If you look on the Internet, it’s never hard to find a whole bunch of foods you should not eat. Despite the proliferation of additives like excess sodium, sugars and fats, lots of foods with these ingredients in abundance, as well as healthy food that is then oversaturated with them, are mainstays in American culture. Even among healthy foods, often there are chemicals added for preservation, growth or protection that can have harmful effects on the body.
It’s not always easy to know what’s safe to eat and what should be avoided. Thankfully, there is helpful information as well. In fact, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has presented a list of fifteen safe and healthy goods, the “Clean 15” to help steer consumers in the right direction. This list stands at odds with the “Dirty Dozen,”, a list of foods that, despite their status as health foods, are dangerous due to chemical usage, and should only be taken organic. The foods on the Clean 15 list generally have less chemical usage, so they are generally safe to eat even nonorganic, but even so, should be taken organic whenever possible.
Lists like the Clean 15 exist because even though it’s healthier
to eat organic produce, realistically, such a choice is not available to everyone. Food deserts exist, which cut down on choice and variety. In a lot of cases, even when the selection is available, prices are prohibitive. The foods on this list, based on testing, are generally lacking in pesticide residue, which means they are safer than other nonorganic foods, which allows you to save a little bit of money for other needs.
15. Sweet Corn
Sweet corn is an excellent choice among nonorganic foods because of the thick protective husk that covers the kernels. Generally speaking, the kernels will be safer in the presence of pesticides than other foods because of this outer layer of protection. Depending on the variety of corn you choose, there may be GMOs present in the corn; there is a lot of controversy surrounding the nature of GMOs and whether or not they are truly safe for consumption by humans. If you are concerned about the presence of GMOs in your food, then organic corn still remains a viable option.
Avocados are one of a few healthy foods that are gaining popularity. Once hated for their fat content, now they are touted for their health benefits, which are centered around heart and circulatory system health given the benefits of healthy fat for HD, or ‘Good’ cholesterol). What earns the avocado a spot on this list is the tough skin on the outside which is resistant to outside substances. In fact, the avocado’s hide is so tough that it is ranked #1, essentially the cleanest fruit. Only 1% of avocados were found to have pesticide residue, according to the EWG’s research.
Another fruit with a tough outer shell, pineapple ranked nearly as well as avocados in terms of their cleanliness. Just 20% of all pineapple was found to possess pesticide residue. This might have something to do with the tough outer skin, or the cultivars pineapple is often grown with. Pineapples provide the body with potassium, which is important to heart health, and like most natural sources of sugar, is safer for diabetics to consume. Furthermore, the skin has been known to have some health benefits, particularly related to digestion, but also related to the process of healing and treating wounds.