10 Ways to Avoid Chemicals in Your Food

Can we avoid chemicals?

Chemicals are essential building blocks for everything in the world. People, animals, plants—all living matter consists of chemicals. All food is also made up of chemical substances. The good news is that chemicals in food are largely harmless and often desirable—for instance, protein, fat, fiber, and carbohydrates are composed of chemical compounds.

However, chemicals can have a variety of toxicological properties, some of which may negatively affect humans and animals.

Harmful chemicals are anything that gets in the way of your body’s ability to do its job. They interfere with hormone production and regulation. They can cause allergic reactions and health issues related to mood, metabolism, reproduction, and more.

You’ve probably heard many so-called theories that some common foods or food ingredients are toxic. Luckily, most of these claims aren’t backed up by science.

Still, there are a few chemicals that can wreak havoc on your overall wellbeing, especially when consumed in large amounts.

We’ve rounded up 10 ways that can help you avoid chemicals in your food. Let’s get started!

avoid chemicals
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1. Use wooden or silicone utensils

When cooking, use utensils made from silicone or wood instead of plastic, particularly when flipping or stirring hot food. According to experts, plastic utensils may contain chemicals like phthalates and BPA (bisphenol A), which are known as endocrine disruptors.

Endocrine disruptors are basically all those chemicals that can have negative impacts on your hormones and overall health. Multiple studies have shown that BPAs and phthalates are the most prevalent and harmful chemicals, and avoiding them can be as easy as getting new cooking utensils!

2. Choose safer cookware

Another way to avoid chemicals in your food is to opt for cookware made from materials that are less likely to leach toxins into your meals. Some safer options include cast iron, ceramic, glass, and stainless steel.

Avoid non-stick cookware with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coatings because they can release harmful fumes at high temperatures. Moreover, these coatings often start to chip after long-term use, increasing your risk of eating the chemicals found in them.

3. Minimize microwave use with plastic containers

Heating food in plastic containers in the microwave is something you should never do. The process can lead to the release of harmful chemicals, so whenever possible, transfer food to microwave-safe ceramic or glass dishes. Even better, to avoid chemicals in your food, opt to use your oven or air fryer to heat your meals.

According to several studies, heating plastic containers is among the things that cause the greatest exposure to toxic chemicals, so here’s a very good reason to stop doing that. Or at least minimize the microwave use with plastic containers as much as possible.

4. Be cautious with canned foods

Canned foods can be a source of exposure to harmful chemicals like bisphenol S (BPS) and bisphenol A (BPA), both considered endocrine-disrupting chemicals and found in the lining of some cans.

According to a study conducted by Environmental Science and Pollution Research, urinary BPA concentrations spiked after the consumption of canned foods. Specifically, urinary BPA concentrations considerably differed between those who consume canned foods often and those who don’t.

To avoid chemicals in your food, choose fresh or frozen foods instead of canned ones whenever possible. If you do use canned foods, choose the BPA-free options.

Keep reading to discover other ways to avoid chemicals in your food!

organic foods
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5. Choose organic and hormone-free foods

Organic foods are less likely to contain harmful chemicals like pesticides and synthetic hormones, which can negatively affect your overall well-being, especially if ingested in high amounts. Additionally, opting for hormone-free meat and dairy products can reduce exposure to these dangerous chemicals.

The good news is that nowadays we have a wide range of organic foods to choose from, and they’re available in most stores. Some of them may be more expensive, but at least you know you’re not eating things that can affect your health.

6. Avoid pre-packaged and processed foods

We hear this all the time: highly processed foods are bad for our health, especially if consumed regularly. They contain high amounts of sodium, unhealthy fats, and added sugars while lacking essential nutrients. The same thing also applies to most pre-packaged foods.

But there’s another reason why these dietary choices can end up affecting your health. Many pre-packaged and processed foods come in plastic wrappers and containers that may contain dangerous chemicals. Anytime plastic comes into contact with foods, it’s best to find another option if possible.

Of course, not eating these foods at all can be difficult and perhaps impossible, but if you want to avoid chemicals, opt for whole, fresh options and prepare meals from scratch as much as possible.

7. Store food properly

Another thing you should do if you want to avoid chemicals in your food is to follow some important rules for proper food storage. Storing food properly doesn’t only prevent spoilage and potentially dangerous bacteria growth, but it also minimizes the risk of chemical exposure.

So, what you should do is avoid using plastic containers for long-term storage, especially when it comes to fatty or acidic foods. According to experts, these foods can leach dangerous chemicals from the plastic. Instead, use stainless steel or glass containers.

8. Wash vegetables and fruits

One of the most important things you should do to avoid chemicals is to wash vegetables and fruits. This will help remove pesticide residues, minimizing your risk of ingesting those toxins. According to a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, produce grown using conventional methods has higher levels of pesticide residue than organically grown produce.

In other words, food that is not sprayed with pesticides has a lower level of dangerous chemicals, so when your budget allows, choose organic.

cleaning products
Photo by Natali _ Mis from Shutterstock

9. Be aware of cleaning products

Another way to avoid chemicals in your food is to choose non-toxic, eco-friendly cleaning products when cleaning cookware and kitchen surfaces. While it’s a bit complicated, reading the labels of the cleaners before buying them can help you better understand if any ingredients could be causing more harm than good.

If you think this is too much of a hassle for you, look for labels that read “non-toxic” or “eco-friendly.” Here are some options from Amazon. An alternative would be to make your cleaning supplies with ingredients like vinegar and baking soda.

10. Educate yourself

Stay informed about the potential sources of toxins and the latest research on this topic. Being aware of the risks and making informed decisions can help you avoid chemicals. Reading this article is a great first step!

Reducing the use of products containing these chemicals, choosing safer substitutes, and supporting policies that limit and regulate the use of these dangerous compounds are essential steps to protect human and environmental health. Furthermore, research is ongoing to better understand the long-term effects of dangerous chemicals and to develop strategies for minimizing their impact on human health.

By implementing these healthy practices, you can take steps to avoid chemicals in your foods and promote a healthier cooking environment for you and your family.

If you liked our article on ways to avoid chemicals, you may also want to read These ‘Forever Chemicals’ Won’t Be Used in US Food Packaging Anymore.


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10 Ways to Avoid Chemicals in Your Food

Can we avoid chemicals? Chemicals are essential building blocks for everything in the world. People, animals, plants—all living matter consists of chemicals. All food is also made up of chemical