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Health Lessons from ‘The Orchard’: Wash Fruits before Eating

There might seem to be nothing harmful about eating fruits which appear “clean” on the outside. After all, it is expected that processes involved from the farm to the retailer should make them ready to eat. However, Theresa Weir in her memoir, The Orchard, shares an unnerving revelation.

As relates to this subject, she shares her experience of living on a farm where the major activity was apple farming. The farmers sprayed the apples with pesticides in order to prevent them from being destroyed by codling moths. This use of inorganic chemicals, in the long run, took its toll on the health of the farmers- Adrian and his father (real-life characters in the book), who later in life were diagnosed with and died of cancer.

Ever since I read this, I’ve taken extra caution in washing not only inorganically grown apples but also almost every fruit and vegetable that is a suspect of contact with chemicals- fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or any imaginable agent farmers and sellers would employ to preserve foodstuff and keep the farming business profitable.

One can imagine what the accumulated effects of ingested chemicals could be after a couple of years. It took years before it manifested in the lives of Adrian and his father. And though consumers may not be as at much risk as the farmers who are mostly exposed to chemical contact, Ms. Weir advises that apples be washed before they are eaten.

It is only responsible on our part to avoid throwing caution to the wind and be careful about what we eat. What seems clean and void of brown dirt might only be coated with something more harmful. More than washing fruits and vegetables to avoid harmful microorganisms as we have been taught in school, we should wash them to get rid of chemicals that could lead to cancer or any other health-related risk upon accumulated years of ingestion.

A reminder of what we already know, when eating fruits with their skin, soak them for minutes in salty water and afterwards rinse with a lot of water before consumption.

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Nnenna is an editor and writer at Connect Nigeria. She loves fine art, books and places.

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