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The Truth Behind Preservatives

What are preservatives?  How does preservatives affect your health? Is it good to preserve food? Well let’s find out.

Preservatives are a type of food additive that is added to certain foods to prolong shelf life by keeping microorganisms from breaking down the products. Food such as bread, meat, junk food and mostly everything found in a traditional grocery store has preservatives.  Most food that spoils and molds fast does not contain preservatives. Some preservatives are safe but some can be questionable.  The next time you pull something out the pantry look for some of the ingredients in this text to know what is safe and not so safe for your body.

A safe preservative that is good to find on a food label is Ascorbic Acid.  This is a form of vitamin C that is naturally found in fruits and vegetables.  Ascorbic acid is an antioxidant that help protect the body from molecules that are produced when the body breaks down foods or is exposed to things such as cigarette smoke and radiation.

Looking at an energy drink label, you may see an ingredient called Taurine.  This is a substance that is used to help maintain water and electrolyte balance in the blood.  It can also be naturally found in meats, fish, and breast milk.

Another safe preservative is Nisin.  This preservative is primarily used for its anti-bacterial properties and is used in different products like cheese, liquid eggs, salad dressing, meats and poultry.  Nisin is considered safe to eat.

Some Preservatives that may be questionable are:

Sulfites: These preservatives are used to stop browning and discoloration of food but has been linked to an allergy sensitivity.

Sodium Benzoate: is a preservative that helps stops fermentation of foods that’s are commonly found in juices and sodas.  This could be harmful to your health because researchers believe that when sodium benzoate is mixed with Vitamin C it can create a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue. This is only considered harmful if you drink gallons of these beverages.

Nitrite: is a preservative that is often found in meats and are responsible for giving hot dogs their red coloring.  The American Cancer Society have warned people to consume less processed meat because nitrate have been linked to some types of cancer.

Usually if you are having a hard time pronouncing the ingredient, you may not want to eat it.  When you are not sure what is good for your body or not, try foods that are fresh, organic and natural.

Fresh produce and meats are less likely to contain preservatives.  Meaning they will not last as long but they will be healthier for you.

Organic foods are guaranteed free of these harmful preservatives. Look for the USDA organic certified sticker on the products or look for packaging that indicates the contents are preservative free.

Lastly, choose natural products.  Look for the foods labeled “natural,” because these products are generally free of any artificial additives, dyes or flavors.

Healthy Home Market is a locally owned health food store in Charlotte and surrounding areas that offers many product that are natural, organic and fresh.  Visit HHM for you healthy needs today!

 

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