On these pages we have dealt on numerous occasions with the Mediterranean diet and its health benefits. We have always done this by taking as a compass, the plethora of scientific studies that have been published on the subject. Just to emphasize the latest evidence, we have highlighted the suggestions of cardiologists on diet for cardiovascular well-being. In another case we dealt with foods, in the Mediterranean diet, which satiate more than others, helping to keep body weight under control. Indeed, in fine epigenetic studies, it has been shown that following the Mediterranean diet allows you to slow down the biological clock in a short time.
Yet, in a study published a few days ago, this diet highlights a major limitation that cannot be ignored. Be careful, because in these cases, the Mediterranean diet may not be as healthy as it is much vaunted.
Pesticides and health
When we talk about pesticides it is natural to immediately assess the damage to health. However, even not treating vegetables with pesticides is not without problems. Plants naturally produce chemicals in response to attacks by harmful insects or microbes, and these chemicals can be harmful to humans.
In New Zealand in 2003, an unusually ferocious aphid attack resulted in protecting untreated vegetables by producing toxic chemicals called cucurbitacins. This led to some people who ate them being hospitalized.
And natural oils such as lemongrass and clove, widely used in organic farming, are not necessarily less toxic than synthetic additives, as they contain natural substances that, in high doses, can lead to severe skin rashes and irritation upon contact.
Be careful, because in these cases, the Mediterranean diet may not be as healthy as it is much vaunted
In order for the Mediterranean diet to guarantee the supply of nutrients necessary for the health of the organism, it is necessary that the foods we eat are genuine and of good quality. However, from an article published a few days ago in the American Journal of Critical Nutrition (Rempelos L et al, 2021), this does not seem to be the case.
In particular, the greatest problems would arise when the foods present in the diet are not organically grown, but treated with traditional methods and pesticides. In this case, in fact, those who follow the Mediterranean diet have a tenfold increase in contaminants.
These contaminants can be insecticides, organophosphates and pyrethroids. A growing body of evidence links the presence of these toxins with problems for fertility and growth in young people.
When the ingredients of the Mediterranean diet are organically grown, pesticide intake is reduced by about 90% and the health benefits are repeatedly recognized.
Further studies are needed, also to assess whether any traces of pesticides present in food are sufficient to cause damage to the body.
A very important recommendation
It is good to wash fruit and vegetables before eating them to remove any pesticide residues. Products are also at high risk of contamination from dust, dirt and bacteria as most are crammed into warehouses, before traveling in containers and being re-stored at retailers. Failure to wash fruits and vegetables can cause food poisoning, such as an E. coli infection. Above all, it is important to wash off all of the soil as this is usually where the bacteria reside.
(The information in this article is for informational purposes only and does not in any way substitute for medical advice and / or the opinion of a specialist. Furthermore, it does not constitute an element for formulating a diagnosis or for prescribing a treatment. For this reason it is recommended, in any case, to always seek the advice of a doctor or a specialist and to read the warnings given. WHO”)