There is alarm and concern amongst some people about the chemicals found in our kitchen. Some diets exploit this by pushing for a “chemical-free” lifestyle that they claim keep toxins from the body. What these diets fail to recognize is that literally everything in our kitchen, and everything in general, is made of chemicals. To illustrate the folly of the “chemical-free lifestyle,” people have warned of dihydrogen monoxide, found in every home. This chemical can cause suffocation, accelerates corrosion, and can be fatal if consumed in large doses. Dihydrogen monoxide, of course, is another name for water. While this is a somewhat comical example, it does illustrate that all chemicals aren’t the same. Some chemicals are perfectly fine for your body, while others are extremely harmful. The trick is to eliminate harmful chemicals. So just what are some of these dangerous chemicals that you should avoid? One of the biggest chemicals you’ll want to stay away from, or at least cut down on, is sodium chloride. This is more commonly known as salt. Americans eat far, far too much salt. In fact, it’s estimated that as much as 90 percent of Americans eat too much salt. This is truly a staggering statistic! The daily recommendation for salt consumption for healthy people is 2,300 mg (it’s less in people with diabetes, high blood pressure, or people over 50). On average, Americans actually consume 3,592 mg per day. This amount is 50 percent more than is healthy. This can lead to hypertension, heart damage, and obesity. Another chemical to avoid is polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE. This is what makes non-stick pans non-stick. While they’re convenient when it comes time to clean, they may also be harmful to your health. PTFE releases a toxic gas when exposed to high temperatures. This has been shown to cause cancer in certain individuals. It’s also been linked to organ failure and damage to the reproductive system. If you’re going to use these pans, use them at a low heat. It’s probably best, though, just to get rid of them altogether. When it comes to ingredients in your food, you’ll want to avoid pretty much any chemicals found in processed foods. They contain a laundry list of harmful ingredients that can damage your body. The rule of thumb is that if you can’t pronounce it, it’s probably NOT something that should go into your body. One example is Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA). This ingredient is added to processed foods to preserve freshness and may be listed in the ingredients as “E320.” It’s also found in cosmetics, rubber, and petroleum products. While the dosage in food is very low, repeated exposure may be enough to cause cancer. The state of California has listed it as a carcinogen because high doses have been shown to cause cancer in rats and certain types of hamsters. In general, if you want to eat healthier you should stick to an organic diet of natural foods. This allows you to control exactly what goes into your food instead of relying on food manufacturers who may be looking at their bottom line as opposed to the health of their customers. Being diligent about eating healthy chemicals and avoiding toxic chemicals can potentially lead to better health. Keep in mind, however, that not all chemicals are harmful.
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