4 toxins lurking in your food

What you eat and drink is probably the most critical decision you can make to protect your health. However, there are ingredients and chemicals in your food that can be toxic to your body. 

Here are 4 "common toxins" in your food which you need to be aware of:

1. Glyphosate

Glyphosate is a herbicide used on plants and vegetables in most countries to kill unwanted plants that compete with the crops being grown as well as killing garden pests.

Glyphosate, sold under the brand name RoundUp is one of the widely used herbicides worldwide. Despite the manufacturer, paying US$10 billion to settle cancer lawsuits, it is still commonly used. 

In 2015, the World Health Organisation (WHO) called the chemical 'probably carcinogenic to humans' based on animal studies. It has many toxic effects such as causing chronic inflammation, extracting essential nutrients from your body and disrupting your gut microbiome by killing the good bacteria in the gut.

High levels of glyphosate were found in soy (including soyabean oil), corn and corn oil, canola, almonds, dried peas, carrots, quinoa, sweet potatoes, oats, wheat, barley and beans. Because of the widespread use in grains, many packaged goods such as granola bars, breakfast cereals, cookies, potato chips may contain glyphosate residue.

Steps to take to reduce glyphosate intake

  • Eat organic produce, where possible.
  • If you are not eating organic produce, you could use baking soda to wash your vegetables and fruit with baking soda before eating to reduce your overall pesticide intake. It seems to be the most effective method, but it won't clear the pesticide completely.
  • Detoxify your body by taking sauerkraut or kombucha. These have bacteria, Acetobacter that degrades glyphosate.
  • Grow your own organic fruit and vegetables. 

2. Nitrates and Nitrites in processed meats

Nitrates and nitrites are added to packaged processed meats to keep them fresher longer. These chemicals cause inflammation and can damage the cells in the colon and rectum. Do make it a habit to read the labels on food packaging to determine if they contain nitrates and nitrites.

3. Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

MSG is a typical food taste enhancer and can lead to excessive glutamate in the brain and excessive stimulation of nerve cells. MSG is considered an excitotoxin, which adversely affects the brain, which is why getting a headache is quite common after having an MSG-laden meal. A great way to improve the taste of your dishes would be to season them with healthy herbs and to avoid MSG as much as possible.

4. Mercury

Mercury is a heavy metal commonly found in tuna, farmed salmon, and mackerel. Coal-burning factories spew mercury in the air, and the pollution can settle in lakes and rivers, and the fish ingest it. 

Big fish like sharks or tuna can have a high concentration in their body. Small fish like anchovies, sardines and scallops are lower in mercury. 

Some foods can help you detoxify by binding to the heavy metals in your body and removing them during digestion.  These include cilantro, chlorella, spirulina, green tea, garlic, tomatoes, probiotics.

While it's virtually impossible to altogether remove toxins in food, taking steps to reduce levels of toxins or detoxify your body can go a long way.

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