One of our favorite fruits just landed on the "Dirty Dozen" list...
Last week, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released this year's list of their findings for foods that are most contaminated by pesticides. The top 12 offenders receive the label of the "Dirty Dozen."
As I've mentioned before, I like to use the Dirty Dozen list to help me shop... If a fruit or veggie is on the Dirty Dozen, I buy the organic version. If it's on the "clean" list, I save a few bucks and skip the organic offerings.
So don't stop buying this year's new addition, pears... just try and buy them organic.
We love pears as a tasty way to get lots of fiber. In fact, an Iowa women's health study also found that higher intakes of fruits like pears lowered the risk of colon cancer. They're also good sources of vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin K.
A few of our other favorite foods made the Dirty Dozen list as well.
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Here are the top 12 clean and dirty foods according to the new 2017 data (in order)...
If you remember, we wrote about the problems with pesticides in foods in our issue "Are You Wasting Your Money on Organic Food?"
Thin-skinned fruits often land high on the list because they absorb the nasty chemicals better. Pesticides can cause rashes and redness of the skin, and some trigger more severe allergic reactions.
Worse, research shows links between foods containing certain pesticides and Parkinson's disease, as well as human thyroid dysfunction. These poisons also alter human liver and brain function. And the effects happen indirectly from just minute amounts of these chemicals. In the smallest amounts, they contaminate water supplies, which can kill animals and result in human birth defects.
Now, organic foods still have some pesticides, but not as many and none as harmful as regular pesticides. According to the EWG, you can cut your consumption of pesticides by 80% by switching to organic versions of the dirty dozen foods.
More important... wash all your produce with a mixture of white vinegar and water. I let everything soak for a bit and then rinse the fruits and vegetables off with just water. This method is effective since most of the pesticide residue sits on the skin.
Don't Let Pesticides Stop Your 10 Servings
Don't let pesticides stop you from enjoying fruits and vegetables though. A new analysis published this year from Imperial College London found that 10 servings (28 ounces) of fruits and veggies a day leads to longer, healthier lives.
The researchers looked at 95 different studies on fruit and vegetable intake. Benefits started with just two and a half servings – at that level, folks saw a 4% lower risk of cancer and a 15% lower risk of premature death.
It's a dose-dependent benefit system, with 10 servings yielding the best results. Folks eating 10 servings of fruit and veggies per day had a 33% reduction in stroke risk, 13% lower risk of cancer, and a 31% drop in premature death risk.
Ten servings sounds intimidating, but it's easier to break down by ounces. Look at some of the common servings of popular fruits and veggies below:
So, if you have blueberries mixed in with yogurt and a spinach omelet for breakfast, you've had more than a fifth of your daily intake to reach the 28-ounce goal.
If you're struggling with your diet, try taking it in steps. First, keep track of how many fruits and vegetables you eat each day. Then, try to make sure you get at least 2.5 servings every day (the lowest amount for benefit seen in the study). Once you get to that goal, try adding an additional serving to each meal. Setting small goals and working up to them is much easier and less intimidating.
Let us know your favorite way to enjoy fruits and vegetables by writing to us here.
What We're Reading...
- See the EWG's full ranking of 48 different fruits and veggies.
- Something different: The true story behind the military's Filthy Thirteen.
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Retirement Millionaire Daily Research Team
March 16, 2017