We all know the many reasons to eat fermented foods — they aid in digestibility of our food, they add probiotics to our food, they remove anti-nutrients in the food such as lectins, and phytic acid. But did you know that recent research has indicated that lacto-fermented foods also degrade certain dangerous pesticide residues in your food?
This study published in Letters in Applied Microbiology, In July 2013 indicates that a common probiotic in cultured foods called Lactobacillus plantarum has the ability to degrade certain pesticide residues in common foods.
Pesticides Used at Storage Facilities
Pirimiphos-methyl is a wheat bound pesticide that is used after harvesting the wheat — at the storage facility in order to prevent spoilage.
These residues get into the wheat and remain there in whatever product the wheat is used for.
The concern is that the Standard American Diet (SAD) is filled with all kinds of wheat products from breads and snacks to baby cereal. It’s the baby cereal that is very troublesome because babies are much more sensitive to pesticide exposures.
The authors of the study conclude that,
Pesticide residues are an unavoidable part of the environment due to their extensive applications in agriculture. As wheat is a major cultivated cereal, the presence of pesticide residues in wheat is a real concern to human health… Present work investigates the dissipation of pirimiphos-methyl during wheat fermentation by L. plantarum. Results are confirmation that food-processing techniques can significantly reduce the pesticide residues in food, offering a suitable means to tackle the current scenario of unsafe food.
The investigators indicate that a simple change to the processing of wheat would make a great impact on human health. The addition of Lactobacillus plantarum to the processing of wheat could help remove a dangerous toxin from the food.
If you do buy baby cereal and other wheat products, buy organic, as these have not been treated with chemicals.
Better yet, eat and serve your family only wheat that has been fermented (sourdough). This will ensure that any pesticide residues are gone due to the action of Lactobacillus plantarum. Additionally, this will also ensure that the anti-nutrients will be broken down as well. This is the only type of wheat product I would eat if I were eating wheat.
Of course another option is to avoid wheat in your diet. I recommend a wheat free, grain free diet for many folks, but not everyone needs to avoid an entire food group.
Add Fermented Foods To Your Diet
Adding fermented foods to your daily diet will improve your health and immunity. Fermented foods come in many different varieties — if you cannot tolerate wheat or dairy, you can try fermented vegetables or beverages.
Here are some simple recipes and articles about fermented food: