We may all set out to buy only organic food, but sometimes it just isn’t feasible (too expensive, unavailable at your local store, etc). Well, good news. Certain fruits and veggies were dubbed the “Clean 15” by the Environmental Working Group–15 foods you can stop adding to your organic grocery list if you need to.
1. Onions: You know that saying…"Life is like an onion: you just keep peeling off the layers." Those outer onion layers help keep pesticides out and the good stuff in. The high level of flavonoids, compounds that assist in vitamin C function, in onions provide cardiovascular benefits, including lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. They can also help to prevent colon and other types of cancer.
2. Sweet Corn: Eating organic sweet corn doesn’t make it any sweeter! Ranked second on the list, this summer veggie is a great source of fiber, vitamins B1 and B5, and beta-carotene. Sweet corn is also known for its cardiovascular health and cancer prevention benefits.
3. Pineapples: Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Maybe SpongeBob SquarePants does, but pesticides do not! The rough exterior of the yummy fruit does its job well defending the sweet, healthy pulp. The high level of Bromelain enzyme in pineapples serves as an anti-inflammatory, while the abundance of Vitamin C offers protection against free radicals that attack healthy cells.
4. Avocados: Green and clean. Avocados are a great source of Vitamin E, whose antioxidant properties have been shown to prevent the effects of aging and protect against heart disease and cancer.
5. Asparagus: Crunchy, yummy goodness. Studies have shown that the high amount of folic acid found in asparagus can help prevent certain birth defects. Folic acid is important for proper cell development, a healthy brain, and cancer prevention.
6. Sweet Peas: Mom was right when she told you to eat your peas. Sweet peas contain twice the amount of protein than most vegetables–a great substitute for fattier proteins when you are on a diet. Also rich in iron and Vitamin C, sweet peas are great for the immune system.
7. Mangos: This seasonal summer fruit offers several health benefits, including the prevention of some colon and breast cancers, according to a study conducted by Texas AgriLife Research food scientists. Mangos are also thought to help unclog pores and prevent acne. Try slicing up a mango into thin pieces, keep them on your face for 10 to 15 minutes, wash them off, and see the difference!
8. Eggplant: High in fiber, eggplants are great for preventing colon cancer. They are also full of vitamin B6 and a wide array of phytonutrients, including nasunin. Nasunin has antiangiogenic properties, which may help fight cancer by preventing the growth of new blood vessels that cancer cells need to continue growing and spreading.
9. Cantaloupe: You can’t beat the health benefits of cantaloupe! This sweet and tangy fruit is an excellent source of vitamins A, B, and C, which stimulate the immune system to fight against common colds and fevers. Like asparagus, cantaloupes are also a great source of folic acid, which have been found to be beneficial to expecting mothers.
10. Kiwi: Fuzzy and pesticide-free, kiwis contain more vitamin C than oranges do! Research has also shown that kiwis offer many health benefits to those who suffer from asthma, reducing wheezing and coughing especially in children. Kiwis are known to be one of the most nutrient-rich fruits, ounce for ounce.
11. Cabbage: Aside from being rich in vitamin C, fiber, and potassium, cabbage is also great for dieters because it offers the fewest calories and least amount of fat of any vegetable. Outer cabbage leaves contain vitamin E, which is great for complexion.
12. Watermelon: The tough green exterior keeps the juicy, red interior safe and succulent! Watermelon is able to keep pesticides out of its potassium-rich inside, providing health benefits including blood pressure control, heart beat regulation, and stroke prevention. Also high in lycopene, watermelons can reduce the risk for certain cancers.
13. Sweet Potatoes: They’re good for more than just a Thanksgiving side dish! Sweet potatoes contain carotenoids, which work to balance blood sugar levels and increase cell responsiveness to insulin.
14. Grapefruit: Another great fruit packed with vitamin C and lycopene, grapefruits help lower cholesterol, prevent kidney stones, and protect against colon cancer.
15. Mushrooms: Mushrooms are a magnificent source of nutrients, including B vitamins, potassium, selenium, and other minerals. Studies show that mushrooms can reduce the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer.