dirty dozen food chart

There has been a great deal of controversy around organic foods in the last few years.

In 2012 a Stanford study showed that “there is little evidence of health benefits by eating organic foods”.

Well I don’t know about you but I thought well this couldn’t be true could it?

After thinking about it for a few minutes I then began to think about what I know about growing fruit and vegetables at home. You know that things get eaten by bugs and caterpillars and moths. Tomatoes are a great example, caterpillars like tomatoes as much as we do. So to control caterpillars you can go out by torchlight and handpick the caterpillars off each fruit or you can spray with some form of chemical so you’ll get some tomatoes to harvest. Spraying may not affect the taste or the nutritional value of the fruit but it does affect the level of pesticide in the fruit and the amount that you ingest on eating it.

This may not sound like a big issue but if you are eating the recommended 2 and 5 serves of fruit and vegetable every day, this will add up over time and lead to a considerable toxic load on your body. For young children this is definitely an issue as their detoxification pathways are not as developed as ours and it can cause them problems.

Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) of America produce a list called the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen. As there are lots of fruit and vegetables being imported into Australia from American and other countries it is very important to be conscious when shopping what foods you are buying.

In Australia the general rule of thumb is that all fruit and vegetables that have a thicker skin have a much lower pesticide load. So fruit and vegetables such as; pumpkin, pineapples, watermelon, rockmelons, avocadoes, all citrus fruits, bananas, eggplants, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, asparagus, garlic, onions, rhubarb and brassica vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage can be bought conventionally grown.

All soft fruits such as grapes, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, nectarines, peaches, plums, tomatoes, all green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, silver beet, Swiss chard, Asian greens, celery, cucumbers, pears, button squash, apples, capsicum, beetroot, carrots potatoes, herbs and zucchinis should be brought as organic.

Important Things to Remember

Always buy local when you can, local farmers markets are ideal for this. You can actually talk to the farmer and find out how the food was grown.

Grow some of your own food, truly there is nothing better than eating something that you’ve planted and nurtured. It gives a real sense of achievement.

The jury may still be out on whether organic foods give you added health benefits but as far as I can see they are better for lightening your toxic load.

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