Heavy Metals Continued
5 - Chocolate:
Many people assume chocolate is unhealthy because it’s commonly associated with the candy aisle. Still, if you eat low-sugar chocolate, it’s far better for you than sugary chocolate (like Hershey's).
However, it can be a source of heavy metal contamination.
Especially the healthy dark chocolates.
While dark chocolate that is 70% cacao or more has anti-inflammatory flavanols that can do wonders for your brain, your hearth, and more, it’s likely that it is high in lead and cadmium.
The problem is that some chocolates are harvested in areas that have high levels of cadmium and lead in the soil. As they are refined and mixed, the concentrations of these metals increase, which means if you have a dark chocolate habit, you may consume an unsafe amount of these metals.
The good news is that not all dark chocolate is like this. Research has been done to discover safe alternatives to the heavy-metal-laden chocolates, and there are a number you can depend on,
6 - Leafy Greens:
Eating a salad rich in leafy greens can pack your diet with vitamins and nutrients, but there's a hidden risk: these greens often absorb heavy metals from soil. Spinach and lettuce, for example, can contain traces of these contaminants.
Some of the worst offenders are kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. In fact, they are known to be 'hyperaccumulators,' which means they have a super intense concentration of heavy metals in their leaves as part of a natural process to reduce soil contamination.
Recent findings have alarmed consumers about the levels of toxic metals in their greens.
In December 2021, the nonprofit As You Sow reported high cadmium levels in spinach from major retailers, including Safeway, Trader Joe's, and Target, affecting standard and organic varieties.
Ways to avoid this are to grow your own with safe soils or to work with local farmers who know what’s in their soil (and what isn’t in their soil).
7 - Bone Broth:
Another healing “potion,” bone broth, can have some problems as it relates to heavy metals.
Bone broth can help improve health by providing collagen, improving gastrointestinal function, and aiding in weight maintenance.
The problem is that when broth is made from simmering the bones, sometimes you might infuse the stock with dangerous metal toxins.
That’s because the livestock bones may have copious amounts of lead, which could leach into the broth. This is true even if the animals are “organic.” A 2013 study indicated that leads were observed at especially high levels in bone broth compared to the tap water used to make the broth.
This isn’t universal, mind you, as lead concentration depends on where the animals are raised, but it may make sense not to overdo it on bone broth and instead eat other sources of collagen to avoid the lead.
8 - Fruit Juice:
I’m not one to recommend fruit juice in the first place, as it’s generally a super-concentrated sugar center.
Yet, if you go into a healthy food store, they’ll have refrigerators full of fruit juice.
In theory, you can get a long list of micronutrients and macronutrients (carbs) from fruit juice.
In the same way that lead is found in baby foods, it’s found in fruit juice, which is why you may want to consider that as another reason for not drinking it.
9 - Protein Powders:
In other articles on the blog, I’ve talked about the merits as well as downsides of protein shakes.
Overall, protein shakes are a net positive for people who want to build muscle and maintain a healthy weight.
Of course, not all protein shakes are created equal.
Some of them, the ones that use bottom-of-the-barrel ingredients or are too dependent on things like heavy-metal-rich rice, can be problematic.
The Clean Label Project's 2018 study revealed a concerning presence of toxic metals like lead in many commercial protein supplements, both whey and plant-based. The findings were particularly alarming for plant-based protein powders, which exhibited double the lead amount and contained arsenic, cadmium, and mercury.
Sean Callan, the director of the testing lab, noted that the contamination could stem from the geographic origins of the plant ingredients used in these powders.
Specifically, in the United States, certain regions have a higher prevalence of heavy metals in the soil, which then gets absorbed by plants.
Despite these findings, it's still possible to find high-quality protein powders.
By conducting thorough research and choosing products from reputable brands that conduct rigorous testing, consumers can find protein supplements with minimal harmful ingredients, ensuring a safer approach to meeting their dietary protein needs.
10 - Spices:
Spices are one of those “foods” you don’t think about often, especially regarding danger.
And yet, we use them every day, and they can be problematic:
Spices can sometimes contain unhealthy amounts of heavy metals, which is a concern due to several environmental and processing factors.
When the soil where spice plants are grown is contaminated with heavy metals like lead, arsenic, cadmium, or mercury, the plants can absorb these.
This contamination might arise from natural geological factors or human activities, such as mining, industrial waste, or using contaminated water for irrigation.
Another way heavy metals end up on spices is through the air, often as a result of industrial emissions from factories, vehicles, or mining operations. These metals can be absorbed through the leaves or remain on the surface of the plants.
The use of certain pesticides and fertilizers, which can introduce heavy metals into the soil, also poses a risk. Though this is more commonly a concern for fruits and vegetables, it can also affect spice crops...
How to Treat For Heavy Metals:
You’ve been warned about the dangers of heavy metals and where they come from throughout this article.
But how do you get them out of your body?
One of the best ways to help remove heavy metals is to focus on the foods you eat.
Eating foods like cilantro, garlic, and wild blueberries helps to detoxify without being harsh.
Drinking plenty of filtered water is also key, as water helps flush out toxins from your system. Adding lemon to your water can be an extra boost, as it aids detoxification and provides vitamin C.
Supplementation is another key area. Certain supplements, like spirulina and chlorella, are known for their ability to bind to heavy metals and help remove them from your body. Additionally, milk thistle greatly supports liver health, an organ crucial in the detox process.
I also recommend things like zeolites, fulvic acid, and humic acid.
Exercise and other activities that encourage sweating (sauna, for instance) are useful as they help eliminate toxins through the skin.
There are more advanced clinical therapies like chelation to consider if you have an acute problem and are in need of significant detox.