There's nothing quite like participating in the weekend ritual of heading to the market to pick out fresh fruit and vegetables to enjoy during the week ahead. However, you may want to think twice before loading up your shopping cart with certain produce.
According to the annual Dirty Dozen list published by the Environmental Working Group, some popular fruits and vegetables are teeming with pesticide residue. While these are common on produce even after it has been washed or peeled, and most Americans consume pesticides every day, research shows that the residue may contribute to various health risks, including fertility issues.
This year, EWG's annual analysis of tests done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that almost 70% of conventionally grown produce contained pesticide residue. Based on this information, EWG ranked common fruits and vegetables from the highest concentration of pesticides to the lowest. Here's how the six dirtiest kinds of produce stack up.
Alternatively, the EWG found that the produce containing the least pesticide residue includes avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbages onions, frozen sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplants, honeydews, kiwis, cantaloupe, cauliflower, and broccoli. Without cutting out these favorite fruit and veggies from your diet, the EWG reports that you can avoid pesticides by shopping organic.
This is backed up by a 2015 study that found significantly lower pesticide intake levels in those who often or always buy organic produce. While choosing organic options can be more expensive, this research shows it may be worth it in the long run. Head to the EWG's website for the complete shopper's guide to pesticides in produce.