Harmful Food Preservatives and Additives – Essay Example

The paper "Harmful Food Preservatives and Additives " is an outstanding example of an essay on medical science. Food additives are chemicals or natural ingredients added to preserve food for a long time. This method delays the process of food spoilage by destroying and preventing the growth of microorganisms, fungi, and bacteria. They often enhance the food flavor and also slow down the natural aging and discoloration of the preserved food thus retaining the freshness for a longer time. There are many techniques used for the preservation of food. These include the age-old techniques of drying or adding salt and vinegar, sugar crystallization or preservation in sugar syrup or alcohol. Modern techniques involve canning, freeze drying, vacuum packing and many more. Recently is has been found that many of the modern chemical preservatives often cause health hazards like breathing problems, anaphylactic shock or even cancer. Harmful preservatives include Aspartame, Acesul fame -K, mono sodium glutamate, sodium nitrate etc. The best way to deal with health risks related to food preservatives is to be aware as a buyer and avoid foods that contain them, as much possible. As Zand, Spreen, and LaValle very aptly summarize “your shopping habits have an important and powerful influence on your diet. After all, you will eat whatever you stock in your refrigerator and cupboards” (Zand, Spreen and La Valle, p. 50). One can do this by reading the food content label and checking them before buying. Harmless food preservatives like sucalrose, permitted food coloring, maltodextrin etc can be opted for and chosen over the harmful ones. For this one will have to know and be able to identify the harmful additives from the harmless ones. Instead of going for the chemically treated type one can go for the organic food variety. These are organically grown, safe and preferably one should choose from a brand that is reputed and certified by a regulatory body. However organic food varieties are quite expensive and may not be viable on a daily basis. In that case, vegetables and fruits bought from the market will have to be thoroughly washed with warm water mixed with vinegar. Fruits and vegetables like apples, pears, potatoes, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes are best eaten after removing their skin. Cabbages and lettuces are to be eaten after removing the outer leaves as they contain more percentage of harmful ingredients. This way though we cannot completely remove the ill effects of additives and preservatives, we can at least diminish them to lead a healthier life.