The industrialisation of the agriculture sector has increased the chemical burden on our ecosystems and our food production. The frequent use of pesticides and other agrochemicals in food production is a threat to the health of our planet and also our bodies. In a recent study more than 97% of ‘conventional’ vegetables, grains and fruits were found to have agrochemical residues on them. This is an alarming statistic when we now know that pesticides, insecticides, fungicides etc. have been linked to the issues below;
- Endocrine disruption
- Microbiome Dysbiosis (Negative imbalancing of gut bacteria/flora)
- Alzheimers & Dementia
- Oxidative Stress
- Birth Defects
- DNA damage
Pesticides are not just limited to fruit, veg and grains. They can also infiltrate animal proteins. Livestock are often fed unnatural diets of GMO soy, corn and grain as it’s cheap, easy to manage and helps the animals gain weight quicker. These grains are usually heavily sprayed with things like glyphosate (the most commonly used herbicide) and known carcinogen. Like humans, animals will either metabolize and excrete pesticides OR bioaccumulate them in body fat. So, when we are eating that delicious grain fed steak we are inadvertently ingesting chemicals the animal was exposed to during its lifetime.
So what can we do to reduce our exposure?
Choosing to eat organic certified produce is your best bet for limiting exposure to synthetic chemical inputs. If you can’t source organic food or it is out of your budget then thoroughly soaking conventional fruit and vegetables in a water filled sink with a cup of white wine vinegar for 15 mins will help to remove some of the pesticide residues.
With regards to meat consumption choosing an organic or pasture raised/grass fed product will reduce your exposure to chemicals. Pasture raised and grass fed animals also have a lower fat content than conventionally raised animals, so even if the animals had been exposed to pesticides in their lifetime you are likely to consume smaller amounts due to their lower fat content.