No arguing about it – vegetables and fruits are among the best foods you can eat. Not only is the evidence solid, about their disease fighting capabilities, but guess what they are delicious. Yes, many may face certain cooking challenges, but most vegetables when treated in the kitchen with respect, turn out quite tasty.
Fruits on the other hand is considered naturally tasty mainly because most fruits are sweet. And we are told that it’s the best and healthiest way to treat our ‘sweet tooth’ syndrome!
So okay, then what’s the problem? Is there a catch between the leaf and the stem? Apparently, there is, and the villain is everywhere – pesticides.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a much-respected non-profit organization based in the US, publishes a list of the ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ in the world of our daily chore of eating conventionally grown vegetables and fruits. And they take this job very seriously as they found 70% of the produce sold in the US failed to pass muster. EWG draws their conclusions after analyzing data obtained by the tests conducted by the US Department of Agriculture. Many are found to contain the residues of not just one but multiple pesticides.
And here’s the scary kicker for the Halloween week: “Overall, the USDA found 225 different pesticides and pesticide breakdown products on popular fruits and vegetables Americans eat every day. Before testing, all produce was washed and peeled, just as people would prepare food for themselves, which shows that simple washing does not remove all pesticides.” The choice is clear if you want to keep the chemicals out of your body. Try a trusted organic substitute wherever available, even if it costs a little more.
Each year, they publish the results of their analyses under the rather provocative headlines: The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen. Here’s the list for 2019. This year, the top position as the ‘dirtiest’ unfortunately went to the good old strawberry. To quote from their report: “USDA tests found that strawberries were the fresh produce item most likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues, even after they are picked, rinsed in the field and washed before eating.”
The Dirty Dozen
And now the good news! The following are the fifteen that EWG says you can eat heartily as they have been found to contain the least amount of chemicals.
The Clean Fifteen
- Sweet corn
- Frozen sweet peas
- Honeydew melons
Click here to read the full report.