Cleaner Fruits and Vegetables


Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to stay healthy. They contain antioxidants among many other vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.

But what happens to those health effects when the produce is sprayed with pesticides?

Vegetables Stand

photo credit: [email protected]

In a perfect world we’d all be able to afford all organic produce, but if your budget is anything like mine, we need to cut some corners a bit and the conventional produce keeps us where we need to be financially.

The Environmental Working group puts out a list every year on the “Dirty Dozen“, the fruits and vegetables that are either heavily sprayed, or sprayed with chemicals that are worse than others. These 12 items are the ones you’ll want to buy organically – or find substitutes for.

(starting from the worst offender)

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines (imported)
  7. Grapes (imported)
  8. Sweet Bell Peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries (domestic)
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/Collard Greens

Luckily, there are some crops that are sprayed less as they are easier to grow and keep bug and fungus free. These “Clean 15” are the ones you don’t have to worry about as much and can save a few dollars by buying conventional.

(starting from from the best pic/least toxic load)

  1. Onion
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Avocado
  5. Asparagus
  6. Sweet Peas (frozen)
  7. Mangoes
  8. Eggplant
  9. Cantaloupe (domestic)
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Sweet Potatoes
  14. Grapefruit
  15. Mushroom

You can also download their Shopping Guide so that you always have a copy in the store with you.  Or check out their full list of where your favorite produce ranks on their pesticide scale.

How do you make sure your produce is free of (or low in) toxins?

Donielle Baker

Donielle Baker

owner and editor of Natural Fertility and Wellness at Natural Fertility and Wellness
Donielle believes women can learn how to heal their bodies & balance their hormones through natural methods. An advocate for natural health, she has a passion for nourishing/real food nutrition and natural living. Her personal background includes both infertility and miscarriage and she started Natural Fertility and Wellness in 2008 in order to share all of the information she found helpful in her journey to heal from PCOS and overcome infertility.
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
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  1. MelissaZ

    Do the benefits of eating produce (the dirty dozen) outweight the negative effects of the pesticides? Or is it better not to eat them at all, since organic isn’t an option for me right now?

    • donielle

      @MelissaZ, Tough one huh? I guess every person has to decide for themselves but I’ll tell you my thoughts and what I do.

      I’m able to find some organic produce – sometimes. Sometimes it doesn’t fit in our budget. So when I need to buy conventional produce (I end up buying some each week) I’ll try and focus on the fruits and veggies on the lower end of the toxin list – the clean fifteen. So I buy oranges instead of apples for example. Or I’ll make sure if I buy something on the higher end (the dirty dozen) I buy them in season to avoid ripening agents.

      Produce is so important for our systems that I personally will always make sure to get enough of them, but also make sure I eat some cleansing foods as well to help my body get rid of any toxins that it tries to hold on to. ( – foods for natural detoxification)

      Hope that helps!

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