I am writing this article after I heard a lot of comments from my friends, students, parents, etc. when I say them about eating more fruits and vegetables. Many of them are highly concerned about the pesticide content in fruits and veggies while they are okay with processed and fast foods, soft drinks, etc. Maybe due to fast life, lack of time, laziness, or easy availability, they are closing their eyes on the chemicals, high salt and sugars, trans fat levels on these foods.
Of course, it is true that lots of pesticide/insecticide and fertilizer residues can be found in fruit and vegetables. According to the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), “high levels of pesticide residues can be toxic enough to cause long-term cancer, damage to the nervous and reproductive systems, birth defects, and severe disruption of the immune system.” The victims of Endosulfan affected areas of Kasaragod in Kerala are the sad and widely known examples of long-term effects of pesticides on human beings.
Buying organic products is the best option, but due to the scarcity of organic products and the high prices which common people can’t avoid on these products, we should think about the options to lower the pesticide intake. Here, I will share with you some simple tips on the removal of pesticide and fertilizer residues from fruits and vegetables.
1. Soak your veggies and fruits in a solution of 1 capful of vinegar/juice of 1/2 lemon/tamarind extract in 2 cups of water. Keep it aside for 15 to 20 minutes. Then, rinse the fruits and vegetables in fresh water.
2. Soak your veggies and fruits in a solution of 1 tablespoon each salt and turmeric powder in 2 cups lukewarm water for 15-20 minutes. Then, rinse the fruits and vegetables in fresh water.
3. Soak your veggies and fruits in a solution of 1 tablespoon each of salt, turmeric powder, and 1 capful vinegar/tamarind extract in 2 cups of water and set aside for 15-20 minutes. Then rinse in fresh water.
4. Use a new soft tooth brush to brush the outside of fruits and vegetables in running tap water. Use new tooth brush with strong bristles to remove wax from apples, mangoes, peaches, pears, plums, etc. You can also peel them off before use.
Now, about the contents of packed and processed foods and beverages, similar to the pesticides, they too are harmful and can cause a wide variety of disorders like cancer, fatty liver, calcium loss, tooth decay, heart problems, diabetes, etc. in kids and grow ups. Even though complete avoidance of these products are preferable, in unavoidable situations, opt for less harmful packaged products like sesame balls, rice flakes, homemade sweets, peanuts, dried fruits, nuts without salt, fresh juices, curd, buttermilk, tea, coffee, etc. You can also buy organic products from many shops and the price you pay for these products is comparably low with the money you spend on processed foods and beverages and the side effects caused by their use.
Share and care.