Pesticides on foods aren't going away anytime Soon, but here's what you can do about it.
Very few of us can be labelled as ‘healthy’ today. Almost each and every individual is suffering from one or the other disease – may it be as minor as acidity or as serious as Cancer.
Why is it so?
The intake of pesticides and wax in large amounts daily is ruining our body.
If you want your diet to work in your favor, SWITCH TO ORGANIC!
- The sad truth is pesticides are everywhere: the air, the water, and your food, and they’ve been linked to birth defects, poisoning deaths and a wide range of illnesses.
So here are some reminders on how to mitigate the pesticides covering your fruit and vegetables, and which produce are the most (and least!) pesticide-residue prone.
- Wash Your Food, All of It, and Wash It Right
Thoroughly wash all your produce. No, rubbing the apple on your shirt before biting in is not enough. According to the National Pesticide Information Centre, even organic foods and foods that you peel should first be washed. The NPIC recommends that you wash your produce under running water rather than dunking or soaking it. Scrub produce with tough skin, like melons or potatoes. In addition, dry your fruits and vegetables with a towel.
- Stick with the Insides
Whenever possible, peel your fruits and vegetables. Residue can get stuck in the crevices of peels and be difficult to remove. Toss the outside layer of leafy vegetables. Even with meat, it is best to cut off the excess fat and skin, which could have absorbed pesticide residue.
- Mix It Up
The NPIC suggests eating a variety of fruits and vegetables so as to prevent overexposure to a single pesticide. You should be doing this anyway to make sure you’re getting all your needed nutrients, remember?
- Grow Your Own
The best way to control what’s on your vegetables is to grow your own. This may sound daunting, especially with colder temperatures on the way. But there are several vegetables that can be grown indoors, such as tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers and eggplants. Got a windowsill? Cool, now you’ve got a vegetable garden.
- Eat Organic -- It’s Easier than You Think
People often bristle at being told to eat organic. Organic produce can be expensive, difficult to find, and who has the time to chase down which farmer’s market is open on which day. If this sounds like you, consider a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) club. CSAs ensure you know from whom exactly you are buying your produce. Often CSAs end up being more economical because they give you a limited amount each time, which prevents overbuying and letting food go to waste. Many organic CSAs exist, and many of them deliver your goods to your door. To find one in your area, try Local Harvest’s CSA finder. And remember -- even organic produce can have pesticide residue on it from nearby farms or contaminated transportation methods, so still wash everything thoroughly!
- Be Wary When Buying These
Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases its “Dirty Dozen” list of the 12 foods found to be most contaminated with pesticide residues. The organization ranks 48 fruits and vegetables based on thousands of samples tested by the USDA and FDA. These tests are done after produce is washed and peeled, giving the consumer an idea of which produce maintain higher levels of toxicity even after proper precautions. Topping the Dirty Dozen list are apples (99% of apples test positive for some pesticide residue), celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes (a single grape tested positive for 15 pesticide residues), hot peppers, imported nectarines (every single nectarine sampled in the test came up positive for pesticide residue), peaches, potatoes, spinach, strawberries and sweet bell peppers.
- And Buy More of These
The EWG concurrently releases a “Clean Fifteen” list of the fruits and vegetables with the least pesticide residue. Their favourite low-pesticide fruits and vegetables include asparagus, avocados, cabbage, cantaloupe, sweet corn, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi, mangos and mushrooms. Remember -- that doesn’t mean these items had no pesticide residue, just less.
Did you know? In Organic Farming, No herbicides are used to kill the weeds. Farmers pluck out the weeds themselves.
Due to no pesticides being sprayed on the crops and soil; organic farming reduces soil erosion and pollution.
- It is also a healthier option for birds and wildlife as they are prevented from consuming pesticides. When the wildlife is exposed to the pesticides; the animals vanish.
Before you choose Conventional over Organic Food, KNOW YOUR FACTS!
- Natural fertilizers like compost and manure are used Chemical fertilizers are used
- Fresher and tastier as no preservatives are used Preservatives are highly used to extend the shelf life of crops
- Weeds are naturally controlled by methods like hand weeding, crop rotation, mulching, etc. Herbicides are used to control the weeds
Organic crops come from local farms and are hence trustworthy as conventional produce can be stored for a longer time, it can be easily imported. You never know how the crops are produced – if they are handled and grown in hygienic ways or not.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle! Rather than switching to medicines; switch to organic food.