Strawberries and other berries are known as “Super Foods”, for their antioxidant properties. These nutritional powerhouse foods are loaded with crucial nutrients, which have been proven to help prevent well-known effects of aging, including cardiovascular disease, Type II Diabetes, hypertension and certain cancers.
However, if you’re eating non-organic strawberries today, you may be ingesting 54 pesticides with it, according to Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA)*. Pesticides are designed to be toxic- they kill insects and other living creatures. The alarming fact is that most of us are born with persistent pesticides and other chemicals already in our bodies, passed from mother to child during fetal development. Pesticides accumulate, build up toxicity, and remain in our bodies for years. Pesticides have been linked to cancers, developmental and neurological disorders, reproductive and hormonal system disruptions, and many more.
So, the same foods that have natural disease fighting properties are causing us to be ill due to the use of extremely toxic pesticides.
The most harmful are fruits and vegetables known as the “Dirty Dozen,” which contain 47 to 67 pesticides per serving*. These foods are believed to be most susceptible because they have soft skin that tends to absorb more pesticides. Although washing does reduce the level of pesticides found on produce, there is no level of exterior washing that can wash away all of the pesticides in the produce. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that even after washing, some fruits and vegetables consistently carry much higher levels of pesticide residue than others. Consumers can reduce their pesticide intake by almost 80 percent by avoiding the top twelve contaminated vegetables and fruits. Organic foods limit or exclude the use of pesticides and other synthetic materials during production.
Since not all of us can afford to go 100% organic every time we shop, we can focus on those foods that come with the heaviest burden of pesticides, additives and hormones. In other words, eat only the organic version of the Dirty Dozen and increase your intake of the Clean Fifteen.
The Dirty Dozen
- Sweet bell peppers
- Spinach, kale and collard greens
The Clean Fifteen
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas
- Sweet Potato
- Honeydew Melon
*PANNA- works to replace the use of hazardous pesticides with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives. * EWG-a research and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. Based on an analysis of more than 100,000 U.S. government pesticide test results, researchers at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) developed the “Dirty Dozen.” *USDA- responsible for developing and executing U.S. federal government policy on farming, agriculture, and food.