Why are Preservatives and Additives in our food

Are you aware how many additives and preservatives are in the processed foods we buy, or the harm that these chemicals can do to our bodies?

Food additives, as the name implies, are substances that "add" to "food". There are many different types, derived from many different source a lot of them synthetic or made in a laboratory that has never seen real food!

Depending on the purpose for which they are used, the main ones are:

- dyes: these are used to give the food a uniform or different colour from that which it naturally has;

- preservatives: serve to lengthen the period of shelf life to make sure that the food remains edible longer;

- thickeners, stabilisers, and emulsifiers: improve the appearance, consistency, and stability of food;

- antioxidants and acidity correctors: preserve the freshness of food;

- flavour enhancers: improve taste;

- sweeteners: make the food sweeter.

Packaged or processed foods contain some form of the above and unfortunately our supermarkets are full to the brim with them.  With more being produced every day.  The worrisome thing is, what these additives and preservatives are derived from and the harm they can be doing to our bodies.  You may experience disorders such as migraines, allergies, intestinal problems, hyperactivity and not even consider that its an ingredient contained in that bread wrap you had for lunch! But, in fact, even small quantities of these toxins running through our body are disrupting your bodies natural processes and can create an immune response.

What can you do to avoid these harmful ingredients?

 Always check the labels on the packaging. Be informed and if you don’t recognise it don’t buy it.  If you read and ingredient label and it has something listed that you can’t even pronounce and sounds like it was made in a laboratory - chances are it was1  There are a few great tools and Apps. available that you can download to your phone or carry a card in your wallet that list the worst of these nasties, to avoid. Don’t be duped by clever marketing and fancy packaging.  The bottom line is these big food chains want your $$$$ they’re not interested in your health and wellbeing. Being more aware and check labelling, then you can make an informed decision, and decide accordingly whether to buy it.  

Food industries have the obligation to put on the label all the ingredients used for processing.  The first ingredient that is on the list is the one present in greater quantities, while the last one mentioned is the one found in a smaller quantity.

Buy foods that contain fewer additives

  • To minimise or avoid the consumption of additives, choose fresh food instead of processed. Fresh in season fruit and vegetables, meats/nitrate free cold cuts, fish, quality dairy products, as well as eggs and frozen products. Food recognisable in its natural state.
  • Always choose fruits and vegetables from organic growers to avoid harmful pesticides and herbicides, eat seasonally and support local growers.
  • Buy meat or fish that is grass-fed and sustainable. 
  • Dairy products and cheese: avoid those dairy products high in sugar or flavourings and buy natural or non-flavoured ones instead. Grated or sliced heeses may contain ingredients, to prevent them from sticking; buy them whole and cut or grate them yourself.

Don’t underestimate frozen foods either: lots of frozen fruit and vegetables still undergo processing and may be sweetened or can contain additives or preservatives. Read the label to be absolutely sure!

The easiest way to remove foods rich in preservatives and additives from your diet is to make your own.  It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just set aside time each week to do food preparation at home.  By being prepared you can put together nutrient dense food that will give your body the fuel it needs, recognises and is able to process. 

Make your own, dressings for salads, sauces or marinades, bread, single-portion meals the you can store in the freezer. Have fresh fruits and vegetables cut up, prepped and ready to make into a tasty stir-fry or soup and take the leftovers for lunch or freeze for later. 

Use your creativity, make better choices and be informed.

Believe me your body will thank you for it.