In today’s world where staying healthy is a challenge and avoiding packed and fast food is everyone’s dream, eating fruits and green vegetables is one and the best way for us to be healthy. But really are these fresh fruits and vegetables making our body fit and healthy?
No, not any more. We all are aware of the increase of insecticides and pesticides sprayed on fruits and veggies to increase its production and enhance its quality. These insecticides and pesticides can lead to number of long term or incurable diseases like cancer.
So, it’s important for us to know how can we remove these chemicals from our fresh fruits and veggies and reap their actual benefits.
- Cleaning with Cold Water
- Salt Water
- Baking Powder
- Peal and Trim
Cleaning with Cold Water
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) says that 75% to 80% of pesticide reduces are removed by cold water washing. Soak fruits and veggies for couple of hours in cold water and then wash it with fresh water. However, fruits like grapes, apples, guava, plums, mangoes, peaches and pears and fruity vegetables like tomatoes and okra require two to three washings, as do green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale.
Using salt water for washing fruits and vegetables is also best way to remove pesticides and insecticides. Soak fruits and veggies for 5 – 10 mins and then wash it with fresh water.
This method isn’t ideal for fragile fruits like berries, which can be damaged by soaking and end up tasting salty. For these, a simple cold water soak and rinse is best.
You can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar in water and soak for 30-60 mins. The water vinegar solution should be with 10 percent vinegar and 90 percent water. Stir them around and rinse thoroughly. Be careful while washing fruits like berries, and those with a thin peel as the solution might damage their porous outer-skin.
Lemon is one of the best antioxidants that not only help reducing oxidants from our body but also removes pesticides from fruits and vegetables. Lemon can be used as an alternative to vinegar, with 2-3 lemons added in a small bucket of water, soak the veggies in it for 30-60 mins and then wash thoroughly.
Baking Soda (One of the best solutions)
This solution is know to remove more than 90% of pesticides and insecticides from our food. As per the study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, baking soda solution was found to be most effective at removing pesticide residues both on the surface and beneath the skin of apples.
A mix of only 1:100 of baking soda and water for 12 to 15 minutes of soaking can completely remove the pesticides.
Peal and Trim
Peeling and trimming is probably the most effective way for reducing the amount of chemical residue on your fresh food. Of course, it’s not suitable for all produce – like those with no skin! Fruits with thicker peal (like oranges, watermelon) are considered to be more safer than fruits with thinner peal.
Foods That are better to be bought Organic:
Here is the list of most contaminated produce (most important to buy organic) known as the Dirty Dozen:
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Hot Peppers
And here is the list of least contaminated produce known as the Clean Fifteen:
- Sweet corn (Note: could be GMO)
- Sweet peas, frozen
- Papayas (Note: could be GMO)
- Honeydew Melon
Editor’s note: This list has the most updated information from the EWG’s 2018 data.