The very helpful “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists for 2016 have just been released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). These two important lists have been designed to help you maintain healthier fruits and vegetables eating habits and make wiser green choices.
How to Use the List
It’s fairly easily. Here’s how you use the list.
- Memorize both sides of list. No can do? Copy the above image and take it with you to the store when you’re shopping for healthy vegetables and fruits.
- FIRST CHOICE. Choose items on the Clean 15 side, since they showed fewer traces of pesticides when tested.
- SECOND CHOICE. Choose items on the Dirty Dozen side, since they showed more traces of pesticides when tested. Try to always buy these items organic when possible and always wash or soak them with special care.
These lists have changed over the years since growers are eager to get their produce off the dirty list and on to the clean list. Therefore, always make sure you look at the most recent list.
Experts recommend that individuals and families eat two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables each day. A diet rich in healthy fruits and vegetables has a multitude of health benefits. Not only do fruits and vegetables contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, they are also loaded with fiber. They can help you maintain your health, improve your sense of well being and help fight disease.
Good, Clean Choices
Although it’s always smart to buy and eat healthy fruits and vegetables on the Clean 15 list, even conventionally grown fruits from the Dirty Dozen are better than foods containing bad fats, loads of sugar and foods that have been processed. Just make sure you always wash or soak them before eating. For that matter, always wash and soak your organic and home-grown produce as well. After all, they have probably been handled by you (working with dirt in your garden), store employees (working with who knows what) and before they reached the store or your table, these items were probably inspected by flying and crawling insects and bugs.
Buy Organic When Possible
It is always wise to purchase organic produce whenever you can afford it. If not, you can grow your own fruits and vegetables in your backyard garden, on your patio or even inside your home. However, clearly, sometimes those options aren’t possible. Either you don’t have the time, space or the wherewithal to make that commitment. With that said, the Environmental Working Group and other health experts maintain that eating conventionally (non-organically) grown fruits and vegetables is better than not eating any fruits and vegetables at all, so if you can’t grow your own, be sure to buy them in stores or at your local farmer’s markets.
Note: Remember to keep an eye on The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists when shopping and continue to eat your fruits and vegetables like nobody’s business!