What do we know about microplastics in food?

How to minimize exposure

While eliminating your exposure to microplastics may not be possible, you can try to reduce the amount of microplastics you come into contact with and consume.

Here are some tips:

1. Limit highly processed foods

Research associates consumption of highly processed foods — such as hamburgers, ready-to-eat convenience meals, French fries, ice cream, soda, and canned foods — with higher levels of phthalate microplastics in the body. This effect is more pronounced in children.

Experts further speculate that the low nutritional quality of highly processed foods, combined with the harmful effects of the microplastics present in those foods, may be responsible for the development of chronic conditions, including heart disease.

The solution: Choose whole foods and minimally processed foods more often and limit or eliminate highly processed foods from your diet. This will help lower levels of endocrine-disrupting microplastics in the body.

2. Choose eco-friendly packaging

Using eco-friendly packaging the exposure to and migration of microplastics in the food supply.

The solution: Opt for the following:

  • glass storage containers, portable bowls, and water bottles
  • stainless steel bento boxes and reusable water containers
  • bamboo lunch boxes, bowls, utensils, and pantry storage jars
  • rice husk bowls and storage containers

3. Use glass or stainless steel water bottles

Exposure to microplastics is almost  times higher in individuals who rely on their fluid intake from plastic water bottles than in those who use alternative water bottles.

This may be due to the fact that heat and longer storage times that may be common with bottled water  the migration of microplastics from packaging into the food and water.

The solution: Replace single-use or BPA-containing water bottles with glass or stainless steel ones to reduce exposure to microplastics.

The bottom line

Microplastics are the fragments of stabilizers, lubricants, fillers, plasticizers, and other chemicals manufacturers use to give plastics their desirable properties, such as transparency, durability, and flexibility.

Microplastics migrate into the food supply and cause health issues, such as increased inflammation, impaired fasting glucose, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Exposure to microplastics through food is high, but you can minimize it by limiting your consumption of highly processed foods, choosing eco-friendly food packaging, and replacing plastic water bottles with glass or stainless steel ones.

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