We all like to watch our diet to make sure we are consuming enough fruit and vegetables, but what if these "healthy" foods are doing us more harm than good?
People are now beginning to recognise that the levels of pesticide residues in our daily food can have a harmful effect on the body. There are various types of pesticide used day to day on farms everywhere, including
- Insecticides – These control insects and ensure that they do not eat away at the plants.
- Rodenticides – Exactly the same as insecticides but they are to control rodents
- Herbicides – These are used to prevent weeks strangling the crops
- Fungicides – These are used to combat mold and fungus
- Antimicrobials – These are used to control bacteria
The health implications are many and varied, depending on which pesticides are used. However, some of the risks are as follows.
- Low birth weight and birth defects
- Child development
- Neurological problems
- Hormone function
Children are more likely to be affected by residues of pesticides in their food than adults, as their bodies are still developing, and anything that has an effect on the development can cause issues later down the line.
So what can I do about it?
Extra washing and peeling of fruit and vegetables will not help. Pesticides are designed to bind tightly to the fruit and vegetables so the rain does not wash them off, so you cannot wash them off either.
Peeling can reduce exposure, but then you lose most of the valuable nutrients. You should also be aware that not only fresh fruit is affected, but also canned or frozen foods. You must remember that something that kills insects and other living creatures is not going to be good for you.
The best option is to avoid eating any fruit and vegetables that are not labelled as organic. Organic food is not treated with chemicals, and, therefore, there will be no residual chemicals left on the fruit or vegetables when you consume them. Many studies by independent organisations have shown that the levels of nutrients present in organic food are far better than their chemically treated alternatives. Organic produce is higher in iron, calcium, magnesium, chromium, vitamin C and antioxidants.
However, if you are struggling to find organic produce near you, there are some foods that are less likely to harm than others. These include:
- Sweet peas
Though these foods are better, they are still not completely free from Pesticide residues, so it is always better to try and find organic food than to risk the effects of these pesticides on your body. If you're really struggling to find organic food stores near you, then why not try growing your own fruit and vegetables. You will not only be able to take great pride in growing your own fruit and vegetables, you'll know exactly where they came from.