Pesticides, consisting of chemicals, bacteria and viruses, are used on food crops to rid them of insects and other pests. They remain on the food after it is harvested and then are ingested when eaten. The presence of these toxins can be a serious problem, especially for children, potentially causing cancers, asthma, allergies, and neuromuscular damage.

Since I feel it is very important to eat plenty of organic fruits and vegetables during a detox as well as a normal diet, I thought it would be good to mention the pesticides in produce. Buying organic will reduce the amounts of pesticides and is highly recommended. But if you cannot buy organic, here are some tips on how to choose your produce wisely. It is important to read labels and pick foods that help you reduce cholesterol and saturated fat, avoid antibiotics, or steer clear of artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners. When it comes to pesticides, consumers have been left in the dark. Now there’s help. I have listed below the 13 most popular fresh fruits and vegetables that are consistently the most contaminated with pesticides and, correspondingly, those 13 fruits and vegetables that consistently have low levels of pesticides. If you are concerned with pesticides in your diet, this list will help you choose produce that lowers exposure to pesticides to you and your family.

For the most contaminated items, you can substitute organically-grown produce whenever possible or limit purchases to those varieties with lower pesticide contamination. Why should you care about pesticides? There is a growing concern in the scientific community regarding the subtle ways in which small doses of pesticides affect people, especially during critical periods of fetal development and childhood when they can have long lasting adverse effects. Because the toxic effects of pesticides are worrisome, not well understood or in some cases completely unstudied or ignored, shoppers would be wise to minimize exposure to pesticides whenever possible, especially if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.

 Will Washing and Peeling Help?

Washing and rinsing fresh produce may help reduce pesticide residues, but it does not eliminate them completely. Peeling will remove most of it but it also removes many nutrients that are in the skin of the produce. The best option is to eat a varied diet, wash all produce, and choose organic when possible.

 Highest in Pesticides:

Apples, bell peppers, carrots, celery, cherries, grapes (imported),nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, red raspberries, spinach and also strawberries.

Lowest in Pesticides::

Asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, corn (sweet),kiwi, mangos, onions, papaya, pineapples and peas (sweet).


If you had to choose one fruit to keep your colon happy, apples would be a good choice – organic, of course. The fiber in apples called pectin appears to increase colon protecting compounds and reduce cancer causing ones. Pectin increases levels of butyrate, a fatty acid that keeps colon tissue healthy. So the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a statement to take seriously.

Rhonda Donahue PhD. Author of “The Pollution Inside You!” & “New Zealand’s Natural Health Remedy” Direct Line (714)863-5959