Healthy Living Foundation

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Safety of locally grown produce

Buy locally grown produce whenever possible. Find the nearest farmers’ market and go there regularly. You will more than likely find a wide variety of organically grown fruits and vegetables. At your supermarket you can buy locally grown produce by buying in season. Although this produce will have varying degrees of pesticide contamination, it is more likely to have retained its full nutritional value, and we need the nutrients in fresh produce to fight off the ravaging effects of pollution and toxic chemicals.

Our-of-season produce is likely to have been imported. Imported produce is often more pesticide saturated, and it may have lost much of its nutrient value. One study of out-of-season Brussels sprouts and cabbages—both of which are usually good sources of vitamin C—found absolutely no vitamin C. Mishandling of produce during long trips from foreign nations or from the farm fields to the market can also result in loss of the B vitamin complex and other vitamins.

Out-of-season produce is likely to have been imported from Mexico where many dangerous chemicals that are not used in the United States are routinely used. Roughly 40 to 60 percent of the fresh produce sold in the United States in winter is imported, much of it from south of the border.

When you want to eat out-of-season produce, frozen fruits and vegetables are preferable to imported. Frozen produce is more likely to retain its nutrient contents. To make sure your body gets all the pollution-fighting nutrients it needs, when you buy frozen fruits or vegetables shake the boxes and make sure you hear them loosely clatter. If they’ve been thawed and refrozen, they will stick in a clump and will be silent when you shake the box. Frozen produce should never be thawed and then refrozen. High freezer temperatures also result in nutrient loss. And that means we’re not getting the nutrients we need to survive and flourish in a toxic world.