Nowadays, many of us are much more conscious of what we put in our bodies. We know that we can improve our health, handle stress better, and boost our energy levels by making the right food choices. This isn’t only by choosing a piece of fruit over a couple of chocolate biscuits; it is also about sourcing high quality, local foods and making sure that they are grown or raised the right way.
If you regularly read about health and nutrition, you may have heard previously about the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen. The Environmental Working Group publishes these two groups of foods each year, and they list the fruits and vegetables that contain the most and the least pesticides. The foods on the Dirty Dozen list contain the most pesticides, and the foods on the Clean Fifteen list contain the least.
If you are suffering from chronic stress, adrenal fatigue, or just low energy levels, the food choices that you make can have a dramatic effect on your health. Just as eating too many pesticide-laden foods can eventually make you tired and sick, switching to cleaner foods can improve your energy levels and help you to recover from adrenal fatigue.
Before we go on, you should know that just because a food is on the Dirty Dozen list doesn’t mean that you should avoid it entirely. It means that you should make every effort to buy it from a trusted, organic source, rather than simply pick up the first produce you see at your local supermarket. Conversely, foods on the Clean Fifteen are relatively pesticide-free, so you may not have to be so careful when you purchase them.
Pesticides can have a devastating effect on your health
The American Academy of Pediatrics released a report in 2012 detailing how children are very susceptible to the side effects of pesticides that enter their system. The effects of pesticides ingested by children have been linked to pediatric cancers, learning difficulties and behavioral problems. Exposure to these pesticides has also been known to cause lupus, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and more.
More generally, pesticides work to weaken your immune system and place tremendous stress on your endocrine system. Eliminating most of the pesticides from your diet can help to restore your adrenal health and end your fatigue.
Which foods are on the lists?
To create their lists, the scientists at EWG analyzed 48 fruits and vegetables that are popular in US households. They based their rankings on the analysis of 32,000 samples of the foods tested by the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture. To rank these fruits and vegetables the scientists at EWG used six metrics, one of which was the total number of pesticides found on the food and the percent of samples tested. The 2014 report recorded that 65 percent of the samples tested positive for pesticides, meaning that there was residue found on the foods.
To help people avoid ingesting pesticides, the EWG has created these two useful lists to help people understand which fruits and vegetables have low pesticide levels. If a food has a high concentration of pesticides, then people are advised to choose organic versions.
For four years the innocent seemingly-healthy apple has topped the Dirty Dozen, with the highest concentration of pesticides. Other contaminated favorites included hot peppers, kale and cherry tomatoes, all of which are sprayed with insecticides that are actually toxic to humans.
The Dirty Dozen
Let’s now look at the ‘Dirty Dozen Plus’ list for 2014 so that you can make informed and healthy choices when you are shopping for you and your family.
7. Sweet Bell Peppers
10. Cherry Tomatoes
11. Snap Peas
+ Kale/Collard Greens
+ Hot Peppers
You might think that you are being super healthy snacking on these fruits and vegetables, but the truth is that you could be exposing yourself and your family to some very dangerous chemicals. If you are eating anything on this list then be sure to buy organic, or at least wash the foods very thoroughly.
The Clean Fifteen
The ‘Clean Fifteen’ are the fruits and veggies that contained the lowest levels of pesticides when tested. Although it is still a great idea to buy organic if possible, these foods are generally much safer and can usually be consumed without worrying about pesticide residues.
2. Sweet Corn
5. Sweet Peas
15. Sweet Potatoes
The next time you are shopping for healthy food for you and your family, think about what might have been sprayed on those foods while they were growing. Making the right decisions can prevent unnecessary exposure to dangerous pesticides, boost your immune system and help yout body to cope with stress more effectively.