Lindsey Faber, MS, dietetic intern
If you are like most people, you have written down (or at least thought about) one “health-related” resolution for the year. It may look something like this: lose those last 5 or 10 pounds, hit the gym three times per week and cut back on the energy drinks and gigantic lattes. Maybe your goal this year is just to incorporate more whole foods into your diet and focus on wellness. One way to do that would be to eat more fruits and vegetables. They are low in calories, full of fiber and vitamins. All fruits and vegetables provide wonderful nutrients. However, conventional fruits and vegetables are often sprayed with pesticides. It’s safe to say that keeping pesticide consumption to a minimum is a good goal to have.
One way of avoiding pesticides while still eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is to buy organic. Expensive right? While it can definitely be more expensive to buy organic, it’s good to know that you don’t have to buy all organic fruits and vegetables; some are more contaminated than others. The Environmental Working Group came up with the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen”. The Dirty Dozen are the 12 most contaminated fruits and veggies. Likewise, the Clean Fifteen are the least contaminated fruits and veggies. The Dirty Dozen include: celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, kale, cherries, potatoes and grapes. These are the fruits and vegetables that you should buy organic if you can.
The Clean Fifteen include: onions, avocado, sweet corn, pineapple, mangoes, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, sweet potato and honeydew melon. These are the 15 fruits and vegetables that you don’t necessarily need to buy organic. This is wonderful information to have because it makes eating healthier much more accessible and a lot less daunting. So fill your cart up with lots of fruits and vegetables and keep in mind which to buy organic and which are fine to buy non-organic.