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How To Counter Dietary Pollutants & Pesticides

We have so polluted our planet that eight different pesticides were recently reported to have contaminated the snow-capped tips of the Rocky Mountains. If they’re contaminated, then everywhere is contaminated. The best we can do is just try to eat as low on the food chain as possible–plant foods, preferably organic. Click on my video pick above to see where a variety of industrial pollutants tend to concentrate in our food supply.

Not only do plant foods tend to have significantly lower levels of industrial pollutants, they may have phytonutrients that combat the effects of some of these toxicants. In my 2-min. video Plants vs. Pesticides I profile an experiment where scientists dripped dioxin and DDT on some human white blood cells with and without a variety of phytonutrients to see if they would have a protective effect.

The two most effective agents in protecting human blood cells appeared to be zerumbone, a compound naturally found in ginger, and auraptene, a natural component of citrus. These are very preliminary findings, as this was only done in a test tube and the researchers surveyed only a tiny fraction of the tens of thousands of known phytonutrients. It does, however, open up the possibility that plant-based diets may play a dual role in protecting us against industrial pollutants by reducing our exposure and, potentially, reducing some of the damage these chemicals can cause.

Get more information on ginger in Amyloid and Apple Juice and Dangerous Advice From Health Food Store Employees. See how we can incorporate it in our diet in Healthy Pumpkin Pie and The Healthiest Beverage.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my full 2012 presentation Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death.

Image credit: Crystl / Flickr

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Dr. Michael Greger

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at


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4:16AM PST on Dec 31, 2012


3:50AM PST on Dec 31, 2012

Wow...ginger and citrus are my staples. I must have very health aware spirit guides!

6:44PM PST on Dec 13, 2012

Thank you Dr, Michael Greger, for Sharing this!

6:35AM PST on Dec 13, 2012

Thanks for info and thanks for comments, everybody..

5:06PM PST on Nov 25, 2012


3:13AM PST on Nov 18, 2012

True. Thank you for sharing!

1:04AM PST on Nov 18, 2012


10:28PM PST on Nov 17, 2012

So many toxins.

9:43PM PST on Nov 17, 2012


2:33PM PST on Nov 17, 2012

I take in ginger and lime water or lemon water: a lime or lemon(fresh), cut in half and squeezed from whole fruit into a glass of filtered water, daily. I really don't understand how that one study can even remotely compare organic produce to conventionally grown. I also can't imagine drinking tap water as is in today's age. Filtered water from a recomended water filtration system as recommended by Consumer Reports is essential. For those interested, Clear 2O, is rated as the best water pitcher filter system by Consumer Reports(I subscribe) and is only about 20.00. Its rated way better than Zero Water or Brita, or Pur, all which cost more.

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