The Dangers of Pesticides

While eating healthy can be confusing to people when it comes to what foods they should eat, another thing on shopper’s minds is the pesticides in fruits and vegetables. In fact, a recent survey of 1,050 people found that 85% of Americans should be concerned with the pesticides found on their produce. If these worries are justified, should everyone be spending the extra money to buy organic fruits and vegetables?

Experts believe that organic is typically the best choice for several reasons. Not only is it better for your health, but it is also better for the environment and the farms where foods are grown. The risk posed by pesticides varies on different produce, with some produce having a very low risk and some having a very high risk. This depends on the type of produce and its location of origin. The differences among produce can be severe, for example, one cup of green beans from the United States carries 200 times the risk than one cup of broccoli grown in the United States.

On average, there are traces of 29 various pesticides in the average person’s body. Unfortunately, the long-term health effects are unknown. To minimize your exposure to pesticides, eat fruits and vegetables that are in the low-risk category. Often, there is a non-organic item with a risk of pesticide that is as low as one that is organic. For example, because bananas come with a natural covering that you do not eat, they are on the lower end of the risk scale. Cabbage is also low on the risk scale because it has a protective barrier. However, peppers are an example of a food that is best eaten organic because they have a higher risk of containing pesticides.

Eating organic foods can decrease your risk of exposure to pesticides. Alternatively, eating nonorganic foods has been associated with higher pesticide levels in your body. A recent study of almost 4,500 people in America has found that people who typically ate organic foods had 65% lower levels of pesticide residue in their bodies compared to people who ate very few organic fruits and vegetables.

It is best to choose organic foods as much as you can to decrease your exposure to pesticides. Not only do pesticides pose a risk to your health, but can also pose a risk to the health of unborn babies.

Honey can also be affected by pesticides. Because bees are pollinators, they travel from plant to plant. It is easy for bees to become contaminated with pesticides as grasslands are largely being converted into genetically engineered corn and soybean fields where pesticides are often sprayed. Bees then transfer the pesticide contamination to their honey. Research has found that pollen that has been collected near corn fields is contaminated with as many as 32 different pesticides.

It is important to know that you do not have to do all or nothing. Eating some organic foods is better than eating none and all, especially if you pay attention to how risky the foods are that you are eating. By purchasing foods that are organic, you are voting for fewer pesticides to be used on our food supply.

For the nonorganic produce that you eat, it is best to wash them with a solution of baking soda to help remove some of the pesticide residues on the food’s surface, however, it won’t remove chemical residues that have seeped into the food beyond the peel.

Peeling your fruits and vegetables is another option to reduce the number of pesticides that you consume. However, this also means that you will be taking off some of the healthy parts of the produce that includes the most fiber and vitamins. Because of this, the best way to avoid consuming pesticides is to choose foods that have not been exposed to pesticides to begin with.

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