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One of the goals of functional medicine is to treat disease from its root cause and in doing so, many times we look at patients’ lifestyle, including nutritional choices as a first step in treating and of course, preventing health conditions. But knowing where your food comes from and what ingredients are in it is as important as making healthy choices.

Unfortunately, we cannot trust the Food Industry to supply clean foods even when it comes to fruit and vegetables. In today’s society, it seems like everything has been either genetically modified or exposed to substances that can be detrimental to our health, for example, pesticides.

A study by The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a research and advocacy group, found traces of a herbicide in popular breakfast foods such as Cheerios and Quaker Oats. Glyphosate is a controversial substance as it has been linked to cancer; it is also a widely available and popularly known as Roundup, a weed killer.

Monsanto, the company behind Roundup was recently ordered to pay $289 million in damages to a cancer patient who claimed this substance caused the disease. Although Monsanto claims glyphosate is safe, in 2015 the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared it a possible carcinogen. However, other studies have shown no association between glyphosate and cancer.

Based on their research, EWG has put together a Top-12 list of produce items that have been found to contain pesticide residue:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Grapes
  6. Peaches
  7. Cherries
  8. Pears
  9. Tomatoes
  10. Celery
  11. Potatoes
  12. Sweet bell peppers

These results are not only alarming but scary. What makes this matter worse is the ambiguous and inconclusive research about the effects of glyphosate. The one thing that is certain is that people should not be consuming food with traces of pesticide.

What are you to do as a consumer? The best thing is to educate yourself and have awareness of this situation so you can make appropriate decisions.

One idea would be to grow your own food to ensure it is free from chemicals, but because this may be difficult and unrealistic for many people, buying organic products is one way you can cut your exposure to these pesticides. Organic food has been found to contain less pesticide.

At Bellissimo Medical LLC, we recommend our patients soak fruits and vegetables in water with 1-2 drops of dish detergent, preferably the clear Dawn Dish Detergent. This will allow the grease-cutting chemicals known as surfactants to remove these chemicals and their residue on the food items and cleans them really well—this is why detergent is used to cleanse animals covered with oil. After submerging for 2-3 hours you can rinse your produce with tap water and consume.

If you are used to reaching for the “triple washed” and “ready-to-eat” produce items in hopes of saving some time in the kitchen, it may be time to reconsider and invest more time making sure your food is as clean as possible. Your health is worth the extra effort.

Call us today and schedule your free consultation at 954.384.8989.   Dr. Jean-Claude Nerette is Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Functional Medicine and Stephanie Muniz Nerette is a Board Certified Nurse Practitioner and a Diplomate to the Board of Anti-Aging Medicine. Bellissimo Medical LLC is located at 2665 Executive Park Drive, Suite #3, in Weston.

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