Why you should try to live a preservative-free lifestyle: The harmful health concerns of Preservatives
Preservatives in foods are designed to prevent growth of microorganisms, increase the shelf life of food or enhance the taste, flavor or any other desirable characteristics in food, but not all preservatives are good for us. The effects of food preservatives varies depending upon one's age and health, but the negative effects of some preservatives are worth considering when you eat processed and packaged foods.
1. Upsetting the Digestive System:
Artificial preservatives can make digestion more difficult. They slow down the passage of food through your digestive tract when consumed in higher amounts, which can result in bloating, gas, or even constipation. The sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and mannitol, which are included as sweeteners and preservatives in sugar-free gum and sweets, can have laxative effects and, in sensitive people, cause diarrhea and abdominal pain. Some preservatives have also been associated with upsetting the delicate balance of the healthy microbiome in your gut potentially impacting digestion, immunity, and even mood and causing acid reflux or gastritis.
2. Causes Allergic Reactions:
According to scientific research, some preservatives can make sensitive people develop allergic reactions. Some examples based on research are:
Sulfites which are frequently found in processed foods, wine, and dried fruits, can cause allergic reactions, especially in people who have asthma. Hives, anaphylaxis, and difficulty breathing are just a few symptoms.
Sodium benzoate found in soft drinks and salad dressings, ketchup can cause skin and eye irritation and exacerbate pre-existing skin conditions like eczema.
Sorbic Acid often used in cheese, wine, and baked goods, sorbic acid can cause skin rashes and itching in some people who are sensitive to it.
Polysorbate 80 commonly found in ice cream and salad dressings and may trigger allergic reactions in certain individuals, leading to symptoms like skin inflammation or gastrointestinal discomfort.
This highlights the importance of understanding ingredient labels and making informed choices to avoid potential allergens that could disrupt your body's harmony.
3. Culprits of Inflammation and Oxidative stress:
According to research, certain preservatives can sometimes increase the body's oxidative stress burden and lead to inflammation. Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress promote cell damage and mutation, which has been linked to a number of health issues, particularly diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disorders. For instance, sodium nitrites used to add color and flavor to processed meat, when heated or mixed with stomach acid, produce nitrosamines, which are linked to an increased risk of colon and pancreatic cancer. Preservatives containing BHA and BHT food additives are also cancer-causing agents.
Therefore, you can reduce the amount of inflammation in your body by being aware of the chemicals in your food.
Antioxidant-rich foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can help your body fight off these free radicals by boosting your immunity and defend your cells from this damage caused by oxidative stress.
4. Mental Health Concerns:
In both children and adults, several artificial colorings and additives have been linked to irritation, mood swings, and behavioral problems. The wisely used flavor enhancer MSG (monosodium glutamate), which is frequently added to savory processed foods, has been linked to "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome," a condition that includes signs like headaches, migraines, and face discomfort.
5. Embracing a no-preservatives philosophy:
It's important to be mindful of what one is consuming and making informed choices that prioritize clean, wholesome ingredients. This approach isn't just about the absence of additives; it's about embracing a lifestyle that nurtures well-being. This begins with limiting and avoiding re-packaged, precooked meals and reading labels to understand the names and roles of preservatives listed on labels. By being a vigilant ingredient detective, you're taking an active role in preserving your wellbeing.
Hence by choosing our treats, you're not just indulging in flavorful delights – you're embracing a path built on wise decisions and a commitment to your health. .