Monthly Archives: April 2016

Highlights of the Clean Fifteen™ for 2016

According to the Environmental Working Group (an organization of scientists, researchers and policymakers), certain types of organic produce can reduce the amount of toxins you consume on a daily basis by as much as 80 percent. The group put together two lists, “The Dirty Dozen” and “The Clean 15,” to help consumers know when they should buy organic and when it is unnecessary.

This year’s update of EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ reports that USDA tests found a total of 146 different pesticides on thousands of fruit and vegetable samples examined in 2014 (the last year for which data is available). The pesticides persisted on fruit and vegetables tested by USDA – even when they were washed and, in some cases, peeled.

EWG singles out produce with the highest pesticide loads for its Dirty Dozen™ list. This year, the list includes strawberries, apples, nectarines, peaches, celery, grapes, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers. Each of these foods tested positive for a number of different pesticide residues and showed higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce.

Key findings:

  • More than 98 percent of strawberry samples, peaches, nectarines, and apples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
  • The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other produce.
  • A single grape sample and a sweet bell pepper sample contained 15 pesticides.
  • Single samples of strawberries showed 17 different pesticides.

EWG’s Clean Fifteen™ list of produce least likely to hold pesticide residues consists of avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, eggplant, honeydew melon, grapefruit, cantaloupe, and cauliflower. Relatively few pesticides were detected on these foods, and tests found low total concentrations of pesticides on them.

Key findings:

  • Avocados were the cleanest: only 1 percent of avocado samples showed any detectable pesticides.
  • Some 89 percent of pineapples, 81 percent of papayas, 78 percent of mangoes, 73 percent of kiwi and 62 percent of cantaloupes had no residues.
  • No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen™ tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides.
  • Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on Clean Fifteen™ vegetables. Only 5.5 percent of Clean Fifteen samples had two or more pesticides.

It is important to recognize that not everyone can afford an all-organic diet, but just buying organic fruits and vegetables from the Dirty 12 list can greatly reduce your exposure to pesticides.

Check out the EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce:

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and take it with you when you go shopping.

For more information, go to www.ewg.org

How to Add More Fruit and Vegetables to Your Diet

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A diet rich in fruit and vegetables can:

  • Reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Help prevent some types of cancer
  • Lower risk of Type 2 diabetes
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce the risk of obesity and help with weight loss

How much do you need?

Children under the age of nine should eat about a cup to a cup and a half of vegetables each day. They should eat the same amount of fruit per day. For adults, it’s two to three cups of vegetables and one and a half to two cups of fruit.

Sound like a lot? Here are some ideas to add more fruit and vegetables to your diet:

  • Add veggies to dishes you already enjoy, like omelettes, quesadillas, lasagna or macaroni and cheese.
  • Add fresh or frozen vegetables to home-made or canned soup.
  • Load up a salad with your favorite vegetables, such as cucumber, tomatoes, or spinach. You could even add mandarin oranges, jicama, pineapple, or strawberries for variety and extra flavor.
  • Add chopped veggies such as peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, even broccoli to spaghetti sauce. Or add them to pizza!
  • You can juice fruit, vegetables, or a combination and get your daily allowance all at once. You can also make them into a smoothie.
  • Grill your vegetables. Just brush them lightly with canola or olive oil or marinade and pop them on the grill for a quick and delicious side dish. Or make veggie kabobs with bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, or any other vegetables you like.
  • Add tomatoes, cucumbers, mixed greens, sprouts, cucumbers, cilantro or avocado to your sandwich or wrap. Or make a veggie sandwich!
  • Make a stir fry with your favorite vegetables. Add meat if desired and serve with rice for a complete meal.
  • If you decide to have fast food, add a side salad to your meal. Or ask for extra lettuce and tomato on your burger.

Be creative and be healthy!