We often hear warnings about foods that are high in pesticides, but what about the foods that are lowest in pesticides? You’ve heard of the Dirty Dozen (12 fruits and vegetables highest in pesticide residue) that the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has suggested that we buy organic; these are the Clean Fifteen that you don’t have to buy organic and are low in pesticide residue. The next time you’re at the grocery store, make sure you stock on up these nutritious foods that are lowest in pesticides.
Avocados turned out to be one of the top foods that are lowest in pesticides for 2014. In fact, the EWG found that only 1% of avocados that were sampled showed any detectable pesticides. It’s not surprising since avocados have a thick skin that covers the edible portion. However, the folks at Good Housekeeping recommend giving them a rinse before you slice one open just to be on the safe side.
2. Sweet Corn
Sweet corn is a fantastic food to have on hand for summer picnics and barbecues, so it’s a good thing that it’s another one of the foods that are low in pesticide residue. Similar to avocados, you throw out the husks and eat the kernels, so there is a low risk of pesticides left over on the edible portion. When possible, try to pick up corn that is locally grown and eat the same day for best results.
Pineapples are a sweet and refreshing treat that makes a nutritious dessert. But, if you find the task of finding a perfectly ripe pineapple as difficult as I do, Whole Foods recommends ignoring the external color as a sign of ripeness. It sounds crazy, but they say that ripening stops after picking so even green pineapples can be ripe! Make sure you store your pineapple in the refrigerator if you’re not going to eat it within a few days of purchase.
Cabbage is a nutritious food that is low in calories, helps with concentration, is anti-inflammatory and helps keep blood pressure from getting too high. It might be surprising that cabbage is on the list of foods low in pesticides since it doesn’t have an outer skin like the others, but Good Housekeeping notes that cabbage doesn’t hold on to insecticides since it isn’t subjected to as many pests and it grows just fine without them.
5. Sweet Peas
Sweet peas make a great midday snack, and they are tasty eaten by themselves or dipped in some hummus. This low pesticide vegetable helps regulate blood sugar, reduces bad cholesterol and helps prevent osteoporosis. RealFoodForLife.com mentions that peas are actually good for the environment because peas work with bacteria in the soil to “fix” nitrogen from the air. They deposit it into the soil and are able to grow with minimal moisture so they don’t use up valuable water supply.
Honestly, I used to hate onions but then I started hanging out with some onion lovers and now I can’t get enough of the stuff! Onions are another vegetable that doesn’t see any many threats from pests so they’re exposed to less pesticides to begin with. Onions have tons of health benefits, including being rich in quercetin, an antioxidant flavonoid that fights asthma, bronchitis, allergies, diabetes and infections.
Asparagus is full of antioxidants, vitamins and glutathione, which is a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and free radicals. Asparagus is another food that doesn’t host as many pests so it’s not exposed to as many pesticides as other fruits and vegetables. When picking out asparagus, Good Housekeeping recommends choosing firm spears with bright green or purplish tips.
Mangoes are super tasty and sweet and make the perfect spring or summer treat. They too have a thick covering that protects the flesh of the fruit, which helps makes them low in pesticides. When you’re looking for a ripe, juicy mango, look for a bright-colored skin with a fruity fragrance. Even though mangoes are low in pesticides, make sure you rinse well before you slice to get rid of any residue.
This tropical fruit is surprisingly versatile and can be used in savory and sweet dishes. The EWG reports that 80% of papayas has no residues. However, it’s still advised that you rinse it well before you slice it open. Papayas are also nutritional superstars in that they promote digestive health, have anti-inflammatory effects and protect against heart disease.
Do you already eat some of these low pesticide foods? If not, be sure to add them to your grocery list. Since you don’t have to buy these foods organic, they’ll be less expensive, plus they’re all chock full of important nutrients. For a full list of the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen, visit ewg.org.
Sources: eatingwell.com, goodhousekeeping.com, ewg.org, drweil.com, ewg.org, wholefoodsmarket.com, care2.com, alternativecancer.me, realfoodforlife.com, foods-healing-power.com, eatingwell.com, whfoods.com