The Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen

by in Healthy Eating October 11, 2019

Organic food has been around for millennia however, there is still much scepticism when looking at the benefit of such food on our overall health. Let’s face it, our ancestors never used pesticides, herbicides or hormones to cultivate and harvest their food. They ate locally, seasonally and all their food was extremely fresh.

Due to the nature of our fast-paced lifestyles and living in suburban areas, we don’t always have the access to locally grown food and sometimes, the freshest fruit and vegetables we can buy are from our local supermarket and let’s face it, these products are far from fresh.

The issue with non-organic produce is their pesticide and herbicide residue levels. Farmers to ward off pests from ravaging their crops use these chemicals. You may be thinking, okay, well how much harm can these chemicals cause if they’re so widely available? The simple answer is, quite a lot. When looking at chemicals it’s all about the total burden and load on the body. Yes, you can wash your fruit and vegetables thoroughly however, to a degree, chemical residue will remain.

A higher consumption of pesticides have been researched for their contributing effect on fertility/hormonal health, cancer risk, children health and mental health conditions. Of course, pesticide residue are not the cause of all these issues however, they can contribute to the burden of illness/disease.

Organic food, because it is grown in smaller quantities and more time and effort goes into growing and harvesting, they do tend to be a lot more expensive than non-organic produce and because of this, may not be affordable for most, especially when feeding a whole family! This where a list called the clean 15 and the dirty Dozen comes in.

This list has been developed to provide consumers with information they require to make positive fruit and vegetable choices. The clean 15 list consists of fruit and vegetables that naturally have a lower pesticide residue and as a result, do not need to be eaten organically. On the opposite end of this, the dirty dozen are fruit and vegetables that contain notoriously high levels of pesticide residue and should be consumed organically.

The clean 15 and dirty dozen list is updated each year and the following is the most updated version from Environmental Working Group.

The Clean 15

  • Avocado
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapples
  • Frozen sweet peas
  • Onions
  • Papayas
  • Eggplants
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbages
  • Cauliflower
  • Rockmelon
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Honeydew Melon

The Dirty Dozen

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Potato

Research has not necessarily indicated that organic food is more nutrient dense than non-organic food as the nutrient content of our food is dependent upon the quality of the soil of which it is grown, however, organic food has been found to have a higher content of antioxidant compounds when compared to non-organic food.

A further plus to organic produce is it tastes delicious. The flavour profile far exceeds the flavour of non-organic produce and somehow, increases satiation as well.

Unlike 10 or more years ago, organic fruit and vegetables can be found in most large chain supermarkets and smaller, green grocers. When purchasing organic, make sure it is certified organic. The certification process is long, arduous and costly for the farmer however, it guarantees that you truly are purchasing and consuming an organic product. This means, there is no chance of pesticide residue.

Eating a clean diet and living a clean lifestyle takes time to implement but in the long run, your body will thank you for it.