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Reasons To Properly Wash Fruits And Vegetables Before Eating Them

Updated on August 17, 2014

Surprising as it may seem, there are quite a few persons out there who do not understand the reasons to clean fruits and vegetables properly before eating them. Fruits and vegetables look so clean and fresh in the garden and on the grocery shelf. We see this everyday and even I am guilty sometimes. It is so innocent to pick a fruit from the tree and toss it into our mouths without giving it a second thought. However, there can be grave consequences in doing so and one must be keen when it comes to consumption of untreated foods. In a nutshell, here are some basic reasons to properly wash fruits and vegetables before eating them.

The organic alternative

The best way to avoid chemical contaminants in any food is to eat organic produce. Unfortunately, organic produce are also likely to have the highest levels of other contaminants such as parasites, insects, viruses, spores and bacteria. This solves one problem and worsens many others. Organic foods are however treated with care, making sure that they contain the largest amounts of natural nutrients that are beneficial to our health.

1. Germs

Fruits and vegetables alike are no different from any other organic thing. They are usually contaminated with various fungus spores, bacteria and viruses. Many of these germs occur naturally as airborne contaminants. Others are carried by insects and animals that come in close contact with them. Ground fruits and vegetables can be contaminated with bacteria from animal excretions, passed on from rodents and so on. Airborne viruses can contaminate tree fruits from birds and climbing mammals. Common harmful bacteria found on raw produce include E.Coli, salmonella and staphylococcus. Washing fruits and vegetables may not rid them of all microorganisms but it will significantly reduce their quantities hence, reducing their harmful effects.

2. Insects

If you don't find insects a delicacy, washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly will lessen your chances of accidentally chowing down some undesirable critter. We eat hundreds of bugs every day unknowingly. Thrips and aphids are microscopic and make up a large portion of our daily insect intake. However, much of these tiny insects as well as larger ones will be washed off during a course of thorough cleaning. Remember that insects eat just about the same things we consume. So don't be surprised if biting off a piece of freshly picked apple will fill your mouth with insects too.

Intestinal worms
Intestinal worms

3. Parasites

Okay, under no circumstance do we find parasites good to taste. They are found in most animals and many vegetation on the planet. Parasites can be big or small. Leeches are considered parasites as well as some kinds of fungus and mushrooms. Some are good while others are deadly. We are however concerned about the bad ones in this discussion. Worms and flukes are some of the most dangerous parasites to infest the human body. These can cause very little damage to our organs as well as cause various cancers, illnesses and even death. We can ingest these parasites by eating fruits and vegetables that had been contaminated by animal excrement. We can easily ingest the eggs of these parasites by eating dirty fruits and vegetables. The eggs incubate inside of us and hatch, grow multiply and starts the cycle of infestation all over again. Unfortunately, if left untreated many parasites can move on to infect critical organs like our liver, heart or brain. Washing fruits and vegetables properly will lessen the level of parasite infestation in our body.

Most sprayed fruits and vegetables

Strawberries, apples, peaches, lettuce, tomatoes, cabbages, potatoes, carrots and sweet peppers are likely to have the most chemical residues on them. They are sprayed the most because they are favorite meals for fungus and insects.

4. Pesticides & Insecticides

We do not like pests on our foods, but even more importantly, we don't like pesticides either. Pesticides and insecticides are chemicals sprayed on plants to kill various insects, pests and microorganisms.They are not much different from our regular household pesticides and some are even far more potent. We would not spray our food with an insecticide and then eat it... not even a few days after. So why would we want to eat fruits and vegetables that had recently been sprayed with pest killing chemicals? We might not ever know the total effects that over time ingestion of chemicals can have on our bodies. Nevertheless, plants being sprayed does not mean that they are not good for consumption after a period of time. They are treated for our health and protection and we can protect ourselves further when we properly wash fruits and vegetables before eating them. Proper cleaning will eliminate most external chemical residues making them safer to eat.

How often do you wash fruits and vegetables before eating them?

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There are probably many other reasons to properly wash fruits and vegetables before eating them, however, think of the critical few. Germs, parasites and insecticides can have fatal consequences when consumed. Insects on the other hand, while not fit to discuss as a serving on your menu, might not have a serious effect as the critical few. Make sure for your sake and the sake of children who are more vulnerable you, wash fruits and vegetables properly before eating them. Consuming unclean vegetables can be just as bad as consuming filthy water. We need to break ourselves into complete healthy habits and pass on this knowledge and discipline to our children. It makes no sense in the long run to live healthy, exercise, eat lots of fruits and vegetables and make a filthy germ or parasite ruin our years of hard work.


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    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 3 years ago from Canada

      I agree that it is very important to wash all fruit and vegetables!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

      It is indeed so important to wash fruits and vegetables, but the number of people, restaurants, and facilities that do not is surprising. Hard to understand, considering the facts!