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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Clean Your Food

Do you clean your produce before eating it?  I recently read an article on the "dirty dozen".  It highlighted the twelve "dirtiest", or most chemically (pesticides) laden, fruits and vegetables on the market according to a report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Topping the list are:

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
One thing all this produce has in common is we consume them skin and all.  They also all have many nooks, crannies and folds for chemicals to seep into.

The "cleanest" produce on the market are:
  1. Onions
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Asparagus
All of this produce, other than the asparagus which I was surprised was on this list, is peeled before eaten.  If you peel the outer layer of the produce you are peeling off most of the chemicals along with it.

A good rule of thumb is to thoroughly wash any fruit or vegetable that is eaten with the skin on.

Another way to avoid many chemicals on your produce is to buy certain produce organic.  Organic foods contain a fraction of the chemicals traditional produce contains.  I personally buy foods such as strawberries, apples, spinach, kale, swiss chard and collard greens organic.  The strawberries are quite a bit pricier, but the other foods are not much more costly.  When it comes to foods like this I feel the extra expense is well worth it.

The above mentioned article makes the point that...
"The National Institute of Environmental Health Services acknowledges that scientists do not have a full understanding of the health risks associated with exposure to agricultural pesticide residues through food, soil, water, or air. They also report that farmers who use pesticides experience an increase in neurological symptoms and that the harmful effects on children are greater than on adults."
There is growing evidence to suggest the common chemicals used in agriculture are harmful to our short term and long term health.  A lot of common produce is fine for normal consumption, but it is very important to learn what foods contain large amounts of chemicals and buy those foods organic or thoroughly wash them before consuming.

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