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Since 1945, the amount of pesticide chemicals used has risen fourfold, with over 1000 pesticides currently in use. They have been sprayed on foods, filtered into our air and water supplies and formulated in the production of over 20,000 products. Four thousand of them are used in non-agricultural products found in homes, gardens, playgrounds, offices and golf courses. More recently, instead of spraying pesticides, systemic pesticides are mixed with soil fertilizers and absorbed into the cell wall of the plant, making it impossible to wash them off.
Eating organic has become a minimum in protecting ourselves from dangerous pesticide exposure. In one study, pesticides and environmental toxins were linked to the eradication of gut microbes that digest hard-to-break-down gluten molecules. (5-10)
Protecting ourselves from these neuro-toxins may be a critical factor to our long-term physical and mental health. A certain bioflavonoid found in certain fruits and vegetables, quercetin, has been shown to offer powerful protection against pesticide exposure.
In one study, quercetin was found to protect the body from pesticide neuro-toxicity by: (11)
- Preserving energy, fatty acid and sex hormone metabolism
- Inhibiting oxidative stress
- Protecting against DNA damage
- Preserving kidney and liver function
Quercetin has been shown to protect brain cells from over-stimulation of nerve cells from pesticide chemicals, which is linked to cognitive decline. It has also been shown to increase superoxide dismutase activity, an important enzyme for controlling free radical damage on the cellular level, and protect the brain from toxicity by preservation of trans endothelial electrical resistance (TEER) value, an important measurement of the integrity of cell walls often linked to leaky gut concerns. (12)
Eat More Quercetin-Rich Foods
- Raw red onion
- Olive oil
- Citrus fruits
- Whole grains, including buckwheat
- Cruciferous veggies, including broccoli, cabbage and sprouts
- Leafy green veggies, including spinach and kale
- Raw asparagus
- Red wine
- Dark cherries and berries (blueberries, bilberries, blackberries and others)
- Black and green tea
Choose organic when possible and always thoroughly wash your fruits and vegetables.