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Dr. D. Y. Patil College of Ayurved & Research Centre
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Fruits and Veggies: a Nectar or Poison?

Fruits and Veggies: a Nectar or Poison?

Fruits & vegetables provide essential nutrients to our bodies. However, using dangerous chemicals on them can be hazardous to our life.

Dept of Agadtantra
February, 11 2023
2112

We all know that eating fruits and vegetables is important since they are packed with healthy nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

But in the modern commercial era, together with nutrients, unknowingly, we also consume very dangerous chemicals contained in veggies and fruits.

There are three main categories of chemical agents used on produce to achieve a certain result:

  • Ripening agents - Banana, mango (calcium carbide, ethylene glycol)
  • Coating agents - apples, grapes, and other exotic breeds, DPA, and wax are used to preserve the fresh look of fruits for a longer time.
  • Pesticides - the majority of vegetables and fruits.

Farmers use pesticides in order to protect crops from pests, plant diseases, and weeds, ultimately increasing crop productivity per hectare.

These are various types of pesticides (Fungicides, Herbicides, insecticides, Antimicrobials, and algaecides).

Hence, nearly every product that comes from the farm to our home contains some or other chemical.

MRI (Maximum Residual Limit) is the highest level of a pesticide that could be legally accepted.

By comparing MRIs of these food products, we know about products that contain high amounts of chemicals.

According to various standard reports, based on the findings of the agriculture ministry, we can get aware of vegetables that are most contaminated.

Green chilies, Ladyfinger, Cauliflower, cabbage, brinjal, Tomato, Capsicum, Coriander leaves, and Spinach, are the most contaminated ones.

Surprisingly, we could easily find here, these are the vegetables, which we consume most commonly in our daily diet.

How Are These Chemicals Harmful?

There are a number of factors that contribute to the harmful effects of chemicals on human health, including the specific chemical, the route of exposure, the length of time spent exposed, and the individual's health at the time of exposure.

These chemicals accumulate in the human body because of their daily exposures.

Harmful effects that occur from small doses of chemicals repeated over a period of duration is called ‘Chronic effect’.

The major chronic harmful effects of these chemicals are-

  • Blood disorders
  • Nerve disorders
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Production of benign and malignant pathologies.

Some city dwellers are beginning to recognize the health benefits of buying organic produce, and so they are increasingly doing so.

However, the higher prices of these foods are a result of several factors: higher farming costs, higher accreditation costs, an export focus, a smaller supply, and higher demand.

It is nearly unaffordable for lower and middle-income groups.

Therefore, it is imperative that everyone be aware of the many natural and inexpensive options available for eliminating this health risk.

Chemicals That Could Be Easily Avoided Intentionally.

Coating agents like DPA and wax are used highly, in exotic breeds, in order to preserve the ‘fresh look’ of fruits for a longer time, for commercial purposes, so intentionally, avoid foreign foods, and choose the local ones.

The Benefits of Local Buying Are

  • local foods are not costly.
  • Fewer chances of wax, DPA, and other coating agents (as not traveled for longer duration)
  • according to Ayurveda Science, foods grown in nearby regions are easier to get digested and metabolized.
  • helps local farmers and ultimately the Indian economy.

Always eat seasonal foods and don’t eat anything which is not in season.

Organic Ways to Remove Unavoidable Chemicals from Fruits and Vegetables

The typical method for cleaning produce is to run tap water over them, but this does not get rid of all of the harmful chemicals that can be found on them. Here are some simple organic methods for doing so.

1. Soaking and Washing with Turmeric Water (Haridrajal)

According to Ayurveda science, turmeric (Curcuma longa) is the best antibacterial, and excellent at killing microbes. It is a patented Indian ayurveda herb.

It is also mentioned as ‘vishaghna’ according to Ayurveda.

Turmeric water can be used to wash vegetables and fruits, the ratio of turmeric powder: to water should be 1:1000 i.e., 1 gram of turmeric powder mixed with 1000ml (1 liter) of water.

Process:

  • Take lukewarm water of the required amount and add turmeric powder in the above-mentioned ratio.
  • Put the fruit and vegetables in turmeric water, leave for 15 minutes, then discard the water, and rinse the vegetables in plain water 2-3 times again.

2. Soaking and Washing with Salt Water (Lavanjal)

Salt is easily available, cost-effective, has antibacterial properties, simultaneously, and can be used easily.

Various studies have found that washing products with 2% salt water are good to remove pesticide residue.

3. Soaking and Washing with Soda-bicarb (NaHCO3 or Baking Soda) Water

Baking soda is alkaline in nature. In various studies, it has been proven that by washing it with soda bicarbonate water, 95%-98% of chemicals could be washed off.

Mix 4-5 grams of NaHCO3 (Baking soda) + 1 liter of water, and soak fruits and vegetables in the prepared mixture for 10 minutes. Wash with running tap water 2-3 times.

4. Soaking and Washing with Vinegar Water

Use any type of vinegar/apple cider vinegar. Take vinegar: water in a 1:4 ratio proportion. Soak vegetables and fruits for 10 minutes. Wash with running tap water 3-4 times.

Over the past few years, the government of India has banned some harmful substances but not all. Though this is a positive step, there are still ways to go before pesticides are no longer used at all.

So, by clearly knowing, the boundaries of the agriculture sector, we must follow above given home treatments to get rid of pesticides in order to lead a healthy life.

 

Edited by: Dr. Neelesh Patil

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