Limiting Your Exposure To Pesticides On Your Fruit And Veg
The UK Government recommends eating five portions of fruit and veg every single day as part of what we can do to reduce the risk of contracting certain diet-related chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. And, as a nation we are definitely taking this advice to heart, “eating the rainbow” – generally much to benefit our health. But, are these gifts from nature as healthy as we think?
Many of our fruits and vegetables are sprayed with pesticides to kill insects that damage the crop. And, although we are told that the levels used are safe for human consumption, many of us worry that they could in fact be harmful to us – even carcinogenic. So, what can we do to limit our exposure to them?
All fruit and vegetables regardless of how they are grown will have a layer of surface dirt and the majority will have a layer of pesticides and herbicides on them too. I have three ways of ensuring that my produce is as clean as possible before I eat them, which I’d like to share with you today.
1. The Vinegar Wash
This is simply four parts water to one part white vinegar. All you need to do is soak your produce for 20-60 minutes and then rinse well to remove the vinegar taste. You’ll be amazed at how brown the water can be!
2. Lemon Spray
This is an alternative to option one above, take one Tablespoon of Lemon Juice, two Tablespoon of Baking Soda and one Cup of Water (240ml) and put them all into a clean spray bottle. Spray the produce generously with the solution, let it stand for fifteen minutes and then rinse well with fresh water.
3. Buy Organic
Buying organic can be a good way to reduce your exposure to man-made chemicals but it’s still important to wash the produce thoroughly. It’s not necessarily the most economical of the choices and so taking a look at the list presented below called “The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15” could be helpful to you when deciding whether you should buy organic or not. The list is complied by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) whose mission it is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. The EWG regularly undertakes a review of the fruits and vegetables available to us in order to determine our overall pesticide exposure. The “Dirty Dozen” are the 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide loads. The “Clean 15” are the 15 fruits and vegetables with the least pesticide residue.
The EWG also added a “plus” category to their Dirty Dozen to include select foods that contain trace amounts of highly hazardous pesticides. These don’t meet the traditional standards to be on the list, yet are included as a plus due to insecticide contamination.
Dirty Dozen & Clean 15
(Choose organic where possible)
(Doesn’t have to be organic)
“Plus”: Hot Peppers
2. Sweet Corn
4. Sweet Peas Frozen
15. Honeydew Melons
NOTE: This list is the latest, being published on 30th August 2019. Check the EWG website (www.ewg.org/foodnews/) regularly for updates.