Though whole fruits and vegetables include many of the healthiest foods you can choose for your diet, any non-organic choices may contain large amounts of pesticides. Some fruits and vegetables can be of special concern due to the type of pesticides that remain on them – even as they are offered for sale in grocery stores and markets.
The fruits and vegetables that tend to be contaminated with the highest pesticides include:
• Tree fruits including apples, peaches, nectarines and pears
• Bell peppers
• Kale, spinach and lettuce
• Berries (strawberries, blueberries & other berries)
• Snap peas
Organic options for these fruits and vegetables should be chosen whenever possible. The use of pesticides can have potentially negative impacts on the environment and on human health. Many of these crops may have absorbed pesticides through the root system which means the pesticide cannot be washed off. Though it is impossible to entirely remove pesticides from your produce, all produce should be carefully washed to remove as many surface contaminants as possible.
As a healthy alternative, you can make good choices from the list of fruits and vegetables that tend to contain the least amount of pesticides.
• Tree fruits including avocado and grapefruit
• Tropical fruits including papaya, pineapple, mango and kiwi
• Sweet potatoes
When shopping for healthy foods for yourself or your family, keep these lists in mind as you make purchasing choices. Avoiding foods that are known to contain the highest amount of pesticides is a good way to ensure your family is receiving the best food available in the market.