We all know that fruits and vegetables are a must for a healthy diet and lifestyle. But what make us all concerned are the numerous reports regarding the alarming amounts of chemicals or pesticides loaded in veggies and fruits that we consume.
How to reduce the amount of chemicals and pesticides we intake along with our food?
Do you use detergent wash to remove pesticides residues in food? Is it actually safe?
Are there any other ways to remove pesticides from food?
Read through this post to know the sensible, simple steps that can be followed to reduce the amount of pesticide and dirt consumed through fruits and veggies.
Health hazards due to pesticide residue in food:
Pesticide residues, dirt and microorganisms, once in our body (through food items) are potential risk factors for several acute and chronic diseases.
Dirt sticking to the vegetable or fruit skins contains thousands of microorganisms which can be responsible for a wide range of food-borne diseases like abdominal pain, cramps, fever and diarrhea to name a few.
Pesticides are toxins intended to kill pests. If they enter human body even in trace amounts they can prove harmful in the long run.
Pesticides can be linked to a wide range of diseases including acute headaches, nausea, and dizziness to chronic diseases like cancer.
5 sources of harmful chemicals or pesticides in food:
- Application of chemicals or fertilizers to yield better crop or produce
- Chemicals used in farms and fields to control pests contribute to the major accumulation of pesticides in our food
- Chemicals applied or sprayed on the veggies and fruits to increase their shelf life
- Chemicals injected or sprayed into fruits so that they look more appealing. Like wax coated apples which are appealing to the eyes but extremely harmful to our health
- Harmful chemicals used to hasten the process of ripening
Should one use detergent wash to remove chemical and pesticide residue in food?
Detergent cleaners for your veggies and fruits, will do more harm than good and I would not suggest to use a soap, detergent or cleaning agent to clean vegetables or fruits.
Most veggies / fruits can absorb the chemicals present in cleaning agents through pores in their surface. So it is better to avoid adding more chemicals to already chemical loaded items.
4 Effective methods to remove pesticides in food:
In my quest to reduce the chemical intakes, I researched a lot of websites and traditional books, and would like to share the summary with readers.
I try to use these methods most of the time and mostly rely on salt, vinegar wash for salads or fruits.
One can use any methods based on their choice.
#1. Washing in running water
Wash and scrub all fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water. Running water has an abrasive effect. You should always use hands, fingers to scrub the veggies and fruits gently. This will help remove bacteria and traces of chemicals from the surface of fruits, vegetables and dirt from gaps.
It is also an effective method to remove dirt and chemicals like wax. Try to use a simple peeler and remove the first layer of the veggies and fruits. This method can be employed for most of the fruits except grapes and plums.
#3. Vinegar Bath
This is one of the most effective methods and it is said that this wash removes more than 90% of bacteria and reduces the pesticide level as well.
One can make a simple mix of 1 part white vinegar and 3 parts water and soak the veggies / fruits in the same for a minute or so . Once soaked rinse the items in running water and dry using a clean cloth.
#4. Salt Wash
This is one of the easiest methods and can be used for all sorts of produce. Just make a solution with 1 tsp. of salt in 2 cups of water. Wash the fruits and veggies in the salt solution for a minute or so and then rinse the items in running water. Dry using a cotton cloth. You can dry veggies under sun too.
Though not all the pesticides/chemicals can be removed by these practices, it will definitely ensure that one consumes lesser amount of chemicals.
Other ways to reduce chemical intake through foods:
One of the safest options is to move to organic produce. But for most of us organic may not be the easily available option or is way out of our budget.
I try to buy organic produce but many a times the stock gets over in a few hours and I end up buying regular produce available in the vegetable market / sabziwala.
Know which are the most pesticide-contaminated foods in your locality/country. This can help you replace only the most contaminated with organic produce or avoid/lessen the consumption of these foods.
Last but not the least; do try to eat a range of foods, from different sources. This definitely will reduce your likelihood of exposure to a single set of chemicals.
So next time you offer a salad or fruit to your family, do try to follow these steps and try to do your bit. You will feel great ☺
Hope this post is useful to all you parents.
What methods do you use to ensure pesticide free vegetables and fruits? Is there any other method that you use to remove chemicals and pesticides in food?
Please do share your feedback and your methods in the comments section. It may be useful to the community.
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