Dr. Mao’s Secrets of Longevity
Food Safety: What You Need to Know
Thu, Feb 28, 2008,
Wouldn’t it be great if the foods we eat were safe, healthy, and free from pesticides?
There is a lot of confusion about what is safe to eat for our own health and longevity,
as well as for our planet. There are no easy answers, but here are some basic guidelines
for finding foods that will nurture you and the planet.
Say No to GMOs
Genetically Modified Foods (GMO) foods – including plants and animals – have been
genetically manipulated to make the plant more productive, more resistant to pests, or
contain higher amounts of a certain nutrient. When these foods are made to be more
productive, it is no different than using growth hormones to make a chicken lay more
eggs or a cow fatten up more rapidly.
In fact, it is similar to an athlete taking steroids. They promote extremely rapid growth
but have side effects down the road. It is still too early to know what the effects of
GMOs; foods. Demand that their growers and distributors label foods that have
been genetically modified.
Subtract Packaged Food’s Additives
Avoid highly processed and refined foods – they’re stripped of critical nutrients and then
the nutrients are added back into the food after processing. Sulfites, nitrates, and MSG
(monosodium glutamate) are the three most common additives used in packaged foods
to preserve color, prevent spoilage, and enhance flavor.
Sulfites can give rise to severe allergic reactions like asthma. Nitrates combine with amines
in foods to form nitrosamines, which can lead to neurological damage or cancer. Headaches
are often associated with MSG.
Other additives, including artificial colors and flavors, have been found to cause cancer in
animals and cause hyperactivity in children. Shopping the perimeters of your local supermarket
is your best bet to avoid packaged foods and ensure a selection of healthy, simple whole foods.
Years of shopping in over-stocked supermarkets has disconnected us from our food
and its origins. Much of the produce at your supermarket has been picked weeks – or
even months – before it makes its way onto the shelf.
These items are preserved by nitrogen or other artificial means that make them appear
fresh; however, these foods have a low nutritional value. Farm-fresh produce comes
directly from the source to your table, leaving little time in between for nutrients to be lost.
So shop at local farms stands, buying fresh, in-season organic produce. By eating locally
produced foods you are lessening global warming by not buying foods that have been
transported hundreds or thousands of miles to get to your dinner table.
When produce isn’t organic, soak it in a large pot of cold water for five minutes, add a
tablespoon of sea salt and one tablespoon of vinegar, then rinse thoroughly. You can
also peel the pesticides off the outer layer of fruits and vegetables; however, keep in
mind that you will lose some of the valuable nutrients in the skin.
Produce with the highest amounts of pesticide residue levels include cucumbers,
peaches, and zucchini – all of which can be peeled. Some produce is best eaten only
when it is organic, such as celery, cherries, grapes, strawberries, and tomatoes.
Conventional meat, poultry, and dairy products contain sizable amounts of pesticides,
hormones, and antibiotic drugs that are harmful to your health.
In addition, commercial feed for animals is full of growth-stimulating hormones, drugs,
coloring agents, and pesticides. And consider this: nearly 140,000 tons of poultry are
condemned annually as unfit to eat, usually due to cancer, and yet a substantial amount
is processed into animal feed.
More than 40 percent of antibiotics produced in the United States are used as animal-
feed additives. The ecological result, after the animals and humans urinate and defecate
the antibiotics, is the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains that are very
dangerous to our health. For your health and well-being, only buy organic and free-
range animals whenever possible.
I hope you find safe, healthy foods that will nurture you in the many years to come. I
invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.
May you stay healthy, live long, and live happy!
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