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No, we’re not talking about the music genre. Heavy metals are elements such as iron, lead and nickel. Heavy metals are all around us – including in the food that we eat. Some of these heavy metals can be extremely toxic when eaten in large doses (such as arsenic and lead), leading to problems such as kidney failure and thyroid problems. As a result, it’s important to be wary of these metals and the foods that they are found in. Below are just some of the common sources of heavy metals to look out for.
Brown rice has a lower glycaemic index than white rice – and so it is often viewed as the healthy alternative. However, brown rice contains 80% more arsenic than white rice. This arsenic is found on the surface of the grain and is partly what gives it its distinct colour. While it’s usually safe to eat brown rice in moderation, you should be careful about eating it too regularly – white rice is a better option.
Tap water that is unfiltered could contain heavy metal traces such as lead and mercury. These heavy metals are found in the piping and can leak out into the water. Adding a filtration system to your home’s tap water supply could prevent you from consuming these metals. You can learn more about this here https://www.filtap.com.au/effectively-remove-heavy-metals-drinking-water/. Bottled water is another option.
Most types of seafood contain mercury. The highest levels of mercury are found in fish such as tuna, swordfish and king mackerel. These types of fish should be eaten in moderation to avoid mercury poisoning. Other types of fish such as haddock, salmon, trout and sardines have lower mercury levels and often also have higher omega-3 levels making them a much healthier choice. You can learn more about heavy metals in seafood here at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29747150/.
Believe it or not, eating too many veggies can be dangerous. This is particularly the case with leafy greens such as cabbage, spinach, kale and collard greens. While packed full of healthy vitamins and nutrients, leafy greens also contain high levels of a toxic metal called cadmium. It’s best to balance out your diet with non-leafy vegetables such as broccoli, olives and zucchini in order to avoid overconsumption of this heavy metal.
A lot of beer and wine contains heavy metals such as arsenic. This gets into the drinks via the metal filters that are often used during production. If you’re a heavy drinker, this could be another reason to cut down. Not all alcoholic beverages are likely to contain these heavy metals – many organic brands will try to remove heavy metals or limit exposure. These could be worth trying out if you regularly drink alcohol.