Don’t Eat the PAMPs

People who live a long life often times are gardeners. Fresh air, exercise, soil bacteria, sunshine. These all help us be healthy, but perhaps there is something else about gardening that leads to a long life: fresh food. And, it’s not just about what is in the food—vitamins and minerals, for instance—but what isn’t: pesticides and PAMPs.

Researchers at the University of Leicester have identified harmful “pathogen-associated molecular patterns” (PAMPs) in processed foods that may increase the risk of diseases such as coronary artery disease and Type 2 diabetes.

PAMPs are produced by some types of bacteria as they grow on food surfaces. And, they can grow during refrigeration. So those handy bags of diced onions and pre-chopped greens in the produce case, and ground meat in the meat section of your favorite grocery store may harbor some very dangerous exotoxins. Whole vegetables and chunks of protein, like steak, have very much smaller surface areas. PAMPs are undetectable in fresh foods.

The preliminary research provides another clear reason to avoid processed foods, and to adhere to the age-old practice of preparing food just before it is eaten. Because fresher really is better.