June 24

Clean Fifteen & Dirty Dozen – Choose Clean Food

The popularity of organic food has grown significantly. There has also been a large amount of research completed into the health benefits of organic food. These studies have shown the importance of trying to eat organic when possible.

The Benefits of Organic Food

Studies have shown that organic foods both contain more good nutrients and less harmful toxins.

For instance, organic vegetables and fruit contain fewer trace presences of pesticides and a lower content of nitrates. These organic foods also include a higher content of beneficial polyphenols and vitamin C.

Regular consumption of organic food is also linked to a reduced risk of consumers being overweight and women have less chance of suffering from Hodgkin lymphoma [1].

Getting Hold of Organic Food

It isn’t easy to get hold of the right organic foods. Research has shown that not only is it more expensive to get organic fruit and vegetables, but it can also be harder to find [2].

Luckily, several foods are better than others. There is a list of the best foods that are less likely to contain pesticides. These ‘clean 15’ are great for helping in many respects of a good rheumatoid arthritis diet.

Clean Fifteen & Dirty Dozen 2013 organic food
If you can’t get organic food, these are the best to get and those which aren’t so good

The List of the Best Organic Food

The ‘clean 15’ lists those fruits and vegetables which you don’t have to buy organic. These products usually don’t have high trace amounts of pesticide. For instance, on the ‘clean 15’ list, there is papaya and cantaloupe, which are high in potassium.

In contrast, there are also the ‘dirty dozen’. These are twelve foods which usually have the highest levels of pesticides. This is important because there is novel evidence that pesticide exposure can cause rheumatoid arthritis symptoms [3].

The foods on the ‘dirty dozen’ list should be sourced organically where possible. Speak to your local organic food seller.

One of the foods on this list is kale, which is a great source of calcium, iron, fibre, vitamin C and also vitamin A. One of the best uses for kale is this delicious roasted pumpkins, super grains and kale recipe.

Kale is also a great food for the Paddison Program. Suzanne spoke about how she prepares Kale for adding to her smoothies.


[1] Glibowski P. Organic food and health. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2020;71(2):131-136. doi: 10.32394/rpzh.2020.0110. PMID: 32519524.

[2] Harrison M, Lee A, Findlay M, Nicholls R, Leonard D, Martin C. The increasing cost of healthy food. Aust N Z J Public Health. 2010 Apr;34(2):179-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2010.00504.x. PMID: 23331363.

[3] Meyer A, Sandler DP, Beane Freeman LE, Hofmann JN, Parks CG. Pesticide Exposure and Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis among Licensed Male Pesticide Applicators in the Agricultural Health Study. Environ Health Perspect. 2017 Jul 14;125(7):077010. doi: 10.1289/EHP1013. PMID: 28718769; PMCID: PMC5744649.



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