Don't be alarmed from the title of this blog post, but yes, it's kinda (well very) true - your fruit and veggies may actually be causing you harm.
When I first started my health and fitness journey a few years ago, I thought that all fruit and veggies, no matter where they were sourced from or how they were grown, were healthy. This seems pretty straight forward right?
It wasn't until mid last year that I fully took the time to understand the importance of buying and consuming good quality produce. Here's what I learnt...
Many mass produce farms use chemicals such as synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, and also genetically modify some of their produce (ever wonder why non-organic fruit & veg look so perfect compared to organic?). These chemicals speed up the farming process (aka a faster turn over rate so companies can make more $$), make the produce look perfect and rich in colour, and also keep any insects or animals from eating it. Whilst this may not seem so bad, here's where it gets a bit more serious.
Fruit and Vegetables are our biggest source of micronutrients, and are packed full of several important vitamins and minerals. The chemicals used in mass produced farming deplete the nutritional value in the produce, making them not as beneficial for your health as you may think.
When we consume non-organic produce, we ingest the chemicals that have been used in the farming process, and these can have many effects on our overall health and well being, such as hormonal imbalances, irritation and allergy symptoms, and also can be a contributing factor to disease and illness.
One thing I need to clarify is that you DO NOT need to buy ALL of your produce organic. There are certain foods that absorb pesticides more than others and these are the ones you should be aiming to buy organic / chemical free:
The following fruit and vegetables are ones that you shouldn't worry too much about buying organic, as they are thicker skinned so they don't absorb the pesticides as much:
I find it easier to remember that produce with edible skin / outsides is best to buy organic, whereas you don't need to worry as much about produce that you have to peel or cut away the outside.
I understand that organic produce can cost an arm and a leg, so here's what I recommend:
When possible, try your best to buy organic fruit and vegetables from the recommended list above.
Purchase your fruit and vegetables from your local farmers market each week. The produce there is all locally grown and the majority of it is spray / chemical free.
If you can't afford to buy organic produce, buy normal produce and wash it thoroughly. Do this by filling your kitchen sink with warm water and a good splash of apple cider vinegar, and then soak all of the produce that has edible skin (zucchinis, carrots, cucumbers, apples, grapes, broccoli, etc). Leave this for 20-30 minutes, then rinse them off and lay them on some paper towel to dry.
I hope this has helped you to understand the importance of buying and consuming good quality produce. I truly believe that if you invest in your health today, your future self will thank you for it.