If you are making an effort to eat your five potions of fruit and vegetables a day you might be getting more than you bargained for. Along with your anti-oxidants, phytochemicals, (beneficial plant chemicals) vitamins, and minerals you could be getting a cocktail of toxic chemicals.
Farmers use pounds of pesticides and fungicides, toxic by design, every year to grow their crops and some inevitably end up on the produce you eat. Researchers have found the people who eat the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables consume an average of 10 pesticides or pesticide residues a day.
Fruit and vegetables are not the only produce that contain pesticides. Your meat and dairy products contain them too. Toxic chemicals are applied directly to animals and their feed. I was shocked to discover that although the amounts of pesticides used on crops for human consumption are controlled there is no limit for pesticide use on cattle feed.
Scientists are finding higher and higher levels of pesticides in people throughout the world. Although governments insist that the levels of pesticides we consume are safe more and more research indicates that a combination of chemicals can contribute to a whole host of health problems such as:
- Fertility problems
- Brain tumors
- Childhood leukemia
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Birth defects
- Hormone or endocrine system problems
- Nervous system damage
Pesticides are not the only toxins in your food. Some seafood is dangerously high in mercury, PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyls), dioxins and flame retardants with unknown long-term effects.
Trying to get to the bottom of some of her patient’s symptoms led San Francisco internist, Dr Jane Hightower, to a year long study that associated their high levels of mercury with their fish eating habits.
Methylmercury, the sort you get from fish, can accumulate in and cause damage to your liver, kidneys, brain and blood, can cause genetic damage and harm a child’s developing nervous system. Unborn babies and young infants are very sensitive to methylmercury’s effects.
Dioxins are environmental toxins that are considered to be one of the most toxic substances known to man. They are mainly by-products of industrial processes but can also result from natural processes, such as volcanic eruptions and forest fires. 95% of your exposure to this chemical comes from eating dairy products, red meat, fish and shellfish.
Once dioxins have entered your body they are likely to stay there a long time as they are stored in the fat tissues. Dioxins have been implicated in heart disease, endometriosis, immune system problems, diabetes, thyroid disorders, reproductive and birth defects.
Bacteria in Ready Meals
Dr Dirk Budka, a microbiologist, and his associates analyzed, for a UK Channel 5 program to be screened in August, six different “Ready Meals” from four major UK supermarkets. They were found to be shockingly high in bacteria and histamine that could make you ill.
Many bacteria present in food are far more resistant to food-processing and storage techniques than expected. They are multiplying while they sit on the shelf.
Histamine in fish
Dr Budka also analysed fish sold in packs as well as so called fresh fish in major superkarkets and found them to be unacceptably high in histamine. He states that good quality fish contain less than 10 mg/kg histamine, a level of 30 mg/kg indicates already significant deterioration. He discovered fish that contained levels of 185mg/kg and 450 mg/kg! This means the fish is seriously deteriorating. Do you really want to eat it?
Processed foods are full of chemical additives such as artificial sweeteners, flavors and colors, preservatives, flavor enhancers, benzoates, nitrites and sulfites. Some products are so full of additives that they are products of food science rather than nature.
Many of these additives have been linked to health problems such as cancer, asthma, hyperactivity, food cravings, weight gain, digestive problems and allergies. Based on accumulating research campaigners in the UK have encouraged supermarkets to remove some of them form their own brands especially in products aimed at children.
How can I stop poisoning myself?
- Eat Organic– Regularly eating organic food reduces the amount of pesticides in your body. If you can’t eat all organic then at least replace the foods that are known to be highest in pesticides.The Environmental working Group list these “dirty dozen” fruit & veg as containing the highest levels of pesticides. Its best to replace these with organic produce if you can.
- Peach 100 (highest pesticide load)
- Apple 93
- Sweet Bell Pepper 83
- Celery 82
- Nectarine 81
- Strawberries 80
- Cherries 73
- Kale 69
- Lettuce 67
- Grapes – Imported 66
- Carrot 63
- Find out more about what is in your food here: www.WhatsOnMyFood.org
- Wash non-organic produce really well and peel fruit if possible as this is where chemicals tend to be heavily concentrated.
- Avoid commercially produced meat and dairy products that are full of antibiotic and hormone residue. Look for grass fed and free range or preferably organic.
- Avoid fish that contains high levels of mercury. It bio-accumulates so when fish eat smaller fish they absorb the mercury from them. The largest and oldest fish contain the most. Avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, albacore tuna, and tilefish. Find out what fish contains here: www.gotmercury.org Avoid farmed salmon which is a major source of PCB’s.
- Do not buy fish in packs and make sure your fresh fish is very fresh.
- Avoid pre-packaged, ready meals and processed foods:
- Avoid salami, bologna and other delicatessen meats. They contain the toxin sodium nitrate which has been linked with cancer.
- Read labels and avoid products that contain artificial additives and colors.
The first step to health is to stop causing disease. This can only be accomplished when you stop eating unwholesome foods and drinks while cleaning out poisonous waste from your body.