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The toxins you didn’t even know you were consuming

Thu, 30 June 2016 8:00AM


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Which toxins are you consuming in your diet daily that you aren’t even aware of? Naturopath Lisa Guy sheds some light.

Toxins in tea bags

Most traditional tea bags and silk pyramid infusers are unfortunately made from materials such as bleached paper (containing dioxin), petrochemical based nylon, PVC, rayon, polypropolene and thermoplastic, which can leach potentially harmful chemicals into your healthy brew. This is a real concern for daily tea drinkers using traditional tea bags, who think they are doing something good for their health. Choosing to drink loose leaf tea, or tea packed in natural biodegradable pyramid infusers, is the best way to avoid any unexpected nasties ending up in your cuppa.


Minimize mercury

Fish is a nutritious addition to the diet, rich in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital for heart, brain and immune function. Some types of fish however should be limited as they contain higher levels of methylmercury. These are usually larger, longer living species that are at the top of the food chain such as swordfish, shark (flake), and marlin. Methlymercury is a neurotoxin that can cause damage to the central nervous system and brain, as well as the heart and immune system. Fish that contain lower levels of mercury that can be consumed safely up to 3 times a week include salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines. Mercury levels in tuna can vary greatly. Levels can be higher in larger species such as blue fin and albacore.

Avoid xenoestrogens

Bisphenol A (BPA) belongs to a group of chemicals called ‘xenoestrogens’, which are found plastic water and food containers, baby bottles, and coating inside metal cans. Trace amounts of BPA can leach from these containers into foods and drink. Xenoestrogens act like oestrogen in the body, interfering with normal hormonal signaling. We should take measures to avoid these ‘hormone-mimicking’ chemicals as they may increase the risk of breast, prostate, and reproductive cancers; reduce fertility and immune function; cause early puberty in children; menstrual irregularities and other disorders. The best way to reduce your contact with xenoestrogens is to buy and store foods and beverages in glass or stainless steel containers. Do not to heat food in a plastic containers or plastic cling wrap.

Processed deli meats

Processed meats such as ham, bacon, devon and salami contain a preservative called sodium nitrite (or nitrate), which is widely used to preserve deli meats to prevent botulism, and enhance their flavour and colour. Sodium nitrite is a precursor to a potent cancer-causing chemical called ‘nitrosamines’. Regularly consuming processed meats containing sodium nitrite can increase your risk of certain type of cancers. Look out for ‘nitrate-free’ meat products from selected natural grocers and butchers or even better use leftover roast meats and poultry for lunches.

Microwave popcorn

One single pack of microwaved popcorn not only contains twice as much fat as a Mars Bar, but also contains dangerous compounds that can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have found a dangerous chemical compound called diacetyl (DA), which is an artificial butter flavouring used in some processed food products like microwaved popcorn, to give the appearance and taste of butter. It can easily cross the blood-brain barrier and disrupt normal brain functioning, which can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The bags also contain chemicals that produce carcinogenic substances when heated.

Tip: Popcorn can be a great quick and healthy snack, just air-pop some organic popcorn in a brown paper bag or glass dish with a lid.

Diet yoghurts

Watch out for ‘diet, ‘low sugar’ or ‘sugar-free’ yoghurts as they contain potentially health-damaging artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame (E951), which have been shown to worsen insulin sensitivity, promote weight gain, and increase the risk of Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease. Don’t take a chance with your health and instead go for natural yoghurts and naturally sweeten them yourself with some fresh fruit, sliced dates, cinnamon, or a little raw honey.

Shelf stable baked goods eg. cakes, muffins, donuts, and creamy biscuits 

Cakes, muffins, donuts and other baked goods sitting on supermarket shelves are not only ladened with sugar, which sends blood sugar levels soaring, and artificial additives and preservatives, but are also packed with trans-fats. These harmful fats increases your ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and lowers your ‘good’ HDL levels, and clog arteries and can increase your risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. A very good reason to start baking at home. Avoid processed foods that contain vegetable oils, or hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, as they will contain trans-fats.


Lisa Guy

Lisa Guy is a popular Sydney based naturopath who has been practicing for over 15 years. 


Lisa has recently created her own organic wellness tea range which contains a variety of beautiful, unique tea blends that help promote good health and wellbeing. You can see the Bodhi Organic Tea range here:

Want some quick and healthy recipes? Try:
9 super simple quinoa recipes
11 low fat soups to try this winter
10 easy and delicious brussels sprouts recipes
9 healthy breakfast recipes


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  • Posted by: MelissaFay89 Master Fan // Thu, 30 June 2016 09:58am

    Uh no thanks :(

  • Posted by: meedee Master Fan // Thu, 30 June 2016 12:51pm

    I have always said that the amount of chemicals we consume daily is the reasson that cancer rates are growing and could explain why so many people have allergies and disorders such as ADHD

  • Posted by: beccha77 Master Fan // Thu, 30 June 2016 03:11pm

    Very interesting to read this article. I actually really like brussels sprouts! The recipes look delicious.

  • Posted by: cottoncandy19 Master Fan // Thu, 30 June 2016 03:42pm

    I had no idea about the tea bags! I’ll switch to loose leaf now

  • Posted by: Pixie96 Master Fan // Thu, 30 June 2016 03:50pm

    I eat processed deli meats sometimes but not that often and I knew they weren’t very healthy. I don’t really like microwave popcorn so that’s good.

  • Posted by: talkalot Master Fan // Fri, 1 July 2016 03:00pm

    OMG this is quite scary. The amount of processed foods that are on our supermarket shelves is massive.

  • Posted by: Bijoux Master Fan // Mon, 4 July 2016 10:06pm

    I don’t eat most of these things but baked goods are my downfall!

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