Summer is rounding the corner and you are thinking it’s your chance to eat healthier foods. Seasonal produce is here for the taking and there is no excuse why you can’t eat more fruits and vegetables! But wait, maybe there is. There is a very good reason why you may want to be picky about the produce you consume.
Fruits and vegetables are sprayed with weed killers (like glyphosphate) and pesticides (such as organophosphates (OP)). These compounds have a wide range of toxicity levels and are chemically similar to nerve gas. Insecticides inhibit the activity of enzymes in the nervous system leading to overstimulation and dysfunction, excessive perspiration, nausea, diarrhea, low blood pressure, muscle weakness, and fatigue.
We are not only consuming toxins from pesticides in produce but, once sprayed the residue ends up in the air we breathe and in our water system effecting fish too. Believe it or not glyphosphate is used in personal care products containing cotton, including tampons. So all this exposure can add up.
In fact, “We’re exposed to a cocktail of chemicals from our food on a daily basis,” says Michael Crupain, M.D., M.P.H., director of Consumer Reports’ Food Safety and Sustainability Center. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are traces of 29 different pesticides in the average American’s body, http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/health/natural-health/pesticides/index.htm.
Eating produce sprayed with harmful chemicals has been associated with nerve conditions (Parkinson’s disease) and reduced motor skills, cancer, liver toxicity, cognitive decline (Alzheimer’s disease) and memory loss, mood swings, asthma, allergies, digestive issues, obesity, hormone disruption, reproduction and fetal development issues and even autism. This is true for domestic produce as well as foods that are imported from other countries like Mexico or Chile.
Organic produce are sprayed withe pesticides too, http://www.safefruitsandveggies.com/regulations/organic. So local farmers markets where you can ask the farmers questions about farming practices may be the ideal way to purchase produce.
Certain population groups like children, pregnant women and the sick or aging may be more sensitive to the effects of pesticides than others. The World Health Organization estimates that there are 3 million cases of pesticide poisoning each year and up to 220,000 deaths, primarily in developing countries.
Make sure you rinse your fruits and vegetables with running water. It will help wash away surface residue and bacteria but it is difficult to completely rid produce of their toxic weed killers and insecticides. When you read pesticide residue information, know that the information is provided as you would eat it, for example rinsed and without the peel.
Many of the top 10 fruits and vegetables with the highest amount of residue are those we consume year round. They are:
- Bell Peppers
- 10 Tomatoes
Better rated produce options are:
- Sweet peas
Let’s not forget, when you choose to eat healthy seasonal summer fruits, do NOT forget the watermelon. It is a better option than most, thirst quenching and a perfect way to end the family BBQ!
The full list created by the Environmental Working Group, http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/, is more detailed.
Eat wisely, cherry pick your fruits and vegetables to eat more foods with less toxins.