Natural Treatment for Hypertension

If you have been told you have high blood pressure or Hypertension you may be concerned about taking medication long term. There are several strategies you can take to help get your numbers down which may help you avoid or reduce the need for medication.

Many of the strategies involve lifestyle and diet factors which you can do yourself but a Naturopath can also help you with herbal and nutritional therapy to assist further if needed.

7 Tips to Help Reduce High Blood Pressure

1. Check your weight. Blood pressure can increase as your weight does, and getting your weight into a range suitable for your height can be effective in getting your blood pressure normalised. Carrying additional weight around your middle can also put you at greater risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease so employ healthy eating with exercise to assist you in reducing your weight if needed.

2. Exercise regardless of your weight. Exercise can help prevent elevations in blood pressure as we age, but can also be a great way to decrease elevated blood pressure. Aim for the exercise to be regular and enjoyable. Try for 30 minutes daily even if you start off walking until you increase your fitness. Ideally, a combination of aerobic and strength exercises across the week will help your weight control and help to reduce high blood pressure.

3. Look at your diet. What you want to aim for is a diet high in fresh food and low in processed food. Fresh food includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, good quality oils such as cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. Avoid fried and fatty foods, anything high in salt and low in fibre. Start looking at the labels on your food if you are consuming packaged foods – you’d be surprised how much salt can be in these foods, and this can cause blood pressure to elevate.

4. Address lifestyle factors that can increase blood pressure like alcohol and smoking, and excessive intake of caffeine. Some research has shown that a small amount of alcohol can potentially reduce your blood pressure, however, the protective effect can be lost if too much alcohol is consumed. One drink daily for women and two for men would be maximum. Smoking increases blood pressure for some time after each cigarette and increases your risk of heart disease overall. Some people are also sensitive to caffeine and experience increases in blood pressure after consuming it.

5. Check your stress. Along with diet and exercise, stress is one of the major factors to consider in managing your blood pressure. Identify where your stress comes from – look at areas work, financial pressures, illness or family concerns. Once you do this you can implement strategies to help manage your stress.

6. Hook into your support system. Allow family and friends to help support you in making changes to your diet, exercise program or lifestyle. Ask them for encouragement and assistance in helping you to reach your goals. Try embarking on some of the changes with a friend, family member or colleague to help support one another, keep you accountable and make it enjoyable.

7. Seek Professional Help. A Naturopath can help to look at these areas of your life and help you to plan strategies to improve not just your blood pressure but your overall health too. Naturopaths can also use a variety of herbs and nutrients to help to naturally support the cardiovascular and nervous system to help you reach your goal.

To make an appointment with a naturopath at Brisbane Natural Health, call us on 07 3106 8790 or click here to book online now.

Natural Cures for Constipation

Health begins in the gut, and constipation is just one of many signs that your digestive system is out of balance. A healthy bowel motion consists of waste products from digestion, bacteria, undigested food particles, salt, bacteria, toxins and other compounds. The colon is a key organ of detoxification and elimination which is critical to the function of almost every other system in the body.

Imagine if you didn’t empty your garbage bin regularly; waste would overflow into the surrounding room, scraps could putrefy and release unpleasant odours and gases, and undesirable creatures would be attracted to the mess. A similar analogy can be applied to the bowels. If wastes are not removed effectively and efficiently, they can putrefy, damage the integrity of the lining of the gut, and cause a recycling of some toxins back into the body creating an increased workload on other organs such as the liver.

Constipation is by definition, infrequent or incomplete bowel motions. Constipation can mean hard, dry and small bowel movements or bowel motions occurring less than three times per week. If your bowel motions do not fit this checklist for what is considered normal and healthy, then you may be constipated and need to become a “poo detective” to make some changes.

Healthy Poo Checklist:
✓ You empty your bowels 1 to 2 times daily.
✓ No straining.
✓ No pain.
✓ Smooth, sausage-shaped log or a few smaller pieces.
✓ Takes no longer than 10 minutes to complete.
✓ Brown to dark brown in colour. (Red or black stools require medical attention)
✓ Consistent in its characteristics from day to day.

While constipation may be caused by irritable bowel syndrome or some gastrointestinal infections, it is most commonly caused by a lack of water intake and low fibre intake.
Constipation can also be caused by the overuse of laxatives, leading to a “lazy bowel”. The bowel walls have muscles which contract and relax rhythmically to move bowel contents along. If they are not looked after correctly, just like the other muscles in your body, they too can lose tone and become weakened, leading to constipation.

Some natural ways to relieve constipation include:

Water in adequate amounts is critical to healthy bowel motions. You want to aim for roughly 8 glasses of filtered water everyday.

Fibre is the indigestible part of plants that can act as an intestinal broom. Insoluble fibre draws water to itself as it passes through the bowel, softening and bulking the stool supporting regular bowel motions. Resistant starches also fall in the fibre category and are essential for supporting healthy microbial balance in the digestive tract. Eating approximately three handfuls of vegetables with your main meals and including nuts, seeds and legumes are all good ways to get enough fibre in your daily intake. Partially hydrolysed guar gum is a water-soluble fibre that shows promising results in clinical studies for improving the frequency of bowel motions, reducing straining, and reducing abdominal discomfort.

Good Gut Bacteria are critical to our health. They have many important functions in the body, including assisting in digestion and breakdown of foods, absorption of nutrients, production of energy, vitamins and other important compounds for the body. To help support a healthy gut colony or microbiome, including fermented foods in your diet such as yoghurt, saurkraut, kombucha, kimchi or pickles. Foods containing resistant starches such as bananas, onion, garlic, jerusalem artichoke, asparagus can also help to feed the microbes in your gut, creating a healthy environment in which for them to flourish.

Rest and digest. We often underestimate the importance of chewing our food properly, and taking time away from work to switch our body into digestion mode. Eating consciously and mindfully allows your body to send the right signals to the stomach to break food down properly, pass it successfully through the digestive tract, trigger nutrient absorption and healthy waste elimination. Eating at work or on the go detracts from these messages getting through to your digestive tract, slowing the whole process down.

Your naturopath and acupuncturist can also assist you to resolve constipation by discovering the underlying causes and creating a specific treatment plan to suit your unique circumstances. Our toolbox includes herbs, nutrients, and functional foods to enhance the overall digestive process, allowing for an adequate breakdown of foods, optimal absorption of nutrients and effective elimination of toxins. The goal of treatment is to return the bowel to natural healthy function and avoid the use of laxatives.


To make an appointment with a naturopath at Brisbane Natural Health, call us on 07 3106 8790 or click here to book online now.

Natural Treatment for Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a complex and chronic skin condition characterised by an increase in the life cycle of skin cells causing them to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin and resulting in inflammation and elevated scaly plaques that can be itchy or painful. It is commonly found on the elbows, knees, lower back, hips and scalp but can often affect the legs, trunk, eyes, and nails as well.

The cause of Psoriasis isn’t fully understood as yet, however, it is thought that genetics, environmental and lifestyle triggers, and immune dysfunction can all play a role.

Environmental and lifestyle triggers could include:

  • Digestive factors such as poor digestion, liver, and bowel function
  • Emotional stress
  • Toxins, alcohol use, smoking
  • Sunburn or trauma to the skin
  • Infection
  • Food intolerances such as gluten
  • Some medications

Immune dysfunction or an autoimmune reaction can also occur whereby some of your immune cells usually responsible for defending against viruses or bacteria can attack your healthy skin cells by mistake. These immune cells can also be overactive which triggers a rapid increase in the rate of production of healthy skin cells, causing them to build-up on the surface of the skin in thick, scaly patches.

What are the signs and symptoms?

The symptoms experienced can be different for

each person but commonly include:

  •  Red patches of skin covered with thick, silvery scales
  •  Dry, cracked skin that may bleed
  •  Itching or soreness
  •  Thickened, pitted or ridged nails
  •  Swollen and stiff joints

Psoriasis can come and go in cycles, sometimes flaring up for a few weeks or months, then subsiding for a time.

A Naturopathic Approach

Because Psoriasis is multifactorial and complex, it is important that all the triggers and exacerbating factors are identified, and these are likely to vary from person to person as we are all unique and individual. A comprehensive Naturopathic approach will take these factors into consideration, addressing the big picture and the underlying causes that are specific to you.

Our Naturopathic approach takes into consideration all the physical and emotional impacts for the patient, addressing the skin health as well as identifying strategies for stress management, diet and lifestyle changes as appropriate.

Psoriasis and the impact on Emotional Wellness

A recent report that looked at the emotional wellness of 120,000 people across 184 countries suffering from Psoriasis revealed that 40% of women and 30% of men experienced significantly greater negative impact on their emotional wellness than those without Psoriasis. It was found that the loneliness, isolation, and stress associated with living with Psoriasis was a major driver for significantly lower levels of happiness.

The participants also felt that the impact that Psoriasis has on your mental wellbeing is often overlooked by mainstream health professionals.

Supporting yourself with a caring team of health professionals that will address the not only the physical but also your mental and emotional well-being can provide the support network that is often missing in the management of Psoriasis.

What to do next?

If you are looking for support with Psoriasis our Naturopaths, Acupuncturists and Emotional Wellness team can work together with you to provide this big picture approach, and help support you in achieving improvements in your health and wellbeing.  Call us on 07 3367 0337 and make an appointment at our Brisbane clinic.


To make an appointment at Brisbane Natural Health, call us on 07 3106 8790 or click here to book online now.

Dry Needling

Dry Needling specifically treats musculoskeletal pain. A fine, single-use needle is inserted into a dysfunctional muscle with the aim of returning it to its optimal state. Studies have shown there to be a localised increase in blood flow and a release of endorphins as soon as a needle is inserted; both positive reactions to reduce pain and dysfunction.

What is a trigger point?

A trigger point is a contraction in a tight band of muscle which causes pain when palpated or squeezed, in a specific site and/or referring to other areas of the body. Trigger points can cause symptoms such as numbness, tingling, weakness, or lack of normal range of movement.

Dry Needling Vs Acupuncture?

It is important to know that Acupuncture and Dry Needling are two very distinct modalities. Dry needling is based upon the western medicine paradigm.

It is used for soft tissue correction, which involves inserting extremely fine and painless needles into muscle fibres, causing a local twitch response. This, in turn, helps to deactivate and resolve trigger points in the muscle and release constriction. Acupuncture, on the other hand, is based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine and the stimulation of Qi (pronounce Chi).

Acupuncture diagnoses using complex theories, meaning only a qualified and registered Acupuncturist or Chinese Medicine practitioner can treat with Acupuncture. Many health professionals utilise Dry Needling as a method for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain, including Myotherapists, Physiotherapists, Podiatrists and even some GP’s.


Acupuncture began in China more than 2000 years ago and has been a major part of their health care system ever since. It involves fine, single-use needles being inserted into very specific points along the body’s meridians which are found on every corner of the body including the hands, feet, and head. The individual points have a specific function and are chosen depending on the condition being treated.

Acupuncture helps conditions based on symptoms using ancient Chinese theories. These theories aim to achieve wellness and to restore balance throughout the body.
The techniques are gentle and the practitioner spends quality time with the client to ensure a positive experience occurs.

Rebecca Brewster – Hypnotherapist

Rebecca Brewster is a registered Counsellor and Hypnotherapist practicing strategic psychotherapy and clinical hypnosis.

Rebecca is passionate about working with clients to break down emotional and subconscious barriers that hold them back from reaching their fullest potential. Through hypnosis and psychotherapy she can uncover and change unhealthy beliefs, which in turn affects behavior and ultimately how confident and content you feel day to day.

Rebecca has lived and worked across three states and travelled extensively in Australia and overseas. After enjoying a successful career as a Public Relations Consultant, Rebecca undertook postgraduate study, specialising in counselling and clinical hypnosis. Over the years, Rebecca has taken her love of people’s stories, and the privilege of listening to the material that makes up the fabric of their lives, to a deeper level in an effective and exciting therapeutic practice.

Having Strategic Psychotherapy with Clinical Hypnosis expertise means Rebecca can work with you to effectively access what is going on for you – both on a conscious and an unconscious level. This enables positive change to be fast-tracked, which works well for both short and long-term outcomes.

Rebecca’s therapeutic framework emphasises optimism, hope, and future goals. Using positive psychology and hypnosis, Rebecca helps people identify both the “gaps” in their lives and the resources that people already have that can be drawn upon to fill them. This collaborative approach can shift thoughts, mood and behavior towards a place where goals can readily be identified and realised.

Whether your issues are changing the negative thoughts that have stopped you from reaching your goals, dealing with unwanted habits, or tackling emotional and relationship challenges, Rebecca can devise strategic treatment plans especially for you.

Read more about how hypnotherapy works here. 

Rebecca works gently and cooperatively with people needing help with anxiety, depression, stress management, addiction, pain relief, sleep issues, grief and loss, career advancement, life transitions, low self-esteem and healthier relationships.

Rebecca’s Qualifications

  • BA Grad Dip Couns.
  • Masters Counselling & Psychotherapy (currently completing)
  • Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance
  • ACT MINDFULLY: Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Training
  • Dr. Yapko’s 100-hour Strategic Psychotherapy and Clinical Hypnosis Training

Call us on 07 3367 0337 to book a hypnotherapy appointment with Rebecca now.

Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome

Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome (CVS) is a condition causing recurrent attacks of intense nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and sometimes headaches or migraines. Attacks can last from a few hours to several days at a time. The condition is more prevalent among children, and seems to occur less frequently in adults. Many children will grow out of the condition once they reach adulthood. CVS is debilitating, and can be dangerous if dehydration occurs.

A person suffering from CVS typically has pale skin, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting, but some patients will also experience diarrhoea, headaches, migraines and light sensitivity.

The cause of CVS is largely a mystery, but there do seem to be some common themes amongst those who suffer with CVS. While the cause is elusive, common triggers for CVS episodes include overexertion, fatigue, hormonal changes around a woman’s menstrual cycle, infections, lack of sleep, temperature extremes, alcohol consumption, allergies, extended periods without eating, and certain foods. Some of the food triggers associated with migraines such as chocolate, cheese and monosodium glutamate, are also considered triggers for CVS.

There are no tests to specifically confirm CVS, rather the diagnosis is based on ruling out other possible causes of the vomiting or abdominal symptoms. Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome is believed to be a class of migraine.

Similar to migraines CVS has four stages.

Symptom free phase – no symptoms appear to be present between episodes.
Prodromal phase – nausea appears with or without abdominal pain. This phase can last a few minutes to several hours.
Vomiting phase – nausea and vomiting can be violent. There is an inability to eat, drink or take medicines without vomiting. Drowsiness, exhaustion, and dehydration may occur.
Recovery phase – after the vomiting stops and skin colour, vitality and appetite returns.


What can be done?

The medical management of CVS often involves avoidance of triggers, symptomatic relief such as the use of medications to reduce nausea, stop vomiting and maintain hydration. Pharmaceuticals may be used also to prevent future episodes if attacks occur greater than once per month. Medications may include tricyclic antidepressants, beta blockers, antihistamines, anticonvulsants and sometimes antibiotics. These medications can be helpful in some cases in the short term, but often come with side effects such as fatigue, drowsiness and are not ideal for the quality of life or long-term use.

Naturopathic care acknowledges that CVS has many and varied potential causes, that no two people are alike, and as such, there is not a one size fits all medicine. In saying that, there is some good evidence for certain nutrients and herbs for this condition and these may be considered where relevant. For example, the cell’s ability to generate energy is considered to be a mechanism which may be affected in CVS. This is similar to what can happen with migraines and there is some evidence that coenzyme Q10 and L-Carnitine may be useful in addressing this cause and alleviating symptoms. Your naturopath may consider these as part of your treatment if indicated as part of the whole picture of your health. Naturopathic support options may also include stress management, emotional wellness practices and the use of herbal and nutritional formulas suited to your needs.

CVS is a challenging condition to live with and a potentially complex condition to treat, however, naturopathy offers the opportunity to manage the symptoms, treat potential underlying causes holistically, and reduce the need for medication which may have detrimental side effects with long-term use.

Understanding Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmunity is a process that occurs when the immune system becomes a little confused about which cells in the body are foreign, and which are self. In autoimmune disease, the body attacks its own healthy cells causing damage to tissues, organs or glands. This creates a chronic inflammatory response, at the same time, leaving our immune surveillance and defense against external infections depleted.

There are more than 80 different types of autoimmune disease. Some have a genetic link, others are triggered by infections, but in many cases, the causes are largely unknown.
Certainly, there are no one size fits all solutions for autoimmune disease and a thorough health history is required to piece the puzzle together and find the contributing causes. It is not good enough to only attempt to ameliorate symptoms with anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive drugs, as in the long term this will generate a new set of health issues.

There are some clear and consistent areas of health that must be addressed in order to manage or restore a healthy immune response:

Stress: Both physical and emotional stress can play a role in developing or sustaining autoimmune inflammation. The body’s response to stress is one of alarm, and an attempt to bring the body back to safety and out of danger. This response creates a cascade of events in the body which can turn off digestion, tissue repair, and cell renewal and increase oxygen and nutrient needs, metabolic waste production and inflammation. The body is designed to recover from short-term stress, but chronic stress can leave this inflammatory response switched on permanently.

Gut Health: The immune system directly responds to anything that crosses from the digestive tract into the bloodstream. Leaky gut is where under-digested food particles, microbes, waste products and toxins are able to breach the gut lining/barrier due to gaps in the tight junctions between cells in the gut wall. The immune system then creates an inflammatory response to these “foreign invaders”, and eventually a prolonged immune response can develop into autoimmunity. Gluten is one of the main culprits for leaky gut and should be avoided if you have an autoimmune disease.

Diet & Toxins: As with gluten, some foods can be a source of inflammation or toxicity in sensitive individuals. With autoimmune disease the gut lining is most likely compromised, contributing to an aberrant immune response to foods that would normally be well tolerated. Additionally, the detoxification system becomes overwhelmed by more reactive compounds or toxins entering the bloodstream. Where a healthy detoxification system may be able to safely eliminate toxins without adverse consequences to the body, an overwhelmed detoxification system may not be as efficient. Additional toxins are potentially introduced in the diet through pesticide residues found on fruit and vegetables. Some of these chemicals have been shown to be associated with an increase in autoimmune diseases. Furthermore, antibiotic residues in meat products have the potential to disrupt the body’s natural microbe balance (the microbiome) leading to a disruption in gut function and immune system behaviour.

With autoimmune disease, it is important that the aim of treatment is truly holistic in order to achieve long-term wellness and reduce the progression towards tissue damage and further dysfunction. Daily dietary, lifestyle, social and emotional behaviours must be addressed in combination with specific therapeutic approaches to both relieve symptoms, restore optimal function, reduce inflammation and balance the immune system response. Your naturopath can help guide you on a specific approach tailored to your needs.

Anne-Marie McDonald

Natural Treatment of PCOS

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, is the most common condition we see at Brisbane Natural Health. Women with PCOS can present in a number of different ways, however, some of the more common issues associated with PCOS are…

  • Irregular menstrual cycles – the time between periods getting longer or not coming at the same time each month
  • Insulin resistance – which causes issues with blood sugar levels
  • Weight gain
  • Acne
  • Hirsutism – excessive hair growth
  • Fatigue

There are 4 main subtypes of PCOS that can occur, as well as there usually being some overlap between each main type.

  1. Insulin Resistant PCOS
  2. Androgen dominant PCOS
  3. Thyroid dysfunction PCOS
  4. Adrenal depleted PCOS

Insulin Resistant PCOS

In this type of PCOS, there is concurrent hormonal dysregulation and insulin resistance. Symptoms can include weight gain, craving sugar, frequent urination, thirstiness, and fatigue.

Androgen dominant PCOS

High testosterone and androgens cause symptoms like hirsutism (hair growth), acne and irregular cycles.

Thyroid dysfunction PCOS

In addition to irregular cycles thyroid function is low, leading to symptoms of hypothyroidism such as weight gain, foggy headedness, dry skin, anxiety and/or depression and low body temperature. Click here to read more about thyroid issues.

Adrenal depleted PCOS

Caused by excessive stress, adrenally depleted PCOS patients suffer from fatigue, insomnia and sometimes mood issues.


Why is the type of PCOS you have important?

PCOS varies widely in presentation, hormonal changes and also symptoms. When our naturopaths are assessing your entire health, they’re looking for what is specifically going on for you. That means there is no one magic pill for the treatment of PCOS, rather the success depends on treating your individual imbalances with specific natural medicines to correct the condition. If insulin resistance is an issue that is a focus. If you have high androgens then our naturopaths will address this.


Can natural therapies help with PCOS?

Yes! Both naturopathy and acupuncture are very effective in addressing the causes and imbalances that are causing your PCOS. At Brisbane Natural Health we have helped hundreds of women correct their PCOS permanently by supporting them to live a healthier lifestyle and providing treatments that target the underlying causes.

How does naturopathy work for PCOS?

Our naturopaths help PCOS first by looking at your symptoms and pathology results to determine what the individual issues you face are. They then develop a tailored treatment plan which includes herbal medicines, nutritional supplements as well as specific dietary advice. Naturopathy is so effective for PCOS due to herbal medicines ability to regulate hormones, support your adrenal and thyroid health and to reduce insulin resistance.

How does acupuncture help PCOS?

Acupuncture helps to regulate the menstrual cycle and bring the body back into balance over time. It works by stimulating specific acupuncture points on the body to facilitate change. This study found acupuncture to be effective in PCOS, helping to increase blood flow to the ovaries, reduced ovarian volume, reduced number of cysts, improvements in insulin resistance and reduced cortisol levels.

Many of our patients also choose to do naturopathy and acupuncture concurrently. This is ideal if you need faster results, such as if you are treating your PCOS for fertility reasons and want to conceive as quickly as possible.

How long does it take to treat PCOS naturally?

Unfortunately, the natural treatment of PCOS is not a quick fix. Unlike the oral contraceptive pill, which works immediately (although this does not correct the issue, rather masks it), the herbal medicines and acupuncture take some time to correct the issue. For most of our clients, we have seen a significant improvement within 9-12 months, however, it can take 12-24 months to really correct the condition. The success, of course, depends on the severity of your condition, other concurrent issues that need to be addressed and what diet and lifestyle changes you’re prepared to make to make it work. Although PCOS is said to have no “cure” – we have observed that in many of our patients has been reversed, with many of our PCOS patients going on to have healthy babies after treatment.

What if I’m also trying to get pregnant and I have PCOS?

If you’re trying to conceive then your treatment may vary slightly to take this into account. We may prescribe nutrients to support your pregnancy in addition to your regular supplements. As we correct the underlying causes of PCOS your fertility will increase anyway, but there are some other considerations that we make if trying to get pregnant is your goal.

To make an appointment with a naturopath or acupuncturist at Brisbane Natural Health to help with PCOS, call us on 07 3367 0337 or book online now.


5 Tips for Eating Organic on a Budget

You may be aware by now that health is not just about the types of foods we eat, but also the quality and purity of the foods we are eating. I was about to write an article about which foods to prioritize as organic purchases, but then I remembered that the clean 15 and dirty dozen list we often refer to is based on research in the U.S. by the Environmental Working Group. I have done some research on which foods have the most detectable levels of pesticides and other toxins in Australia for our local reference. Check out the tables below.

The purposes of the 2008 Australian total diet study (1) was to determine whether the detectable levels of chemicals in foods from agricultural and veterinary chemical residues are below the referenced levels for human safety. The findings showed that the estimated dietary exposure for contaminants were below the relevant health standards for all population groups both based on average consumption and high consumption. This is good news, however, I do wonder what is considered safe human levels, and how is this determined? Also, there doesn’t appear to be any safety data on the many possible combinations of chemicals applied to a food, and how these combined chemicals are broken down.  

The evidence is stacking up that in all cases, we want to be minimizing our exposure to any contaminants to prevent a cumulative effect overall. In order to do so, the goal is to choose organic where possible for the foods where the most potential contaminants are going to be present.

“All substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison….” Paracelsus (1493-1541).


Organic eating can put a strain on the purse strings, but here are five ways you can reduce your organic food bill.

  1. Start a garden. This can be done even with minimal space using planters on your patio and small pots on your windowsill for herbs.  Strawberries are easy to grow in this manner. This website has some great tips to help you get started.
  2. Avoid the high risk – dirty dozen foods as a priority for your organic food purchase, and wash other produce well.
  3. Buy your produce from your local farmer’s markets. This can save a pretty penny while supporting the grower’s directly, not to mention it’s fun!
  4. Organic home delivery options may be helpful in assigning your food budget each week. Just search organic delivery in your area.
  5. If buying non- organic produce wash it well. This won’t remove all the residues, but will certainly help minimize what you consume. Just prior to use, soak vegetables or hard fruits in a 1 part vinegar 3 parts water solution in a basin for up to 20 minutes. Then rub or scrub each item under running water before setting on a clean towel or strainer to dry.

Dirty Dozen – Make these a priority to buy organic.

Australia U.S (2018)
Apples Strawberries
Cabbage Spinach
Strawberries Nectarines
Capsicums Apples
Tomatoes Grapes
Celery Peaches
Lettuce Cherries
Mushrooms Pears
Nectarines Tomatoes
Grapes Celery
Cucumbers Potatoes
Oranges Sweet Bell Peppers (aka

This table below shows a list of foods with the most pesticide detectable at the time of consumption. Friends of the Earth list of The top 20 foods Australian Foods with the most pesticide detections 2000-2011.(2)

Food Agricultural and Veterinary chemicals detected in foods Adverse effects (see table below for specifics on each chemical)
Apples Captan








Contact may cause dermatitis and conjunctivitis. Classed by the EPA as a probable cancer causing agents.

May cause genetic defects, reproductive toxicity- may affect fertility or cause damage to an unborn child
Causes damage to organs through prolonged and repeated exposure.


Wheat (in breads, breakfast cereals, biscuits) Chlorpyrifos-methyl

Pipeonyl butoxide







A study of the effects of chlorpyrifos on humans exposed over time showed that people exposed to high levels have autoimmune antibodies that are common in people with autoimmune disorders. There is a strong correlation to chronic illness associated with autoimmune disorders after exposure to chlorpyrifos. Among 50 farm pesticides studied, chlorpyrifos was one of two found to be associated with higher risks of lung cancer among frequent pesticide applicators than among infrequent or non-users.Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate, with potential for both acute toxicity at larger amounts and neurological effects in fetuses and children even at very small amounts.
Strawberries Captan

Pp dicofol





Fenbutatin oxide


Contact may cause dermatitis and conjunctivitis. Classed by the EPA as a probable human carcinogen.
May effect the nervous system, human reproduction and damage organs. Product from Asian countries may be contaminated with chlorpyrifos also.
Grapes Dimethoate




May effect the nervous system, human reproduction and damage organs.

Suspected of causing cancer

Lettuce Chlorathalonil








Toxic to acquatic life with long lasting effects. Causes damage to organs through long or repeated exposure.
Causes respiratory irritation, skin and eye irritation, suspected carcinogen. 
Nectarine Bifenthrin





Peaches iprodione
Tomatoes edndolsufan -alpha

Endosulfan – beta

Endosulfan sulphate

Cucumber Chlorothalonil





Apricots Captan



Chicken breast & Eggs Nicarbazin


Added to chicken feed to prevent illness and coccidiosis. Affects bird fertility. (? impact on human fertility)
Toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects. Causes damage to organs through long or repeated exposure
Capsicum Pp dicofol




Piperonyl butoxide



Celery Iprodione




Green Beans Boscalid


Broccoli & Cabbage dithiocarbamate
Mushrooms 2-phenylphenol

Piperonyl butoxide



Avocado Piperonyl butoxide


Oranges Imazalil


2,4 -D


May cause genetic defects, reproductive toxin- may affect fertility or cause damage to an unborn child.

Suspected of causing cancer

Pumpkin Dieldrin

Piperonyl butoxide

*Propargite has proven to be the pesticide with the highest dietary exposure in Australia! (2)


For reference, see below a list of some of these chemicals and their associated toxicities, bearing in mind that this does not take into account the effects of combining these chemicals as there is not data on this. (3)


Pesticide Used for Potential effects of exposure
Captan Fungicide used fruits, vegetables and flowers Contact may cause dermatitis and conjunctivitis. Classed by the EPA as a probable human carcinogen.
Carbendazim Broad spectrum antifungal which acts systemically. May cause genetic defects, reproductive toxin- may affect fertility or cause damage to an unborn child
Chlorpyrifos Insecticide A study of the effects of chlorpyrifos on humans exposed over time showed that people exposed to high levels have autoimmune antibodies that are common in people with autoimmune disorders. There is a strong correlation to chronic illness associated with autoimmune disorders after exposure to chlorpyrifos. Among 50 farm pesticides studied, chlorpyrifos was one of two found to be associated with higher risks of lung cancer among frequent pesticide applicators than among infrequent or non-users.Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate, with potential for both acute toxicity at larger amounts and neurological effects in fetuses and children even at very small amounts
Diphenylamine Used to prevent skin imperfections such as SCALD on apples. Used to treat screwworm in beef, goats and sheep. Irritant to mucous membranes, may cause blood disorders affecting hemoglobin, may cause organ damage through prolonged or repeated exposure.
Endosulfan Insecticide Toxic if swallowed. Very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects.
Iprodione Fungicide Suspected of causing cancer
Propargite* To kill mites or ticks on plants Toxic if inhaled, suspected of causing cancer.
Tebufenpyrad insecticide Causes damage to organs through prolonged and repeated exposure.
Dicofol Organochlorine insecticide Skin irritation, may cause damage to organs with prolonged or repeated exposure.
Dimethoate Organophosphate insecticide May effect the nervous system, human reproduction and damage organs.
Chlorathalonil Fungicide Causes respiratory irritation, skin and eye irritation, suspected carcinogen
Nicarbazin Antiparasitic/antibiotic Added to chicken feed to prevent illness and coccidiosis. Affects bird fertility. (? impact on human fertility)
Methomyl Insecticide Toxic to acquatic life with long lasting effects. Causes damage to organs through long or repeated exposure

*EPA – Environmental Protection Agency

*Carcinogen = cancer causing agent

*Systemically – means it goes right through the plant, not just a surface action. Therefore peeling or washing won’t reduce exposure.


  4. The risk of adverse reproductive and developmental disorders due to occupational pesticide exposure: an overview of current epidemiological evidence.Hanke W1, Jurewicz J.