Preservatives are substances that are added to food to prevent them from spoiling. While the function it serves is noble, there are two sides to every story. Preservatives in your food can be of two types, natural and artificial. Natural preservatives are generally safe for consumption, but their artificial counterparts can be dangerous.
Here are few of the detrimental effects of preservatives:
1. Breathing troubles
Recent studies have shown that food substances with preservatives such as aspartame, and sulfites could aggravate breathing problems in asthma patients. Sulphites have also been associated with shortness of breath, and difficulty in breathing. Added monosodium glutamate (especially found in Asian packaged food) can trigger nausea, breathing problems, and other reactions.
A double-blind study of over 1500 children revealed that additives and preservatives in their diet significantly increased hyperactivity. Removal of these addtives resulted in the opposite effect. It was also noted that past diagnosis of hyperactivity became irrelevant with respect to the behavioral changes.
Partly hydrogenated oils, commonly used to improve the shelf life of biscuits and other packaged goods can increase the risk of heart disease. Lab rats have exhibited increased weakening of heart tissues in direct proportion to increase in preservative consumption.
Perhaps the most dangerous effect of preservatives on the body is that they can easily turn carcinogenic. Nitrates and nitrites, used to cure meat and give it an attractive pink colour, can react with our gastric juices to become carcinogenic.
Best practices to follow
As a general rule, it’s best to eat food that is closest to its natural state, with minimal processing. Food produce that is labelled organic are devoid of artifical chemicals. Furthermore, the fresher the food at the time of consumption, the healthier it is. Scan the list of ingredients of your packaged food materials, and choose the ones that have no artificial additives. Choose smart, stay healthy!