Category Archives: Best organic
(NaturalNews) Before getting into the crux of this article, what you are now about to read is probably the most essential and important piece of information concerning apples.
If organically grown, all the vital health benefits are located right under the skin of the apple. If conventionally grown all the detrimental pesticides, herbicides and cancer causing sulfites are located right under the skin of the apple.
So, should you choose to eat a conventionally grown apple, you must peel the skin off the apple first and just eat the flesh of the apple, which contains very little nutritional value. Personally, I would rather not choose to eat a conventionally grown apple.
That being said, whatever color of apple you choose, as long as it was organically grown, is extremely beneficial health wise.
Welcome to quercetin. Quercetin is an antioxident that stops tumor cell growth and works against cancers of the lung, breast, liver and colon.
In Hawaii, yet another study was done that found that people who ate more apples and onions – both being high in quercetin – had a lower risk of lung cancer.
The apple peel also stores natural plant compounds called triterpenoids, which either kill or slow the growth of cancer cells.
If you prefer apple juice better than eating the whole apple, go with organic cider that is unfiltered. It is made from shredded whole apples including the peel.
Another incredible ingredient in the humble organic apple is pectin. Pectin is a soluble fiber in apples that is another cancer-fighting ingredient.
Pectin is usually used as a gelling agent for jams and yogurt and although it can kill up to 40% of cancer cells, it does not kill healthy cells.
Organic apples are also essential in the battle against high cholesterol and heart disease.
These incredibly super nutrients will help your heart by lowering inflammation and keeping blood platelets from sticking together. In fact, the flavonoids in apples, along with other fruits and vegetables, nuts and herbs, work as antioxidents benefiting your heart because they stop the oxidation of LDL cholesterol – the “bad” kind – and protect against hardening of the arteries.
If you have seen oatmeal ads, you have been told that soluble fiber like pectin and psyllium husk helps lower cholesterol because it soaks up water in the intestines and forms a gel or a gooey mass that slows down digestion. This equates to the slower digestion of starches and sugars, which means that cholesterol levels go down over time.
Oh yeah, research has found that adults who eat apples and apple products have less abdominal fat as well as lower blood pressure and a reduced risk for developing metabolic syndrome, which can lead to chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Bear in mind that what is lacking in your diet could be as much of a problem as what’s in it.
This is the case with boron, a trace mineral that many diets lack. Boron will help you use calcium, magnesium and vitamin D, all vital for strong bones and joints. And guess what? Too little boron puts you at greater risk for arthritis.
Osteoarthritis happens when cartilage, the slippery tissue that cushions your joints, starts to break down. This can lead to fluid pockets and misshapen bones around your joints and pain and stiffness in your joints like the knees, hips, fingers, feet and spine, mean a lifetime of work and play that has taken its toll. So, people that live in places where there is less boron in the soil and thus also less in plant foods like apples, have a greater risk of arthritis.
But there is good news: you can get an excellent helping of boron in apples and apple juice, which may ease arthritis symptoms. In the SAD (Standard American Diet), apples and apple juice rank in the top 10 boron sources, along with peanut butter, beans, potatoes and orange juice. And the food sources are the best.
Next on the list is fiber. You know, the tough stuff that gives carrots and celery their crunch and whole wheat bread its heartiness but which is totally lacking in flesh and dairy products.
There are two kinds of fiber: soluble and insoluble.
The soluble fiber from oats, barley, bananas. dried beans and apples, forms a gel in your intestines to move out fatty substances.
The insoluble fiber from wheat bran, brown rice, broccoli and yes, apples, is called roughage. Rather than break down completely during digestion it, instead, holds on to water and bulks up stool. It kind of acts like a broom sweeping food through your intestines quickly.
Both soluble and insoluble fiber are essential in preventing constipation.
As previously stated, apples provide both types of fiber – about two-thirds insoluble and one-third soluble in the form of pectin. A whole medium apple will give you about four grams of fiber. Remove the peel and you are down to two grams.
Since 1980, apple juice consumption has doubled, while fruit consumption has declined. But apple juice is missing some of the great stuff you get in apples. One cup of apple juice has only a quarter of a gram of fiber but more sugar than the whole fruit has. The juice will make diarrhea worse, so be safe not sorry.
So, A is for apple and antioxidents, and B is for boron, which you need for your brain. Because apples are powerful in antioxidents, they will help your brain make more acetylcholine, which acts like a neurotranmitter in relaying messages to other nerve cells in your brain.
People with Alzheimer’s disease build up a protein in their brain called beta amyloid, which forms sticky patches on their nerves. The high levels of beta amyloid result in less acetylcholine, which means less messages being relayed to other nerve cells in the brain.
Eating apples at every stage of life will help keep your lungs strong and healthy because the phytochemicals abounding in apples work by reducing inflammation in the airways leading to less wheezing and asthma.
In fact, studies done in Finland, Wales, England, the USA and Singapore all had similar results: eating apples helped people breathe better. New evidence has been revealed that pregnant women who eat lots of apples have a stronger chance of protecting their babies from wheezing or developing asthama in childhood. Of course, once vaccinations come into play, all bets are off.
It is never too late to begin your apple-a day habit. So many seniors suffer with breathing trouble caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This is the technical term for both emphysema and chronic bronchitis, and it’s the fourth most common cause of death in the US.
The experts think that the antioxidants in apples help repair lung damage that can lead to COPD..
And yes, an organic apple a day will keep the doctor away and two teaspoons of organic sulfur crystals will keep asthma, autism, cancer, joint pain, headaches, low energy and astigmatism at bay.
But then again, if all else fails, there’s always Obamacare. God forbid!
About the author:
I have been doing a weekly radio show in Honolulu since 1981 called “Health Talk”. In 2007 I was “forced” to get a Masters degree in Nutrition because of all the doctors that would call in asking for my credentials. They do not call in anymore. Going to www.healthtalkhawaii.com enables you, among other things, to listen to the shows. I am an activist. In addition to espousing an organic vegan diet for optimum health, I am strongly opposed to GMOs, vaccines, processed foods, MSG, aspartame, fluoridation and everything else that the pimps (Big Pharma, Monsanto and the large food companies) and the hookers (the doctors, the government agencies, the public health officials, and the mainstream media) thrust upon us, the tricks.
After being vaccinated with the DTP vaccine as a child I developed asthma. After taking the organic sulfur crystals (they are harvested from the pine trees in Louisiana) in November of 2008 for 10 days my asthma reversed and has not come back over 3 years later, 18 cases, so far, of autism have been reversed, as has cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, osteoarthritis, joint pain, astigmatism, gum disease, increased sexual activity, heavy metal and radiation elimination, parasite elimination, free radicals elimination, faster athletic recovery time, increased blood circulation, reduced inflammation, resistance to getting the flu, reduction of wrinkles, allergy reduction, reduced PMS and monthly period pain, nausea, migraines and so much more. And it’s only possible because of the oxygen it releases that floods the cells of the body. The sulfur, as proven by the University of Southampton in England, enables the body to produce vitamin B12 and the essential amino acids. You can find out more about this incredible nutrient also on my website – www.healthtalkhawaii.com – Products and Services. There is also an organic, 70%, cold processed dark chocolate out there that contains sulfur based zeolite, which removes radiation and heavy metals. You can find out more by reading the article “A Dark Chocolate To Die For” on my website under Articles, or by going towww.mywaiora.com/701848.
I am 73. I have been a vegetarian since 1975 years and a vegan since 1990. I have no illnesses and take no meds. I play basketball 2 hours a week, am in 2 softball leagues, racewalk, body surf, do stand-up paddling, do weight workouts and teach women’s self defense classes based upon 25 years of Wing Chun training.
My firm belief – if it had a face and a mother or if man made it, don’t eat it.
In many respects, making healthier food choices has recently become far easier than it’s been in the past.
From caloric content being displayed on menus, to the USDA’s new My Plate design, and of course the remarkable amount of information available to us on the Internet, searching for and finding science-based and accurate information has really never been easier.
Unfortunately, however, there’s still a truly shocking amount of false, misleading, and utterly false information that we often have to sift through until we (hopefully) find the truth.
One area which has recently caused a great deal of confusion is food labeling and understanding what certain labels actually mean.
Notably, labels such as Organic and Natural have received a great deal of attention. What’s frustrating, however, is not that these labels exist (in fact, I think they can be very helpful), but that there are so many conflicting views regarding the validity of these products and what their labels denote.
Some argue organic is the only way to eat if you don’t wish to die a slow, painful, and early death as a result of ingesting various toxins and pesticides. And others proclaim they won’t eat anything other than foods stamped with an all natural label as they’ll only eat foods in their purest form.
But what do these labels truly mean?
Does having the USDA Certified Organic stamp of approval automatically make it a “healthy” food?
Is an “All Natural” product inherently better than its otherwise identical non-all-natural counterpart?
And, perhaps most importantly, are products bearing these labels intrinsically “healthy” options?
To answer these questions accurately we must first understand what each of these labels truly mean. Afterwards, we’ll review the current data at which point you can decide what (if any) food labels are important and necessary for you.
But first, before we begin, I think it’s important to answer one crucial question:
What Makes a Food “Healthy?”
Does it need to be low-calorie? Nutrient dense? Low-carb? Low-fat? Free of pesticides? Unprocessed?
The options are endless and it even gets more complicated than that! So, in my opinion, before we decide what the healthiest options are, we must first establish what “healthy” means to each and every one of us on an individual basis.
Personally, I don’t view any single food as inherently good or bad, healthy or unhealthy. Too much (or too little) of anything, regardless of what it is, isn’t conducive to long-term health or success.
Additionally, as long as an individual is habitually eating in a manner which appropriately supports their caloric, macro/micronutrient, and individual needs, then moderately incorporating traditionally labeledunhealthy foods into their diet likely won’t result in unhealthy side effects and, may in fact, be beneficial on a physical, emotional, and psychological level.
In other words, instead of judging the “healthiness” of each individual food, I prefer to take a more holistic approach and consider the health of a person’s overall nutritional habits.
Taking my definition of “healthy” into account, let’s move onto the first label of the day:
What Is “Natural?”
According to the FDA, “It is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives.”
In short, the FDA has not officially defined the term natural. And interestingly enough, they even allude to the fact that, unless you’re growing and/or killing your own food, anything you buy in the grocery store is in some way, shape, or form processed and therefore not “natural.”
Whether that’s a good or bad thing is entirely up to you, but I found it interesting nonetheless.
Despite not having a clear-cut definition, the FDA has provided a guideline that states “Natural” is a general term which encompasses a wide-ranging spectrum of foods that are minimally processed and free of synthetic preservatives; artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors and other artificial additives; growth hormones; antibiotics; hydrogenated oils; stabilizers; and emulsifiers.
So there’s your definition. For a food to be labeled as natural it must be minimally processed and free of the aforementioned ingredients such as synthetic preservatives and artificial sweeteners.
It’s important to note, however, that for a product to bear the “natural” label it’s only required to beprocessed without the use of artificial additives, but not necessarily raised without them. To illustrate, meat and poultry items labeled as natural can be raised using antibiotics, growth hormones, and other synthetic ingredients so long as their use is discontinued after the animal has been slaughtered.
Needless to say, this lack of a clear definition has created a great deal of confusion, controversy, and deceit. Not only are consumers utterly perplexed as to what may (or may not) be the “healthiest” option, but many company’s perpetuate the issue by making false or misleading claims solely for the purpose of selling more products.
Which brings us to the question: Are foods labeled as “natural” inherently better or healthier than foods not labeled as natural?
In short: No.
But perhaps a better answer would be: It depends.
Again, taking my above definition of “healthy” into account, I don’t think foods labeled as natural are inherently better or healthier than foods not labeled as natural. Rather, I think it depends on the individual, their habitual diet, and the extent to which they’re consuming certain foods (regardless of whether they’re labeled as natural or not) on a day-to-day basis.
Additionally, I think it’s important to understand that just because a food is labeled as “natural” doesn’t mean it’s inherently good for us. Foods labeled as “Natural,” “All Natural,” and “100% Natural” can be calorically dense, high in sugar, and undergo extreme processing measures.
That being the case, when it comes to “natural” foods, invest in what you feel most comfortable with. Stick to a diet largely consisting of fruits, vegetables, lean animal proteins, whole grains, and a mix of high quality fats. Whether or not these foods are labeled as “natural” is (at least in my opinion) irrelevant.
On to label number two…
What Is “Organic?”
As stated by the FDA, “the term organic refers not only to the food itself, but to how it was processed.” In order to be labeled as “organic,” foods “must be grown and processed using organic farming methods that recycle resources and promote biodiversity.” They can’t use a variety of products such as synthetic pesticides and bioengineered genes; and “organic farm animals must have access to the outdoors and be given no antibiotics or growth hormones; and organic foods may not be irradiated.”
All in all, organic food products seem to be produced with as little human, technological, and chemical intervention as possible.
Simple enough, right?
Well, not so fast. Where it starts to get confusing is when we begin to see the different types of organic labeling. Without going into excruciating detail, there are 3 major types of organic product labels which I’ve listed and generally defined below:
- 100% Organic: Derived from and made with 100% organic ingredients
- Organic: At least 95% of the product uses organic ingredients
- Made with Organic Ingredients: Must contain at least 70% organic ingredients
Delving into each subset of organic labels is entirely outside the scope of this article so, for today’s purposes, I’m going to lump all types of organic into one general group.
Now, it seems as though a large majority of people who buy organic do so to limit their consumption of pesticides and food additives. That being the case, I think it’s safe to assume (and correct me if I’m wrong) that people want to avoid these food additives because of their potential adverse side effects on human health.
So what’s the word? Are organic foods safer than non-organic foods?
Well, simply put, we’re not sure.
The current data regarding the superior safety of organic vs. conventional foods is inconclusive. While a number of animal and observational studies suggest organic is the safer option, other similarly performed trials disagree.
To illustrate this point, Christine Williams and colleagues, in the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, reviewed the current data on organic vs. conventional food and concluded, “The quality and quantity of the science applied in this area to date is inadequate. Conclusions cannot be drawn regarding potentially beneficial or adverse nutritional consequences, to the consumer, of increased consumption of organic foods.”
In spite of this, Williams and colleagues appeared to suggest that any differences between organic and conventionally produced foods are minimal and inconsequential. They expressed this view by stating,“There have been very few scientific studies in which foods grown conventionally have been compared, under comparable and controlled conditions, with those produced organically, in terms of their nutrient composition or their biological effects on animals or human subjects. It would appear that few differences can be demonstrated, and where differences are detected they are very small.“
Finally, and seemingly in accordance with Williams, in their review of the currnet literature comparing organic vs. conventional foods, Magkos and colleagues concluded “a balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, and adequate in foods from the other groups, is unequivocally able to maintain and improve health, regardless of its organic or conventional origin.”
In short, we’re not entirely sure if one is safer than the other. However, from what we can tell thus far, it’s really not all that important. As long as you’re eating a typically “healthy” diet, it doesn’t matter whether you eat organically or conventionally produced foods.
So what about overall health? Are organic foods generally healthier than non-organic foods?
Well, according to the FDA, “The USDA makes no claims that organic food is safer or more nutritious than conventionally produced food, and indeed many organic foods are likely to match their conventional counterparts….”
Based on the current literature, there’s little to no evidence suggesting that organic products are inherently healthier than their non-organic equivalents.
While there are some minor discrepancies (such as a higher vitamin C and lower nitrate content in organic leafy vegetables), research has not yet indicated whether these differences will have a clinical significance on human health. Personally, I doubt it will.
Despite there being a general lack of evidence proving that organic is healthier than conventional, the rise of organic food products and advertisements has unquestionably resulted in the formation of a “health halo” regarding organic foods and their supposed superiority to all others.
Briefly, a health halo describes a phenomenon in which consumers make (positive or negative) inferences about a specific product based on separate and irrelevant characteristics of the same or similar products.
In the context of organic food labels, Schuldt and Schwarz found that, “When a food is described as organic, perceivers erroneously infer that it is lower-calorie and that it can be eaten more frequently.”
In other words, when a food product bears the organic label, often times people make the mistake of assuming it’s automatically “healthy” and likely lower-calorie than its non-organic counterpart. As a result, this could potentially cause a downstream effect and lead to weight gain and other related health issues.
Which leads me to my next big point: Just because a food is labeled organic does not imply that it is inherently healthy, low-calorie, nutrient dense, good for weight loss, etc., etc., etc.
It simply means that it’s organic…period.
Regardless of whether it’s packaged in an eco-friendly box, marked with the USDA Organic stamp of approval, or cleverly named in a way that suggests life-long health, if you want the unbiased truth, then you need to turn the box over and read the nutrition label.
Foods labeled organic and/or natural are not inherently healthier than their conventional counterparts. As long as you’re habitually eating appropriate quantities of fruits, veggies, lean animal proteins, unprocessed whole grains, and a mix of high quality fats, the current research has simply not found any conclusive data to support the consumption of one over the others.
If you have the extra cash and want to buy the more expensive options, by all means go for it. But remember, just because a food is labeled organic or natural does not imply intrinsic health or quality value.
Never Minimal. Never Maximal. Always Optimal.
Sometimes locally grown has a lower ‘environmental footprint’ than strictly organic. Here are some suggestions from websites including our own. Follow these guides on what you should and shouldn’t buy organic. These lists are based on what might enter your body. However you may want to consider the workers in the fields who often get sprayed while working the crops as well. Think like a forest.
Things You Can Safely Buy Conventional (Non-organic)
But wash them anyway, to be safer.
Their thick skins protect the fruit from pesticide build-up.
The banana peel isn’t eaten and that’s where the pesticide stays.
Its spiny skin protects it from pests and pesticide residue.
Its fuzzy skin acts as a barrier to pesticides, but still rinse before use.
Another fruit that has thick skin that protects it from pesticides. Rinse before use.
Pesticide residue stays on papaya skin, but rinse before using.
This vegetable faces fewer threats from pests, therefore less pesticides.
Conventional broccoli crops face fewer pest threats, like asparagus, so they require few pesticides.
Like asparagus and broccoli, it doesn’t need a lot of pesticides while it is growing.
As with many listed here, they don’t see as many pest threats, which means less pesticide use.
Things to Buy Organic
Here are some tips we found on My Gloss:
Fruits and vegetables with thin or edible skins tend to get sprayed more and absorb more pesticide residue. Always buy these ones organic.
The skin of apples has lots of vitamins, so you don’t want to peel it off. But even if you do, apples are a big pest target, heavily sprayed and often washing and peeling doesn’t get off all of the chemicals.
This anti-oxidant powerhouse berries are among the ‘dirtiest’ of fruits. They’re sprayed with dozens of pesticides so make sure you buy fresh, organic blueberries. Or pick wild.
It’s important to buy organic grapes and organic wines. Grapes have thin skin and are sprayed various times during the growing process.
- Peaches and Nectarines
Peaches and nectarines are heavily sprayed and their delicate skin absorbs the chemicals easily.
Celery is sprayed with organophosphates, which have been linked to ADHD. With no protective skin, they absorb harmful chemicals rapidly and don’t wash off.
- Bell Peppers
Their soft skin and lack of a protective layer lands bell peppers on the must-buy organic list.
Spuds are among the most contaminated veggies. If you can’t find organic, opt for Sweet Potatoes instead. Or try the organic rice.
Bugs like spinach more than Popeye. It’s among the most heavily sprayed leafy greens.
Beef, pork and chicken store chemicals and hormones in their fat, so buy organic meat. At least stay away from the fatty cuts and chicken thighs. Try the organic tofu.
Coffee beans grown in other countries aren’t regulated, so look for the USDA Organic label to ensure your coffee doesn’t come with a shot of harmful chemicals.
Best organic, fair trade coffee 8/11
(This article is adapted from ConsumerReports.org.)
Americans consume about 25 percent of the world’s coffee. The average coffee drinker enjoys 3.3 cups a day, or about 1,200 cups a year. Maybe that’s why there seems to be a coffee shop on every corner.
Arabica and robusta are the two main types of beans for all coffee. Robusta beans are less expensive and easier to grow. Arabica beans tend to make better coffee. Roasting is what turns green beans into coffee that is ready to grind and brew. The type of roast is often listed on the label—you may have to experiment before finding the one you prefer. And different brands may characterize their roasts differently.
Like wine, coffees come in different varietals, meaning from a single region. While blends are still the best-selling type of coffee, when Consumer Reports last tested blends, none were rated excellent or even very good.
In fact, more and more people are sampling other types of coffee from regions such as Columbia, Kenya, Sumatra and Ethiopia. In taste tests on these varietals, several organic and fair trade brands were high-rated and recommended.
Columbian: Newman’s Own Organics Colombian Especial, 10 oz., about $8.50
Kenyan: Allegro Kenya Grand Cru (Whole Foods), 12 oz., about $12.99
Sumatran: Green Mountain Coffee Organic Sumatran Reserve, 10 oz., about $8.49
Ethiopian: Caribou Ethiopia Finjal Organic, 16 oz., about $14.99
Coffee label terms to know
Fair trade certified–Part of a nonprofit, international program that advocates sustainable production and fair prices for small farmers. TransFair USA, the certifying organization, also works for safe working conditions (and no forced child labor), limits the use of harmful pesticides, and supports credit plans and training for farm workers.
Organic–Means that the coffee was grown without synthetic fertilizers and most industrial pesticides.
Rainforest Alliance certified–This nonprofit group has determined that chemical pesticide use was limited, water and soil were conserved, and workers were treated fairly.
Tips on storing coffee
Decorative glass canisters may look great on your countertop, but they are not the best way to store coffee. To maintain freshness and flavor, coffee must be kept away from moisture, heat, light, and strong odors. Coffee can pick up strong odors from other foods stored near it. Refrigerating your daily supply of coffee is not ideal because moisture will quickly deteriorate its quality. Instead, try these tips:
Keep it airtight–Invest in an airtight ceramic, glass, or non-reactive metal container. If you buy coffee in large amounts, divide it between two containers, keeping the larger, unused portion airtight until it is needed.
Keep it cool–Store your coffee in a dark, cool location away from the oven. Don’t pick a cabinet on an outside wall if it gets a lot of sun during the day.
Purchase smaller quantities–Coffee loses its freshness quite quickly after it has been roasted. Buy fresh roasted coffee in amounts that will last one to two weeks to preserve its freshness and flavor.