(WellnessNova.com) - Modern farm practices involve the use of pesticides to produce near-perfect vegetables and fruits that are free of pests, rodents, bacteria and mold. However, while farmers use pesticides for their own benefit, it is the consumer who has to suffer by eating pesticide-laden foods. Pesticides pose numerous health risks to humans, but it is children who are more affected because compared to adults they eat more relative to their body weight. Thus, they have a greater chance of consuming more pesticides. Recognizing the harmful effects of pesticides on children, the AAP has made strong recommendations to reduce pesticide exposure in children.
We still do not know the full impact of pesticides on our body and while studies are being conducted to understand their impact it is better to be safe than sorry. While the presence of pesticides in produce is a worrying thing there are ways by which we can reduce the pesticide levels in our food some of which are mentioned below:
1. Wash Your Food
Did you know that by just washing produce thoroughly in cold water you can rid them of significant number of pesticides? Scientists at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station reached the conclusion that rinsing fruit and vegetables in plain water for one minute is as effective as washing them with vegetable washes or soap. However, as a rule, one should be very thorough when cleaning fruits and vegetables as there might be residues lodged in the crevices.
2. Vinegar Soak
This is a very cheap and easy solution to rid your produce of all those pesky chemicals. All you have to do is make a solution containing 10 percent vinegar and 90 percent water. Soak the fruits and vegetables in this solution and leave them for 10 to 20 minutes. Next, rinse your produce in fresh running water and get ready to dig into a healthier product.
You just need to be careful when using this solution on delicate fruits such as berries as they have extremely thin skin and vinegar can get inside and damage them.
Peeling is one of the most effective ways of removing pesticide residues especially in cases where there is a chance of some residues remaining in the crevices of fruits and vegetables. A lot of produce such as apples, eggplants, pears, cucumbers are not only sprayed with pesticide but waxed as well to improve their shelf life. The problem with waxing fruits and vegetables is that the wax locks in the pesticide and is thus difficult to remove. In such a case, peeling is the best solution as that not only removes the wax but also the pesticides underneath.
4. Salt Water Rinse
Giving produce a saltwater treatment is another effective way to clean them. The CSE, in a report, states that washing fruits and vegetables in 2 percent of salt water rids them of most of the contact pesticide residues that generally remain on the surface of produce. Take 1 tablespoon of sea salt and mix it with water. Put the fruit and vegetables in the bowl and scrub them well with the salt water. Do not forget to wash them under running water before eating.
5. Warm Water Rinse
Thoroughly washing produce with warm sink water is another quick and effective way to rid them of pesticides. For an ideal wash, the water should be warm; neither cold nor hot. Hand-scrub the produce while rinsing for at least 10 seconds.
6. A DIY Spray
Instead of shelling out money every month for a store-bought pesticide remover why not make one at home. This homemade spray uses simple ingredients and only takes about five minutes to make. All you have to do is just mix a cup of water with 2 tablespoons of baking soda and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Stir it properly so that everything mixes well. Then put the mixture in a spray bottle and use it where and when you want. The lemon juice and baking soda will clean the produce without harming it in any manner.
If you are in a rush, spray this mixture on the fruits or vegetables you would like to eat — just remember to wipe them well before digging into them. Alternatively, if you have the time you can allow the produce to sit in this solution for 5 to 10 minutes and then rinse them off. It’s as simple as that!
Try these six methods to clean your produce to avoid unnecessary toxin exposure from pesticides and wax. They’ll also help sterilize your produce of pathogens.