The Dirty Dozen

by Dr. Nick Zyrowski February 02, 2024

The Dirty Dozen: 12 Foods You Should Always Eat Organic

Eat your fruits and vegetables! But it’s not that simple…you see, if you eat conventionally grown produce, you are ingesting pesticides and chemicals that are known carcinogens, hormone disruptors, neurotoxins, and developmental or reproductive toxins! There are 12 fruits and vegetables to avoid eating when grown conventionally, also known as The Dirty Dozen.

Eating organic is important; however most of us are on a budget, especially if we have a family. Below is a list of the Dirty Dozen, the worst offenders of pesticide residue. If you buy these organic, then you can reduce your and your family’s exposure to pesticides by 80%. Local farmer’s markets and hydroponic farms are a great way to purchase local produce and save money.

The Dirty Dozen – 12 Foods to Eat Organic

Apples – As the old saying goes: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. But if you’re eating conventionally grown apples, you’re eating 42 different pesticides. Pesticide residue is also found in applesauce and apple juice, making it a good idea to buy all organic apple products.

Celery – With 64 pesticide residues found on celery, it is crucial to buy organic. Or, substitute with broccoli, radishes, or onions.

Sweet Bell Peppers – Bell peppers are heavily sprayed with insecticides and pesticides; the USDA detected 49 different pesticides residues on these peppers. Peaches – This tree fruit has been found to have more than 60 pesticides. A safer alternative would be oranges, grapefruit or watermelon.

Strawberries – These berries are heavily coated with pesticides (54 pesticide residues found) and often are imported from countries that use less pesticide regulations. Can’t find organic strawberries? A better alternative would be kiwi or pineapples.

Nectarines (Imported) – Nectarines, at least the imported ones, are among the most highly contaminated tree fruit. 33 pesticides have been found on nectarines. Safer alternatives include papaya, watermelon, and mangoes.

Grapes – Grapes top the charts as well with 34 pesticides. Not surprisingly, raisins also have high pesticide residue tests. It is also recommended to buy organic wine.

Spinach – The most contaminated leafy green is spinach, sprayed with 48 different pesticides.

Lettuce – Joining spinach in the leafy greens category is lettuce, with over 50 pesticide residues. If you can’t find organic lettuce, an alternative is asparagus.

Cucumbers – With 35 pesticides, 25 of which are known hormone disruptors, this is another vegetable that should be bought organic.

Blueberries (Domestic) – These soft-skinned berries are sprayed with as many as 52 pesticides, making them one of the dirtiest berries.

Potatoes – America’s favorite vegetable is the potato; unfortunately, 37 pesticide residues are found on them. Safer alternatives include mushrooms, eggplant, and sweet potatoes.

No matter how “clean” or “dirty” your produce is, make sure you wash your fruits and vegetables! And if possible, always shop organic when purchasing any of the fruits and vegetables in The Dirty Dozen. To reverse the negative effects of pesticides in your body, read our article on cellular detoxification.

To better health!

Dr. Nick Zyrowski
Dr. Nick Zyrowski