The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen
Is my food safe to eat?
Every year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture releases a Pesticide Data Program (PDP) report for consumers that verifies the food they eat is safe. In it, they analyze the most commonly consumed fruits and veggies and report the types and amount of pesticides found within them. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) then takes this report to create a list of fruits and vegetables that contain the most and the least amount of pesticides. While all tested produce fell within USDA regulated tolerances, some had higher amounts of detectable pesticides than others.
Why Should I Care About Pesticides?
By definition, pesticides are toxic. Most notably, their purpose is to destroy creatures we have deemed as “pests”, including certain plants, insects, and fungi. Because they can harm these living organisms, many scientists and physicians worldwide have studied the damage they cause to humans. They’ve concluded that pesticides have been linked to many health problems we experience, including brain and nervous system toxicity, cancer, and hormone disruption.
Glyphosate, aka Roundup, in the Body
Glyphosate-based herbicides, most commonly known and sold as Roundup, are among the most prevalent pesticides of concern. Dr. Anita Wang can test for glyphosate in the body and recommend a course of action depending on the results.
Potential Symptoms of Pesticide-Laden Foods
The chemicals found in pesticides target your immune system and stress your endocrine system, which is responsible for adequate hormone production. The poor functioning of these systems can cause chronic stress, adrenal fatigue, low energy levels, and fertility problems. Pediatricians also note that children exposed to pesticides are uniquely affected, citing decreased cognitive function, behavioral problems.
What are the Dirty Dozen?
As it pertains to health and nutrition, the Dirty Dozen refers to the top twelve fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residue found on their washed and/or peeled form. These twelve had a high percentage of samples with pesticides, high percentage of samples with two or more pesticides, high average number of pesticides on a single sample, high average amount of pesticides found, maximum number of pesticides found, or total number of pesticides found on the crop. When you buy produce that is on this list, you’re safer choosing organic versions of these items.
- Domestic Blueberries
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Spinach, Kale, and Collard Greens
- Imported Grapes
Some fruits, even when peeled and washed, are found to have detectable amounts of pesticides in them when consumed.
What is The Clean Fifteen?
All the produce on The Clean Fifteen bore little to no traces of pesticides, and are safe to consume in non-organic form.
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
- Kiwi fruit
- Sweet potatoes
The Bottom Line
While fruits and vegetables are still the favored option over meat or processed foods, it may be important to look more closely at which types of fruits and veggies you eat. When possible, choose the organic version of produce from The Dirty Dozen. If you are experiencing symptoms like low energy levels and adrenal fatigue, contact Dr. Anita Wang to determine if The Dirty Dozen or some other environmental choice may be a contributing factor.