Healthy Eating Surprises

Eat Healthy. Eat organic applesOnce you’ve gotten into the habit of eating healthy, it’s easier to focus on your fitness goals. But what if those fruits and veggies that you’re reaching for are chock full of pesticides?  Recently I read an article that was eye-opening and alarming.  It listed the top twelve produce items with the highest levels of pesticides in them.  I’ll share with you below the highlights of the article.

The Dirtiest Dozen

Who’s got the number one slot of being the dirtiest fruit or vegetable? Apples. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), they cite apples on the top of their 2012 list. Out of 700+ apples samples, 98% tested positive for pesticides. Keeping the doctor away won’t work if you eat one of these a day… as pesticides have been tied to a myriad of health problems.

Here are the top twelve produce items with the highest pesticide levels according to the EWG:

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Sweet bell peppers
  4. Peaches
  5. Strawberries
  6. Nectarines (imported)
  7. Grapes
  8. Spinach
  9. Lettuce
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Blueberries (domestic)
  12. Potatoes

And for the bonus round… two more just missed the list: kale/collard greens and cherries. Go to for the full list.

The Clean Fifteen for Healthy Eating

If you’re like me, there are probably more than just a few of your favorite fruits and vegetables on the dirty list. Don’t stop eating them! EWG suggests choosing organic versions of the produce listed above whenever possible . On the flipside, here’s the clean list:Add_colorful_lettuce_to-your_diet

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Cabbage
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Eggplant
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cantalope (domestic)
  12. Sweet potatoes
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Watermelon
  15. Mushrooms

These produce items that have been found to have much lower (or no) pesticide residue, so it’s safer to eat non-organic here.

Besides eating organic as much as possible, I recommend that you add this habit to your healthy eating routine: thoroughly wash all fruits and veggies in water. Even if they come in a bag that says prewashed, take the time to give it a hearty rinse. Be careful when peeling off  skin or cutting through melon rind.  Besides dirt from the field in which they were grown, bacteria can live on the rind/skin. It can easily be transferred to the part you eat via your fingers or knife. Commercial sprays or washes haven’t been proven to clean any better than water. So don’t waste your money, apply that savings to eating organic or  taking a professionally coached workout (like a bootcamp 😉  ).


Image credits:

Apples in the sky

Colorful lettuce