When to Eat Organic… 15 Clean and 12 Dirty Foods

Mar 03, 2020 00:00:00AM

Updated March 3, 2020. Original article November 7, 2018.

The health world has known about the dangers of pesticides for many years. Synthetic pesticides have many known side effects, including:

  • infertility & reproductive abnormalities
  • many types of cancer
  • neurodegeneration
  • endocrine disruption
  • hormone disruption
  • immune suppression
  • diminished intelligence
Those known side effects has led to the use of more organic pesticides. Organically grown foods use more natural pesticides while also still relying on the plants' innate ability to defend itself.

    Organic pesticides are designed to help crops yield more by keeping bugs and plant disease curtailed, while also not affecting humans. Organic pesticides have been proven to be much better than synthetic, but they may still have some negative environmental effects.

    How we are exposed to pesticides.


    Unfortunately, humans can be exposed to pesticides in quite a few ways—some, very unexpected. Exposure can occur by breathing it, absorbing it through the skin, and consuming it. The highest risk groups are obviously those who have much higher levels of exposure: grounds maintenance professionals, those in the agricultural industry, and people working in processing facilities.

    But think about how often you see a crop duster plane fly over near your home, spraying pesticides on nearby farmland. Or how handling unwashed, non-organic produce at stores is putting pesticides on your hands. Understanding that these toxins are introduced into your system in a variety of ways, in varying levels, is what's really important.

    Most adults are exposed to pesticides through food, but children tend to be exposed through food and the environment. Pesticides can stay in the soil for years after use.

    The best avenue, currently, to mitigate exposure to pesticides is through shopping wisely for food. It is better to avoid foods that tend to have higher amounts of pesticides. And it is much better to buy organic when possible.

    EWG's 2020 Dirty Dozen List

    The Environmental Working Group releases an annual list of the most pesticide-heavy produce. The 2020 Dirty Dozen list didn't change much in the past few years, which points to exactly how heavy and how consistently these produce items are covered in toxic pesticides. These foods are ones that have tested high for one or more pesticides.

    Of note for 2020, kale was added and grapes moved up higher on the list. Both Pears and celery moved down a few spaces, but remain high in pesticides. Sweet bell peppers fell off the top dozen list, but falling in 13th place doesn't make them safe to buy no-organic.

    The top 12 foods you need to buy organic.


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

      The Dirty Dozen foods are all non-organic; however, that doesn't mean that you should be fearful of buying the organic versions of these health foods. Organic versions of these foods will always be better for you—plus, you need these in your diet. If you can't find fresh organic that looks ripe or pretty, go frozen! Frozen options are picked at their peak, ensuring the best flavor and most amount of nutrients.

      The Environmental Working Group also releases an annual Clean 15 list. This list contains foods that tested negative for pesticides. Again, these are all non-organic.

      • Avocados
      • Sweet corn
      • Pineapple
      • Onions
      • Papaya
      • Frozen sweet peas
      • Eggplant
      • Asparagus
      • Cauliflower
      • Broccoli
      • Mushrooms
      • Cabbage
      • Honeydew Melon
      • Kiwi

      When shopping, you can feel much better about purchasing non-organic of those Clean 15 health foods listed above. Many of them have protective layers that prevent any pesticides from affecting the meat, but that's also why they have (and need) less pesticides! Consider them nature's resilient produce—and load your cart up with organic (if possible) but non-organic with no worries.

      Our monk fruit is grown pesticide-free.

      Our monk fruit is pesticide free and organic

      Lakanto is proud of our planting, growing, and harvesting methods. Our farms are located in the most remote mountains, where pollution is absent. The hillsides we plant on are cared for impeccably by farmers who take great pride in the monk fruit they grow.

      Because of ancient growing methods and natural protection measures, we don't need to use pesticides on our monk fruit!  Learn all about our monk fruit process and feel confident in buying Lakanto products for their high-quality ingredients and protected manufacturing processes.


      Additional References

      Haspel, T. (2018, May 21). The truth about organic produce and pesticides. Retrieved October 23, 2018, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/the-truth-about-organic-produce-and-pesticides/2018/05/18/8294296e-5940-11e8-858f-12becb4d6067_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.b2c7c2d085df

      Radcliffe, S. (2018, September 11). Worried About Pesticide Exposure? Here’s What You Need to Know. Retrieved October 23, 2018, from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/pesticide-exposure-heres-what-you-need-to-know#1

      Thorpe, M., MD, PhD. (2017, May 03). Are Pesticides in Foods Harming Your Health? Retrieved October 23, 2018, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pesticides-and-health

      World Health Organization. (2018, February 19). Pesticide residues in food. Retrieved October 23, 2018, from http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/pesticide-residues-in-food

      Zerbe, L. (2018, September 21). Dirty Dozen List Is Out! DDT Detected on Spinach & Single Strawberry Sample Tested Positive for 22 Pesticides (But That's Not the Worst of It). Retrieved October 23, 2018, from https://draxe.com/dirty-dozen/

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