It is so easy to eat out or purchase ready-made meals instead of cooking an authentic home-cooked dinner without preservatives. Unfortunately, even if you do decide to cook your own dinner, the selections available in grocery stores are food items, which contain preservatives.
Why do foods have preservatives anyway?
Preservatives are added into foods in order to stop them from spoiling quickly. At times, these preservatives are added to make food taste better and add in more flavor. For instance, a freshly picked tomato tastes different from canned tomato. Usually, the canning process involves adding a lot of salt in the tomatoes thus changing its natural taste.
Is there something you can do when it currently seems impossible to eat foods without preservatives?
Avoiding foods without preservatives is the best way to keep your body healthy. It also helps you stay away from artificial chemicals and additives. Manufacturers started to add preservatives in food back in World War II when soldiers required foods, which do not spoil easily. The convenience these food items brought as well as the immediate satisfaction it gave to hungry soldiers allowed these food items to be kept in store shelves. Oddly, though there is no immediate life-saving need for such foods to be consumed now, it seems food preservatives has become the norm.
Believe it or not, the average individual consumes as much as 140 to 150 pounds of food additives annually. Evidence also shows that specific food preservatives could lead to health problems in the long term.
Your best option is to consume foods, which do not have preservatives. Though this means a simple dinner, which contains no preservatives, spoils fast, a preservative-free dinner heftily contains large quantities of healthy antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that your body needs daily.
Though a few frozen fruits and canned vegetables are similarly nutritious as its fresh versions, specific brands do contain tons of preservatives. Selecting fresh and whole foods instead of packaged foods is always a healthy way to acquire the nutrients you need.
Once you make it a point to eat dinner without preservatives, you are also doing your part to save the environment. For one, local produce is grown in the absence of pesticides thereby cutting down on pollution. Also, when you select fresh foods, you similarly decrease the quantity of packaging utilized to further prolong a preserved food’s shelf life.
Kinds of preservatives
Chelating agents and antimicrobial additives are what makes up most food preservatives. Antimicrobials generally prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses on food. These antimicrobials include benzoates, sorbates, nitrites and propionates. Meanwhile, antioxidant preservatives help slow decomposition especially when oxygen is present in food at room temperature. These preservatives include butylates hydroxyanisole or BHA. Chelating agents such as EDTA or disodium ethylenediamineteraacetic acid as well as citric acid help halt metal ions from causing food spoilage.
Benefits of dinner without food preservatives
Cooking without preservatives helps you avoid respiratory diseases. A quick dinner with preservatives such as sulfites could trigger wheezing and other asthma symptoms. Manufacturers of preserved foods utilize sulfites to preserve shrimp, dried fruits, wine and pickled foods from spoiling. Currently, sulfites are prohibited to be used on fresh produce except potatoes.
Cancer is similarly avoided once you regularly eat dinner without preservatives. EDTA as well as nitrites helps increase one’s risk of having cancer. EDTA is used in sodas as well as other beverages, which contain the preservative sodium benzoate. According to a 2009 research done by scientists at Italy’s Cancer Research and Prevention Institute, benzene helps increase one’s risk in developing breast cancer. Once ingested, the body instantly converts nitrites to nitrosamines – a substance that could cause cancer.
Also, a 2006 research conducted at the National Institute of Environmental Medicine at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute shows that high consumption of meat that has been processed and preserved using nitrites could increase one’s risk of having stomach cancer.
Meanwhile, a 2001 research that was published in the Journal of the Egyptian Public Health Association reveals that foods, which were preserved with sodium nitrite and sodium benzoate, caused an increased death rate in offsprings of pregnant rats. It is therefore advisable for pregnant women to avoid consuming preservative-rich foods.
Coloring additives are also harmful. Once you avoid Red 3 food additives found mostly in fruit roll-ups, cake icing and chewing gum, you avoid the risk of developing thyroid tumors. Meanwhile, Orange B – though approved by the FDA for use in sausage casings – causes harm to the bile ducts and liver when consumed in large amounts. Also, Yellow 5 causes hyperactivity and hypersensitivity to children. Avoiding Yellow 6 could help you stay away from kidney and adrenal cancer.
All in all, a dinner without preservatives is a dinner that is free from the risk of diseases. It is also a healthy way to live. Do not forget that though it takes time to cook a good hearty meal, the benefits of regularly doing this will literally last you a lifetime.
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