What’s the fall harvest bounty doing to your brain?
From Brussels sprouts and beets… to parsnips and persimmons… there’s an abundant harvest of fall fruits and veggies hitting stores right about now.
And as you fill your shopping cart with the fiber- and nutrient-dense bounty of the season, you’re taking a key step toward benefitting everything from your gut to your heart to your brain.
But if you’re not buying ORGANIC, you may be eating fruits and veggies sprayed with chemical herbicides and pesticides… and a steady stream of toxins may be coursing through your body.
According to a new study, at least one of those chemicals — the toxic weed-killer paraquat — is likely open the door for Parkinson’s disease to take hold.
If you’ve been reading my eTips for a while now, you know that this topic is near and dear to my heart — as I attribute my own diagnosis of Parkinson’s to toxic exposure.
And I’ve made it my mission to prevent the same thing from happening to you.
In the study out of Northwestern University, researchers exposed brain cells called dopamine neurons — which are known to be involved in Parkinson’s — to paraquat in the lab.
And as soon as they did, the majority of those cells DIED.
The theory is that paraquat generates a lot of what is known as “oxidative stress”: Free radicals form and attack the delicate contents inside your cells, causing them to keel over.
And when your fragile dopamine neurons are killed off, you’re looking at the tremors and stiffness of Parkinson’s.
Now, some of the cells in the study survived being bathed in paraquat, which the researchers attributed to certain genes that made those specific cells resistant to the toxins.
And those genetic differences might explain why some people exposed to toxic chemicals develop neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s (as I did over a dozen years ago)… and others don’t.
But why roll the dice by eating sprayed produce?
We know that paraquat can cause kidney, lung, and liver damage. In fact, it’s so deadly that it’s banned in Europe… and it requires a license to be used in the U.S.
But, since it’s still widely sprayed on crops throughout Asia and other developing regions that get exported to the U.S., it can easily wind up right in your shopping bag.
To protect your noggin from these lethal compounds, buy organic whenever possible. Just think of the small amount of extra money you’ll spend as an insurance policy for your brain — especially since previous studies have shown that paraquat is just one entry on a laundry list of farming chemicals — from benomyl to ziram — that can DOUBLE your risk of Parkinson’s.
Fortunately, you won’t find any of those on the cornucopia of organically-grown fruits and veggies.
And if you’re growing your own fruits and veggies at home, don’t use chemical weed-killers at all. Simply pull up the weeds!