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Pesticides in Your Smoothie?

Some choose to start making smoothies in attempt to be healthy. I wouldn’t argue with anyone trying to be healthier or having more fruits and vegetables – it’s an easy, fast, and convenient way to get in more fruits and vegetables into your diet. 

The only issue is that when you “drink” a smoothie, you will have more than you normally eat because it’s basically “chewed” up for you when you blend it. This means you are taking in a concentrated amount of fruits and veggies  the ingredients you use to make a smoothie matters.

smoothie ingredients with pesticide
Picture by Angie Park

But why should you care if you have a bunch of pesticides from the fruits and vegetables in your smoothie?

I would agree that having more fruits and vegetables has been associated with health – it provides you with more fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals – most people don’t get enough of these.

However, according to a 2022 paper from Frontiers in Microbiology, high pesticide load is associated with gut dysbiosis. Putting it simply, gut dysbiosis means you have an imbalance of your gut microflora or gut bugs. You want a balance of “beneficial” ones more than the “neutral” ones and definitely not having the “potentially harmful” ones overgrow or bully the “beneficial” good bugs.

In Nutrients, it reports the association of dysbiosis with several diseases such as Irritable Bowel Disease. A healthy gut microbiome plays a role in metabolic health, intestinal permeability integrity or preventing “leaky gut”, supporting the immune system, and probably more as researchers are still researching.

Most pesticides are coming from produce and run off from water. Are you concentrating your smoothies with fruits and veggies high in pesticides?

EWG  (Environmental Working Group) posted their 2023 list of dirty dozen produce – top 12 list of fruits and vegetables most contaminated with pesticides. Strawberries , kale, and spinach are on their top list of produce high in pesticides. Produce on this dirty dozen list really should be organic.

Simply choosing organic versions of the produce posted on the EWG’s dirty dozen list will reduce your toxic load.

What can you do to reduce toxic load from fruits and vegetables?

pesticide in smoothie
Picture by Angie Park

If you are trying to increase your fruit and vegetable intake to be healthier and smoothies work for you, then continue making smoothies.

  1. I would either choose produce from EWG’s Clean Fifteen List to make a smoothie or choose organic from the Dirty Dozen List. Nowadays, you can easily find organic berries in the frozen section and it’s not as expensive as fresh berries
  2. Grow your own smoothies – start an organic garden!
  3. Wash your produce under running water vs soaking it in water. Rub gently while doing this if applicable

4. Eat season fruits and vegetables and a wide variety of it rather than eating the same produce over and over.

5. Scrub firm produce like potatoes and melons to get dirt off before washing and running under water.

6. Discard outer leaves of produce such as cabbage and lettuce

7. Discard outer layer of produce such as onions

8. Peel what can be peeled such as oranges and apples

Other tips...

  1. Feed your good gut bacteria with fiber. Let your good gut bugs thrive!
  2. Make sure you poop daily – eliminate toxins through your poop!
  3. Make sure you stay well hydrated – dilute the concentration of toxins!
  4. Sweat – skin is your biggest organ, use it to sweat out certain pesticides and insecticides!

If you want more help, please contact RDadvantage.

If you would like to schedule a Discovery Call or appointment with me, click here.

functional registered dietitian nutritionist, RDadvantage


Gama J, Neves B, Pereira A. Chronic Effects of Dietary Pesticides on the Gut Microbiome and Neurodevelopment. Front Microbiol. 2022;13:931440. Published 2022 Jun 30. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2022.931440


Genuis SJ, Lane K, Birkholz D. Human Elimination of Organochlorine Pesticides: Blood, Urine, and Sweat Study. Biomed Res Int. 2016;2016:1624643. doi:10.1155/2016/1624643


Schippa S, Conte MP. Dysbiotic events in gut microbiota: impact on human health. Nutrients. 2014;6(12):5786-5805. Published 2014 Dec 11. doi:10.3390/nu6125786


Chiu YH, Sandoval-Insausti H, Ley SH, et al. Association between intake of fruits and vegetables by pesticide residue status and coronary heart disease risk. Environ Int. 2019;132:105113. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2019.105113


Onki Chan, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. 


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