10 “Clean Fifteen” Veggies and Fruits Named “Healthiest Foods On Earth”

Save some money and your health by eating ten of the “clean fifteen” fruits and vegetables that are among the healthiest foods on earth. Bonus: Dr. Michael Greger’s video about food as medicine.

The Clean Fifteen

IF YOU haven’t heard of the “Clean Fifteen “ and the “Dirty Dozen”, it’s time to become familiar with them. Your body will thank you.

The Clean Fifteen refer to 15 such fruits and vegetables that are safe to eat without concern about chemical and/or pesticide contamination. This is valuable to know if you’re budget-minded and rather not spend the premium prices that organic foods command.

The Dirty Dozen refer to 12 fruits and veggies that are, well, polluted. These you should either scrub before eating or buy organic.

What you'll get from this article:

  • A list of fruits and vegetables that’s best to buy organic because of their high chemical/pesticide residue.
  • A list of fruits and vegetables you can safely save money on, because they are clean even if conventionally grown.
  • Which of the “Clean Fifteen” are also on billionaire David Murdock’s list of the Healthiest Foods On Earth”.
  • A clear understanding about how food is your medicine or your disease igniter, courtesy of Dr. Gregor’s video presentation.
  • A simple plan for eating more fruits and veggies.


The Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen first came to my attention back in 2010 when I wrote The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 – Food to Live By, which featured a video of Dr. Andrew Weil weighing on the topic.

Then, as now, it was The Environmental Working Group (“EWG”) that reported which foods were safe, and which needed a good scrubbing, or be avoided, unless organically grown. They have been working diligently since 1995 to examine government data and discern which produce contain the most chemicals/pesticides.

And here’s a key point they make:

You can reduce exposure to pesticides by 80% by not consuming the most contaminated foods at the grocer.

For 2016, the EWG points out in its report summary that “more than 98% of strawberry samples, peaches, nectarines and apples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue,” and that, “The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other produce.”

Single samples of strawberries tested positive for 17 different pesticides. A single grape sample and a sweet bell pepper sample contained 15 pesticides.

You don’t want to eat such food.  If you do, be sure to first wash them thoroughly with a solution like Veggie Wash, but know that no pesticide wash will remove chemicals absorbed into the foods itself.


The Dirty Dozen

Let’s dispense with these bad boys right up front and then get into the Clean Fifteen, with a twist, which you’ll see in a minute.

The following 12 foods should either be washed heartily before you eat them, or be grown organically:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Apples
  3. Nectarines
  4. Peaches
  5. Celery
  6. Grapes
  7. Cherries
  8. Spinach
  9. Tomatoes
  10. Sweet bell peppers
  11. Cherry tomatoes
  12. Cucumbers

Go here for a description of them and good alternatives.


The Clean Fifteen

Next up are the Clean Fifteen, which are those conventionally grown foods that are relatively pesticide-free, though they – like all veggies and fruits – should be rinsed with water before eating.

The money you save on buying the less expensive conventionally grown Clean Fifteen can be applied to the purchase of the organically grown items on the Dirty Dozen list.

The “twist” I mentioned above is that I’m going to make which of these 15 have also been designated by billionaire David Murdock’s North Carolina Research Campus, a research center he funded to study and teach the benefits of a plant-based diet for health and disease prevention.

I wrote about David Murdock after Oprah Winfrey interviewed him at his palatial home in an article entitled, 86 Year-old Billionaire’s Recipe for Longevity. In the article, I list his 30+ Healthiest Foods on Earth. Check them out here.

The ten healthiest of the Clean Fifteen are marked with the green check mark. Of course, just because they’re not on David Murdock’s list does not mean thehy’re not worth eating!

Clean Fifteen

Interesting Factoids

Earth’s Healthiest?


Asparagus nourishes beneficial gut bacteria, protects against birth defects and promotes heart health.


Avocados are actually fruit that offer healthy fats, satiation, limit liver damage, reduces oral cancer risk and lowers cholesterol levels.



Green cabbage promotes healthy blood clotting, reduces the risk of prostate, colon, breast and ovarian cancers, and activates the body’s natural detoxification systems.



Cantaloupe can bolster immunity, protect skin against sunburn and reduce inflammation.



Cauliflower stimulates detoxification (given that it’s a sulphurous vegetable), suppresses breast cancer cell growth and defends against prostate cancer. Try different colors.




Sweet Corn, as its name suggests, is sweet, tasty and crunchy, but if you have issues with GMO foods, stick to organic.

checkNot on the “Billionaire “List”. Eat sparingly, as it’s a high glycemic food (lotsa sugar).

Eggplant offers a host of vitamins and minerals, eggplant also contains important phytonutrients, many which have antioxidant activity. Phytonutrients contained in eggplant include phenolic compounds, such caffeic and chlorogenic acid, and flavonoids, such as nasunin, an antioxidant.

nopeNot on the “Billionaire “List”, but is well worth eating.


Grapefruit is rich in vitamin C and may help reduce cold symptoms or severity of cold symptoms and prevent the free radical damage that triggers inflammation.

nopeNot on the “Billionaire “List”, but is well worth eating.

honeydew melon

Honeydew Mellon cuts both ways. The good news: It’s low sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol; has vitamins B6, C, folate and potassium. The bad news: It’s high in sugar.

nopeNot on the “Billionaire “List”. Eat sparingly, as it’s a high glycemic food (lotsa sugar).


Kiwi combats wrinkles, lowers blood clot risk, reduces blood lipids and counters constipation.



Mangoes support immunity, lower “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and regulates homocysteine to protect arteries.


red onions

Onions may reduce the risk of certain cancers if 1-7 servings per week are eaten, but one serving (1/2 cup) is suggested for decreased risk of oral and esophageal cancer.  Get tought and try the red.

nopeNot on the “Billionaire “List”, but is well worth eating.


Papayas may reduce the risk of lung cancer, contain enzymes that aid digestion, and enhances fat burning.



Sweet Peas are sweet, but they also have fiber and protein, making them a worthy addition to your diet.

nopeNot on the “Billionaire “List”, but is well worth eating.


Pineapples can speed up post-surgery recovery, promotes joint health and reduces asthma inflammation.



A Simple Plan

Most of us eat far too few fruits and vegetables, and thus are deprived of the nutrition, antioxidants and fiber so essential to good health.

Need convincing?  Want a good education on this topic?  Then watch Dr. Micahel Gregor’s highly celebrated annual video on the topic:


Once you’re convinced of the value of consuming more fruits and vegetables, follow this simple plan:

  1. Choose one fruit and one vegetable.
  1. Eat each at least twice in week one.
  1. For week two, choose another fruit and vegetable.
  1. Eat each at least twice in week two, along with week one’s selection.
  1. Repeat until you’re consuming a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables every day.

For a list to choose from, check out David Murdock’s “world’s healthiest”.

Happy eating!

Last Updated on June 17, 2022 by Joe Garma

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Joe Garma

I help people live with more vitality and strength. I'm a big believer in sustainability, and am a bit nutty about optimizing my diet, supplements, hormones and exercise. To get exclusive Updates, tips and be on your way to a stronger, more youthful body, join my weekly Newsletter. You can also find me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

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