Toxins are everywhere – in the polluted air we breathe, the possibly contaminated water we drink, and the food we eat! The sources of contamination are multiple (pesticides, synthetic colors, preservatives etc.) and so are the reasons to avoid them. For a healthier life, you need to have a healthier food choice and with the chemicals in picture, that also seems to be a task now. But, awareness is the key to keep these harmful chemicals at bay. So, here we are with a list of toxins that are present in your food and the ways to avoid them.

Detest the pesticides

Pesticides are used for better yields, improved food quality and protection of crops but, as its benefits are charming, so are its hazards alarming. They are like the wind present everywhere, seen nowhere! They can be found in fruits, meat, vegetables, grains etc. and can lead to immune suppression, diminished intelligence, cancer, reproductive abnormalities and hormone disruption. Does that mean you should stop eating these? No, it means you should be extra careful and follow the simple hacks to stay healthy.

  • Believe in the DIY and grow your own veggies with natural herbicides wherever possible!
  • Wash your vegetables thoroughly, peel off the veggies like cucumber, before consumption, boil the vegetables in hot water, and drink mineral water.
  • Organic foods can prove to be a boon as they are synthetic pesticide-free.

Combat BHA & BHT for a healthier life

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) are the compounds that are usually added to fats and cooking oils (and many others including baked foods, snacks, etc.) as “antioxidants” and their key role is to prevent oils from becoming rancid. Fats and oils get oxidized when exposed to air for a long time, and this process results in their getting spoilt. BHA is an antioxidant, which prevents the spoilage. But many studies have found that BHA increases activity of cancer cells in liver and other organs. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has declared BHA as a carcinogen. The ways to avoid it are:

  • Read labels carefully for BHA (listed as antioxidant under ingredients). Try and buy products without BHA.
  • Cold pressed oils are available, although not extensively, but many online sites sell them.
  • It is good to make butter and ghee from fresh milk at home as much as possible.

Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH/rBST)

rBGH is a synthetic hormone that is manmade, and given to cows to stimulate milk production. Some countries have banned the use of this hormone. Cows that receive this hormone have a higher level of another hormone called IGF-1, which is believed to help cancer cells grow and induce tumours. More studies are needed on permissible levels and there is still no regulation on commercially packaged milk in India.  To avoid its consumption, you can:

  • Choose organic or rBGh free products

Obviate Sodium Aluminium Sulphate and Potassium Aluminium Sulphate

Listed under ingredients as soda alum or sodium alum, or simply as acidity regulator (E521) this chemical is basically used to make baking powder and used in anything that is baked. Processed cheese products, microwave popcorn, among other packaged goods, also contain this. These ingredients are linked to adverse reproductive, neurological, behavioural, and developmental effects.

The US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) states that aluminium salts in excessive amounts, have adverse effects on bone health, can cause kidney damage, and interfere with glucose metabolism. Avoid these by:

  • Reading labels carefully. Avoid the food if you find this listed on the label.
  • Most baked goods and processed foods contain this, and in India, there are no label regulations for the street vendor or the local baker. Stay away from these as much as possible!

Avoiding processed foods as much as possible is one of the best way to stay away from toxins and have a healthy meal plan. Staying healthy is a choice and making the right food choices is a progressive step towards nailing that art. If you want to have a fulfilling life, opt for health as that is what will help you grow and enjoy your life to the fullest. Give a thumbs up if you find this article interesting and don’t forget to share with your friends.

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