In this weeks nutrition tidbit, we will briefly discuss pesticides in our food. I won't lie to you, part of me died researching and writing this, but as the old adage goes, knowledge is power, and in this case the difference between growing old disease free or among the ranks of the unhealthy.
First, did you know cancer is projected to increase by 50% in the next 13 years?
Pesticides are nasty stuff for multiple reasons. They can throw off entire ecosystems by leaking into ponds, rivers, streams, and kill the animals that live there. They can also leak into our drinking sources, a process called leeching. Water contaminated by pesticides is no joke for us humans as it is quite unsanitary and harmful for us to drink.
Forget about the potential of pesticides in drinking water though, the real issue is how prevalent this chemical culprit is on our food. Our fruits and veggies are sprayed with pesticides to keep bugs away and so farmers don't lose large portions or their entire crop. From a business point of view, this makes a lot of sense, but from the health side of things, it makes no sense at all. Here's why:
So I know what you're thinking, good grief, right? Are there any foods that I'm safe from? Obviously all that boxed processed crap needs to stay on the shelf, but now my fruits and veggies are contaminated too? What about my healthy eating goals?! Here's where the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 come into play. Farmers who grow organic produce use significantly less pesticides than non-organic farmers, thus you are better off buying the organic version of the foods that fall into the Dirty Dozen. According to the EWG, "More than 98% of samples of strawberries, spinach, peaches, nectarines, cherries, and apples, tested positive for residue of at least one pesticide, and a single sample of strawberries had been contaminated with over 20 different pesticides."
Cancer Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved June 13, 2017, from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/understanding/statistics.
The Dangers of Pesticides. (n.d.). Retrieved June 13, 2017, from https://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/green-science/the_dangers_of_pesticides
Executive Summary. (n.d.). EWG's 2017 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Retrieved June 13, 2017, from https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php