Transcript: Plants vs. Pesticides
Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.
Not only do plant foods tend to have significantly lower levels of industrial pollutants because they’re at the bottom of the food chain, there may be phytonutrients that combat the effects of some of these toxins. A group of scientists recently published a paper describing what happened when they ordered some dioxin from Dow Chemical, grabbed some DDT while they were at it, and dripped the chemicals on some human white blood cells, with and without a variety of phytonutrients, to see if they could have a protective effect.
They identified two as the most effective agents in protecting human blood cells from developing these cell toxic effects of dioxin and DDT. Here’s a bit of their data—this is measuring inflammation triggered by dioxin. All four of these phytonutrients seemed to mitigate the toxic effect, but zerumbone (found in ginger) and auraptene (found in citrus) appeared best at suppressing the inflammation.
Now, this is obviously very preliminary. It was in a test tube, and they tested only a tiny fraction of the tens of thousands of known phytonutrients. But, it does open up the possibility that plant-based diets may play a dual role in protecting us against industrial pollutants, reducing exposure—and, potentially, reducing some of the damage from any chemicals we’re still exposed to, just given how polluted our world has become.
Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.