With pesticides, insecticides, GMOs, fertilizers, plastics, air pollution, and water pollution, you may often ask yourself: Is anything safe to eat anymore? Where do you turn for help? We suggest the following six common-sense tips for eating fruits and vegetables with peace of mind. It is not always possible or affordable to grow your own organic fruits and vegetables, raise free-range chickens, or get water from your very own spring.
Tip 1: Washing with running water is safer than soaking in water
Pesticides often stay on the surface of fruits and vegetables. It is not easy to immerse them in water to remove particles and soaking in water for too long will make water-soluble vitamins disappear from fruits and vegetables. So pesticide experts recommend that washing them under the tap water forcefully will break the glue-like strength of pesticides.
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Tip 2: Before washing vegetables, cut the top and the bottom off to remove the hard-to-clean areas
Before rinsing, whether it’s the tail of a vegetable or the hard-to-clean part of the green pepper head, it is better to remove it for better health. It is also recommended that peeled fruit, even bananas, should be cleaned first and then peeled afterward for consumption; otherwise, the pesticides on the skin of the bananas may get on your hands and increase the chances of contamination.
Tip 3: Fruits and vegetables should be placed in an area with good air circulation for a few days to help the decomposition of pesticides
Most pesticides, having been sprayed a few days before, will be decomposed by the plant’s enzymes, so waiting for a few days to eat them is the safest practice.
Fruits and vegetables stored in the refrigerator will be reduced to 10 percent of normal activity, as the cold will inhibit any activity of the enzymes in the fruits and vegetables and they will not be able to break down the pesticide residues at all.
However, this method only applies in cool weather and with non-perishable fruit dishes, including cucumbers, radishes, cabbage, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and so on.
Tip 4: Cooked food not only sterilizes, but also removes pesticide residues
Cooking can cause residual pesticides to be heated, decomposed, and evaporated as vapor or dissolved into the oily water. The longer the cooking time, the higher the temperature, and the greater the effect of removing pesticide residues.
Tip 5: An ozone machine is effective, but must be well ventilated
Ozone (O3) can cause pulmonary fibrosis and it is also a kind of automobile exhaust gas. Using an ozone machine to clean fruits and vegetables should be done in a thoroughly ventilated environment, or at least only done outdoors. Make sure that ozone does not accumulate and harm your body. Negative ion air purifiers also emit ozone, which can have harmful effects on the human body.
Tip 6: Using salty water to clean fruits and vegetables is not effective
It is a widely circulated old wives’ tale that adding salt to the water can wash away pesticides from fruits and vegetables, but actual studies have found that there are fewer pesticides washed away using saltwater than when using clean running water.
Translated by Yi Ming and edited by Helen