It’s been a fair bit of time since I last posted information on the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 and over the years, the information does change as you can see in this list I posted 2-3 years ago.
For those of you who have not heard of these terms simply put the Dirty Dozen includes produce you always want to aim to buy organic and the Clean 15 includes produce that is okay to buy not organic, hence the pesticide content in the non-organically grown produce is not rationally different to the organic version. See below for the lists.
- Sweet bell peppers
- Nectarines – imported
- Blueberries – domestic
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
- Sweet potato
At a girls breakfast the other weekend, I was telling one of my friends (who also avoids grains, dairy and legumes) about some awesome bacon I found at the market. We both seek out bacon sourced from free-range pork, but this recent find of mine was free-range and nitrate free (I tastes AMAZING).
After gushing over this breakfast staple, I failed to consider my friend’s perspective on Nitrates. She did not have a clear understanding of what nitrates are nor what they mean for our health. So allow this post be an opportunity for me to geek out on bacon, I mean nitrates…
What Are Nitrates?
Nitrates are produced for use as fertilizers because of their high solubility and biodegradability. Common forms include: ammonium, sodium, potassium, and calcium salts. In the food supply, nitrates are used to preserve food. They can be found in drinking water, meat and produce (fruit/veg).
What Are Some of the Health Risks in Consuming Foods with Nitrates?
Nitrates have been studied for decades and overall claims have not been substantiated. However, the lack of data does not let me bat an eye at munching away on Nitrates. Nitrates themselves are not know to be harmful but when heated and converted into nitrites, some health risks have been observed:
- Cancer Risk – nitrites can form into carcinogens when heated. The carcinogens can increase the risk of oral cavity, urinary bladder, esophagus, stomach and brain cancer.
- Pregnancy Risk – research has shown women who consume large amount of nitrates have a higher risk of nueral defects.
- COPD – increase the chance of lung disease.
Kelly, What Do I Do?
I recommend taking this research with a grain of salt. Eating PERFECTLY is not good for you and it is hard to watch for every questionable ingredient in our food supply. However, seek out nitrate/nitrite-free cured meats, shop as closely as you can with the Dirty Dozen guideline in-minds, and continue to eat a variety of foods.
Cheers to you and good health! If you need any help, that is what I am here for.
FOR MORE RECENT INFORMATION, PLEASE REFERENCE THIS LINK.
I recently participated in a conference in Miami, FL which focused on using food as medicine. At this conference we were given some useful lists that I’ve included below. The “dirty dozen” ranks produce with the highest amounts of pesticides and the “clean 15” lists produce on the other end of the spectrum. This information can be a guide for you in knowing what to purchase as organic in the grocery market.
The Dirty Dozen
- Bell Pepper
- Grapes (imported)
The Clean 15
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet peas
- Sweet Potato
Cheers to you and good health! Have a healthy and fit day.