We all know about the many different health benefits that come with eating herbs and spices. Turmeric is often touted as a cure-all for many different ailments, and although its benefits may be exaggerated at times, there is no doubt that it is one of the healthiest spices around.
However, despite all of the health benefits of turmeric and many other spices, studies have shown that you may actually be putting your health at risk by eating them.
Pesticides and Mold in Indian Spices
It’s no secret that India is the largest exporter of turmeric and many other healthy spices such as curry powder, cinnamon, red pepper and black pepper. Spices such as these are widely consumed by people around the world, especially by the local population of India, which many consider to be the reason why there is a relatively low rate of inflammatory disease in the country.
However, evidence has emerged which suggests that consumers may be putting themselves at risk by consuming these common products. Although it is ordinary to find pesticides on produce in major cities, a recent report conducted by the agriculture ministry in India found that almost twice as many vegetable, fruit and spice products are above the legal limit of pesticide residue.
Although many of the products containing illegal amounts of pesticides were spices, the highest contaminated samples were vegetables. However, many of these vegetables are commonly used to make spices, including green chili and capsicum.
Aside from pesticides, one analysis found that Indian spices also contain a surprisingly high rate of mold. One investigation looked at 154 samples of 27 different kinds of spices sold from India. Researchers found that 97% of the samples that were analyzed contained some sort of mold. They also found a variety of different harmful pathogens in the spices, including e.coli and salmonella.
Health Risks of Mold
We all already know about the health risks associated with consuming high amounts of pesticides and pathogens such as e.coli or salmonella. However, not many of us are aware of the health risks that come with accidentally consuming mold, which is very possible when such high rates of mold are found in products coming from the world’s largest supplier of spices.
One of the reasons that mold is so dangerous is that it is not always visible. We are all aware of the green-black color and fuzzy texture of physical mold residue, however mold can be present even without this furry growth.
Inhaling or consuming mold has been known to cause allergic reactions. It has also been known to cause more serious, chronic respiratory problems and has even been known to contribute to the prevalence of asthma. In the right conditions, some types of mold can even produce mycotoxins, which are poisonous substances that can make you very sick.
The study conducted on mold residue in spices found that there was less mold in products purchased from Middle Eastern countries rather than South Asian ones. In order to avoid possibly harmful mold residue and other pathogens, purchase spices that have been harvested in countries such as Iran or Egypt.
For more information on the health risks associated with mold, click here.