Anti-Aging Health

Here’s the Dirty Dozen 2016 Food List!

By Kim Crawford, M.D. Last updated: May 8, 2019
dirty dozen 2016 food list

Do you understand the importance of “eating organic?”

dirty dozen 2016 food list

The Environmental Working Group comes out with it’s annual dirty dozen and clean 15 list to help you choose your produce wisely. Do you understand that the dirty dozen 2016 food list contains the 12 items of produce that basically contain such high amounts of pesticides that you can’t get them clean?

That’s right. It means, it’s worth the extra money for these, well- dirty foods, to “buy organic” or just don’t buy.

Buying Non-GMO is a must. For some reason, this is controversial. But in my humble opinion, this is like saying that, despite seeing a piece of Antarctica the size of Delaware breaking off and the size of Greenland shrinking-no, there’s no global warning. Here’s the deal on GMO foods. They were bio-engineered to withstand more than 10x the amount of round-up used on “ordinary produce.”

Round-up is widely known to be carcinogenic, yet the U.S. government gives it’s manufacturer a big, fat, governmental pass. And when you eat GMO produce, you are eating Round-up. It cannot be removed. Especially from corn products. This is a fact, not a conjecture . So, let’s get to the list, shall we?

After a whopping five years at the top of the list, apples have now been replaced as the most pesticide-ridden produce. Strawberries (Oh no! Yes!)  climbed the charts, going from No. 4 in 2015 to the top spot on the 2016 Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Shopper’s Guide to Produce.

I know- berries are always on “healthy foods” lists so this is a true bummer given the cost and quick-to-rot quality of fresh organic strawberries. The top 12 spots on the guide are (again)known as the Dirty Dozen if this is the first time you’re hearing about this.

They are the conventionally (not organically) grown fruits and vegetables found to have the highest pesticide loads. They are the ones you need to make sure you purchase as organic, because no amount of scrubbing or soaking will rid these products of all the toxic pesticides they contain. Yes, the #1 offender is Monsanto’s flagship poison-Roundup.

As a side note, did you realize that if you are washing organic produce with non filtered tap water you are contaminating the foods you are washing? Fruits and vegetables soak up waterborne toxins like little sponges.

EWG on Strawberries
  • Remember that these findings in the study are for conventionally grown produce, not organically grown fruits and vegetables.
  • 98 percent of strawberry samples had detectable pesticide residue.
  • 40 percent of the samples had the residues of 10 or more pesticides. Some had traces of as many as 17 different pesticides.
  • Altogether now-YUK!! 

Strawberry growers use 60 different pesticides in various combinations. In California, where most of the U.S. strawberries are grown, 300 pounds of pesticides are used on each acre. Strawberries used to be a seasonal crop, but to meet year-round demand, more and more pesticides have been used to stretch the growing season and increase the yield. These pesticide residues don’t violate the weak U.S. laws and regulations on pesticides in food. The EPA’s levels of residues allowed on produce are far too lax to protect Americans’ health. They should be updated to reflect new research that shows even very small doses of these toxins can be harmful.


Well, think about the plastic found in the bread at Subway….think about trans fat…..and about the HFCS and the GMO soy or wheat or corn that is in every food product not labelled as GMO free.And here’s a supplement shopping alert -GMO corn starch is a widely used filler so make sure your supplements (as all of ours’ are) are labelled non-GMO.

The Dirty Dozen 2016 Food List

These are the 12 fruits and vegetables that made this pretty famous list. EWG and I once again strongly recommend that you buy organic versions of these foods to minimize the amount of pesticides consumed.

1. Strawberries
2. Apples
3. Nectarines
4. Peaches
5. Celery
6. Grapes
7. Cherries
8. Spinach
9. Tomatoes
10. Bell peppers
11. Cherry tomatoes
12. Cucumbers

The Clean Fifteen

The bottom of the list are the cleanest fruits and vegetables in terms of pesticide load. They contain”relatively few pesticides.” If you can’t afford to purchase all organic fruits and vegetables, the EWG (and I)  recommends buying the Dirty Dozen in their organic form and the Clean Fifteen in their conventional form.

1. Avocados (Although it’s the “least clean” it has a thick shell so IMHO you’re fine buying this non-organic).
2. Corn- I would not trust this- Someone is bought off-don’t buy corn non-organic please.
3. Pineapples
4. Cabbage
5. Sweet Peas
6. Onions
7. Asparagus
8. Mangoes
9. Papayas
10. Kiwis
11. Eggplant
12. Honeydew
13. Grapefruit
14. Cantaloupe
15. Cauliflower Cleanest

Vegetables allowed in your healthy anti-inflammatory diet

As long as I’m discussing fruits and veggies why don’t we do a little review here as to how much of what is optimal.

As much as desired (aim for minimum of 12 servings per day): broccoli, spinach, green beans, leaf lettuce and other greens. Include cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions etc. Avoid high density carbohydrate vegetables (high glycemic) such as potatoes and corn. Eating these are just like eating sugar.


1-3 servings daily: only whole, fresh fruit. Best fruits are berries of all types, apples, and grapefruit. Just be careful not to mix grapefruit with statin drugs. No juices (or only a splash meaning a TBSP of juice in a large water bottle for taste is fine…). Worst high glycemic fruits are grapes.

Veggie and Fruit superfoods:


foods to speed up metabolism

When it comes to selecting superfoods, reach for the ones that are easily available and easy to prepare. A list of top superfoods should focus on foods that you can easily work into your diet.

A great example of a superfood that is easy to find and eat is spinach.

Frozen-thaw, cook, spice it up. Fresh-perfect salad. Just add organic cherry tomatoes, sliced organic almonds and top with a fresh vinaigrette. Fresh with a few more minutes time-steam and season for a delicious veggie or veggie topping. You can even microwave fresh organic spinach-a big box is about 3 1/2 minutes and that’s it! Micro-waving does reduce nutrients so keep this to a minimum.


Broccoli is a truly amazing food and one that you should try to eat (organic) 2-3 times weekly. If something is not on the dirty dozen list or the clean 15 list it’s “in the middle” so assume you need to eat it as an “organic.”

It helps with hormonal balance, not just nutrition. Raw broccoli with a healthy (hummus perhaps) dip makes an amazing healthy snack!


eating this is a way how to look young

Kale is an inexpensive cruciferous vegetable that is “in vogue” right now but wow, it needs to be prepared “just right” to taste good, IMHO.

I have found that making it spicy works for me.

It’s an excellent source of multiple vitamins and other nutrients.

Important vitamins include Vitamin A, B, C and the carotenoids (great for eyes), zeaxanthin and lutein.

The DIM or diindoylmethane it contains may be cancer protective.


These are an amazing healthy fat, which most Americans are seriously deficient in; yes-that’s correct. American eat too many carbs and not enough healthy fats. Avocados also provide close to 20 essential health-boosting nutrients, including: fiber, B-vitamins including folic acid, potassium (more than twice the amount found in bananas) and Vitamin E.

In addition, avocados allow your body to more efficiently absorb fat-soluble nutrients when combined with foods high in other nutrients. An example is certain carotenoids as mentioned above. I love these and eat one every day. Here’s a trick to keep them from all getting ripe at once. Just purchase what you want to buy. I’ll get 10 at once, for example, and they are almost totally hard. I’ll take out 3 and keep the rest refrigerated, ready to take out 2-3 at a time. To speed up ripening, put them in the sun. The ones in the fridge won’t go bad on you.

good for brain healthBlueberries

Blueberries have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity because of their high concentration of anthocyanins, a very healthy “flavonoid.” Moderate blueberry consumption has been shown to confer brain health benefits such as increased neural signaling in the brain centers.

All berries are great for your brain but organic non GMO blueberries should be part of your every day fruit consumption because they are the superior health berry.

And as a bonus they make your skin look younger as well. I’ve always said that anti aging skincare starts from the inside out so all of these amazing fruits and veggies will do wonders for your health and looks.

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