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Why does a naturopath recommend a fruit and vegetable wash


 What are common food contaminants?

We might not think about it because we can't see, taste or notice food contaminants, but many foods — especially fruits and vegetables — can contain harmful elements.

chemical pollutants

Chemical contaminants are the most common category of food contaminants. These chemicals are harmful when present in foods or in high amounts that exceed toxicity limits.

Chemical pollutants come from many sources, including soil, pesticides, plastic, air, water, metals, and packaging materials. Chemical contaminants can be associated with foodborne illnesses.

From 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1,527 cases of foodborne illness were recorded. This outbreak leads to diseases and digestive problems. It takes a long time to prepare fruits and vegetables from farm to table, which can contribute to disease. Food transportation, harvesting, storage, or deliberate contamination with pesticides are common sources of food contaminants.

Foods that come into contact with toxic packaging — such as plastic that contains bisphenol A (BPA) — can cause the chemicals in the packaging to leak into the foods. Also, sources of pollution such as diesel fumes from trucks, or disinfectants in ship cargo areas can also contaminate food surfaces.

Bacteria, viruses, and parasites

In addition to chemical contamination, natural contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites are often found on the surfaces of raw foods. Contamination with these organisms can occur when food comes into contact with sewage, human hands, or live animals. Also common organisms found in fruits and vegetables are Toxoplasma gondii and Giardia gondii.

heavy metals

Heavy metals in supply chain sources in certain regions can also contaminate foods. Metals such as mercury, cadmium, and lead are often used in some industrial processes such as smelting. These minerals can easily enter the soil. At the base of the food chain, plants are often the first to come into contact with these minerals.


Three billion kilograms of pesticides are intentionally added to plant food sources annually to prevent damage to these crops. Pesticide residues often stick to fruits and vegetables, and people can easily eat them.

What is fruit and vegetable wash?

Fruit and vegetable wash is a cleaning product that helps remove dirt, pesticides, and other substances from the surface of fruits and vegetables before they are eaten. Many commercial products contain surfactants, adulterants (think heavy metals, and antioxidants). These compounds can help flush heavy metals out of the body, or break down pesticide structures.

Effects of food contamination on health

Pesticide use remains controversial, with legal limits on pesticide residues protecting consumers. Other viewpoints say that there is no healthy amount of pesticide residues, and that there is a relationship between consumption of harmful pesticides and many conditions/symptoms. Some studies have linked the use of these chemicals to immunosuppression, neurological symptoms, hormonal disorders, and fertility problems.

Glyphosate — a common weed killer — has been linked to increased cell proliferation in humans. This compound inhibits an enzyme called 5-EPSP synthase in plants and bacteria. This prevents amino acids from being used to produce proteins. Without these proteins, 

weeds would die.

Inside the human body, many bacteria, both good and destructive, live in the digestive system. This group of microorganisms is called the microbiome. Glyphosate has been shown to reduce the number of beneficial bacteria, while harmful bacteria such as Clostridium species and Salmonella strains appear to be resistant to the chemicals. Researchers have suggested that ingesting glyphosate leads to dysbacteriosis, or an increase in the number of harmful than beneficial bacteria in the gut. Some studies have linked dysbacteriosis to increased neurotoxicity, in other words, things that can negatively affect the brain and nervous system.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a common ingredient in plastics and polymers. Until recently, BPA plastic was widely used as a packaging material. This compound can enter the body through ingestion of food, and acts as an endocrine or hormonal disrupting agent. BPA has estrogenic and androgenic properties (think: the testosterone family), which can be linked to reproductive abnormalities, suppression of the immune system, and neurological symptoms. Studies also indicate that BPA has cell proliferation properties.

Heavy metals from pollution can disrupt humans' metabolism, or many of their physiological functions. Heavy metals react in the body because they often contain very few electrons or energy molecules, making them unstable. So these metals "steal" electrons from human cells and tissues. This "stealing" process leads to oxidative stress, which can damage tissues and cause more chronic problems and disease. The best real-life example of oxidative stress is when you cut an apple and leave it exposed to the air. Natural air oxidizes the apple, turning it brown. This is exactly what happens inside the body, but instead of oxidative stress turning cells/tissues an unwanted color, it damages them.

Microorganisms or toxic products can also cause foodborne illnesses, such as an upset stomach or "food poisoning." Organisms such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites may contaminate food products. Parasites can be found in foods in developing countries as well as in modern societies. Some studies showed the presence of Cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite, in samples of lettuce and mung bean. Giardia contamination is found in beans, dill, radishes, and strawberries. Some of these pollutants return to the water supply.

Why use fruit and vegetable wash?

A few types of fruit and vegetable washes are commercially available. One of the ingredients that can be found in these types of lye is rosemary oil. This compound has natural antimicrobial properties. In studies, using rosemary oil succeeded in killing bacteria, fungi, and parasites on various surfaces.

Glycerin is an alcohol-based compound, and it is usually odorless and has a slightly sweet taste. This ingredient in many fruit and vegetable washes acts as a surfactant, helping to dissolve chemicals. Studies have shown that using glycerol solutions can reduce topical pesticide residues by 50%. It also has antimicrobial properties and can be safely used in medicine to treat burn wounds.

Some rinses also include calcium ascorbate or other vitamin C derivatives. This additive is absorbed by fruits and vegetables, increasing their antioxidant content. Antioxidants are key to preventing cell and body damage from food contaminants. They also play an essential role in many of the body's physiological functions — so this is a win-win!

Limonene is another common ingredient found in fruit and vegetable washes. This natural oil derived from citrus fruits is used in the agricultural sector as an alternative to pesticides. This oil has antimicrobial, herbicide, and antioxidant properties. It is also used in the beverage and food industry to add flavor to various beverages and products.

Citric acid is one of the ingredients that is also used and has many uses widely in the food and other sectors. It is one of the natural antioxidants and food stabilizers, and this additive can have the dual benefit of protecting against food contamination damage in the body, and helping to preserve foods and vegetables.

Sea salt is a simple yet effective antimicrobial. This common condiment is a natural solution to killing unwanted bacteria. Spraying or washing bacteria or other microbes with a solution containing salt will cause the water to escape from those organisms. In the end, without water the organism dies. Salt primarily protects us from harmful microbes, or toxic microbial products, in our food.

Capryl glucoside is a compound also found in these types of washes, and acts as a surfactant to break down harmful water-insoluble elements. One of these items includes pesticide residues. Pesticides are often petroleum-based, which means that they are fat-soluble and not water-soluble. Surfactants can help break down these hard-to-metabolize compounds.

Sunflower seed oil is found in some fruit and vegetable washes. This naturally derived compound is known to have antioxidant, antimicrobial, and supportive properties for healthy inflammatory levels. In studies, applying this oil to wounds has been found to produce better responses than commercial solutions. This compound has been shown to have antimicrobial properties against bacteria and yeast species.


Food contaminants are heavily present in many of the fruits and vegetables we eat. These pollutants, including microbes, heavy metals, pesticides, and plastics are bad compounds and can have adverse effects on our health. Fortunately, products like fruit and vegetable washes help remove these unwanted contaminants with ease.

the reviewer:

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