Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 – Eating Healthy

The Travel Pharmacist

Do you know the Dirty Dozen or the Clean 15? If you’re interested in foods with fewer chemicals or pesticides (up to 80% less!) and adopting a more organic way of eating, then these two lists may be the most important you’ll come across this week!

Thanks to a wonderful organization called Environmental Working Group, we now have a comprehensive way to look at the fruits and vegetables we buy regularly and know the levels of residue pesticides as reported by the FDA and the US Department of Agriculture. The Dirty Dozen represents the Top 12 farm grown foods with the highest levels of pesticides and chemicals (these are the ones you should definitely try to buy organic if possible). The Clean 15 are those with the lowest levels of residual chemicals. In other words, the ones on your grocery list that you can buy non-organic if cost is an issue. Here they all are…

The Travel Pharmacist

It’s quite a scary list. Many of the fruits and vegetables we love to enjoy. So should I only eat processed foods? No. It is important to remember that the overall health benefit of eating fresh fruits and vegetables outweighs the risk of these chemicals, however buying organic will lessen the risk even more. “Organic” is a designation used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Program to certify food that was produced without synthetic chemicals or fertilizers, genetic engineering, radiation or sewage sludge.

Washing fruits and vegetables is also very important! The data from these studies was obtained from foods that were washed and peeled (as normally eaten), so if your produce isn’t washed, your exposure levels to harmful chemicals will be even higher.

If you’re interested in learning more, the Environmental Working Group offers an excellent PDF guide entitled “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce”.By using these lists and in-depth information provided, consumers can have the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables with less exposure to pesticides.

Do you buy organic food regularly for your family? Is cost an issue? Let us know how you take steps to ensure your produce is as pesticide and chemical-free as possible.

Happy, Healthy Travels!

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