Whether we are aware of it or not, we are exposed to hundreds of toxic chemicals each day. From internal toxins (like infection or chronic stress) to environmental toxins (like pollution), the amount of chemicals we are exposed to can be overwhelming. The good news is that there is another type of toxic exposure that we can easily control — our lifestyle.
Lifestyle consists of our dietary choices, cosmetic and skin product use, use of recreational drugs, prescription and over-the-counter medications, and caffeine and alcohol intake. Specifically, our diet is one lifestyle factor we have full control over.
We choose the foods we consume; the foods do not choose us. The more educated we are about how our food is produced, the more informed we are as consumers.
The consumption of clean fruits and vegetables is vital to living a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle. The introduction of pesticides to enhance the amount of produce harvested has undeniably increased our toxic exposure. These toxins can amplify chronic disease, including the promotion of inflammation, hormonal imbalances, weight issues and fatigue, to name a few.
Fortunately, organic foods have become more accessible than ever, and our grocery stores are now offering more organic options. The downside - it is no secret that when purchasing an all-organic diet, your grocery bill will likely be higher.
How can you shop for organic foods while not breaking the bank?
The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit and non-partisan third party, put together a “Clean Fifteen” and a “Dirty Dozen” list that is based on pesticide residue information gathered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
This list was created for people who want to reduce their exposure to pesticides but cannot afford an all-organic diet lifestyle. The “Clean Fifteen” are those fruits and vegetables with low pesticides residue while the “Dirty Dozen” are those with high pesticide residues.
The next time you’re at the grocery store, think about whether your food choices are contributing to a healthy lifestyle. Choosing organic foods is one way to reduce some of those harmful toxins.
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Getting healthy and staying healthy isn’t only about medical treatments. Integrative Medicine makes use of different therapeutic practices to address all aspects of your well-being. Learn more about the Integrative Medicine Clinic at Edward-Elmhurst Health.
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