Important Update: Dirty Dozen And Clean Fifteen For The Year 2017 - Save Our Bones

When you’re making your grocery list for the week and you want to include lots of fresh, whole Foundation Foods, you may find yourself in a bit of a quandary. You’ve probably heard that organic foods are best for your bones and overall health, and that’s certainly correct. Sometimes, though, due to factors like budget constraints, availability, and so forth, we have to make choices about what organic foods we purchase.

It’s a big help to find out which foods are the most heavily sprayed with pesticides and which ones are not, so if you have to purchase conventionally-grown foods, you can make smart choices.

To inform the public and help in this decision-making process, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) compiles an annual list of 12 conventionally-grown foods that are the most heavily sprayed with pesticides (the Dirty Dozen). On the flip side, they also list the top 15 “cleanest” foods that are least sprayed with pesticides (the Clean Fifteen).

So to choose between organic and conventional, you can look for organic options among the Dirty Dozen and potentially buy conventional produce from the Clean Fifteen list.

Following are both of these updated lists, with a note as to the bone-health benefits of each food.

The Dirty Dozen

1. Strawberries*

While there is disagreement as to the origin of their name, few will argue that strawberries are beautiful and delicious. Unfortunately, they are also Number 1 on the Dirty Dozen list; but organic strawberries are a bone-healthy choice full of manganese, Vitamin C, and osteoblast-protective antioxidants like kaempferol.

2. Spinach*

Don’t worry about the oxalates in this nutritious vegetable (unless you’ve experienced a kidney stone in the past). Spinach is rich in manganese, silicon, and Vitamin K, and the amount of calcium absorption the oxalates inhibit is quite small. So unless you’re planning to eat spinach in three meals a day, enjoying this leafy green several times a week is excellent for your bone health.

3. Nectarines

Relatives of the peach and the apricot, nectarines offer good amounts of fiber, Vitamin C, and potassium. Potassium is an important mineral that is crucial in balancing sodium, making it of particular benefit for those who are transitioning out of the salt-heavy diet so prevalent in the U.S.

4. Apples*

These delicious, popular fruits are an excellent source of antioxidants and Vitamin C, and their pectin content makes them ideal for those who wish to curb an overactive appetite.

5. Peaches*

Sweet and juicy, peaches contain the bone-building mineral boron. They are also a good source of fisetin, a polyphenol that protects collagen protein, acts as a powerful antioxidant, and reduces inflammation through the inhibition of cytokines.

6. Pears*

Pears offer a variety of bone-building phytonutrients as well as the Foundation Supplements boron, copper, Vitamin K, and Vitamin C. In fact, these varied fruits offer no fewer than 17 phytonutrients that nourish your bones.

7. Cherries*

No matter which variety you choose, cherries are a delicious source of anthocyanins and superoxide dismutase, crucial antioxidants your bones and body must have. They are also a good source of silicon and many other Foundation Supplements.

8. Grapes*

Another source of boron, grapes are also a remarkably effective analgesic for relieving pain. Grapes are anti-inflammatory and contain resveratrol, a polyphenol that protects against heart disease and even improves motor coordination and balance.

9. Celery*

Rich in Vitamin K, boron, calcium, B2, B5, and B9 (folate), this crunchy vegetable also protects against hypertension due to its rich phytonutrient content. Celery has key plant compounds coumarin, apigenin, and phthalide that actually lower blood pressure.

10. Tomatoes*

Tomatoes contain copper, silicon, and Vitamin C, and their red color is the result of an important, bone-healthy phytonutrient called lycopene. Interesting research indicates that tomatoes cooked in olive oil have the most bioavailable lycopene.

11. Bell peppers*

Like potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants, these crunchy vegetables are a member of the nightshade family. They contain silicon, manganese, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and antioxidants. Hot peppers are also heavily sprayed.

12. Potatoes*

It may surprise some of you to learn that potatoes are a relatively high source of Vitamin C. They contain good amounts of Vitamin B6, iron, fiber, potassium, and calcium.

*Foundation Food

Now we’ll take a look at the Clean Fifteen, a list of foods that, even when conventionally grown, are typically low in pesticide residue.

The Clean Fifteen

1. Sweet corn

You won’t find corn emphasized in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, because so many corn crops nowadays are genetically modified. But if you can find locally grown, organic corn, then you’ll get a decent amount of Vitamin B5, B3, and B6, as well as phosphorous, manganese, and fiber.

2. Avocado*

Full of boron, vitamins K, D, and C, B complex vitamins, copper, and boron, avocados already have a lot to offer. But these creamy fruits also contain Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidant carotenoids.

3. Pineapple*

This sweet, tropical fruit is a treat as well as a bone-smart food that’s rich in Vitamin C. Pineapples also offer B6, B1, folate, copper, and manganese, and they contain a digestive enzyme called bromelain.

4. Cabbage*

Cabbage is high in calcium and silicon, and it also contains tryptophan, which is required for the formation of picolinic acid. Picolinic acid acts as a chelating agent that aids in the absorption of calcium in the intestines.

5. Onion*

These vegetables are high in sulfur, which helps in the formation of connective tissue. Onions also contain flavonoids that help increase osteoblast synthesis.

6. Sweet peas* (frozen)

With Spring upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere, I like to emphasize fresh peas rather than frozen; but the EWG notes that frozen sweet peas are among the Clean Fifteen. With that in mind, take a look at the nutritional profile of sweet peas (or green peas). These little round vegetable are an alkalizing source of protein and Vitamin K. Peas also contain Omega-3 fatty acids and phytonutrients that deliver multiple health benefits: coumestrol, which protects the stomach lining from damage; saponins, which reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes; phenolic acids, which act as antioxidants; and carotenoids, the precursors to Vitamin A.

7. Papaya*

Especially good with a dash of lime juice, papayas are an exceptional source of Vitamin C. Plus they contain papain, a digestive enzyme that is not unlike the human enzyme pepsin, which helps in the breakdown of protein.

8. Asparagus*

The slender green spears of this Spring vegetable are rich in vitamins K and C, and is one of the few vegetable sources of Vitamin D. Asparagus also provides glutathione, the Master Antioxidant.

9. Mango*

Bright orange mangoes are full of vitamins A and C, and they even contain Vitamin B6. They’re also a good source of potassium and copper, and research shows that mangoes actually increase bone density.1

10. Eggplant

The skins of the eggplant contain bone-healthy flavonoid pigments called anthocyanins, the consumption of which has been directly attributed to increased bone density.2 Eggplants also provide manganese, Vitamin B6, niacin, potassium, folate and vitamin K.

11. Honeydew melon

Honeydews are an excellent source of Vitamin C, with one cup of balled melon providing more than half the recommended daily allowance. That same cup will give you a gram of fiber, too.

12. Kiwi*

Like most of the fruits and vegetables on both of these lists, kiwi contains Vitamin C (a Foundation Supplement); but kiwis are also high in glutathione peroxidase, the Master Antioxidant, which protects bones from oxidative damage.

13. Cantaloupe*

Another good source of Vitamin C, cantaloupe offers antioxidants, beta-carotene, vitamins B3 and B6, and folate. These juicy melons are also very hydrating.

14. Cauliflower*

This is one source of Vitamin C that might surprise you. Another surprising fact about cauliflower is that it aids in detoxifying the body. It contains d-glucarate, a phytochemical that triggers the body to release toxins.

15. Grapefruit*

Red grapefruit contains the antioxidant lycopene, and of course it’s a rich source of Vitamin C. Remarkably, grapefruit slows down bone loss even under oxidative stress.3

Unfortunately, Some Pesticide Exposure Is Inevitable…

That’s where a periodic cleanse plays an important role, to help you get rid of accumulated toxins. Many of the foods listed above can help you do just that, including cauliflower, celery, cabbage, grapefruit, onions, and apples.

These are just a few of the many cleansing fruits and vegetables you’ll find in the Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse: The 7 Day Bone Building Accelerator.

The foods included in the Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse were chosen for several key reasons: their water content, anti-inflammatory properties, protective effect on the liver and kidneys, and antioxidant content (particularly d-glucarate). And the Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse shows you exactly what to shop for, because it includes shopping lists.

The Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse also gives you step-by-step instructions on cleansing methods that are not food-based.

After completing your Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse week, you’ll feel younger, healthier, and more energized. And your kidneys, liver, and digestive system will be working better than ever before, helping you to build and heal your bones faster!

And if you’re looking to get osteoporosis drugs out of your system, the Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse is designed to do that as well.

Accelerated Bone Remodeling In Just 7 Days!

Discover how the Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse can flush osteoporosis drugs and other bone-damaging toxins from your system – in just seven days.

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I hope you’ll start applying today’s information right away, so you’ll be able to avoid the most pesticide-laden foods to protect your bones and your health. And, as always, feel free to join the discussion about topics in today’s post by leaving a comment below.

Till next time,


1 Lucas, Dr. Edralin A., et al. “Effects of Mango on Bone Parameters in Mice Fed High Fat Diet.” Nutritional Sciences Department, Oklahoma State University. PDF. Web.
2 Welch, A., et al. “Habitual flavonoid intakes are positively associated with bone mineral density in women.” Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2012 Sep;27(9): 1872-8 doi: 10.1002/jbmr. 1649. Web.
3 Farzad, Deyhim, et al. “Grapefruit pulp increases antioxidant status and improves bone quality in orchidectomized rats.” Nutrition. 24. 10. 1039-1044.

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Mary

    Papaya is now sometimes GM as well. So notice where it comes from and the # on the produce label that identifies if organic, etc.

    I live in Mexico and it is common here to use liquids specific to cleaning fruit & veggies.

  2. shulamit sendowski


  3. Sachi Ikenouye

    Appreciate your many helpful articles. I use fruit and veggie rinse with all my produce. Does this help to eliminate all the dirt, wax, toxins? I wash all first and then dip in the solution for the required amount of time and then rinse well again and dry naturally.

  4. Marlene

    Good afternoon Vivian,
    A timely reminder and very Excellent information.
    Thank you very much, Vivian.
    Have a wonderful day.

  5. Marilyn

    So, if sweet corn is on the clean list, why are you extolling the virtues only of organic corn. Is the regular corn we can buy at the grocery store recommended or not?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Marilyn,

      While sweet corn is on the clean list, it is more often than not genetically modified. The clean/dirty lists do not include genetic modification; they only look at pesticide residue.

  6. Kimberly Heimerl

    Thanks for the reminder. You have inspired me to get those strawberry starts I have been thinking about. I recently heard of an iodine solution that removes toxins from produce, although organic is still best. Any thoughts?

  7. Stan

    Very practical guide. I don’t enjoy grocery shopping, and this will make it easier and quicker. A big thanks.

  8. Carrie

    Very handy information, Vivian. Thanks so much!

  9. Janice

    Is there an effective way to “wash” the fruits and vegetables on the “dirty” list in order to eat them without harm? Please advise. Thank you.

    • joan Connor

      Hi Janice there is something you can try and get,its called vegie wash i use it sometimes i bye it in the health shop.Not every where sell it I dont wash all veg with it only ones that i feel need washing good luck.
      Regards Joan.

  10. Lena

    I’m so glad to know avocados are on the clean list! I eat them everyday and my grocery store doesn’t sell them organic. Thanks for giving us this information Vivian!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re welcome, Lena! It’s especially good that avocados are on the Clean Fifteen list – most pesticides are fat-soluble, so they are readily absorbed by fatty fruits like avocados. It’s very good that they aren’t sprayed as much!

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