20 Most Dangerous Foods…
If you recall, a few weeks ago we did an article on a “drug” that the U.S. allows in meats like beef, pork, and poultry, but which 160 other countries currently bans (including Russia).  Which begs the question:  What other types of foods are allowed to be “tainted” by things such as pesticides, chemicals and additives, and thus putting our health at risk?

You may not believe what we found.

Cancer Anyone?
Ractopamine, the banned drug we talked about previously, was found to cause birth defects, sickness, and even death in the animals on which it was used.  Humans reported being “poisoned” from eating pork that contained residue of the drug.  And experts suggest that continued exposure, especially in children, could result in obesity and hyperactivity.

That sounds horrible… but what about this – The FDA and USDA have compiled data from over 100,000 samples of food and discovered that traces of chemicals and pesticides found in select foods may be responsible for certain cancers, birth defects, nervous system and brain damage, and developmental problems in children.

So which foods are the worst culprits?  Or in other words, unless you’re eating organic, which foods should be avoided at all costs?  Take a look.

Beef, pork, poultry, and even fish are all potential dangers when it comes to additives, chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, and drugs.  The problem is heightened due to the fact that many pesticides are fat-soluble; which means that they are absorbed by, and accumulate in the fatty tissue of animals – which you then consume.

Products such as milk, cheese and butter – all which come from the milk of livestock – can have a similar effect as the meat because that’s where the chemicals concentrate. Pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones all can survive the pasteurization process and end up on your table.

This category needs to be broken down into levels, based on severity of health threat.  To start, strawberries, raspberries and cherries are some of the most highly dosed fruits out there.  In fact, when tested for contamination, cherries register at 91 percent existing above safe levels.  Strawberries are close behind at 90 percent.

Apples and pears are not much better.  Half of the chemicals tested in apples are neurotoxins and may cause brain damage.  Pears come in at 94 percent contaminated. You can reduce the risk by peeling your apples and pears, but this does not eliminate the danger as the chemicals can soak through the skin.

Tomatoes (yes, a fruit) are typically sprayed with over 30 different types of pesticides.  And you can bet with that thin skin peeling your tomatoes will not protect you in the least.

Speaking of thin skin, nectarines, peaches and grapes all pose serious health risks due to chemical contamination.  A whopping 45 different chemicals are routinely sprayed on peaches and nectarines during their period of growth.  Imported grapes become a huge risk as many of the pesticides used on them in other countries are extremely potent… and some are even banned here in the United States.

You’ll never look at French fries the same after learning that potatoes are one of the most contaminated vegetables in the produce section.  Seventy-nine percent of potatoes tested contain unsafe levels of pesticides and fungicides.

Spinach is not to be outdone, however, ranking as the vegetable most frequently contaminated with the most potent pesticides.  So, not only is spinach constantly plagued by E. coli (with the most recent recall hitting 39 of the 50 states), but it’s also laden with dangerous chemicals.

Think thin skin is a problem?  How about NO skin, as is the case with celery. There’s no washing off the 29 different chemicals with which celery is typically sprayed.

Finally, bell peppers may be subjected to up to 39 different kinds of chemicals, and 68 percent of peppers fall into unsafe levels.

Cost vs. Care
Now, this isn’t to say that you should buy every single food product in its organic form. Organic foods are not cheap, and in this economy you could easily end up spending your mortgage payment on a week’s worth of food for your family.  What we are saying, however, is that you should pay careful attention to which foods are especially dangerous when it comes to contaminants (like the ones listed above).  It’s naive and irresponsible to think that you might get “lucky” and end up buying the nine percent of apples which don’t contain chemicals that will damage your brain.

Shop smart, shop savvy. Instead of unloading your wallet at Whole Foods, check out a local farmers’ market where the prices may be much more competitive.  The extra time you may initially invest in finding the best quality at the best prices will return to you ten-fold in the form of a long and healthy existence.

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