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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

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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

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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.

Main image credit: Mizina/Getty Images

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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Reza Farazmand’s Resistance Reading

Mother Jones

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We asked a range of authors, artists, and poets to suggest the books that bring them solace or understanding in this age of political rancor. Two dozen or so responded. Here’s what the culture-critic Reza Farazmand, creator of the twisted and hilarious cult comic Poorly Drawn Lines (also a best-selling book) came up with.

Latest book: Poorly Drawn Lines
Also known for: Trash Bird (web comic)
Recommended reading: Somehow, Cat’s Cradle still manages to present a fictional political setting stranger than the one we’re in now. I can reread Kurt Vonnegut’s absurd parody of Cold War politics and think, “Well, at least things aren’t this weird yet.” Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, by Hunter S. Thompson, is an essential guide to campaigns, politicians, and the creative obscenities needed to describe them. Thompson transmits unfiltered insights on American politics and media from a different era, lending some recent historical perspective to the landscape we see today.
So far in this series: Kwame Alexander, Margaret Atwood, W. Kamau Bell, T Cooper, and Reza Farazmand. (New posts daily.)

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Reza Farazmand’s Resistance Reading

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13 Cartoon Portraits of Legendary Blues Artists

Mother Jones

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Before I read the author’s note, there was something that confused me about William Stout’s great new book, Legends of the Blues, due out May 7 from Abrams ComicArts (with an intro by music journalist Ed Leimbacher). Where were Memphis Minnie, Mississippi John Hurt, and Reverend Gary Davis, three of my personal faves? How could he overlook them? Also, why did the artwork feel so familiar, yet so different from other stuff I’d seen from Stout—an acclaimed comics, fantasy, and pop-culture artist and illustrator whose work you’ve undoubtedly seen. And then it hit me: Robert Crumb! This, as it turned out, was the answer to both questions.

Way back when, cartoonist Crumb, a blues and old-time music freak who has drawn his share of artists and album art (you can view some of them here along with our Crumb interview), created a series of 36 Heroes of the Blues trading cards. They included, among others, Memphis Minnie and John Hurt; Stout, an avid blues fan, had loved Crumb’s cards and didn’t want to replicate them. But the others were fair game. Rhino Records founder Richard Foos, a friend of Stout’s, ended up licensing Crumb’s portraits for a series of greatest hits CDs for Shout! Factory. And since Crumb had moved on to other stuff, Foos approached Stout to produce some additional ones in a style similar to Crumb’s.

That’s how it started. But after his assignment was complete, Stout kept it up. He was hooked. While recovering from cancer treatments, he cranked them out, imagining that he would produce a bunch of new trading-card sets. In the end, Denis Kitchen, another friend (and the guy who commissioned Crumb’s original cards) suggested that Stout make them into a book instead.

Legends… profiles a whopping 100 blues artists—many of them you’ll recognize and many you won’t. It’s a must for blues fans or even dabblers—although Stout cautions that purists might be upset by his inclusion of crossover artists. Hey, whatever. The format is simple: Each spread contains the artist’s vital stats; recommended tracks; notable tributes and covers by other artists; and a short, punchy mini-profile of each one. The book comes with a 14-track CD compilation, with some nice gritty old tunes from the likes of Mississippi Fred McDowell, Bukka White, and Rev. Robert Wilkins—I’m listening to it right now!

But the real treat is Stout’s Crumby (sorry) portraits. Colorful, evocative, playful, they pay homage both to the original cards and to the great musicians Stout came to admire. There’s the badass blues guitarist Robert Johnson, said to have sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his chops. Champion Jack Dupree, who made the unlikely leap from pro boxer to pro musician. The highly talented yet modest sideman Papa Charlie McCoy. And Lucille Bogan, notorious for her raunchy lyrics. The Crumb effect runs especially strong with certain portraits—for instance, Slim Harpo, whose tunes were covered by a who’s who of 1960s rock icons. Here’s the Stones doing Harpo’s “Shake Your Hips” way back when.

So, okay, I missed those few musicians, but I also learned about plenty of folks I’d never heard of—including a good number of blueswomen. And the poor chap had to crank out 100 portraits. You could hardly ask him to do more. Except that he did so anyway. By the end of Stout’s drawing marathon, he had produced 150 portraits, so maybe a sequel is in the cards. Talk about collecting ’em all!

The book’s cover features a young Muddy Waters, a.k.a. McKinley Morganfield (April 4, 1913-April 30, 1983). Instruments: guitar, vocals. A spiritual protégé of Son House and Robert Johnson, the prolific Morganfield got his nickname because he loved playing in the mud as a kid. Recommended tracks: “I Can’t Be Satisfied,” “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” “Rollin’ Stone,” “Mannish Boy,” “She Moves Me,” “Hoochie Coochie Man,” ” I Just Want to Make Love to You,” “I’m Ready,” “Got My Mojo Working,” “You Shook Me.”

Lead Belly, a.k.a. Huddie Ledbetter (January 1888-December 6, 1949). Instruments: accordion, fiddle, 12-string guitar, mandolin, piano, violin, vocals. Ledbetter, who served several stints in prison, once received a pardon after writing a song appealing to the governor. Recommended tracks: “Black Betty,” “Gallis Pole,” “Boll Weevil,” “New Orleans (Rising Sun Blues),” “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?,” “The Bourgeois Blues.”

Big Maybelle, a.k.a. Maybelle Louise Smith (May 1, 1924-January 23, 1972). Instruments: piano, vocals. Won a Memphis talent contest at age eight, and went on to record several Billboard hits. Recommended tracks: “Gabbin’ Blues,” “Way Back Home,” “My Country Man,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “St. Louis Blues,” “Blues Early Early.”

Blind Boy Fuller, a.k.a. Fulton Allen (July 10, 1907-February 13, 1941). Instruments: guitar, vocals. Began losing his sight during his mid-teens from ulcers due either due to snowblindness or to chemicals thrown in his face by an ex-girlfriend. Recommended tracks: “Rag, Mama, Rag,” “Truckin’ My Blues Away,” “Get Your Yas Yas Out,” “Step It Up and Go,” “Mamie,” “Rattlesnakin’ Daddy.”

Lucille Bogan, a.k.a. Lucille Anderson and Bessie Jackson (April 1, 1897-August 10, 1948). Instruments: accordion, vocals. Known for her bawdy lyrics about booze and sex. Recommended tracks: “Shave Em’ Dry” (explicit version), “B.D. Woman’s Blues” (B.D. stands for “bull dyke”), “Seaboard Blues,” “Troubled Mind,” “Superstitious Blues,” “Black Angel Blues.”

Slim Harpo, a.k.a. James Moore (January 11, 1924-January 31, 1970). Instruments: harmonica, vocals. Music was always a side job for Slim, whose tunes were nonetheless covered by, among others, the Kinks, the Rolling Stones, the Who, and the Yardbirds. Recommended tracks: “I’m a King Bee,” “I Got Love If You Want It,” “Rainin’ in My Heart,” “Baby Scratch My Back,” “Shake Your Hips.”

Robert Johnson, a.k.a. Robert Leroy Dodds (May 8, 1911-August 16, 1938). Instruments: guitar, vocals. Johnson was rumored to have sold his soul to the devil for tuning his guitar just so. The influential blues master has been covered by the likes of Cream, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones. Recommended tracks: “Crossroads Blues,” “Love in Vain,” “Have You Ever Been Lonely,” “Hellhound on My Trail,” “Stop Breakin’ Down Blues,” “From Four Until Late,” “Traveling Riverside Blues,” “Come On in My Kitchen.”

Mississippi Fred McDowell (January 12, 1904-July 3, 1972). Instruments: guitar, vocals. McDowell, who was actually born in Tennessee, divided his time between farming and music until he was “discovered” by folklorist Alan Lomax. Recommended tracks: “You Gottta Move,” “Baby Please Don’t Go,” “Good Morning Little School Girl,” “Jesus Is on the Mainline.”

Victoria Spivey (October 15, 1906-October 3, 1976). Instruments: organ, piano, ukulele, vocals. Spivey’s lyrics were sexually provocative and drug related; she retired from the music biz in 1951 to sing and play in church before returning to the stage in the 1960s, when she founded her own label, Spivey Records. Recommended tracks: “Dope Head Blues,” “TB Blues,” “Black Snake Blues.”

Clarence “Pine Top” Smith (June 11, 1904-March 15, 1929). Instruments: piano, vocals. Smith’s promising career ended abruptly when he was shot and killed during a dance hall ruckus. No photos of him exist, hence the shadowy face. Recommended track: “Pine Top’s Boogie Woogie.”

Big Joe Turner, a.k.a. Joseph Vernon Turner Jr. (May 18, 1911-November 24 1985). Instrument: vocals. Turner’s voice was so big he could rock a gin joint without a mic. He became a hit machine during the early ’50s with several No. 1 hits. Recommended tracks: “Roll ‘Em, Pete,” “Honey Hush,” “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” “Flip Flop and Fly,” “Cherry Red,” “Wee Baby Blues,” “Midnight Special.”

Ethel Waters (October 31, 1896-September 1, 1977). Instrument: vocals. A sought-after vaudeville performer and nightclub singer who then scored on Broadway and in Hollywood, Waters became the second-ever black actor to be nominated for an Oscar. Recommended tracks: “Heebie Jeebies,” “Am I Blue?,” “Down Home Blues,” “Shake That Thing,” “Maybe Not at All,” “Black Spatch Blues,” “Midnight Blues,” “Jazzin’ Baby Blues.”

Reverend Robert Wilkins (January 16, 1896-May 26, 1987). Instrument: guitar, vocals. In 1935, deeply upset by violence at a party he was playing, Wilkins quit secular music to become a minister and an herbalist. Recommended tracks: “That’s No Way to Get Along,” “Rolling Stone.”

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13 Cartoon Portraits of Legendary Blues Artists

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A Republican’s Guide to Gotcha Questions

Mother Jones

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Are “gotcha” questions unfair? It depends. I’m personally averse to Jeopardy-style factual quizzes, but not because it’s out of line to probe presidential candidates about what they know. Rather, it’s the form of the question itself. It treats presidential candidates like schoolchildren being quizzed in front of the class. It’s inherently demeaning for any self-respecting adult—and for politicians too.

That said, there are gotchas and there are gotchas, and some are worse than others. Here’s a taxonomy:

SEVERE: “Can you name the president of Chechnya? The president of Taiwan? The general who is in charge of Pakistan? The prime minister of India?” Only an asshole asks questions like this.

Recommended answer: “Oh, go fuck yourself.”

HIGH: “Have you ever used cocaine?” This is moderately nasty, but there are dangers to a straightforward refusal to respond. Humor is worth a try.

Recommended answer: “Once, but only accidentally when I picked up a friend at Mena airport in the 90s and left the car door open.”

ELEVATED: “Do you know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?” This is a double-edged sword. Answer it properly and you sound like you actually know something about Islam. Waffle and you sound stupid. Your best bet is to turn it into an attack.

Recommended answer: “ISIS terrorists are Sunni. President Obama is a Shiite. That’s why he hates those guys so much. It all goes back to the seventh-century, when Obama’s 18th cousin 43 times removed insisted that someone from Mohammad’s family should take up the leadership of the Muslim Ummah.”

GUARDED: “What’s your favorite Bible verse?” This is basically a hanging curve. If you ever went to Sunday School, you shouldn’t have any trouble hitting it out of the park.

Recommended answer: “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth. I try to live up to this every single day. There will be no appeasement of America’s enemies on my watch.”

LOW: “What newspapers and magazines do you regularly read?” This is pretty much the opposite of a gotcha. It’s the human interest version of “hello,” a way of easing into an interview with a friendly little softball.

Recommended answer: “All the usual suspects. The Times, the Post, Human Events, and the Journal of Econometrics. Did you see their paper last month critiquing the Fed’s easy money policies by applying a Tobit regression to a fixed-effects nonparametric model with time-aggregated panel data? It was killer.”


A Republican’s Guide to Gotcha Questions

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