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17 Toxic Fruits and Vegetables You May Be Eating Every Day

17 Toxic Fruits and Vegetables You May Be Eating Every Day

Have you ever heard of the “dirty dozen”? That description generally relates to the 17 most toxic fruits and vegetables that most people consume on a regular basis. These are considered toxic because of the sheer amounts of pesticides and herbicides that are slathered over them on conventional farms, but don’t think for a second that there are only 17 food items out there that are harmful for you, or that those not on the list are free and clean. Any fruit or vegetable not labeled as “organic” is contaminated with some chemical or another; those not listed here are just slightly less hazardous to your health.

1. Apples

Pesticides cling to apple skin, and can be absorbed into the flesh beneath. Wash fruit thoroughly, and peel before eating.

2. Celery

An average of 64 difficult-to-wash-away chemicals can be found on any given bunch of celery, and considering that celery is basically a water-uptake plant that draws liquids (and toxins) from the soil, do you really want to think about what might be running through your veins after you’ve eaten a stalk or two?

3. Sweet bell peppers

Insects love these sweet, crunchy vegetables, and if you don’t buy organic, you are consuming all kinds of harmful pesticides with every bite.

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4. Peaches

If you love peaches, go for canned instead of fresh. These luscious globes are right behind celery as far as toxin levels go.

5. Strawberries

Strawberries are the most chemical-intensive crop in California, and those grown in South America may be laden with even more, as restrictions aren’t as severe in developing countries. Some organic growers apparently joke that conventionally grown strawberries can be ground up and used as pesticides themselves, since they’re so contaminated.

6. Nectarines

These peachy cousins are just as coated with chemicals, and have even thinner skins to absorb them through.

7. Grapes

A single grape may test positive for 15 different chemicals. How many would be consumed by eating a handful of them?

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8. Spinach

Spinach is so prone to insect nibblings that conventional farmers have to douse it in (carcinogenic!) chemicals just to keep the bugs off. Guess what gets absorbed into each and every leaf?

9. Lettuce

Non-organic lettuce and kale are contaminated with more chemicals than you really want to think about. If you can’t grow your own, please buy organic instead.

10. Pears

Like apples, these fruits are sprayed constantly to get rid of mites, aphids, moth eggs, and countless other critters.

11. Raspberries and Blueberries

Insects absolutely love these berries, and the fruits are so delicate that they can fall apart right on the bush. Naturally, they’re soaked in fertilizers for growth and stability, and an absolute cocktail of pesticides to keep the insects from nibbling them.

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12. Potatoes

First, potato “eye” seeds are doused in pesticides to keep insects from eating the sprouts. Then, they’re sprayed with herbicides so no other plants grow near them. They’re basically exposed to chemicals every week for their entire growing season, resulting in chemical accumulation to the core of every tuber.

If you’re fond of eating these fruits and veggies, it’s far better for you to choose organic options, or try to grow your own organic/heirloom varieties in your garden, if possible.

It would seem that foods that have thick outer rinds can stand up to contamination better than those above, and the cleanest choices you can make include onions, avocado, pineapple, cabbage, melons, eggplant, squashes, sweet potatoes, and non-GMO corn.

Naturally Toxic

There are also several foods that contain high levels of toxins on their own, long before they’re doused in poisonous chemicals. Although some of them lose their initial toxicity during the cooking process, they may still have properties that can be harmful to both people and pets. Let’s take a look at them, shall we?

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13. Chocolate

Most people will never have a bad reaction to the theobromine found in chocolate, thank goodness for us choco-fiends, but those with compromised immune systems may find themselves getting quite ill after eating it. That said, chocolate can be fatal to dogs and cats, so don’t share your favorite candy bar with any of your furred friends.

14. Beans

Most legumes (beans and lentils) contain a chemical called phytohaemagglutinin, though it’s most concentrated in red and white kidney beans, followed by fava beans. Lima beans also contain a toxin known as limarin, which can only be neutralized if the beans are cooked thoroughly for about 15 minutes. The same goes for the kidney and other beans mentioned above: they MUST be boiled for at least 10 minutes before any other cooking procedure, including slow-cooking.

Failure to rid these legumes of their toxins can result in severe gastro-intestinal distress, and can even be fatal at higher doses. Never let pets eat raw beans, as they can be fatal nearly instantly, especially to pet birds. (Canned beans are fine.)

15. Green Potatoes

If you go for organic potatoes, they’re absolutely fine for you‒until they start to go green. When spuds start to go green (yay chlorophyll!) it’s a warning that solanine is now present in the tubers, and eating them will make you seriously ill.

16. Rhubarb

Although the stalks lend a lovely tartness to pies and preserves, be sure that you don’t eat ANY part of the leaves‒the convulsions and death really aren’t worth a nibble or two.

17. Mushrooms

The mushies that you find at the supermarket will be harmless to anyone except those with an allergy to fungi, but some people are fond of foraging for wild mushrooms in forests and such. Most mushroom-related deaths occur when people eat the death cap (Amanita phalloides) or destroying angel (Amanita bisporigera) mushrooms by accident. If you’re not an absolute expert when it comes to wild mushroom identification, err on the side of caution and don’t put anything in your mouth.

More by this author

Catherine Winter

Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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