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Healthy Fruits & Vegetables

The Dirty Dozen


With today’s busy lifestyle and the known pickiness of toddlers and preschool children, just getting enough fruits and vegetables into our everyday diet can be a challenge let alone making sure the produce is organic. But it is important to know that the EPA, in addition to our common sense, have done studies showing that the pesticide residue left on certain fruits and vegetables can be more harmful to our children than to adults.

Since preschool children are still developing and their organs are not fully mature, it affects them more. For example, studies have shown that there are higher instances of AD/HD (Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder) in preschool children with a higher exposure to the toxins found in pesticide residue as well as affecting the overall central nervous system.

We want to stress that not all fruits and vegetables are contaminated the same way. For years a list of the “dirty dozen” has circulated on the most heavily contaminated so we thought we would share it again as well as the list of the least contaminated so you can be more informed when buying your produce.


12 Most Contaminated Fruits and Vegetables

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (Imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

12 Least Contaminated

  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sweet Corn (Frozen)
  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Bananas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Papaya

How to make fruits and veggies safer for consumption?

There is a simple and cheap trick that can help you get rid of those nasty chemicals. You can simply wash your fresh produce in distilled white vinegar and water solution. Gayle Povis Alleman, a registered dietitian, suggests soaking your veggies and fruits in a solution of 10% vinegar to 90% water. Make the mixture, and let the produce sit in for 15 to 20 minutes. When you remove them, you’ll notice that the water left in the bowl is dirty and may contain some junk. Rinse fruits and vegetables in fresh water, and then enjoy your cleaner product. This method shouldn’t be used on fragile fruits, such as berries, as they have a very porous skin and might get damaged and soak in too much of the vinegar. With other fruits, there should be no lingering vinegar aroma. If you wish, you can also use lemon juice.

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