2019 has its official “Clean 15.” Each year, the Environmental Working Group analyzes data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the amount of pesticides found in conventionally grown produce. “Overall, nearly 70 percent of the conventionally grown produce sold in the U.S. comes with pesticide residues,” according to an Environmental Working Group news release.
The good news is some produce tends to have little to no pesticide residues—making it relatively safe to consume if you can’t find or afford the organic versions.
Here are the 15 fruits and vegetables—dubbed the Clean 15—that the Environmental Working Group found to have the lowest amounts of pesticide residues along with the overall health benefits of each one.
15. HONEYDEW MELON
Honeydew melon is rich in vitamin B6, folate and potassium. And a one-cup serving of diced honeydew contains roughly half of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C—for only about 60 calories.
According to Healthline, honeydew melon offers several benefits—including lowering blood pressure, improving bone health and supporting healthy skin. It also provides a healthy combination of water and electrolytes to effectively hydrate your body.
Although some varieties can be poisonous in their own right, you probably won’t have to worry about pesticides on mushrooms polluting your body. Instead, you can enjoy their health benefits.
A cup of white mushrooms is only about 15 calories. And for those calories you get a good amount of riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, copper and selenium—as well as fiber and protein. Mushrooms also are rich in antioxidants, which help to protect the body against many diseases.
There are many reasons to eat your broccoli besides its low pesticide content. A cup of chopped broccoli has about 30 calories, two grams of fiber and three grams of protein. And it contains some very high levels of vitamins and minerals.
That one-cup serving provides you with about 135 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, 116 percent of vitamin K and decent amounts of various B vitamins. It also has about four percent of the recommended calcium intake, four percent of iron, eight percent of potassium and 10 percent of manganese.
Cantaloupe had a slight edge on its melon friend, honeydew, for its Clean 15 spot. But nonetheless, both are healthy choices when it comes to reducing pesticides in your diet.
A cup of diced cantaloupe contains about 50 calories, 106 percent of the recommended intake of vitamin A, 95 percent of vitamin C, several B vitamins and 12 percent of the recommended potassium intake.
According to Healthline, cantaloupe has more beta carotene than many other yellow-orange fruits and veggies. “Once eaten, beta carotene is either converted into vitamin A or acts as a powerful antioxidant to help fight free radicals that attack cells in your body,” Healthline says.
Broccoli often gets more attention, but don’t forget about its cruciferous cousin: cauliflower. A cup of raw cauliflower contains about 25 calories, three grams of fiber and two grams of protein. It also has about 77 percent of the recommended intake of vitamin C, 20 percent of vitamin K, 14 percent of folate, nine percent of potassium and eight percent of manganese.
Healthline reports that cauliflower is also high in choline—which helps to support cell function, promote brain health and prevent health issues, including heart and liver disease.
Cabbage is another cruciferous vegetable that offers several health benefits—and not too many pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group.
A cup of raw, chopped cabbage has about 22 calories, two grams of fiber and one gram of protein. It contains roughly 54 percent of the recommended intake of vitamin C, 85 percent of vitamin K, 10 percent of folate and seven percent of manganese, among other nutrients.
Plus, regularly eating cabbage might help to combat inflammation in the body, prevent cardiovascular disease, lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of cancer.
Kiwis pack a lot of nutrition into a small package. One medium kiwi has about 46 calories, two grams of fiber and a gram of protein. And it’s a very good source of vitamin C, providing 117 percent of the recommended daily intake.
A medium kiwi has about six percent of your daily vitamin E, 38 percent of vitamin K and seven percent of potassium.
Research has linked kiwis to numerous health benefits. They might be able to treat asthma, help with digestion, manage blood pressure and stop vision loss.
Asparagus comes in multiple colors—each packed with healthy nutrients. A cup of raw asparagus—or roughly eight medium spears—is only about 27 calories, yet it has three grams of fiber and three grams of protein.
Among its many vitamins and minerals, the serving has about 20 percent of the recommended vitamin A intake, 70 percent of vitamin K, 13 percent of thiamin, 17 percent of folate, 16 percent of iron, 13 percent of copper and eight percent of potassium.
Eggplant isn’t as high in nutrients as other produce, but this member of the Clean 15 still has its benefits. A one-cup serving of boiled eggplant contains about 35 calories, two grams of fiber and a gram of protein. It also has small amounts of vitamin K, thiamin, vitamin B6 and manganese.
Plus, it provides the antioxidant nasunin in its purple skin—which can help to combat free radicals in the body, as well as improve brain health.
The tropical papaya is loaded with nutrients to keep you healthy. A cup of cubed papayahas about 55 calories, three grams of fiber and one gram of protein. It also gives you 31 percent of the recommended intake of vitamin A, 144 percent of vitamin C, 13 percent of folate and 10 percent of potassium, among other vitamins and minerals.
Papaya’s many powerful antioxidants help to lower your risk of several diseases, including cancer. Plus, papaya might benefit your heart, aid digestion, improve skin and fight inflammation.
A cup of chopped onions—probably more than you’d eat in one sitting—contains 64 calories. And the veggie is a good source of nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate and potassium.
“Onions may have several health benefits, mostly due to their high content of antioxidants and sulfur-containing compounds,” Healthline says. “They have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and have been linked to reduced risk of cancer, lower blood sugar levels and improved bone health.”
4. SWEET PEAS
As part of the legume family, peas are increasingly popular as a source of plant-based protein. A half cup of boiled peas contains about 62 calories with four grams of fiber and four grams of protein. Plus, it has several B vitamins, 34 percent of the recommended intake of vitamin A, 13 percent of vitamin C, 24 percent of vitamin K, seven percent of iron and 11 percent of manganese.
Peas may help regulate blood sugar levels, aid digestion and protect against some chronic diseases, including cancer.
Sweet pineapple tastes like candy, but you can rest assured you’re getting plenty of nutrients—and few (if any) pesticides.
A cup of pineapple chunks has roughly 74 calories, which primarily come from the natural sugars. Plus, it offers several B vitamins, about 46 percent of the recommended intake of vitamin C, five percent of magnesium, six percent of potassium, seven percent of copper and a whopping 131 percent of manganese.
Pineapple also is brimming with antioxidants, has enzymes that can aid digestion and might help to reduce inflammation and boost the immune system, according to Healthline.
2. SWEET CORN
It might get stuck in your teeth when you gnaw it off the cob, but at least you won’t have to worry about pesticides in your sweet corn. Less than one percent of the sweet corn samples the Environmental Working Group analyzed showed any signs of pesticide residues.
One medium ear of sweet corn has about 77 calories, two grams of fiber and three grams of protein. Plus, it’s rich in vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese.
Here’s one more reason to obsess over avocados. Like sweet corn, less than one percent of avocados had any pesticide residues, according to the Environmental Working Group.
A one-cup serving of cubed avocado contains about 240 calories, largely coming from its healthy fats. It also has 10 grams of fiber and three grams of protein—as well as several B vitamins, 25 percent of the recommended vitamin C intake, 16 percent of vitamin E, 39 percent of vitamin K, 11 percent of magnesium, 21 percent of potassium and 14 percent of copper.
One study even found that people who consume avocados tend to have better overall diets and be generally healthier than those who don’t eat any. So don’t hesitate to incorporate this star of the Clean 15 into your diet.