Saturday, May 10, 2008

Produce & Pesticides

Fruits and vegetables are power foods and should be abundant in your diet. But you need to be aware that some produce carries and retains more pesticide than others. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the most contaminated fruits and vegetables are (ranked high to low):

1. Strawberries
2. Green and red bell peppers
3. Spinach (poor veggie needs some good PR!)
4. Cherries (USA)
5. Peaches
6. Cantaloupe (Mexico)
7. Celery
8. Apples
9. Apricots
10. Green beans
11. Grapes (Chile)
12. Cucumbers

You might want to consider buying organics, which are pesticide free. Otherwise, it makes good sense to peel fruits if possible. Avoid non-organic potato skins. Remove and discard the outermost leaves of lettuce and cabbage. Other surfaces that can't be peeled can be washed with soap and water or a commercial vegetable wash. Washing with plain water removes 25-50 percent of the pesticide residue.

Studies show that the more fruits and vegetables consumed, the less the risk of certain cancers and heart disease. So don't give up on good foods! Just make the good foods better by properly minimizing harmful residues and, perhaps, opting for organics if you can.

Source: Eat to Live, by Joel Fuhrman. M.D.

(Photo by pocho, see for restrictions.)

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