Eating healthy is not easy.
You could make the effort to cook a balanced meal at home, cut down on junk food, and buy plenty of fruits and vegetables.
But how many of us think to look into what's on the healthy produce we buy?
Each year, the activism group Environmental Working Group lists the 12 fruits and vegetables they call "The Dirty Dozen," produce with the highest amount of pesticide residue based on data from the Department of Agriculture.
Pesticides protect crops from insects and infections, but they are also known to cause a variety of health complications in humans.
This year’s list has bad news for clean eaters, as healthy veggies like kale, spinach, and celery all ranked among the worst for pesticide residue.
Kale came out looking particularly bad in this year’s study, as 92% of the samples tested had residue from two or more pesticides, even after being washed. The worst samples had residue from up to 18 different pesticides.
A shocking 60 percent of the kale samples still had Dacthal residue, a pesticide which was found to cause cancer in rodents.
On the other hand, EWG listed this year’s "Clean Fifteen" produce items with the least produce residue. It’s encouraging news for people who like avocados, pineapples, and cauliflower, which all made the healthier list.
If you’re concerned about pesticides on your produce, the EWG recommends shopping for organic produce. Even if you can’t afford those pricey varieties, they say there’s not much reason to fret about pesticides on your fruits and vegetables.
"The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure," EWG researcher Carla Burns said in a press release about this year’s lists.
Organic vegetables are also not always free from pesticides either - usually they just haven’t been sprayed with synthetic pesticides.
Washing fruit and vegetables under cold tap water can help remove pesticide residue.
Here is the complete "Dirty Dozen" list:
Here is the complete "Clean Fifteen" list:
- Sweet Corn
- Frozen Sweet Peas
- Honeydew Melons