Top 5 Mold-Prone Foods to Avoid and How to Safeguard Your Health

December 29, 2023 9 mins to read
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Mold isn’t something you want to be ingesting, while aside from cheese. But not all mold is the same, and some foods, more prone to mold, can be toxic to our health in a myriad of ways! So in this article I cover the top 5 mold prone foods, and what you can do to detox and protect your health.

The Invisible Threat: Mold in Our Foods

Mold is a common environmental fungus, yet I’ve heard virtually nothing about it…well aside from aflatoxin, a carcinogenic (cancer causing) mold found in many peanut butters. Some of you might say well cheese is mold isn’t it! Yes it it, but let’s not confuse that with other more toxic forms of mold that can be present in our food. Mold isn’t always visible, it can linger unseen in our food producing toxins that when consumed, our bodies have to deal with and detox in order for us to stay healthy. This isn’t saying you should stop buying these foods, just be aware of these mold prone foods and take extra precautions when preparing and storing them to protect your health.

Health Risks of Mold Exposure

The health consequences of mold exposure are often underestimated; I don’t think a single doctor, naturopath or nutritionist I’ve spoke to has even mentioned mold. Yet mold produces mycotoxins, particularly in warm, humid conditions, which can lead to reactions ranging from mild allergies to severe health and sometimes chronic health issues. As I mentioned before, aflatoxin, produced by Aspergillus mold, is linked to a significant percentage of liver cancer cases globally; often found in peanut butter that isn’t properly prepared, handled and stored.

The Challenge of Diagnosis

I want to make it very clear that I do not diagnose, but I do want to point out that diagnosing mold-related health issues is complex. Symptoms like chronic fatigue and brain fog can mimic other medical conditions, which is why it becomes more of a process of elimination – testing to eliminate other possibilities. Also it can take the body up to 72hrs to mount an inflammatory response to a mold exposure…another difficulty in diagnosing. This complexity is compounded by a general lack of awareness in the mainstream medical community about the negative health effects of common fungi and the toxins they produce.

Benefiting from a Nutrition Expert

Holistic nutritionists, dieticians and nutritional counselors bridge the gap between nutrition and mainstream medicine. We can work with a client providing them the names and types of tests to request from your naturopath or doctor to start getting answers, and then use those labs to design a nutrition plan that helps your body to detox and promotes over-all optimal health. Book a video call NOW from anywhere in the world, all you need is a smartphone or computer/laptop with webcam and mic. We even have some at-home tests you can order yourself and then bring to your doctor (and use for your nutrition plan) after.

From Farm to Kitchen: Mold’s Journey

Mold’s infiltration into our food supply is a complicated process. It starts right from the pre-harvest stages and extends to retail and home storage practices. It’s estimated that about 25% of global food crops are impacted by mycotoxins, making it a concern at every step of the food supply chain. How food manufacturers dispel these toxins is often equally as toxic: using chemicals like bleach and fungicides to kill dangerous bacteria and fungi, which can leave traces of toxic compounds that can damage human health.

5 Common Mold Hotspots in Your Kitchen

“Molds can grow in and on virtually any food, so everyone needs to become an expert at inspecting all foods to identify mold contamination and act accordingly,”

Dr. Corry

Coffee | 5 Mold Foods to Avoid

From the farm to your cup, coffee beans face mold risks at every stage. Many beans contain ochratoxin A, a mold byproduct linked to cancer and kidney damage.

Solution? I know this isn’t what you wanted to hear…but the solution is simple – mold free (clean) coffee that is tested for mold toxins like the Bulletproof Mentalist Clean Coffee on Amazon.

Nuts and Peanuts | 5 Mold Foods to Avoid

A nutritious snack loaded with protein and healthy fats. In fact a study hsowed that adding 1oz of nuts (any kind except peanuts which are actually a legume, not a nut) can reduce risk of death from all-causes! Well other nuts besides peanuts are also prone to aflatoxin contamination. Proper preparation, storage and vigilant inspection are key to reducing risk.

Solution? Look for higher quality brands with proper packaging.

Corn | 5 Mold Foods to Avoid

Corn is pervasive in many ultra-processed, packaged foods. It’s also a common sensitivity that often goes unrecognized. The fact is the body can’t breakdown and digest corn, putting added strain on the digestive system. Corn is also susceptible to mycotoxin contamination, affecting the entire food chain.

Solution? Start looking at your packaged products at the grocery store to look for corn as an additive and reduce how much corn you are consuming. Most long lived and healthy cultures ate a whole foods diet… so as a rule of thumb try to avoid ultra-processed packaged foods, and eat whole foods instead.

Dry-Cured Meats | 5 Mold Foods to Avoid

The traditional dry-curing process of meats like prosciutto and salami can foster mold growth, some of which can be harmful. Additionally processed meats like salami contain contain nitrites and nitrates, which are used to prevent bacterial growth and are associated with: increased risk of cancer (especially colorectal and stomach cancers), formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines (particularly when cooked at high temperatures), and potential for methemoglobinemia, a condition that impairs the blood’s oxygen-carrying capacity.

Solution? Simply minimize your intake of dry-cured meats and stick to fresh or frozen meat properly stored and cooked/prepared.

Dried Fruit | 5 Mold Foods to Avoid

Depending on the drying process, it can amplify mycotoxins to varying degrees, especially if the original produce was already mold contaminated.

Solution? Stick to fresh, frozen or Freeze-dried fruit! Freeze dried fruit is my favorite as it generally presents a lower risk of mold contamination due to its significantly reduced moisture content, rapid drying process, preservation of natural chemical structure (also increases nutrient profile), and extended shelf life without the need for refrigeration.

“Individuals suspecting health issues related to food molds must take control of their food supply and adopt the food safety practices discussed”

Dr. Corry

Keeping Mold off Your Plate

A bit of mycotoxin exposure the body can handle, but you must consider it in the context of your “toxin load” including all the pollutants your exposed to daily from the air you breath, to foods you eat and toxic cosmetics and household cleaning products you use.

Again I want to emphasize that it’s as simple as being more aware when grocery shopping and storing food, especially with these foods. Get toxin free coffee, limit dried-cured meats, look at your packaged food to limit corn intake, and opt for fresh, frozen or freeze dried fruit. I think we often make things out to be a bigger deal or difficulty then they actually are, just be more present in your grocery and food storage. And Remember, while refrigeration slows down mold growth, it’s not a foolproof solution. It’s all about being vigilant and informed!

“Molds will eventually grow on continuously refrigerated foods if left in the refrigerator long enough. Refrigeration is not a guarantee against mold contamination,”.

Dr. Corry

Article Highlights | Summary

  • Mold in food is a more common and serious issue than many realize.
  • Health risks associated with mold exposure range from mild to severe.
  • Diagnosing mold-related health issues is challenging due to their non-specific symptoms.
  • Awareness and proactive measures in food handling and storage are crucial in reducing mold exposure.

References

Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any health care agency or government entity in Canada or the United States.

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