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Healthy "Artful Living" Moment #24: Minimizing Pesticide Exposure in Produce

Posted on July 22 2018

In past blogs I have argued that a healthy diet should contain 8 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. However, some people are concerned about consuming pesticides that are commonly used to protect fruits and vegetables from a variety of pests, because even washing and peeling produce does not necessarily eliminate all traces of pesticides. Almost 70% of conventional produce samples show  pesticide residues, but it is important to emphasize that 99% of those samples tested below the EPA’s safety tolerances. So, don’t let your natural fear of pesticides sway you against the consumption of fruits and vegetables, because produce is key to a healthy diet and the pesticide residues are not significant enough to be dangerous.

However, if you would still prefer to minimize your exposure to pesticide residues, then I would suggest that you consider purchasing organically grown fruits and vegetables, which normally are subject to fewer dangerous chemicals than are used on conventional produce. For example, there are about 25 synthetic pesticides approved for use on organically grown produce, as compared to over 900 synthetic pesticides approved for use on conventionally grown produce. So, if you are willing to pay the higher price for organically grown produce, you can further reduce (but not eliminate) your exposure to pesticide residues.

And, if you want the greatest “bang for your buck” for your organic produce purchases, there are certain fruits and vegetables that tend to have the highest (but still safe) pesticide residue levels which you may want to prioritize for substitution by organically grown produce. Those “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables, listed starting with the highest concentrations of pesticide residues (based upon the USDA’s analysis of more than 38,800 samples) are:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Grapes
  6. Peaches
  7. Cherries
  8. Pears
  9. Tomatoes
  10. Celery
  11. Potatoes
  12. Sweet bell peppers

Remember, all of these fruits and vegetables have pesticide residues that are below the EPA’s safety tolerance levels. But, if you want to be extra safe, these are the highest pesticide residue fruits and vegetables to consider substituting for organically grown.

And, if you want to further reduce your exposure to pesticide residues in produce, you can consider using Juice Plus whole-food supplements (available at Objects of Desire Artful Living, in store and online). Each Juice Plus capsule contains the powdered extract of ten different naturally-grown, organic fruits and vegetables, produced by farms specially selected and contracted to produce the highest-quality produce under exacting standards of quality and safety. The produce is then made into a slurry which is dehydrated and ground up into a powder for one of Juice Plus’ three capsule blends (Garden Blend, Orchard Blend, and Vineyard Blend) for a total of 30 different fruits and vegetables.

But in any case, whatever type of produce you choose, be sure to consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, as they are the foundation of a healthy diet.


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