Eat Smart: Simple Tips to Cut Down on Arsenic in Your Food!

Arsenic exposure has become an increasingly alarming issue, as it is found in various sources like drinking water, rice, and juices made from apple and grape. While it’s difficult to eliminate arsenic exposure completely, making some adjustments to your diet can significantly reduce the risks associated with it.

Increase Vitamin B12 and Animal Protein Intake

Recent research conducted at Dartmouth discovered that individuals with higher levels of vitamin B12, animal protein, animal fat, and vegetable fat in their diets tend to have lower arsenic levels.

Vitamin B12, which is primarily found in meat, is known to improve nerve function, produce red blood cells, and synthesize DNA. It plays a significant role in various bodily processes, making it essential for overall health. By consuming more vitamin B12-rich foods, not only will you lower your arsenic levels, but you will also benefit from the numerous health advantages associated with this vital vitamin.

Similarly, increasing your intake of animal protein and fat, as well as vegetable fat, can also help lower arsenic levels in your body. Sources of animal protein and fat include poultry, pork, beef, and dairy products, whereas vegetable fats can be found in olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado, among others.

Balancing Omega-3 Fats Consumption

While omega-3 fats undoubtedly offer excellent health benefits, the Dartmouth study found that consuming more omega-3 fats, particularly those found in fish oil, might increase your arsenic levels.

Fish, although high in total arsenic, mostly contains organic arsenic, which is believed to be less toxic. However, it’s crucial to balance your omega-3 intake to maximize its health benefits while minimizing the risks associated with arsenic exposure.

To do this, choose fish with lower arsenic levels, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines. These species contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids with minimal arsenic content. Incorporate these fish into your diet two to three times a week, and consider using EPA and DHA supplements derived from algae to maintain a healthy balance.

Choosing The Right Types of Rice

Since rice is known to contain arsenic, particularly the toxic inorganic arsenic, one way to lower your exposure would be to reduce your rice consumption. When you do eat rice, choose varieties with lower arsenic concentrations, such as basmati, jasmine, or sushi rice. These types of rice often have lower levels of inorganic arsenic compared to brown rice and long-grain white rice.

Moreover, cooking rice in a specific manner can also reduce arsenic content. It is suggested to wash the rice thoroughly in water before cooking and then boil it in a 5:1 water-to-rice ratio. After the rice is fully cooked, drain the excess water, which will have removed a significant percentage of the present arsenic.

Knowing Your Drinking Water Source

Arsenic can also be found in drinking water, so it is essential to know your water source to avoid further exposure. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets a maximum limit of 10 parts per billion for arsenic in drinking water; however, this level might still be unsafe for pregnant women, children, and those with a predisposition to arsenic-related diseases. Consider testing your water for arsenic levels and install an appropriate water filtration system if necessary.

The Dangers of Long-Term Arsenic Exposure

Long-term exposure to high levels of arsenic can cause several health problems. It can result in skin issues, heart disease, and various types of cancer. Additionally, arsenic is known to harm fetuses in the womb, making it especially dangerous for pregnant women.

By making dietary adjustments and understanding the sources of your arsenic exposure, you can significantly reduce the associated risks and maintain your overall health. Incorporate vitamin B12-rich foods and different protein sources into your diet, find a balance in your omega-3 intake, choose the right types of rice, and always stay informed about your drinking water to minimize the dangers of arsenic exposure.