Employee Benefits

Seven Foods to Avoid for Better Health

Recognizing March as National Nutrition Month


Nutritionists regularly encourage Americans to consume fresh foods grown locally and those labeled organic to obtain the most vitamins and nutrients, and pass up those containing additives and preservatives.

If you are wondering which foods to avoid, review the following information published in Prevention magazine. It covers seven foods that contain minimal nutrition or excessive toxins and chemicals, as well as healthier options.


  • Corn-fed beef – Many cattle farmers feed corn and soybeans to livestock to quickly fatten them up for sale, but this method provides less nutritious meat products for consumers

Healthier choice: Meat from grass-fed cattle has higher levels of important nutrients, including beta-carotene, vitamin E, omegsa-3s, calcium, magnesium and potassium, and is lower in saturated fats that can contribute to heart disease.


  • Nonorganic potatoes – A favorite staple on many menus, potatoes are a root vegetable that absorb chemicals applied to the soil to control pests and weeds, such as herbicides, pesticides and fungicides; after potatoes are harvested, another chemical is applied to inhibit sprouting; unfortunately, washing or peeling nonorganic potatoes will not remove all of the chemicals absorbed into the flesh during the growth process

Healthier choice: Switch to organic potatoes, which often cost a little more, to avoid the chemicals.


  • Microwave popcorn – According to research conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, chemicals used in the lining of the microwave popcorn bag may contribute to infertility, and tests with animals showed these chemicals also may cause liver, testicular and pancreatic cancer; researchers believe that during the microwave process, the chemicals migrate into the popcorn, and when consumed can accumulate inside the body

Healthier choice: Pop natural kernels in a skillet or air-popper, and use natural flavorings such as butter, vegetable flakes or dill weed.


  • Farm-raised salmon – According to food scientists, salmon raised in pens on farms are lower in vitamin D and higher in chemicals, pesticides and other contaminants; often farm-raised salmon are fed soy, poultry litter and hydrolyzed chicken feathers; pass up salmon marked as fresh-Atlantic (there are not any fisheries for wild salmon)

Healthier choice: Purchasesalmon labeled as wild-caught salmon and avoid the chemicals.


  • Canned tomatoes – A synthetic estrogen chemical, called bisphenol-A or BPA, applied to the lining of tin cans has been linked to a variety of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity and reproductive issues; of particular concern are canned tomatoes because they contain high levels of acid, which can cause BPA to leach into foods

Healthier choice: Purchase tomatoes sold in glass jars or Tetra Pak boxes.


  • Milk with artificial hormones – Dairy farmers often boost milk production by treating cattle with a recombinant bovine growth hormone, known as rBGH or rBST; research indicates that individuals who consume high levels of dairy products from cows treated with these hormones are at increased risk of developing breast, prostate and colon cancer

Healthier choice: Choose organic dairy products or items marked rBGH-free or rBST-free, which do not contain hormones.


  • Nonorganic apples – Many Americans regularly enjoy apples as a snack or with a meal, but consumers should be aware that nonorganic apples are treated with heavy doses of chemicals during the growing season to keep pests away; researchers believe that individuals who are exposed to pesticides may be at increased risk for developing Parkinson’s disease

Healthier choice: If possible, purchase organic apples; otherwise, always wash and peel apples before consuming.


To learn more, read the Prevention magazine article, “The Seven Foods That Should Never Cross Your Lips.