Let me be totally frank with you...
Fruits and vegetable are extremely important in your diet.
So for all of you expecting mothers who still groan at the sight of leafy greens or a juicy tomato...you know who I'm talking about...yes YOU...it's time to branch out for the sake of your baby ;-) However when you're eating a lot of fruits and vegetables you must be cautious of pesticides. Yes, those nasty substances used to kill insects or other organisms that do harm to plants or animals. Well studies show they also do harm to humans.
So what is the healthiest produce for you?
Organic of course. Organic is ALWAYS the best way to go. Especially while you're pregnant.
The downside...eating organic can costs more. But I don't want you to use high grocery bills as an excuse to not eat fruits and vegetables. They're waaaaaaay too important. Many health care providers will tell you the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure.
What's one to do then? Well, if you're on a budget like many people are I am going to give you the EWG's (Environmental Working Group) Dirty Dozen Plus as well as the Clean 15 lists. The Dirty Dozen Plus is a list of fruits and vegetables that carry the highest pesticide residues. These are the most important to buy organic. The Clean 15 are the least contaminated so you can get away with buying these without them being organically grown. Although I recommend using a veggie wash on them before consuming.
The dangers of pesticides.
In both children and adults, pesticides have been shown to cause health issues such as:
- behavioral and neurological problems
- birth defects
- organ damage
- early puberty from endocrine disruptors
The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends reducing the exposure of pesticides to infants and children. Also, pesticides aren't only in fruits and vegetables. They're also in dairy and meat. Yep. They're everywhere. Again, eat organic whenever possible.
Here are the EWG's lists. I personally love the EWG. They are my go to guide to keep me updated on the latest findings. Every year they come out with a new list. Click here to stay updated.
Dirty Dozen Plus™ (buy these organic)
3. Cherry Tomatoes
6. Hot Peppers
7. Nectarines (imported)
12. Sweet bell peppers
Plus: Kale, Collard Greens and Summer Squash
The Plus vegetables may contain pesticide residues of special concern.
Clean 15™ (lowest in pesticides)
2. Sweet Corn
6. Sweet peas- frozen
11. Cantaloupe - domestic
12. Sweet potatoes
To learn more about the dirty dozen plus and the clean 15 you can go to EWG’s 2013 Shoppers guide.