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Five Ways To Reduce Your Fruit And Vegetable Pesticide Exposure

fresh-vegetablesSummer is a wonderful time to eat delicious fruits and vegetables packed with an wide array of vitamins and minerals that well…just does the body good.

The reality is that a large part of the food production industry uses pesticides that well…just does the body no good.

Food News put together an easy to understand summary of some of general effects pesticides have on the human organism (us!).

“As acknowledged by the U.S. and international government agencies, different pesticides have been linked with a variety of toxic effects, including:

  • Nervous system effects
  • Carcinogenic effects
  • Hormone system effects
  • Skin, eye and lung irritation

Pesticides are unique among the chemicals we release into the environment; they have inherent toxicity because they are designed to kill living organisms – insects, plants, and fungi that are considered “pests.” Because they are toxic by design, many pesticides pose health risks to people, risks that have been acknowledged by independent research scientists and physicians across the world.”

It seems pretty apparent that one would want to reduce their exposure to these chemicals as much as possible. There is no better time to take personal responsibility for your heath than right now! This is just one way to do just that.

How do you reduce your exposure to these dangerous chemicals when fruits and vegetables are so important to our general health? What options do you have?

Purchase Organic Produce From Your Local Market

Organic produce virtually eliminates the exposure to toxic pesticides but will often cost more compared to comparable non-organic items. Depending on your financial means the additional expense may or may not be an issue.

A number of organic items can be found at almost all grocery stores but prices vary widely even for the same item. Organic items are typically always cheaper when bought in-season as well.

Join An Organic Coop

fresh-fruitIn many regions and cities around the country there are organic coops which consists of a local group of people that together receive organic fruits and vegetables at a significantly discounted price.

One such coop format would include mostly in-season organic fruits and vegetables where everyone in the group receives the same type and number of items. This cycle may occur every couple of weeks.

This is one way to reduce the cost of organic food and may provide an opportunity to try out some fruits or vegetables you haven’t had before. You also lose a bit of control in what you receive due to the group buy but if you are somewhat flexible this can be a nice option.

Local Harvest can help you find what is available in your area.

Get To Know Your Local Farmers

Many cities also have farmers markets in which farmers in your area will sell some of their produce at a specific location every week or specific frequency. You can then talk to the farmer and ask them if they use pesticides. Some may and some may not.

This not only supports your local food production community which I think will only become more important in the years ahead, but the food will often have higher nutritional quality due to being a fresher item. A win-win.

Local Harvest can also help find local farmers and farmers markets in your area.

Don’t Eat The 12 Worst Fruits And Vegetables

If you chose to eat fruits and vegetables from your local market that are not organic (or been verified not to use pesticides), according to Food News you can reduce your pesticide exposure by almost 80% by simply not eating the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables. That is an mind-blowing percentage.

Eating these 12 most contaminated fruits and veggies will expose you to an average of 10 pesticides per day where as eating the 15 least contaminated fruits and vegetables will expose you to less than two pesticides per day.

Which side of the fence do you want to be on?

The 12 worst fruits and vegetables in 2009 EWG Report (#1 being the baddest of the bunch):

  1. Peach
  2. Apple
  3. Sweet Bell Pepper
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarine
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Kale
  9. Lettuce
  10. Grapes – Imported
  11. Carrot
  12. Pear

You can check out the complete list of 47 fruits and vegetables and their pesticide ranking at Food News.

So you have a few ideal choices with respect to each of these items; don’t eat them, buy organic, or buy from a trusted source that doesn’t use toxic pesticides.

Grow Your Own

vegetable-gardenIf you have a bit of a green thumb or would like to develop one, a garden may be worth giving a try. You will know precisely what is put on the vegetables and/or fruit and you can’t get any fresher than from your own backyard or community garden.

Here are the top 10 organic gardening books from Amazon to help jump-start your journey.

How To Remember The 47 Items In The List

You can obviously memorize the list if you are a Mensa member. You can also write down or print off the list and place it somewhere accessible come shopping time.

If you are an iPhone user, you can also get an app from Food News so you have the list always at your fingertips. Since I am one of the eight people left in the world without an iPhone, it doesn’t do me much good but I still think it is pretty cool for the rest of the world.

Fruits and vegetables are something we all greatly need for general health and well-being. As athletes these items are even more important since we put significant demands on the body.

Hopefully you feel empowered and know there is an option that can work for most everyone if you would like to reduce your pesticide exposure in the food you eat.

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David –

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

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