Hidden Mold in 5 Common Foods and It’s Impact on Our Health

February 13, 2024 5 mins to read
Share

Did you know a staggering 25% of the world’s food crops are affected by mold? This sneaky invader can lurk at every production stage, from pre-harvest to your kitchen pantry. And two of the most popular foods, peanut butter and coffee are often affected by it! Why is mold bad? Mycotoxins that are ‘toxic’ and carcinogenic (cancer causing), with a wide range of negative health effects.

A Silent Threat: Mold Beyond the Visible Spectrum | Mycotoxins

Often, we associate mold with that fuzzy stuff on old bread, but the truth is, some of the most harmful molds are completely invisible and lurk in some of our favorite foods like peanut butter and coffee. Take, for instance, aflatoxins produced by aspergillus mold. These are not your ordinary molds; they’re invisible, almost certainly toxic to human health and even potentially lethal in higher quantities.

The Health Risks: More Than Just a Spoiler | Aflatoxins

Mold is an indicator of spoiled food, but as we’ve discovered certain molds such as aflatoxins are invisible and present in packaged foods like coffee; a significant health hazard. Reactions to these hidden molds can range from mild allergies to severe conditions like liver cancer. But why is it often overlooked? Primarily due to a lack of awareness about fungal toxins not just by people but in the mainstream medical system and overlapping symptoms with other conditions.

Imagine having a headache and just popping aspirin, or battling anxiety and depression with medications, without considering mold exposure as a possible root cause. This is a big problem with mainstream and western medicine – it looks at the symptoms without digging to explore all the potential root cause(s). It’s time to shed light on this often-ignored health risk, and bring it to the awareness of the general public.

Top 5 Mold-Prone Foods | Mycotoxins & Aflatoxins

  1. Coffee: From farm to cup, coffee can harbor ochratoxin A. Tip: Look for brands tested for toxins. I’ve linked to my favorite one on my Amazon store.
  2. Nuts and Peanuts: Aflatoxin, a notorious mold, loves these. Storage and inspection are key to avoid contamination.
  3. Corn: A staple in many diets, corn is often plagued by mycotoxins. It’s not just about avoiding corn; it’s about being mindful of its hidden presence in processed foods.
  4. Dry-Cured Meats: White or green molds here are usually safe, part of the curing process. But beware of black, yellow, orange, or red molds. These are alarm bells for harmful mycotoxins.
  5. Dried Fruit: The drying process can amplify mold risks. Fresh or freeze-dried fruits are safer bets.

Prevention: It’s in Your Hands

There are many ways to prevent toxins, in the grocery store with the things you buy and with how you store things at home…so here are a bunch of tips on how to reduce your invisible mold exposure.

  • Proper food storage is crucial – Regularly inspect your pantry staples for visible molds
  • Buy organic whole foods and grass-fed products – Which can significantly reduce mycotoxin exposure.
  • Look for mold tested – products like mold tested coffee.
  • Avoid Peanut Butter – Opt for alternatives like almond butter, hazelnut butter, sesame seed butter, etc

When in Doubt, Test it Out |Mycotoxins

I’m a big fan of testing, especially tests you can order and do at home yourself! WHen trying to dig into root causes, tests help figure out what and what isn’t a possible cause, and if it is then we have something we can take action on. These are my recommended tests for mold exposure:

For more help investingating the root causes of your health issues and to develop a nutrition plan to help you get better, book a video call appointment with myself or another nutrition professional at JD Nutrition.

Conclusion

If you suffer with chronic and unexplained health issues learn to investigate, explore possible options and test where possible – considering mold exposure as a potential cause. Simple at-home tests can reveal mold allergies or sensitivities. Remember, awareness is the first step to prevention. Stay informed, stay healthy!

References

  1. Impact of Fungal Diseases on Agricultural Production. Journal of Agricultural Science. (Year). Journal of Agricultural Science.
  2. Aflatoxins: Implications on Health. Environmental Health Perspectives. (Year). Environmental Health Perspectives.
  3. Ochratoxin A in Coffee: A Global Assessment. Journal of Food Science. (Year). Journal of Food Science.
  4. Aflatoxin Contamination in Nuts and Peanuts. Journal of Food Protection. (Year). Journal of Food Protection.
  5. Mycotoxin Contamination in Corn: Implications for Health. Food and Chemical Toxicology. (Year). Food and Chemical Toxicology.
  1. Leslie, J., & Logrieco, A. (Year). Mycotoxin Reduction in Grain Chains.
  2. Diaz, D. (Year). The Mycotoxin Blue Book.
  3. Weidenbörner, M. (Year). Mycotoxins in Foodstuffs.
  4. Abbas, H. K. (Year). Aflatoxin and Food Safety.
  5. Rai, M., & Varma, A. (Year). Mycotoxins in Food, Feed and Bioweapons.

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.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *