritional value of organic foods versus those grown with pesticides, pretty convincingly found that not only were vitamin and mineral contents higher, but so were antioxidant values and the values of other nutrients. Many of these compounds have been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers, in dietary intervention and epidemiological studies.¹

Not surprisingly, pesticide levels were found to be about 4 times higher in conventionally grown crops and also contained significantly higher levels of the highly toxic heavy metal cadmium which is linked to kidney disease, high blood pressure, and peripheral artery disease.  Exposure to cadmium other than the workplace can come from contact with nickel-cadmium batteries, cigarette smoke and eating foods containing cadmium.  Low levels are found in most foods with higher concentrations in leafy vegetables, grains, legumes, and kidney meat.²

If you don’t believe this study, believe your taste buds and make yourself a lovely salad made out of nothing but organic vegetables and then tell me it doesn’t taste better!

If your only obstacle is price, well, yes, organic is more expensive but it’s the choices you make with your pocketbook in our consumer driven society that will make organic foods more widely available and drive down prices.

The Dirty Dozen³

And you don’t have to buy everything organic.  EWG’s Dirty Dozen™ list of produce includes apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes. Each of these foods contained a number of different pesticide residues and showed high concentrations of pesticides relative to other produce items.

In particular:

  • Every sample of imported nectarines and 99 percent of apple samples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
  • The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other food.
  • A single grape sample contained 15 pesticides. Single samples of celery, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and strawberries showed 13 different pesticides apiece.

The Clean Fifteen

EWG’s Clean Fifteen™ for 2014 – the produce least likely to hold pesticide residues – are avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower and sweet potatoes. Relatively few pesticides were detected on these foods, and tests found low total concentrations of pesticides.

Notable findings:

  • Avocados were the cleanest: only 1 percent of avocado samples showed any detectable pesticides.
  • Some 89 percent of pineapples, 82 percent of kiwi, 80 percent of papayas, 88 percent of mango and 61 percent of cantaloupe had no residues.
  • No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen™ tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides.
  • Detecting multiple pesticide residues is extremely rare on Clean Fifteen™ vegetables. Only 5.5 percent of Clean Fifteen samples had two or more pesticides.

So, choose your vegetables wisely and know that you’re making the right choice nutritionally as well as protecting  your family from pesticides to buy organic as much as possible even beyond the dirty dozen.  Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food!

jansig

¹ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24968103
² http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tf.asp?id=47&tid=15
³ http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php