BY GARRY F. GORDON, MD, DO, MD(H)
People today are becoming more aware of the connection between their health, the environment, and the foods they eat. Happily, many have overcome being fast-food junkies and are incorporating more fruits and vegetables into their diets. But are those fruits and vegetables nourishing the body, or causing more problems? We need to look at where, when, and how we are getting our foods, because the acquisition process makes a world of difference.
Corporate food producers are aware of the consumer desire for more natural foods, and they have been working hard to cash in. Many people are unaware of the engineering tricks employed that provide us with “fresh” fruits and veggies all year round. The ability to eat strawberries in mid-winter, apples in summer, or mangoes in Maine, seems great at first blush, but are these foods healthy for us? Are we getting the nutrients that our bodies need? That red apple you’re enjoying in mid-June may not be keeping the doctor away after all. If they are commercially grown, they were most likely harvested and cold-stored with a chemical called “Smartfresh,” or 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) which is used to slow down ripening. Although there are no reported adverse effects from 1-MCP, those fruits and veggies you just plucked off the grocery display might have been sitting in cold storage for up to a year, and may have lost most of their vitamin and nutrient value during that time.
Another commercial practice is to harvest fruits prematurely and then “force” ripening by gassing them with chemicals. Depending upon the type of chemical used, you could be poisoning yourself and never know it. Ethylene gas is commercially used here in the United States for ripening, and to date, there is no data documenting any adverse effects. However, in some countries like Malaysia, forced ripening is done with calcium carbide, which is very harmful to human health. Calcium carbide often contains traces of arsenic and phosphorus, and is used to produce acetylene gas, which, like ethylene, forces the fruits to ripen. But the toxins in the carbide and acetylene are being absorbed into the flesh of the fruits that we then eat. Acetylene ingestion affects the neurological system, resulting in symptoms like headaches, dizziness, mood disturbances, sleepiness, mental confusion and seizures. Long-term exposure can cause memory loss and cerebral edema.
Looking to genetically modified organisms (GMO foods), these foods are damaging our health and our environment. The development of dysbiosis, “Leaky gut” syndrome, and GERD (reflux disease) are unavoidable because of the GMOs and high-fructose content in commercial processed foods. Monsanto’s GM corn contains a toxin called bacillus theringensis (Bt) and can potentially cause damage to our immune systems and intestinal lining, and killing our beneficial bowel flora. Bt-toxin has been identified in the blood of both pregnant and non-pregnant women, as well as the umbilical blood of their babies. GM corn is present in the vast majority of all processed foods and drinks – it’s used to make high fructose corn syrup, and is found in meat from animals that are fed Bt corn. I believe GM foods have played a major role in the epidemic rise of chronic health conditions in this country, including autoimmune diseases like type 2 diabetes, food allergies, and childhood learning disorders.
I recommend to seeking out non-GMO, locally and organically grown foods. They are healthier for you and for our environment, and they support the local economy. Fruits and vegetables that are ripened naturally allow for many vital biochemical developments to take place, such as chlorophyll degradation, carotenoid biosynthesis (antioxidants, immune system booster, anti-cancer agent), anthocyanins (powerful antioxidants), essential oils, and flavor and aroma. With artificial ripening, you lose all the healthy vitamins, nutrients and enzymes.
Even when seeking out organic alternatives, we still need to supplement our diets with quality vitamins and supplements, as well as protocols to assist with detoxification of the pollutants and toxins we regularly ingest. I always suggest taking a probiotic supplement with acidophilus such as Kyo-Dophilus 9®, because we are constantly exposed to GM foods that disturb normal bowel flora. I also recommend a quality fiber supplement, like Beyond Fiber™,to help detoxify the gastrointestinal tract and support the growth of those beneficial probiotic flora.
For more information about how to achieve a healthier you by following my FIGHT for Your Health Program, visit my Gordon Research Institute website at gordonresearch.com.