It’s no secret that athletes need a balanced diet for optimal training and performance. While many athletes, including fighters, focus on their protein intake and the benefits of purchasing organic meats to eliminate the ingestion of hormones and antibiotics given to non organically raised animals, it’s also important to be apprised of the dangers of pesticide-laden produce. You certainly won’t get hormones from non-organically grown asparagus, but you will get a whopping dose of pesticides, which over time, may lead to several health problems, including asthma, skin rashes, nervous system disorders, and cancer.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are prime sources of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. You can get these nutrients from supplements, but they will always be better absorbed and utilized from fresh, whole, unprocessed foods. Athletes focused on optimal nutrition should strive for the cleanest eating, so along with your organic chicken, cage-free “happy” eggs, and grass-fed lean beef, there are a group of fruits and veggies that you should buy organic when available and financially possible.
The Environmental Working Group, a non profit group focused on public health, has done the research and come up with a list of produce that is highly contaminated (and should be purchased organically) and those that are far less pesticide stricken (and can be purchased conventionally).
Recent research reveals that you can reduce pesticide exposure by up to 80% by following the above shopping guidelines. Since pesticides have been shown to be associated with the weakening of the immune system and a myriad of health problems, an 80% reduction is well worth taking the time to be a little picky in the produce section. Another way to reduce chemical exposure is buying local. Farmers’ markets are popping up everywhere these days. Not all local farms are 100% organic, but many will be more receptive to their customer’s demand for organic goods.
DOWN AND DIRTY
There’s no soap or veggie wash that will save you from the contamination on these bad boys. Splurge and buy organic.
Containing little to no pesticides, you can buy these fruits and veggies non-organically to save a little money.