When the Wicked Queen offered Snow White a poisoned apple, she had no idea it was the fruit most frequently contaminated by pesticide. That’s what the Environmental Working Group’s 2014 examination of pesticide in fruits and veggies revealed: 99 percent of apples had residue from at least one pesticide. And some other fruits registered residue from 13 or more!
Pesticides from produce plus garden and household products are linked to cancers, decreased cognitive function, ADHD and behavioral problems in children. But you can reduce exposure for your kids and yourself.
The EWG’s list of the Clean 15 highlights produce with the LEAST pesticide residue.
The fruits include: cantaloupe, grapefruit, kiwi, mangoes, papayas and pineapple. They offer fiber, potassium, vitamin C and folate. Plus, mangoes and papayas may help control blood sugar.
The veggies include: asparagus, avocados, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, corn, frozen sweet peas, onions and sweet potatoes. Asparagus delivers vitamin B-6, calcium, zinc and magnesium; avocados help stabilize blood sugar; cabbage and cauliflower (cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli) protect the heart, brain and digestive system; eggplant, including the skin, offers anti-inflammatory powers; corn is fiber-rich and packs folate, thiamin and phosphorus; peas dish up vitamins A, B-1, B-6, C and K; and sweet potatoes have 400 percent of your daily dose of vitamin A!
You can go organic for all produce, but it’s not necessary. The benefits of nine servings of fruits and veggies daily far outweigh the risks of eating non-organic produce. And remember: Wash your produce well, including whatever you peel.
GET NUTS FOR NUTS
In “The Nut Job,” a bad-mannered squirrel named Surly (he’s very surly) plans a heist of a nut store run by gangsters. When chaos ensues, it takes a brush with death for the overeager cartoon character to learn that nuts are all about goodness — to be shared with others. That’s a lesson everyone could benefit from, because nuts can help you stay healthy inside and out. And you don’t have to worry about their fat content (good fats!) or calorie count.
Here’s the top three — and what one serving a day can do for you.
Walnuts (as well as almonds) are a seed. They’re rich in gamma tocopherol, are the only nut with an appreciable amount of omega-3, and have 2.5 grams of alpha-linolenic acid per ounce, which may promote heart and prostate health. Some animal studies indicate that eating walnuts may slow the growth of cancer cells. Others have found that it can protect blood vessel walls from damage.
Pistachios are a fruit! Eating them daily seems to help lower LDL cholesterol levels, improve blood sugar control, reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of lung and other cancers.
Almonds can help people with Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome avoid complications. And they act as a pre-biotic, helping healthful gut bacteria thrive. That’s good for your immune system.
Rule of thumb? Don’t go too nuts — 14 shelled walnut halves, 49 shelled pistachios or 24 shelled almonds equal one serving, just what you want daily.
Dr. Mehmet Oz is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Dr. Michael Roizen is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.