The consumption of fruits and vegetables is arguably the most important aspect of any well balanced diet. Produce is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, anti-oxidants and many other nutrients that are necessary for our health and well being.
In the ideal world of organic produce, all you have to do to ensure good health is to purchase an orange or an apple, rinse it with a little water then eat it immediately. However, produce farmers use lots of pesticides and other toxins to ensure a good harvest and washing the produce simply won’t do.
So what are your options after purchasing non-organic produce from your local grocery store? Well, the fact is that most people know that it is possible to wash toxins off fruits and vegetables using natural food cleansers.
Why You Should Be Wary Of Pesticides and Toxins in Produce
Some of the fruits and vegetables treated with the most pesticides are cucumber, hot peppers, greens (kale and collard), apples, peaches and raspberries.
On the other hand, veggies like onion, sweet potato, asparagus, sweet corn, sweet pea, cabbage, egg plant, and mushroom as well as fruits like avocados, watermelon, pineapple, mango, kiwi and grapefruit receive the least amount of pesticides, according to data released by the Food and Drug Administration.
These foods were tested for possible pesticide presence 51, 000 times from 2000 to 2009. Nearly all of them were either peeled or rinsed in clean water prior to testing.
Levels of Pesticide Contamination in Various Produce:
- Apples – 99 percent of samples tested positive for at least one type of pesticide residue
- Peaches – 98 percent of peaches tested positive for at least one type of pesticide residue
- Nectarines – 97 percent of nectarine samples were positive for at least one type of pesticide residue
- Grapes – single grape contained at least one type of pesticide residue
- Celery – more than 60 different types of pesticide residue
- Spinach – over 50 different pesticides were found
- Cherry tomatoes – 13 different pesticides were found on one sample
- Sweet bell peppers – one sample had 15 different pesticides
- Cucumbers – some could be laced with close to 85 pesticide toxins
- Potatoes – an average potato has more pesticides by weight than any other produce
- Snap peas – up to 133 different pesticide toxins were detected on imported snap peas samples.
Here are some of the reasons why these toxins are very harmful:
Farmers use pesticides and herbicides to control pests and weeds on their farms. Some farmers also use certain chemicals to conserve produce after harvest, and these too can have a negative impact on our health.
For instance, one of the most common effects of pesticides and other toxins on children is that they inhibit the body’s ability to absorb all the important nutrients that the fruits and vegetables provide for young developing bodies.
This is not to mention the fact that pregnant women who consume fruits and vegetable laced with pesticide residue expose their unborn babies to harmful chemicals. Some pesticides are essentially neurotoxins that can make an individual feel dizzy, confused, light-headed and reduce body coordination as well as the ability to think in the short run.
A study carried out in China concluded that exposure to pesticides adversely affects your liver, blood cells and the peripheral nervous system. Shockingly, it was found that certain pesticides also contribute to infertility in men.
According to a study published by scientists from Harvard’s T.H Chan School of Public Health, men who consume produce with high levels of pesticides had a lower sperm count and an even lower percentage of normal sperm than fellow participants who consumed produce with lower toxin residue levels.
A separate analysis of 21 studies carried out by scientists from London linked diabetes to the intake of pesticide residue. It was found that exposing the body to virtually any type of pesticide increased the risk of incidence of any type of diabetes by up to 61 percent.
7 Natural Ways to Get Rid Of Pesticide Toxins from Produce
Of course, you can always bypass the problem by buying organic produce. Organic foods are grown and harvested without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. When needed, the organic farmers use pesticides derived from a natural source, which makes them safe.
However, not only are organic fruits and vegetables more expensive, they are also not always available. However, since you still need the vitamins, minerals, nail-oxidants, phytochemicals and other nutrients you can only find in produce, you have to eliminate these harmful toxins from your food.
Is simply rinsing the fruit and vegetable under water an effective way of removing pesticide toxins? Well, not always, here is a list of 7 food cleaners you should use to ensure safety instead:
1. A Salt Water Solution
Using a salt solution to wash your produce may remove even the most stubborn residue. Simply mix 2 teaspoons of salt into four cups of warm water, and then stir to dissolve. Once the water cools down, soak the produce for 30 to 60 minutes before rinsing and scrubbing the produce under cold water.
The salt water solution method is not ideal for berries and fragile fruits since they can easily get damaged by the soak and end up tasting salty. To remove toxins from these, all you need is to soak them in cold water before rinsing them.
2. Blanch and Peel
This method is recommended for potatoes and other produce that require being peeled before consumption. You can peel the produce afterwards to ensure that the residue stuck in the fruit’s crevices if removed.
Also, ensure that you cut off all excess fat and skin since it could most likely have absorbed some unwanted pesticide residue. Blanching is also effective for vegetables. Simply treat them in warm water for a short while to remove any leftover residue.
3. Treat Them to A Vinegar Soak
All you have to do to whip up a vinegar solution for cleaning produce is to mix 1 cup of water with 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar.
After mixing them thoroughly in a bowl, simply submerge the fruits and vegetable, soak and scrub each for at least 3o seconds, then remove them and rinse them under tap water for 10 to 15 seconds. This process will also keep your food fresh for longer and prevent spoilage.
When you look at the “leftover” water after this process, you should be able to see the gunk that came off of your produce!
4. 3 Ingredient DIY Produce Spray
This is an easy to make pesticide removal spray. The best part is that you probably have everything you need to prepare it in your kitchen. Here is what you will require:
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of baking soda
- 1 cup of water
Mix all the ingredients until all the baking soda dissolves thoroughly, then pour the mixture into a clean spray bottle. You can spritz this mixture onto your fruits and vegetable, and then let them sit for 5 to 10 minutes. After this, rinse it off in a bowl of clean cold water, and then enjoy your produce!
5. 2 Ingredient DIY Produce Spray
Did you know that vinegar and water could be all you need to remove the toughest and most dangerous pesticide toxins from your produce? That’s right, only two ingredients to ensure that you enjoy lean, healthy food!
Here is what you need to do:
Fill up your kitchen sink (or a large bowl) with three parts water and one part vinegar. Place your fruits or vegetable in this mixture and allow them to soak up for up to one hour (for the case of non-organic apples, allow them to soak for an extra 30 minutes to one hour). After this, remove the fruits or vegetables from the mixture, give them a quick rinse with water and allow them to dry.
They are clean and ready to be eaten! This mixture also helps preserve the produce thereby extending their life. Now you can store your clean food without having to worry that it will spoil the next day!
After this process, the leftover water should be filled with lots of gunk.
6. Activated Charcoal
It is tough to properly get rid of toxins from some fruits and vegetables. Fortunately, you can make a solution of activated charcoal, lemon juice, bicarbonate soda, and food grade hydrogen peroxide. Simply wash the problematic produce in this mixture then rinse in water.
7. Cleanser for Waxy Produce
Waxy produce can be a problem as the wax makes it easier for more toxins to stick to fruits. To clean them, make a cleanser by combining a cup of water with 1/2 cup of vinegar, one tablespoon of baking soda and a dash of grapefruit seed extract.
Once ready, spray this mixture on the waxy produce, leave it for one hour, and then rinse in cold clean water.
I would still recommend that you choose organic produce whenever possible. However, since this may not be possible, use any of these natural cleansers to eliminate toxins. This way, you won’t have to worry about health problems coming about as a result of consuming pesticide in your quest to fill your daily quota of the nutrients that these fruits and vegetables are packed with.
Natural vinegar solutions are especially helpful since they remove toxins, kill bacteria and increase the produce’s shelf life.