Getting healthy, fresh vegetables and fruits are the best way to avoid food toxins. Lately, there is talk about the dangers of buying fruits and vegetables since they may contain chemicals and pesticides. Last year, Thailand Pesticide Action Network conducted a study from samples of produce in our markets to show pesticide levels. The research showed chemical residues at a higher than acceptable standard.
This revelation is difficult to believe and hard to deal with. While the authorities are working on plans and regulations, what do we do? Forgo buying local produce? What’s the best way to get health and fresh food?
1. Cleanse food toxins with water
- Fruits and vegetables are exposed to dirt, bacteria or other microorganisms and pesticides. Clean them and disinfect them.
- Put them under the faucet or in a bucket with water. This will not remove 100% of everything but it has an abrasive effect to get rid of the dirt and residues. The temperature of the water should be a little warm to get better results. You can rub them softly.
- You can also dilute 1 teaspoon of detergent in 3 liters of water at room temperature, and use it to wash your veggies and fruits. Wash for a few seconds properly and then remove the solution rinsing with warm water.
2. Disinfecting food toxins
To clean most of the bacteria and chemicals, try these methods:
- Water with lemon juice and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 tablespoon of the sodium bicarbonate per 1 cup of water. Put this solution in a spray bottle and spray the vegetables and fruits. Leave the solution for a few minutes and then rinse it off with water.
- Water with vinegar and lemon juice: 1 tablespoon of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and a cup of water. Same principle of spraying the vegetables and fruits, leaving it for a few minutes and then rinsing it off with water.
- Commercial special washes: Special washes available in the market or online can remove chemicals from the fruits and vegetables. Follow the same instructions as before with the homemade washing formula.
- Make sure you wash and disinfect food toxins before consuming. Doing this before storing food amid a humid environment will cause fast bacteria growth.
3. Only buy certified organic
- Organic standards are strong about chemical pesticides, so most of the organic foods will be synthetic pesticide free. Some studies have shown consumers of organic products have less toxins in their bodies.
- To identify a product as organic, look for a little stamp or sticker in their label. Find out where are the organic farms or markets located in your city and go shopping there.
- Organic products can be more expensive, so make a list of the fruits or vegetables your family consumes the most. While this might seem expensive, think of it as an investment for your future and your loved ones.
4. Avoid the vegetables or fruits that contain more pesticides
- Check with your local authorities or in published papers, which fruits and vegetables have more concentrated amount of pesticides in your country. Find out which are the ones with the pesticides with the highest health risks. Once you know this, you can avoid the riskiest products or find organic-certified produce. You should still wash and disinfect all the products before consuming, no matter if they have less pesticide concentration.
5. In the products that have skin, take the skin off
- Chemicals will be more concentrated on the exposed areas, such as the skin of a fruit or vegetable. If you remove the skin, you are more likely to be eating the fruit or veggie without pesticides. The only downside of this is missing out on some of the nutrients found on the skin.
6. Grow your own veggies and fruits
- If you have a garden, research on organic methods to grow some fruits and vegetables.
7. Antioxidant protection
- Our body has antioxidants capable of fighting or eliminating dangerous chemicals from pesticides. Eating foods with antioxidants is the best source from fresh fruits and vegetables. The more we consume, the more protection we receive against potential damage from pesticides. Washing fruits and vegetables properly while consuming foods high in antioxidants provide great protection, lessening our chance of disease.
About the Author
Marcela is a Nutritionist and Dietitian, with a specialisation in Sports Nutrition. She earned her undergraduate degree in Human Nutrition at the University of Costa Rica in 2008, then completed her master’s degree in Human Movement and Integrative Health with emphasis on Athletes and Sports Nutrition in the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica in 2010. Marcela dedicated the past ten years to Muay Thai and holds the WBC Asia World Championship.