Unless you are buying organically and locally, chances are the produce you buy is riddled by pesticides. While pesticides make for a better crop for farmers and more produce for us hungry consumers, they are also horrible for the human body. pesticides have been linked to neurological problems, cancer, and some studies have suggested that it can cause ADHD. However, some fruits and vegetables attract more pests and problems than others, so thus they are exposed to pesticides.
To avoid getting the maximum exposure to these damaging chemicals, make sure to rinse your produce throughout before use with cool water.
Strawberries are a primary target for pests. They are tender, with delicate skin and are grown close to the ground. Due to this and their sweet juice and aroma, many insects just cannot resist their allure. Because of this and to get the biggest yield from their crops, farmers resort to pesticides. Strawberries are also prone to mold and fast rotting after picks, so they are often sprayed with fungicides after they are picked as well to give them a longer shelf life.
Celery, like Strawberries is grown close to the ground and another target for pests. Because celery has to grow for months to be ripe for harvesting, it is exposed to pesticides over long periods of time. Unlike other ground vegetables like broccoli, celery does not have any leaves to shelter it, so the edible bits are heavily exposed directly to pesticides.
Peaches, similar to strawberries, require pesticides because insects are drawn to their sweet smell and taste. Peaches also have tender flesh and thin skin, so they are easily eaten by aforementioned pests. Farmers also want to prevent spoiling diseases like leaf curl on their crops, so they find it necessary to use pesticides to protect their livelihood. In 2009, the USDA found that both imported and domestic peaches contained up to 50 different pesticide compounds to them. If you have a significant fear of pesticides in foods, it is best to just avoid peaches as the pesticides can easily seep in through the thin skin.
While nectarines has a decidedly thicker skin than peaches, they are still quite the target for bugs. Like peaches, they have a sweet aroma and taste that just attract bugs to them like many other sweet fruits. However, nectarine skin is still thin enough to absorb pesticides in them. This is another fruit to avoid if you are scared of pesticides as it is impossible to scrub them off the fruit.
It is exceptionally difficult to grow a sizeable apple without it being attacked by worms or eaten by bugs. Many chemical companies make chemicals especially to spray on apples since they are widely popular and eaten by the masses. Though, thankfully, due to the thick skin of the apple and the slight water resistant quality of it, many of these chemicals can be washed or scrubbed away. To rid apples of most of their chemicals, peel away the skin and just eat the flesh. Rarely will there be pesticides on the inside.
Blueberries, like many berries, are a prime target for insects. Their skin his very permeable and delicate making them easy to eat through for hungry bugs. Because of this, growers often use pesticides to increase their crop yield. However, what makes them easy for bugs eat also makes them easy for pesticides to infiltrate. You will notice a trend her that sweet fruits are often a prime target for high amounts of pesticides. It is important to remember that if you plan to freeze your blueberries, you need to wash them thoroughly first. The chemicals will not break down in the freezer, freezing will just preserve them as well. So do not be fooled into thinking that they will fade away while your berries remain preserved.
Regular green bell peppers are relatively low on chemicals. However, the yellow, orange and red variety increase in chemical content with red being the highest. These sweeter bell peppers have to ripen longer, thus making them exposed to chemicals for longer periods of time. Because as they ripe, they get sweeter in flavor bugs often find them more desirable, so the longer the stay on the plant the more chemicals they need. because of the thick and waterproof skin, the chemicals can fairly easily be washed and scrubbed away at home. If you want to limit your exposure to chemicals, scrub thoroughly or at least opt for the green variety of bell pepper.
Spinach, like many green leafy vegetables, are good food for bugs and larvae. Even some bacteria loves to eat little holes in spinach. Since spinach grows low to the ground, they often need to be layers with chemicals to keep the bugs at bay. Without the pesticides, it is especially difficult to grow good looking spinach. If you are buying organically, do not fret if it looks a bit unhealthy with holes in some places, bugs really love the stuff to death.
Like spinach, Kale is also prone to being a bugs' lunch because it grows low to the ground and is a tasty leafy green. Kale is actually quite the hearty vegetable and very easy to grow, but because farmers need to keep the bugs away it is coated with chemicals and because kale has so many ridges, it can be difficult to wash away they chemicals without rinsing each individual leaf.
Unlike some of the other fruits mentioned here, cherries are actually fairly protected from bugs by leaves. This keeps away a lot of fruit flies and moths, however just to be sure, farmers still give them a hearty coating of chemicals as some fortitudinous insects are drawn in by their sweet aroma. A solid washing after you buy them or before consuming them, will get many of these pesticides off.
Surprised? Just because they are grown underground does not mean they are immune from chemical exposure. To prevent insects and potato diseases, farmers will inject the soil with chemicals early in the growing season. later they may crop dust their potato crop in which the chemicals are absorbed by the leaves and imbued into the fruit. Consequently, if you want to limit your exposure to pesticides, try the sweet potato, it was one of the most pesticide-free crops the USDA tested.