Could your garden be making you sick?
You've planted the seeds... pulled the weeds... and now you get to sit back and enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of your labor.
Whether you're enjoying cool cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, plump zucchini, or ripe melons, summer is a pretty delicious time to have a vegetable garden.
But planting a garden isn't just a great way to stock your kitchen with tasty, seasonal food -- it's also a homerun for your health.
It gives you on-demand access to nutrient-rich produce, and the gentle exercise helps you stay active. Meanwhile, the rays you soak up boost your levels of vitamin D.
But according to a new study, you definitely want to make your garden organic -- because the chemicals found in common gardening products and insecticides can actually undo the benefits of all those veggies.
They can increase your risk of diabetes!
The study conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences looked at the impact of two insecticides -- carbaryl and carbofuran -- on the body.
Carbaryl is the third most widely used insecticide in the U.S. And even though carbofuran was banned in the U.S. in 2009, it's still used in many countries, such as Mexico. And worse yet, traces of it remain in U.S. soil -- so if you or your neighbors EVER used it, it could still wreak havoc on your health.
The researchers found that both of these insecticides are structurally similar to melatonin, a hormone that helps control your body's circadian rhythms, a.k.a. the "internal clock" that oversees your sleep cycle and other delicate metabolic processes.
It turns out that because these synthetic chemicals mimic melatonin, they can bind to your body's melatonin receptors and make your circadian rhythms go haywire.
And these melatonin "impersonators" can not only disrupt your sleep... they can also screw up your blood sugar.
Usually, your pancreas releases insulin and glucose at certain points of the day, but the chemicals in the study proved to disrupt that cycle.
That's why if you're exposed to them over a long period of time, your risk of developing diabetes shoots through the roof!
So, if pesky insects are using your garden harvest as their personal buffet, don't reach for an insecticide.
Instead, learn how to garden as nature intended: organically, without chemical sprays.
You can read up on ways to keep harmful insects away naturally, such as introducing "good bugs" that fight the bad guys for you... making your own natural insect spray from ingredients like onion, garlic, and hot peppers... or using "row covers" that let in light and water but keep unwanted critters out.
And the same goes for any weeds that muscle their way in -- simply pull them up instead of going nuclear with chemical weed killer.
Keeping your garden free of chemicals will reduce your toxic load, which is a good idea all around.