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8 Weird Items You Didn’t Know You Could Recycle

Recycling is an important part of reducing how much garbage we send to landfills. According to the EPA, Americans generate more than 262 million tons of waste every single year.

Seventy-five percent of this is recyclable material, but only 25 percent of this actually makes it to recycling facilities, a horrifying figure given that 73 percent of Americans have access to curbside recycling services.

Amusingly,?a sizable portion of?these forgotten recyclables are off-the-wall items?like shoes, furniture and – no joke – dentures. Never in a million years would I have known dentures are recyclable! Here are ten of these such items not to send to the landfill!

1. Dentures

The average set of dentures contains approximately $25?of recyclable metals, including silver, gold and palladium. The Japan Denture Recycling Association (yes, that exists) collects false teeth, removing valuable materials and discarding the rest. Once the process is complete, the program donates 100 percent of its earnings to UNICEF. Cool idea, right?

2. Mattresses

Equipped with special saws that aren’t found?in traditional recycling facilities, mattress recycling?factories can separate foam, metal, wood and cloth and?recycle these materials independently. Wood is chipped, foam and cloth are shredded, springs are melted down. Who knows, maybe that wallpaper in your dining room was made from an old mattress!

3. Expired prescriptions

Expired prescriptions should never get into the wrong hands. To help prevent this, some states allow you to donate unused drugs back to pharmacies, while a few charities accept leftover medicines from people who have changed prescriptions, stopped using the mediations or passed away.


Got a collection of plastic trophies from your school days sitting in the back of your mom’s attic? It’s time to move on. Lamb Awards, a specialty recycling center, can break down retired awards, melting them down to reuse in new trophies or other post-consumer recycled items.

5. Crayons

Even the stubbiest little crayons can find renewed purpose through the National Crayon Recycle Program. This organization collects broken, worn down crayons and melts them down into new wax so they can be remade and resold. The program says they’ve saved more than 120,000 pounds of crayons from the landfill so far!

6.?Dirty diapers

In the time leading up to potty training, the average baby soils 6,000 diapers. 6,000!?Fortunately, the company Knowaste collects and recycles dirty diapers from hospitals, public restrooms and nursing facilities. Knowaste sanitizes the diapers before separating plastic from organic matter. Plastics are then compressed into pellets and recycled into roof shingles, while paper pulp becomes wallpaper or shoe soles. Genius!


Got torn pantyhose still taking up space in your drawers? Textile recycler No Nonsense is here to save the day! The organization recycles old stockings by grinding them down (didn’t think it was that hardcore…) and transforming them into things like playground toys and carpet.

8.?Aluminum foil

Aluminum products are among the easiest metals to recycle thanks to their ability to be melted down and turned into new products essentially forever. Luckily, most recycling facilities can handle foil, no problem, as long as it is donated in ball form, instead of loose sheets.

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8 Weird Items You Didn’t Know You Could Recycle

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8 Plant-Based Home Remedies for Bug Bites and Stings

We know how important it is for our health to spend time in nature. Unfortunately, it often comes with the risk of getting bitten or stung by bugs. Don?t let that put you off enjoying the outdoors. There are many natural ways to quickly relieve bites and stings, either in the moment or after you?ve come home. And, luckily, you likely already have most of these natural fixes in your kitchen or growing in your garden.

Plantain (Plantago major)

1. Herbal Poultices

One of the fastest herbal poultices you can make is to simply chew a few leaves of plantain and put the mash on a bite or sting. If you have a band-aid handy, you can put it on top of the plantain to hold it in place.

You can also make a poultice out of a number of different herbs by crushing the fresh or dried herbs in a bowl or pestle with a small amount of water or oil. Put the poultice on a bite or sting, then wrap it with a piece of gauze, clean cloth or band-aid to keep the poultice in place until the itch or pain has gone.

Plantain, lavender, echinacea, basil, oregano, calendula, chamomile, bay leaves, witch hazel, thyme and peppermint all make good bite-relieving poultices.

2. Onions and Garlic

Perhaps surprisingly, the natural compounds in raw onions and garlic that can make your eyes water can also calm an insect bite or sting. You can apply fresh onion or garlic slices directly on your bite. You can also chop, grate or crush onions or garlic to make a poultice.

3. Raw Potatoes

Similar to onions and garlic, raw potato that?s been crushed, grated or sliced can be applied to a bite or sting for relief. If you?re in a hurry, simply cut a potato in half and hold it against your skin.

4. Citrus Fruits

Certain natural compounds in citrus fruits have been shown to effectively repel and kill various insect pests, including mosquitoes and ticks. This may be why some people report that citrus fruits can also ease bites and stings.

You can use the juice or the pulp of lemons, limes, oranges or grapefruits directly on your skin. If you don?t have any fresh fruit available, lemon juice concentrate or prepared orange juice may also help.

5. Oatmeal

Oatmeal contains specific phytochemicals that have anti-irritant qualities. Make an oatmeal poultice by mixing equal amounts of quick-cook oatmeal and water in a bowl until it becomes a paste. Hold it on your skin with your hand or a cloth until the itching and pain subside.

If you have a lot of bug bites, an oatmeal bath is another good option. Add 1 cup (240 grams) of instant or ground oatmeal to a regular-sized bath. Soak for about 15-20 minutes. Periodically rubbing some of oatmeal on your bites during the bath can also help.

6. Essential Oils

Many essential oils have been shown to provide relief from pain and itching. Essential oils are typically mixed with a carrier oil, such as sweet almond or olive oil, in a 1:1 ratio before applying to your skin to prevent any burning or discomfort. Some of the best essential oils for bug bites and stings are basil, chamomile, witch hazel, lavender, mint, rosemary, tea tree, thyme and eucalyptus.

7. Tea Bags

A tea bag makes a great pre-packaged poultice to put on bites and stings. Regular teas, such as Ceylon, green or white teas, contain natural tannins that can ease the discomfort. Chamomile, peppermint, lemon balm and echinacea teas can also help calm irritation and promote healing.

It?s best to steep a tea bag in cold water in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Squeeze out any excess water from the bag and put it on your bite or sting.

8. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera contains natural anti-inflammatory compounds that will help reduce itching and swelling, as well as promote healing. If you have an aloe vera plant, you can simply break off a leaf and rub some of the fresh inner gel on a bite or sting. You can also use store-bought aloe vera gel or extract if you don?t have a plant nearby.

Related on Care2

7 Ways to Treat Bug Bites
Why You?re a Mosquito Magnet, According to Science
9 Plants to Grow that Repel Mosquitoes

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8 Plant-Based Home Remedies for Bug Bites and Stings

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Why I Love a Good Clothes Swap

Back in middle school, when shopping was a favorite pastime but?spending money was hard to come by (that allowance didn’t stretch very far), my little clutch of girlfriends and I invented what we thought was an ingenious way to expand our wardrobes for free. We called this grand exchange a “clothes swap.”

Each season, one of us would host?a party?to which we’d bring a haul of items that we’d grown out of or grown tired of. After arranging ourselves on the floor in a circle, wares displayed, we’d take turns holding up an item for “bid.” From there, it was up to expert female negotiation, complete with try-ons, to decide who got what. (Talk about diplomacy!)

By the time we were finished, each of us would walk away with?a whole new bag of clothes, filled to the top with cute pieces of clothing from the others’ closets. At the end of the season, we’d return what was?borrowed, deciding whether what we’d given away was worth missing, then gradually evolving our wardrobes?from there. It was magic!

Later on, I realized that we weren’t the only ones onto the idea that sharing is caring. In fact, clothes swaps have become a very popular party format. I mean, who doesn’t love the idea of getting something new to wear without having to spend a dime?

So many of us?find ourselves blankly staring at our closets each morning wondering how we could possibly have nothing to wear. Despite wardrobes overflowing with shoes, tees, dresses and jackets, we still grow tired of seeing the same pieces day after day. And when the urge to shop strikes, our wallets (and knowledge of our destructive consumeristic tendencies) halt us in our tracks.

A clothes swap solves all of these problems at once. It’s free, has no environmental impact and helps inject a little novelty into our wardrobes just when we need it most. Really, it’s a fantastic idea!

Sound like something you could get into? All you need is willing participants, a few guidelines for the group and keen minds ready to barter! Here are some ideas to get you started.

How to Host a Clothes Swap

1. Invite?a mix of guests?within a similar size range or make the party accessories only (shoes, bags, scarves, jewelry).

2. Set rules that will help create a calm, polite space for negotiating. Settle on a specific number of items to bring (say, 10 or so), set up a lottery system for picking order, and lay out some criteria for the quality items.

3. Encourage browsing and bartering, clear space for a makeshift fitting room and set a fixed amount of time for the swap. You could even display all the items like you might in a boutique!

4. Set out snacks and drinks to establish a leisurely pace to the evening. The last thing you want is a selfish frenzy! It’s all just for fun, after all. This isn’t a sample sale.

5. Donate any pieces that are leftover. There’s no pressure for every last straggling item to be taken home.

If your first clothes swap goes well, it might just become a regular event, like it did for my friends and I back when we were kids. Hold a swap once per season, or make it an annual bash that brings together friends from a variety of different social circles. Your closet will?be glad you did!


Why I Love a Good Clothes Swap

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9 Plants to Grow that Repel Mosquitoes

You?ve likely experienced the disappointment of having an outdoor party, hike or other event ruined by a swarm of mosquitoes. If you?re looking for a natural way to get rid of these uninvited guests, try adding some mosquito-repelling plants to your garden this year.

Simply having these plants in your yard and outdoor living spaces can be helpful, but you?ll get the most benefit by crushing the leaves and flowers to release their pungent, bug-repelling essential oils. You can then rub the oils on your skin, clothing or outdoor furniture to deter mosquitoes. You can also cut and hang fresh cuttings around your home, or dry them to keep on hand for later use.

1. Basil

Scientific Name: Ocimum basilicum

Mosquito larvae are aquatic, living underwater until they mature and emerge as adult mosquitoes. A 2009 study found that basil extract was highly toxic to mosquito larvae. Planting basil near wet areas is unlikely to directly kill mosquito larvae, but the plants may ward off any approaching adults and convince them to lay their eggs elsewhere.

Basil is an easy-to-grow annual herb you can sow directly in the ground after the risk of frost has passed.

2. Bay Laurel

Scientific Name: Laurus nobilis

Bay laurel is the plant bay leaves are taken from. This commonly used herb has been shown to contain compounds that repel various insect pests, including mosquitoes. You can also use bay leaves to ward off ants, cockroaches, flies and wasps.

Bay laurel is hardy in USDA zones 8 and up, or it can be grown as a houseplant in colder climates. You can also easily buy bay leaves and place them around your home to deter mosquitoes and other pests.

3. Catnip

Scientific Name: Nepeta cataria

If you want to attract cats to your garden and beat bugs at the same time, catnip is a great choice. Catnip contains a compound called nepetalactone that gives the plant its distinct odor. Cats find the scent irresistible, but mosquitoes hate it. In fact, nepetalactone has been found to be about 10 times more effective than DEET in repelling mosquitoes.

Catnip is perennial in most regions. Just make sure you protect small plants so they can get established before your local cats devour them.

4. Citronella Grass

Scientific Name: Cymbopogon nardus

Citronella grass is the plant citronella oil is derived from, which is used in a variety of insect repelling products. Citronella oil has been proven to be more effective than DEET when it?s first applied to an area, but its mosquito-repelling power slowly decreases after one hour. To maintain citronella?s strength, reapply citronella oil or crush some fresh leaves against your skin or clothing every hour or two when you?re outside.

Citronella grass is native to tropical areas of Asia and is only hardy in USDA zones 10 to 12. It can be grown as an annual in colder regions. The plants are very attractive and can grow up to 6 feet (2 meters) tall.

5. Garlic

Scientific Name: Allium sativum

Research is limited so far, but the oil that?s released when you cut up garlic cloves has been reported by many to effectively repel mosquitoes. Garlic is also included in various commercial bug and mosquito repellants. The chemical compound that gives garlic its distinct smell is called allicin, which is likely what wards off bugs. If you eat garlic, the allicin will come through to your skin. This may also help prevent mosquito attacks.

Garlic grows as a perennial in USDA zones 3 to 8. You can simply grow it as an ornamental plant, or you can harvest it in early summer to eat and replant some of the bulbs for next year.

6. Lavender

Scientific Name: Lavandula species

Research has shown that lavender essential oil is as effective as the chemical bug repellant DEET for repelling a variety of bugs. This is a good thing, considering that DEET-based repellants have been linked to motor function impairment and nervous system damage in humans.

Lavender is a perennial in USDA zones 7 and up. It can be grown as an annual or indoor herb in colder climates. You can crush the leaves to rub on your skin and clothing to repel mosquitoes, as well as promote relaxation and calmness.

Related: 6 Natural Remedies for Mosquito Bites

7. Lemon Balm

Scientific Name: Melissa officinalis

Research has shown that lemon balm has a variety of natural compounds that can repel mosquitoes. In addition, researchers made an extract of basil and lemon balm that was toxic to adult mosquitoes, whether they inhaled it or came in contact with it.

Lemon balm is a hardy perennial, but it can be fairly invasive as it?s related to mint. Plant it in a container sunk in the ground to prevent spreading. It also makes a good indoor plant.

8. Marigolds

Scientific Name: Tagetes species

Marigolds produce what are known as allelochemicals, which are harmful to a range of insect pests, including mosquitoes. One study extracted these allelochemicals from the roots, leaves and flowers of different species of marigold plants. The researchers found that marigold flowers have the highest amounts of insecticidal allelochemicals. So, it would likely be most effective to use marigold flowers to repel mosquitoes by crushing them and distributing them around your home.

Marigolds are annuals that you can easily grow from seed or buy seedlings at most garden centers or nurseries in the spring. They come in a wide range of stunning colors and can handle a variety of growing conditions.

9. Peppermint

Scientific Name: Mentha x piperita

A study published in Bioresource Technology found that peppermint essential oil was toxic to mosquito larvae. Also, when peppermint oil was rubbed onto human skin, it repelled 92 percent of mosquitoes across a range of species.

Peppermint is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8. The plants can be invasive, so try planting them in an unused corner of your garden or sinking a pot in the ground to contain the roots.

Related on Care2

Why You?re a Mosquito Magnet, According to Science
Foods You Can Eat to Repel Mosquitoes
8 Natural Mosquito Repellants

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9 Plants to Grow that Repel Mosquitoes

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14 Plastics to Cut from Your Life that You won’t Even Miss

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14 Plastics to Cut from Your Life that You won’t Even Miss

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5 Plant-Powered Cleaning Products Worth Adding to Your Shopping Cart

Green cleaning products get a bad wrap for being weaker or less potent than their traditional counterparts, but these eco-friendly cleaners actually pack quite?the punch. Not only are they free of toxic chemicals, these green cleaning products?are just as powerful as?everything already in your cleaning closet.?Plus, they smell so much better! (Maybe it’s just me, but I like to be able to breathe after I clean the kitchen counter.)

Next time the last drop of your?go-to disinfecting spray or glass cleaner is used up,?consider adding one of these green alternatives?to your shopping list. Replace them one by one and, before you know it, you’ll have an eco-friendly cleaning arsenal ready to go! I’m certain you’ll never go back.

1. Branch Basics?”The Concentrate

If you’re looking to get more bang for your buck, this is the way to do it! Made from plant-derived ingredients like sugar, chamomile flower and baking soda, this concentrate can replace just about every cleaning product in your home. Use it?for everything from removing gunk from your stovetop to washing your dog!

2. ECOS Stain + Odor Remover

Perfect for everyday use, this plant-based stain and odor remover effectively eliminates stains and freshens even the most persistent?of odors. Who knew lemon peel oil was so effective! Use on upholstery, carpets and clothes – wherever those messes show up.

3. Method Daily Shower Spray

This toxin-free spray will have you singing in the shower. Just spray a fine mist on all wet surfaces and it will take care of the rest with its amazing plant power. And this spray isn’t just effective, it’s thoughtful too! Made by a certified B Corporation, this product is?biodegradable, BPA free, compostable and made in the USA. Awesome, right?

4. Bon Ami Powder Cleanser

Bon Ami Powder Cleanser is a wonderful example of non-toxic cleaning power. Made from naturally soft abrasives like limestone and felspar, Bon Ami can be confidently used on most hard surfaces in the kitchen and elsewhere in the house.?There’s a reason it’s been a household favorite since 1886.

5. Better Life Naturally Smudge-Smacking Glass Cleaner

It’s non-toxic. It’s 100% plant-derived. It’ll get the job done. Made from corn, coconut and palm kernel, this cruelty-free cleaner is full of just the good stuff. And it works fabulously – kicking fingerprints, greasy smudges, dirt and rain spots to the curb. And no streaks too!

When it comes to cleaning the house, chemicals aren’t the only way to get the job done. And with?so many excellent plant-based cleaning products on the market, there’s no reason not to jump on this train. Give it?a try!

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3 Ways to Kill Mold Naturally
3 Ways to Clean Your Windows with Vinegar
13 Natural Ingredients to Clean Almost Anything


5 Plant-Powered Cleaning Products Worth Adding to Your Shopping Cart

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How to Responsibly Dispose of Old Electronics

Let’s try something. Quick! How many electronic products do you own? Cell phones, computers, tablets, televisions…gaming consoles, fitness trackers, thermostats, security systems…they add up don’t they?

If you find that?total?creeping toward numbers in the teens or higher, you certainly aren’t the only one. According to a study conducted by the Consumer Technology Association in 2013, the average American household owns 24 consumer electronic products. And according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), they’re the fastest-growing slice of what Americans are throwing away.

In a world in which a new gadget comes out seemingly every week, it’s no wonder American households are drowning in tech. Throw in a capitalist system that rewards built-in obsolescence and you have an electronics industry that thrives on the quick turnover of new products and a society that can’t get enough. Our?waste management system just can’t keep up, and it’s putting us and our environment at risk.

So what?should we be doing with broken or unwanted electronics? Let’s take a look.

Protect?your data

Before you send those broken electronics to your local recycling facility, make sure you erase all of your personal information. Donate without wiping your data?and your credit cards, social security numbers, family photos and banking information could be out there for the taking.

Recycling required

Electronic products contain toxic substances like lead and mercury that must be disposed of carefully. These materials can be?so dangerous that, so far, 25 states have passed laws requiring that old electronics be recycled. Don’t abide and you’ll be fined.

One company, Call2Recycle, has drop-off locations for rechargeable batteries and cell phones all over the United States. Additionally, many cities have started sponsoring collection days for old electronics. Visit TIA E-cycling Central for a list of events by state!

Keep reading: Do You Know Where Your Electronic Waste is Going?

Give it away

If your electronic device still works, there is a market for it! Start by checking out Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore if you have one near you, or call around to senior organizations and recreation centers.

Here are a few more programs that can?use or repurpose your old electronics:

  1. Dell Reconnect by Goodwill
  2. The World Computer Exchange
  3. eBay for Charity
  4. AmericanCellPhoneDrive.org
  5. Apple GiveBack
  6. Amazon
  7. Office Depot

Keep reading: Top 10 Most Important Items to Recycle

Whether you recycle your device completely or simply find it a new home, giving your old electronics new life is a great way to help curb the waste problem we’re experiencing today. Thanks for doing your part!

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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How to Responsibly Dispose of Old Electronics

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6 Delicious Weeds that You Can Eat

The availability of nutritionally-dense food that is free from the clutches of corporate agriculture companies like Bayer AG and Monsanto is a growing concern to many people. And, while food security is indeed something to take seriously, few people are aware of their own already-available food growing in their yards.

That?s why I?m launching FoodHouseProject.com, a food adventure site in which my husband Curtis and I are combining his extensive food security background with my love of nutrition and disgust for Big Agra, and combining our love of foraging, gardening and food, in general to turn our neglected old farmhouse built in 1890 into the ultimate food-growing home. We will showcase the abundance of food all around, demonstrate how easy it is to forage or grow more of your own food to save you money, boost your nutrition, reduce your ecological footprint and start the ultimate revolution in which we reclaim our food sovereignty from Big Agra.

While I encourage you to start growing your own food, either sprouts, microgreens, container-tomatoes or full-blown gardens, I also hope you?ll take a look at the food that?s already around you, in the form of wild edibles, or weeds, as most people call them. Here are some of my favorite weeds that offer delicious and nutritious, as well as free food.


Hard to miss, these pretty flowers often pop up in our lawns if we let the grass grow a bit. While they can be a bit bitter, both the leaves and the flowers are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. Don’t eat the ones you find in floral bouquets as they’ve likely been sprayed with toxic pesticides.

Dandelion Greens, Flowers and Roots

Even if you?re not familiar with foraging, finding dandelion greens should not be a problem. They?re almost everywhere. Choose the small leaves as more mature leaves tend to become bitter. The immature leaves can be added to salads, soups or saut?ed like spinach, along with a little garlic, olive oil, squeeze of lemon juice and a bit of sea salt for a delicious side dish. The flowers can be added to salads and eaten raw. The roots are absolutely delicious when roasted, ground and added to smoothies or steeped as you would tea. They have a slightly chocolate-coffee flavor, which is why blending them with a handful of cashews, a dash of stevia, some almond milk and a little ice makes my favorite smoothie. Dandelion helps to boost the kidneys and liver.

Dandelion leaves, flowers, stems, and roots are edible

Lamb?s Quarters

Not just for grazing sheep, lamb?s quarters are found in plentiful quantities in most people?s lawns and make a delicious alternative to spinach. Add them raw to salads or saute them in a little olive oil and sea salt for a tasty plate of wild greens.


You won?t miss these herbs, particularly if you try to pick them without gloves. That?s because the fine hairs along the stems of the plant will give your skin a bit of a sting when you touch them. However, when they are cooked, they lose their stinging sensation. You?re left with one of the most nutritional greens you can eat, which are great in soups and stews. Nettles boost your overall nutrition but also help fight off seasonal allergies, which are a nuisance for many people this time of year.

Nettles are nutritional powerhouses that are delicious additions to your diet.

Plantain Leaves

Found in most lawns, you?ve probably stepped on these plants hundreds of time without consideration for them. Yet, they are an excellent addition to your diet. Chop and add to salads, soups or saute them as you would spinach.

Plantain leaves make a delicious alternative to spinach.

Red Clover Leaves and Flowers

Easy to spot when in flower thanks to their purplish-pink flowerheads, red clover leaves make an excellent addition to salads, soups or can be saut?ed for a delicious plate of wild greens. The flowers can be added to salads or infused in boiled water to make tea.

Red clover leaves and flowers are edible.

If you?re not 100% certain you?ve identified the correct plant, it is best not to eat them. If you?re unsure, you might find an herb walk or foraging course helpful. Of course, stay clear of lawns near highways or any that have been sprayed with pesticides.

Related Stories:

15 Green Challenges Just in Time for Earth Day
7 Ways to Make Your Garden More Earth-Friendly
7 Medicinal Weeds Growing in Your Yard

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM shares her food growing, cooking, and other food self-sufficiency adventures at FoodHouseProject.com. She is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World?s Healthiest News, founder of Scent-sational Wellness, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, & Cooking. Follow her work.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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6 Delicious Weeds that You Can Eat

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2019′s Clean 15: Powerful Health Benefits of the Most Pesticide-Free Produce

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

Credit: daniaphoto/Getty Images

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.

14. Mushrooms

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.

13. Broccoli

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.

12. Cantaloupe

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.

11. Cauliflower

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.

10. Cabbage

Credit: ilietus/Getty Images

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.

9. Kiwi

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.

8. Asparagus

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.

7. Eggplant

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.

6. Papaya

The tropical papaya is loaded with nutrients to keep you healthy. A cup of cubed papaya has 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.

5. Onion

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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.

3. Pineapple

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.

1. Avocado

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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.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.


2019′s Clean 15: Powerful Health Benefits of the Most Pesticide-Free Produce

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2019′s Dirty Dozen: Which Foods Have the Most Pesticides?

Beware the ?Dirty Dozen.? The Environmental Working Group has released its annual list of fruits and vegetables most likely to be contaminated with pesticides, based on testing from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And this year?s Dirty Dozen ? as the produce is nicknamed ? has some unsettling surprises.

?Overall, the USDA found 225 different pesticides and pesticide breakdown products on popular fruits and vegetables Americans eat every day,? according to an Environmental Working Group news release. ?Before testing, all produce was washed and peeled, just as people would prepare food for themselves.? And the results for one particular trendy food were eye-opening. ?The most surprising news from the USDA tests reveals that the popular health food kale is among the most contaminated fruits and vegetables,? the news release says.

So which conventionally grown fruits and vegetables (as opposed to organic) should you avoid if you want to limit the pesticides in your diet? Here is 2019?s Dirty Dozen.

12. Potatoes

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The Environmental Working Group does point out that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is critical for a healthy diet. But to make sure you?re maximizing the benefits, try to consume pesticide-free, organic varieties as often as possible. Potatoes, for instance, have numerous health benefits ? as long as you?re not solely consuming them in chip form. One baked potato has about 145 calories, 2 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein. It also contains many vitamins and minerals ? including several B vitamins, 10 percent of the recommended daily intake of magnesium, 17 percent of potassium, 13 percent of manganese and 17 percent of copper.

11. Celery

Have you joined the celery juice bandwagon? If you don?t want to be sipping or crunching on pesticides, aim to go the organic route. One cup of chopped celery contains just 16 calories with 2 grams of fiber and a gram of protein. And it still offers a fair amount of nutrients ? including 9 percent of the recommended vitamin A intake, 37 percent of vitamin K, 9 percent of folate and 8 percent of potassium. Plus, according to Healthline, celery is full of antioxidants and can help reduce inflammation and aid digestion.

10. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are great to grow in your home garden, where you can prevent pesticides and other chemicals from coming in contact with your food. A cup of chopped tomatoes has only 32 calories with 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein. Plus, the serving provides you with 30 percent of your daily vitamin A, 38 percent of vitamin C, 18 percent of vitamin K and 12 percent of potassium, among other nutrients. Tomatoes are especially known for their lycopene, which gives them their red pigment. ?Lycopene has been linked to health benefits ranging from heart health to protection against sunburns and certain types of cancers,? according to Healthline.

9. Pears

A medium pear is a substantial snack ? containing about 100 calories, 6 grams of fiber and a gram of protein. It also offers some vitamins and minerals, including 12 percent of the recommended vitamin C intake, 10 percent of vitamin K, 6 percent of potassium and 7 percent of copper. Still, even though a pear?s skin helps to make it a great source of fiber, it doesn?t keep the pesticides out. So make sure you?re consuming clean varieties of this fruit.

8. Cherries

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More than 90 percent of the cherry samples the Environmental Working Group analyzed tested positive for two or more pesticides. So for the full health-boosting potential of this tart little fruit, go organic. A cup of cherries has about 87 calories, 3 grams of fiber and 1 gram of protein. It also gives you a good amount of vitamin C, B vitamins and several minerals. Plus, according to Healthline, cherries are full of antioxidants and phytochemicals that can protect your body against diseases and reduce inflammation.

7. Peaches

The thin skin of peaches doesn?t offer them much protection against pesticides. But it will contribute some fiber to your diet. One medium peach has about 60 calories, 2 grams of fiber and a gram of protein. It also contains several B vitamins, about 10 percent of the recommended vitamin A intake, 17 percent of vitamin C, 5 percent of vitamin K and 8 percent of potassium. And according to Healthline, peaches can be considered a low-sugar fruit with a little less than 13 grams of natural sugars.

6. Grapes

If you take pesticides out of the equation, grapes can be a very healthy addition to your diet. A cup of red or green grapes has roughly 100 calories and a gram of fiber. And it provides you with 27 percent of the recommended vitamin C intake, 28 percent of vitamin K, 8 percent of potassium and 10 percent of copper, among other nutrients. According to Healthline, the potent antioxidants in grapes can help fight several diseases, such as diabetes and cancer. Plus, grapes also might help to improve heart health and lower cholesterol.

5. Apples

Just like with cherries, more than 90 percent of the apple samples carried two or more pesticides. ?Apples are generally near the top of EWG?s Dirty Dozen list because they contain an average of 4.4 pesticide residues, including some at high concentrations,? according to the Environmental Working Group. And there?s one chemical in particular that?s especially controversial. ?Most conventionally grown apples are drenched in diphenylamine, an antioxidant chemical treatment used to prevent the skin of apples in cold storage from developing brown or black patches,? the Environmental Working Group says. U.S. growers and regulators say the chemical poses no risk, but European regulators feel there isn?t enough evidence to prove its safety.

4. Nectarines

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Nectarines also are among the fruits and vegetables that had more than 90 percent of their samples test positive for two or more pesticides. But sans pesticides, nectarines are a healthy way to get several nutrients. A medium nectarine has about 62 calories ? most of those coming from its natural sugars. Plus, it contains 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein. It also offers multiple B vitamins, 9 percent of the recommended vitamin A intake, 13 percent of vitamin C, 8 percent of potassium and 6 percent of copper.

3. Kale

The Department of Agriculture hadn?t included kale in its pesticide tests since 2009. At that time, it ranked eighth on the Dirty Dozen list. But since its popularity has skyrocketed, so has the pesticide use. ?More than 92 percent of kale samples had two or more pesticide residues detected, and a single sample could contain up to 18 different residues,? according to the Environmental Working Group news release. Especially alarming was the presence of the pesticide DCPA, or Dacthal, which showed up in roughly 60 percent of the kale samples. Since 1995, the EPA has classified DCPA as a possible carcinogen ? specifically citing liver and thyroid tumors ? and the European Union banned it in 2009. Yet it?s still legal to use on U.S. crops ? including kale.

2. Spinach

?Federal data shows that conventionally grown spinach has more pesticide residues by weight than all other produce tested,? according to the Environmental Working Group. There were an average of 7.1 different pesticides on every spinach sample. And more than three-quarters of the samples contained one particularly scary ?neurotoxic bug killer? called permethrin. ?At high doses, permethrin overwhelms the nervous system and causes tremors and seizures,? the Environmental Working Group says. ?But several studies also found a link between lower-level exposure to permethrin-type insecticides and neurological effects in children.? Europe banned permethrin in 2000, but the EPA is still assessing its risks.

1. Strawberries

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Sweet, juicy, pesticide-filled strawberries took the top spot on 2019?s Dirty Dozen. ?Conventionally grown strawberries ? contained an average of 7.8 different pesticides per sample, compared to 2.2 pesticides per sample for all other produce,? according to the Environmental Working Group. ?? What?s worse, strawberry growers use jaw-dropping volumes of poisonous gases to sterilize their fields before planting, killing every pest, weed and other living thing in the soil.? Of all the samples, 99 percent contained at least one pesticide ? and 30 percent had 10 or more pesticides. Some of these chemicals have been linked to cancer, reproductive issues, hormone disruption, neurological problems and more. So if you?re not keen on putting that in your body, stick to the organic varieties.

Bonus: Hot peppers

The Environmental Working Group expanded 2019?s Dirty Dozen to include hot peppers, which don?t meet its traditional ranking criteria but nonetheless should have their contaminants exposed. ?The USDA tests of 739 samples of hot peppers in 2010 and 2011 found residues of three highly toxic insecticides ? acephate, chlorpyrifos and oxamyl ? on a portion of sampled peppers at concentrations high enough to cause concern,? according to the Environmental Working Group news release. ?These insecticides are banned on some crops but still allowed on hot peppers.? So buy organic hot peppers whenever possible. But if you can?t, washing and cooking them can somewhat diminish the pesticide levels.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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2019′s Dirty Dozen: Which Foods Have the Most Pesticides?

Posted in alo, bigo, FF, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, organic, Safer, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 2019′s Dirty Dozen: Which Foods Have the Most Pesticides?