Category Archives: organic food

Ten foods to prevent and stop diabetes

Ten foods to prevent and stop diabetes

by Yanjun 


(NaturalNews) Diabetes is a disorder wherein the body cannot control its level of blood glucose or sugar. While many of the foods today contain high levels of diabetes-inducing sugar, there are ten amazingly healthy foods that can actually prevent diabetes from developing. Not only do these foods control blood sugar levels, but they are also packed with other nutrients and minerals that even those who do not have diabetes will benefit greatly from.

Preventing Diabetes through Diet and Exercise

A healthy diet coupled with a healthy lifestyle of exercise to maintain a normal weight is a sure-fire way to prevent diabetes type 2 or adult-onset diabetes. This is according to research as well as diabetes educators from the Healthcare and Education for the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

Christine Tobin, the president of Healthcare and Education for the ADA, said that, while there are a whole list of foods that can be considered as “superfoods” in terms of diabetes-prevention, her association recognizes the top ten of these foods that can help those with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. These foods contain vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, C and E. These foods are also rich in fiber, which helps in suppressing cravings by keeping the blood sugar and the glycemic index low for longer periods. On top of that, these foods also control blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels, keeping them at healthy levels.

These are all very important to those with diabetes, but even normal people can benefit from these foods too:

  • Beans

Black, pinto, navy, kidney or other beans might be high in calories, but they are also rich in fiber and other nutrients. Rich in fiber means that they will help people feel full for longer periods.

  • Dark, Leafy Greens

Spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, kale and others are not only high in nutrients but also low in carbohydrates. Greens are also very low in calories, so people can eat as much of them as they as want!

  • Citruses

Grapefruit, oranges, lemons and other citrus fruits are good for the heart because of their high content of vitamin C. Whole fruits are better than juices, since the fruit contains the fiber, which slows down the body’s absorption of sugar.

  • Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are better than other types of potatoes, because they have a low glycemic index. This means that sweet potatoes will not cause blood sugar levels to spike. They are also high in vitamin A.

  • Berries

Fresh, whole strawberries, blueberries, cranberries and any other variants are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. Add fresh berries into salads or cereal, or make into smoothies.

  • Tomatoes

Tomatoes can be eaten either raw or cooked, and they are low in calories too. They can be served in a variety of ways, as side dishes, mixed in salads and soups or as a base sauce for casseroles or stews. Tomatoes are rich in vitamins E and C and iron.

  • Fish

Salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, herring and halibut are all rich in omega-3, a kind of fatty acid that strengthens the heart and prevents diabetes. The best way to enjoy these fishes and their benefits is to serve them broiled or in soups. Frying them in batter and breading defeats the purpose.

  • Whole Grains

Oatmeal, pearled barley and other whole grain products, like bread and pasta, all contain high amounts of fiber. They also contain essential nutrients like chromium, magnesium, omega-3 and folate.

  • Nuts

Nuts are high in omega-3 and other good fatty acids. These kinds of fats protect and help the heart rather than burden it. However, one should not eat too much, as they are high in calories. A small handful, or roughly 1.5 ounces, is enough for a healthy snack.

  • Fat-Free Yogurt and Milk

Both are rich in calcium and vitamin D and are also good choices to help keep cravings under control.

It is quite easy to lose control and to splurge on food, but a good choice would be to splurge on these ten healthy foods rather than on sweets like chocolate.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.helpguide.org

http://health.usnews.com

http://science.naturalnews.com

20 foods for a flat stomach

by Yanjun 

(NaturalNews) A flat stomach is a quest that has remained elusive for many people all over the world. Dieters often shy away from food to keep their slim figures. Food experts, however, have discovered several foods that actually help flatten the stomach.

These 20 foods help burn the fat away to reveal a sexy, flat tummy:

  • Green Tea

Green tea stimulates the body’s metabolism and can also suppress the absorption of fat. Drinking it daily aids in weight loss.

  • Olive Oil

Olive oil has many benefits, but the main benefit is that it lowers LDL cholesterol – the “bad” cholesterol – and raises HDL cholesterol – the “good” cholesterol. It is also rich in phenol, an antioxidant that protects the walls of the arteries from cholesterol or fatty buildup.

  • Lemon

Weight-watchers should reduce their intake of sugar, and that means soda pop, alcohol and most bottled or canned fruit drinks. Try drinking lemon water instead. It is refreshing and bursting with vitamin C as well.

  • Chicken

This white meat is more meat and less fat, making it a good source of meat protein.

  • Cinnamon

Cinnamon can prevent diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels. While it is packed with antioxidants, cinnamon can also prevent bloating.

  • Green Chai Tea

Chai tea is full of flavor from the spices but without the guilty calories. Homemade chai will also give healthier milk choices, and the addition of green tea will speed up the body’s metabolic rate.

  • Cucumbers

Cucumbers are a great refreshing and crunchy snack. They are satisfying and low in calories.

  • Bran

Cereal is high in calories. Replacing it with bran will not only cut the excess calories but will also increase the body’s supply of fiber.

  • Low-Fat Yogurt

Yogurt is rich in protein, with three quarters of a cup serving 9 grams of it. Not only that, but yogurt is also rich in B vitamins and bone-strengthening calcium.

  • Legumes

Legumes are a generally nutritious food packed with protein, B vitamins, potassium, iron and other trace minerals. Legumes are also a great source of insoluble and soluble fiber, which helps control optimum blood cholesterol levels. Legumes are ideal for dieters, since it is heavy on the stomach and controls cravings by controlling the body’s levels of blood glucose.

  • Turmeric

Turmeric is rich in curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant. Turmeric also has antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, anti-cancer and antibacterial properties.

  • Quinoa

This whole grain is a wonderful alternative to other grains. Rich in protein, fiber, copper, B vitamins, magnesium and manganese.

  • Pears

Pears are incredibly rich in fiber, so much that a medium-sized pear can give 20% of a person’s daily need. The juicy flesh contains soluble fiber and pectin, which lowers the “bad” cholesterol previously mentioned.

  • Dark Chocolate

Eating dark chocolate more frequently results in a lower body mass index, according to studies. As an added bonus, dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, too.

  • Berries

Juicy, succulent berries are rich in fiber and vitamins. They are also home to some of the most powerful antioxidants in foods, which helps protect the heart and eyes and helps fight off cancer.

  • Leeks

Leeks are rich in manganese, which is an essential mineral that was found to prevent mood swings and menstrual cramps in women who took high amounts of it regularly. Not only that, leeks also help prevent and relieve bloating.

  • Salmon

Salmons of all kinds are rich in heart-friendly omega-3, as well as vitamin D. Bones in canned or processed salmon are also rich in calcium.

  • Miso

Miso has probiotics that aid in digestion and keep the colon and intestinal walls healthy.

  • Eggs

Research by the Rochester Center for Obesity found that those who regularly eat eggs for breakfast tend to take in less calories throughout the day – by around 400 or more. This translates to at least three pounds less in weight in a month.

  • Greens

Leafy green vegetables contain carotenoids, which prevent degenerative eye disease. Spinach alone is rich in vitamin K, which is essential for bone health. Greens are also rich in magnesium, potassium and folate, which lowers blood pressure.

These foods are great, not just because they aid in weight loss and burning fat, but also because they strengthen the body in many ways.

Sources for this article include:


http://www.dailymail.co.uk

http://www.self.com

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com

http://science.naturalnews.com

What the study forgot to mention: Organic food can save the world from devastating climate change


by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer 

(NaturalNews) In the wake of the release of the infamous “Stanford study,” which claims there is no substantial difference between organic food and conventional food, many with a deeper understanding of how organic food production works are speaking out against this ill-conceived attack on clean food. One such individual, Sarvadaman Patel, an organic farmer from India, says converting to organic was the best decision he ever made, and that organic food production can actually help save the world from the devastating effects of climate change.

President of the Organic Farming Association of India (OFAI), Patel denounces the notion that organic food is basically the same as conventional food. And he would know, having grown conventional produce for much of his life before witnessing how it slowly destroys the environment, animals, and even human beings. And contrary to popular belief, converting to organic has actually saved Patel from having to use as many valuable resources, including water, which he no longer has to apply in the same high quantities.

Organic food contains few pesticides

“The biggest advantage that organic food has over conventional food is cited by Stanford scientists themselves — lack of pesticides,” Patel is quoted as saying to the Times of India (ToI), noting that when he used to grow conventional produce, his cattle and farm hands became very sick from pesticide exposure. Patel also says pesticide-exposed produce is rushed very quickly to market in India, which means consumers there are being exposed to very high levels of chemical residue.

Organic growing methods use less water

After switching to organic production methods; however, Patel noticed that there was no longer any risk of chemical exposure because he was no longer using any chemicals. And in the process, Patel came to realize that he only needed to use about 60 percent of the water he was using before on his conventional crops to grow his organic crops. In every respect, converting to organic growing methods revolutionized Patel’s experience as a farmer, and changed the way he views food production.

“Organic (farming) could help save the world from global warming,” said Patel to ToI. “It saves 40 percent of water used in conventional farming and uses non-conventional energy sources. In summers, I don’t need to irrigate my farms for almost 30-35 days.”

Organic growing methods produce less waste, pollution

Since Patel no longer applies petroleum-derived fertilizers and growing chemicals to his crops, he is also avoiding excessive pollution runoff, which contributes significantly to the environmental alterations commonly attributed to climate change. And on top of all this, Patel still achieves roughly the same yields now as when he farmed conventionally, a fact that was also ignored by theStanford study and many others that have tried to claim that organic production methods fail to generate adequate yields.

If it were not for unfair government subsidies, organic food would cost less

As far as costs are concerned, organic production methods still cost more. But this is primarily due to the fact that in the U.S., India, and elsewhere, governments subsidize conventional growing methods while offering little or nothing in support of organic production. Such a policy, of course, creates an unfair advantage for conventional farming, which translates into cheaper prices for conventional produce, a common complaint among those who belittle organic food as some kind of luxury for the wealthy.

If these unfair government subsidies were eliminated — or if the government actually helped subsidize organic food in the same way that it does conventional food — organic food would very likely end up being priced the same, if not cheaper, than conventional produce. And the benefit would be that more people would actually have the option to choose clean food rather than chemical-contaminated food without having to worry about costs.

An Apple A Day

by Hesh Goldstein 

(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!

Aloha!

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.
Aloha!

The Difference Between Organic and Natural

The Difference Between Organic and Natural
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  and  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?”

The Difference Between Organic and Natural
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?”

The Difference Between Organic and Natural
According to the FDA, 
In short, the FDA has not officially defined the term . 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: 
But perhaps a better answer would be: 
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?”

The Difference Between Organic and Natural
As stated by the FDA,  In order to be labeled as “organic,” foods  They can’t use a variety of products such as synthetic pesticides and bioengineered genes; and 
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:

  1. 100% Organic: Derived from and made with 100% organic ingredients
  2. Organic: At least 95% of the product uses organic ingredients
  3. 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, 
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, 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 
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, 
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, 
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.

Wrapping Up

The Difference Between Organic and Natural
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.

10 Foods You Must Buy Organic and 10 You Don’t Have To: A Shopping List! | Greenopolis

Organic food is usually a better and safer choice when it comes to feeding your family, however it can also be costly and cause heavy damage to your wallet. 

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.

Fruits

  1. Avocados
    Their thick skins protect the fruit from pesticide build-up.
  2. Bananas
    The banana peel isn’t eaten and that’s where the pesticide stays.
  3. Pineapple
    Its spiny skin protects it from pests and pesticide residue.
  4. Kiwi
    Its fuzzy skin acts as a barrier to pesticides, but still rinse before use.
  5. Mango
    Another fruit that has thick skin that protects it from pesticides. Rinse before use.
  6. Papaya
    Pesticide residue stays on papaya skin, but rinse before using.

    Vegetables

    1. Asparagus
      This vegetable faces fewer threats from pests, therefore less pesticides.
    2. Broccoli
      Conventional broccoli crops face fewer pest threats, like asparagus, so they require few pesticides.
    3. Cabbage
      Like asparagus and broccoli, it doesn’t need a lot of pesticides while it is growing.
    4. Onions
      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: 

      Fruits and vegetables with thin or edible skins tend to get sprayed more and absorb more pesticide residue. Always buy these ones organic.

      1. Apples
        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.
      2. Blueberries
        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.
      3. Grapes
        It’s important to buy organic grapes and organic wines. Grapes have thin skin and are sprayed various times during the growing process.
      4. Peaches and Nectarines
        Peaches and nectarines are heavily sprayed and their delicate skin absorbs the chemicals easily.

        Vegetables

        1. Celery
          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.
        2. Bell Peppers
          Their soft skin and lack of a protective layer lands bell peppers on the must-buy organic list.
        3. Potatoes:
          Spuds are among the most contaminated veggies. If you can’t find organic, opt for Sweet Potatoes instead. Or try the organic rice.
        4. Spinach:
          Bugs like spinach more than Popeye. It’s among the most heavily sprayed leafy greens.
        5. Meat
          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.
        6. Coffee
          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.
          You can get a list of fruits and vegetables ranks in order of most or least pesticide load to inform your shopping. When in doubt, buy organic. If it’s organic and local and cheap, you’ve hit the trifecta. Many organics are just as cheap as conventionally grown. But like my wife says when I question the price of organic foods, it’s cheaper than cancer.

          What’s So Great About Organic Food?

          Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010

          Looking for a quick way to feel lousy about yourself? Then forget the idea of a healthy diet and just eat what your body wants you to eat. Your body wants meat; your body wants fat; your body wants salt and sugar. Your body will put up with fruits and vegetables if it must, but only after all the meat, fat, salt and sugar are gone. And as for the question of where your food comes from — whether it’s locally grown, sustainably raised, grass-fed, free range or pesticide-free? Your body doesn’t give a hoot.
          But you and your body aren’t the only ones with a stake in this game. Your doctor has opinions about what you should eat. So does your family. And so too do the food purists who lately seem to be everywhere, insisting that everything that crosses your lips be raised and harvested and brought to market in just the right way. If you find this tiresome — even intrusive — you’re not alone. “It’s food, man. It’s identity,” says James McWilliams, a professor of environmental history at Texas State University. “We encourage people to eat sensibly and virtuously, and then we set this incredibly high bar for how they do it.” (See whether you should buy organic or conventional food.)
          The ideal — as we’re reminded and reminded and reminded — is to go organic, to trade processed foods for fresh foods and the supermarket for the farmers’ market. Organic foods of all kinds currently represent only about 3% of the total American market, according to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), but it’s a sector we all should be supporting more.
          That sounds like a great idea, but we’ll pay a price for it. Organic fruits and vegetables cost 13¢ to 36¢ per lb. more than ordinary produce, though prices fluctuate depending on the particular food and region of the country. Milk certified as hormone- and antibiotic-free costs $6 per gal. on average, compared with $3.50 for ordinary grocery-store milk.
          What’s more, while grass-fed beef is lower in fat, and milk without chemicals is clearly a good idea, it’s less obvious that organic fruits and vegetables have a nutritional edge to speak of. A 2009 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition led to a firestorm in the food world. It found no difference between organic and conventional produce with regard to all but three of the vitamins and other food components studied, and conventional produce actually squeaked past organic for one of those three. (See the results of a farm vs. supermarket taste test.)
          “We draw these bright lines between organic and conventional food,” says McWilliams. “But science doesn’t draw those lines. They crisscross, and you have people on both sides of the argument cherry-picking their data.” For consumers trying to stay healthy and feed their families — and do both on budgets that have become tighter than ever — the ideological back-and-forth does no good at all. What’s needed are not arguments but answers.
          The Wages of Eating
          The biggest reason not to ignore the food purists is that in a lot of ways they’re right. Our diet is indeed killing us, and it’s killing the planet too. Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta released a study revealing that nearly 27% of Americans are now considered obese (that is, more than 20% above their ideal weight), and in nine states, the obesity rate tops 30%. We eat way too much meat — up to 220 lb. per year for every man, woman and child in the U.S. — and only 14% of us consume our recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Our processed food is dense with salt and swimming in high-fructose corn syrup, two flavors we can’t resist. Currently, enough food is manufactured in the U.S. for every American to consume 3,800 calories per day — we need only 2,350 in a healthy diet — and while some of that gets thrown away, most is gobbled up long before it can go stale on the shelves.
          Keeping the food flowing — and the prices low enough for people to continue buying it — requires a lot of industrial-engineering tricks, and those have knock-on effects of their own. Up to 10 million tons of chemical fertilizer per year are poured onto fields to cultivate corn alone, for example, which has increased yields 23% from 1990 to 2009 but has led to toxic runoffs that are poisoning the beleaguered Gulf of Mexico. Beef raised in industrial conditions are dosed with antibiotics and growth-boosting hormones, leaving chemical residues in meat and milk. A multicenter study released just two days after the obesity report showed that American girls as young as 7 are entering puberty at double the rate they were in the late 1990s, perhaps as a result of the obesity epidemic but perhaps too as a result of the hormones in their environment — including their food. And for out-of-season foods to be available in all seasons as they now are, crops must be grown in one place and flown or trucked thousands of miles to market. That leaves an awfully big carbon footprint for the privilege of eating a plum in December.
          The food wars are fought on multiple fronts, but it’s the battle over meat that generates the most ferocious disagreement. Americans have always been unapologetic carnivores, which befits a nation that grew up chasing buffalo and raising cattle across endless stretches of open plains. But lately things have gotten out of hand. The U.S. produces a breathtaking 80 billion lb. of meat per year, with poultry alone making up 35 billion lb. It’s now common knowledge that the animals are raised in mostly miserable conditions, jammed together on factory farms and filled with high-calorie, corn-based feed that fattens them up and moves them to slaughter as fast as possible. It can take up to two and a half years to raise a grass-fed cow, while a feedlot animal may face the knife after just 14 months. (See TIME’s special report “How to Live 100 Years.”)
          The idea of animals living such short, brutish lives introduces an element of altruism into the organic-vs.-commercial debate over meat that isn’t there for other foods. Just this month, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland brokered a truce between animal-rights activists and farmers in his state to improve the living conditions of hogs, veal calves and hens; that agreement followed similar reforms enacted in California in 2008.
          “When you’re raising something with a circulatory system and a nervous system, they deserve care,” says Bev Eggleston, the owner of EcoFriendly Foods, a decidedly nonindustrial farm in Moneta, Va., that produces cattle, hogs, veal, lamb and poultry. Eggleston’s animals live in fields and coops, not feedlots and cages. The farm has a petting zoo, and the doors of the slaughterhouse are open to visitors so they can see the clean and as-humane-as-possible conditions in which the animals are killed. “I want to speak for the animals,” Eggleston says. “When I pull a knife, I want them to know their gift is being received.”
          There are material advantages to that kind of humane treatment. Cattle that eat more grass have higher ratios of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6s, a balance that’s widely believed to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and arthritis and to improve cognitive function. Take the cows out of the pasture, put them in a feedlot and stuff them with corn-based feed, and the omega-3s plummet. (See a special report on women and health.)
          “The levels are almost undetectable after three months,” says Ken Jaffe, a former physician who now runs Slope Farms, an open-air cattle farm in the Catskill Mountains of New York. The big beef manufacturers concede that while the ratio for omega-6s to omega-3s is 1.5 to 1 for grass-fed cows, it leaps to 7 to 1 for those that are grain-fed. But industry reps challenge the significance of those numbers. “The best ratio hasn’t been determined yet in terms of nutritional balance,” says Shalene McNeill, a registered dietitian working for the National Beef Cattlemen’s Association, an industry group. “And it’s important to remember that this is just one small part of a consumer’s overall diet.”
          Farm-raised animals are also higher in conjugated lineoleic acids, fatty acids that, according to studies of lab animals, may help reduce the risk of various cancers. What’s more, animals not raised on feedlots have less chance of spreading E. coli bacteria through contact with other animals’ manure, though the industry insists it is making improvements, with better spacing of animals on the lots and better cleaning methods in slaughterhouses.
          Hogs and chickens present fewer problems than cattle — at least in terms of chemicals — since government regulations prohibit farmers from using growth hormones on either animal. But antibiotics are still served up liberally, and that creates other dangers. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), for example, an often deadly pathogen associated mostly with hospital-acquired infections, has been increasingly turning up in hog farmers, who contract it from their animals. In one study last year, a University of Iowa epidemiologist found that 49% of the hogs she tested were positive for MRSA, as were 45% of the humans who handled them.
          Far more troubling — if only because the problem is far more widespread — is the recent recall of more than half a billion eggs from two producers due to salmonella contamination. Salmonella is hardly unheard of even among chickens raised in comfortable, free-range conditions. But when you confine half a dozen birds at a time in cages no larger than an opened broadsheet newspaper, and stack hundreds or thousands of those so-called battery cages together, you’re going to spread the bacterium a lot faster. The egg manufacturers stress that thoroughly cooking eggs can kill salmonella — which is true as far as it goes. But treating chickens like conscious creatures instead of egg-manufacturing machinery can help avoid outbreaks in the first place.
          Short of swearing off eggs and meat — a perfectly good choice, but with only 3% of Americans describing themselves as vegetarians, not likely for most people — there are no easy solutions. For one thing, if we all decided to switch to healthier, chemical-free meat, there wouldn’t be remotely enough to go around. Only 3% of cattle in the U.S. are organically raised, and just 0.02% of hogs and 1.5% of poultry. What’s more, that scarcity helps drive the already premium price higher still.
          Another alternative is to eat more fish, which is healthier anyway because it’s leaner, lower in calories and higher in omega-3s. But with fish stocks collapsing worldwide because of rampant overconsumption, there’s only so far that solution could take us. A half measure — but a very powerful one — is simply to cut back on whatever meat we do eat, even if we can’t quit it altogether. This shouldn’t be too hard: Americans already consume at least 1.5 times as much meat as the USDA recommends in its famed food pyramid. And with plenty of protein to be found in eggs, soy, cheese, grains, nuts, legumes and leafy green vegetables, there is no shortage of ways to compensate. (See “The Battle for Global Health.”)
          “You need to eat animals only to close the nutrient cycle,” says Fred Kirschenmann, a distinguished fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. “If we changed a few things about how we live, we’d have fewer animals in the system.”
          Cash Crops
          When animal protein, whether organic or not, becomes a supporting player in the diet, then fruits, veggies and grains take the lead. That’s generally a good thing, but here too there are complications. The back-to-the-land ideal of farming without the use of synthetic pesticides and other chemicals can take you only so far in a country with 309 million mouths to feed (not to mention a world with 6.8 billion). Say what you will about the environmental depredations of agribusiness, industrial farms coax up to twice as much food out of every acre of land as organic farms do. And even that full-tilt output may not be enough to keep up with a global population that’s galloping ahead to a projected 9 billion by 2050.
          “Only about 5% of the arable land on the planet remains unused,” says McWilliams. “But we’ll need to increase food production by 50% to 100%.” If we have to spray, fertilize and even genetically engineer our way there, that’s something we may simply have to accept. (See Dr. Mehmet Oz’s take on organic food.)
          In the U.S., running out of crop foods is not a problem — at least not yet — but pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables cause people some perfectly reasonable worries. Properly washing or peeling produce can take care of most of the problem, but if you buy organic, you avoid the pesticide issue altogether, right? Not necessarily. It’s not just that drift from nearby nonorganic farms can contaminate other crops in the vicinity; it’s also that organic farmers use pesticides of their own. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are now 195 registered biopesticides — substances derived from animals, plants or minerals that are toxic to certain species — used in 780 commercial products. There is broad agreement that biopesticides are not as dangerous as commercial pesticides, but less toxic doesn’t mean nontoxic, and even such lower-impact chemistry has a nasty habit of hanging around in soil and water longer than you want it to. “Organic farming may represent only 2% of the total of all farming,” says McWilliams, “but what if it became 20%? The chemicals are used only sparingly now, but they wouldn’t be then.”
          Organic fertilizers are less of a problem, since they consist mostly of manure, as well as other relatively benign materials like peat, seaweed, saltpeter and compost. Humble as such substances are, however, they can become awfully pricey, because you need very big quantities to pack the same fertilizing punch as synthetic brands do. “It can take four tons of manure per acre to raise food,” says McWilliams. “When you know that, a bag of synthetic fertilizer starts to look pretty good.”
          Wallet and Palate
          But for most consumers — even those who think of themselves as environmentally conscious — the critical considerations in deciding to go organic involve the far more personal matters of price, flavor and nutrition. Last year’s nutrient study had a lot of organic partisans wincing — and a lot of commercial growers feeling smug — but one paper is hardly the whole story. The real difference between organic and nonorganic produce is in the relative presence of micronutrients such as copper, iron and manganese, as well as folic acid, none of which were included in the study. With these, the results are mixed. (See whether you should buy organic or conventional food.)
          In a meta-analysis conducted by the Organic Center, a nonprofit group in Boulder, Colo., organic produce was found to be 25% higher in phenolic acids and antioxidants. “It’s these components that are deficient in American diets, so that makes this finding especially significant,” says Charles Benbrook, the group’s chief scientist. But the organic label alone is not enough to ensure that all consumers get the same boost. “The real nutrient value in produce comes from the soil,” says Kirschenmann. “So that’s a mixed deal unless you know the farmer and know how he’s managing his soil.”
          The farmer also plays the biggest role in determining the most subjective of all variables: taste. You can start a lot of arguments about whether organic crops actually have better, fresher, more complex flavors than industrial crops do, but without a double-blind taste test, there’s no way to know. On a few points, most people agree: a freakishly large, overly engineered tomato or strawberry designed to ripen en route to a distribution center will never come close to the taste of its vine-ripened, fresh-picked cousin. The Red Delicious apple is the poster fruit for what can go wrong when commercial growers manipulate their product too much. Bred and rebred for an ever redder skin and an ever more tapered shape, the apples became mealy, juiceless and all but unpalatable inside. (See the results of a farm vs. supermarket taste test.)
          That, however, is not to say organic growers don’t also try to prettify their produce before revealing it to the world. “Green markets can be a kind of food pornography,” says Manny Howard, author of My Empire of Dirt, about his experiences with backyard farming. “You buy a big bushel of beet greens without a wormhole in it, and that’s just not what farm food looks like.”
          There may be flavor to be found in lovely and unlovely food alike, and a lot of things have to go right to raise the best-tasting produce. It’s not just the quality of the soil that’s at work, says Kirschenmann. “Selecting the right variety of plant and using the right mix of compost are important too. With farm-to-table food, the farmers are in many ways the chefs, as opposed to, say, molecular gastronomy, in which so much happens in the kitchen.”
          The kitchen, of course, is the center of everything for families too, and this is where the shouting of the food partisans fades to babble. Eating an apple is almost always better than not eating an apple, no matter where it came from. And getting the whole brood into the habit of sitting down to a meal of lean meats, lots of veggies and judicious amounts of carbs and starches is hard enough without bringing politics into the mix. Farmers’ markets are undeniably great — if you can afford them, if there’s one near you and if you have time between the job and the kids to make a special trip when you know you can get everything in a single stop at the supermarket. The food industry undeniably churns out all manner of dangerous and addictive junk without a shred of real nutritional value in it, but there are also food companies that manage to get healthy, high-quality food to market and keep the cost of it reasonable.
          The answer, ultimately, is for the two sets of producers — and their two sets of customers — to find a better way to co-exist. It’s important to crack down on the industry’s most egregious and polluting practices — to say nothing of its punishing treatment of animals — but we need to make sure the food still gets to the stores. It’s important too to support the local-farming movement not only to make more fresh foods available to more consumers but also to boost a growing economic sector and perhaps bring down prices as efficiencies of scale come up.
          “If we all had to concentrate on raising our own food, we wouldn’t have time to do anything else,” says Howard. Happily, we don’t have to do that anymore. But that doesn’t let us entirely off the hook. We still have to get smart about what the people who bring us our food are selling, to find the right mix of the commercial and the local, the organic and the industrial. There’s a lot more than just groceries on the line — there’s health and long life too.
          The original version of this article, which appeared in the Aug. 30, 2010, issue of TIME, has been updated to reflect the egg recall.

          Wikio

          To Eat Organic or Not: Fruits and Veggies


           


          What’s the only thing no-neck meatheads and patchouli-scented hippies have in common? We’re both interested in organic food and the effects on our health and performance. (Well, maybe the hippies don’t care about performance….)
          People buy organic food for many reasons: to reduce the toxic load on their body, to eat more nutritious foods, to be environmentally friendly, and to support local and/or sustainable farms. In this article we’re gonna save the moral dilemma of organic vs. conventional food for your ethics class or Greenpeace rally and instead ask the question: is organic produce better for us?

          Organic Schmorganic. What’s It Mean?
          In 1900, the amount of organic food being consumed was considerably high, since almost none of it was treated with pesticides. In 1945, two hundred thousand pounds of artificial pesticides were sprayed on US food. In 2002, two billion pounds were sprayed. (I could delve into a hodgepodge of maladies and chronic diseases that have also been on a rapid rise over the same time period, but I won’t as it’s damn near impossible for scientists to make definitive correlations with diseases since there are too many uncontrollable variables.)
          To get a USDA Certified Organic seal a producer must be a licensed organic farmer, and must adhere to the following guidelines: no use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers, no use of genetically modified seeds, no use of sewer-sludge fertilizer, and no use of irradiation treatments. They also must be inspected regularly and let the inspectors onto their farms at any time.
          Despite what some Internet doom-and-gloomers would have you believe, the USDA Certified Organic seal does mean something. However, it’s under constant attack from agribusiness lobbyists who are funded by powerful conventional farming conglomerates. Most of these attacks have been thwarted in court.
          (The only successful one I know of was in 2006 when a Congressional agricultural bill was passed allowing the use of non-organic ingredients when organic ingredients were not available. The bill allows companies to still display the USDA Certified Organic seal on the package. This, however, doesn’t affect organic produce since they’re not packaged, processed food products.)
          We already know that people who eat conventional foods have higher levels of artificial pesticides in their bodies. This issue thus boils down to personal belief: do you believe that your long-term health and performance will suffer from having higher levels of artificial pesticides accumulating in your body? If you answered “yes,” I’ll have a few strategies for you below to keep your sanity (and wallet) intact while grocery shopping. If you answered “no”, well, you should keep reading anyway, because the next question is a doozy.

          Is Organic Produce More Nutritious than Conventional Produce?
          Plants produce their own natural pesticides in order to survive in the wild. These are of no negative health concern to humans as we have evolved to not only be immune to the adverse effects, but actually benefit from some of them, too.
          If foods are grown without artificial pesticides, fungicides, and insecticides, it stands to reason that fewer artificial pesticides will get into the soil and water, into the crops and, consequently, into our bodies. The literature is fairly conclusive that people who eat organics have less artificial pesticides in their bodies (which is probably a good thing).
          But the big question remains: Is organic produce more nutritious than conventionally grown produce?
          The answer: kinda. The vast majority of studies have concluded that, at best, organics are only slightly more nutritious. The nutritional content of any produce item is highly dependent upon its ripeness level, and whether or not it was grown in season. Any possible increase in vitamin and mineral content gained from organic growing standards will be minimal when compared to its conventionally grown counterpart.
          One point that isn’t often brought up in the literature, however, is phytochemical content. Phytochemicals are the health promoting (cancer fighting, antioxidant, etc.) components of plants. There are several thousand known phytochemicals, and probably countless others that have yet to be discovered. Soil contains many microorganisms that play a key role in generating the nutrition to feed and provide much of the immune system of the plant. Artificial pesticides kill off many of these beneficial microorganisms.
          Most certainly this will have a detrimental effect on the phytochemical content of conventionally grown produce. So while the only slightly increased nutritional content of organics may not be enough to get your panties wet, the possible increased phytochemical content may.

          What Kinds of Fruits and Veggies Should You Buy Organic?
          Some produce grow fine with only a minimal amount of pesticides and also may have fewer threats from pests. So you can still significantly reduce your exposure to artificial pesticides by buying a few choice organic items and the rest conventionally grown.
          Here’s a list of produce that you ought to purchase organic due to high levels of contamination:pears, apples, strawberries (most berries), nectarines, cherries, bell peppers, coffee, celery, lettuce, spinach, grapes, raisins, potatoes, and tomatoes.
          (Coffee is the big one here. It’s been stated that if you were to buy only one thing organic, you better make it coffee since most of it is grown in third-world countries where the laws are less stringent and many use harmful pesticides such as DDT, which is a known carcinogen and outlawed in the US.)
          Pears and apples have the highest levels of contamination of all produce, and apples are the second most commonly eaten fruit in the US.
          Some produce presents very little risk of contamination to you, and can thus be bought conventionally: asparagus (fewer pest threats), avocados, bananas, broccoli (fewer pest threats), cabbage (requires less spraying to grow), sweet corn, sweet peas, cauliflower, kiwi, mango, onions (less pest threats), papaya, and pineapple. Obviously, eating all organic produce would reduce your exposure to pesticides the most, but by sticking to the above lists, you can be sure to get the most bang for your organic buck.
          It’s important to note that all produce should be thoroughly rinsed before cutting into it or eating it. This includes thick-skinned produce like pineapples and avocados. Germs, microbes, and artificial pesticides are caked onto the outside of produce. If you don’t rinse before cutting into them, then you’re simply pushing the bad stuff inside to the edible portion.

          The Bottom Line on Organic Produce
          Currently, the USDA Certified Organic seal is something you can trust. Eeating conventional produce does cause artificial pesticides to accumulate in the human body. Whether this is of any health or performance concern is up to you to decide for yourself. However, you shouldn’t buy organic produce to get more nutritious food, but rather to minimize your exposure to artificial pesticides, and for the possible increased phytochemical content.
          If you’re a broke college-student or just a tightwad, at least buy organic coffee, apples, and pears, and remember to thoroughly rinse all produce (even thick skinned organic ones) before cutting into or eating.
          Most importantly, remember that even a highly contaminated conventional apple will still do a number of wonderful things for your body. As Dr. John Berardi has so eloquently stated, just eat the damn fruit!

          Paul Apple is an aspiring firefighter/paramedic who has a keen interest in maximizing human physical performance. He is currently finishing paramedic school, and holds degrees in Physical Education & Health and Fire Science. He can be reached at A1HumanPerfomance@gmail.com

          References:
          Liponis, Mark M.D., and Mark Hyman M.D. Ultraprevention. New York: Scribner, 2003
          Nestle, Marion. What to Eat. New York: North Point Press, 2006
          Perry, Luddene, and Dan Schultz. A Field Guide to Buying Organic. Bantam, 2007
          Schultz, Dan, and Luddene Perry. A field Guide to Buying Organic. Bantam, 2005
          Simopoulos, Artemis P. M.D., and Jo Robinson. The Omega Diet. New York: Harper Collins, 1999
          Stewart, Kimberly L. Eating Between the lines: The Supermarket Shopper’s Guide to the Truth Behind Food Labels. St Martin’s Griffin, 2007

          Wash your vegetables before you eat them

          Common sense alert: wash your vegetables before you eat them

          There's a reason they wear masks when spraying pesticides on crops...

          There’s a reason they wear masks when spraying pesticides on crops…

          Coffee

          Coffee, possibly the most contaminated with harmful pesticides, is something you should definitely buy organic

          USDA Organic Logo

          USDA Organic Logo

          © 1998 — 2010 Testosterone, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

          Wikio

          Should I Go Organic?

          Bootcamp Q & A

          Should I Go Organic?

          Q: I always see organic foods when I’m at my local supermarkets or the farmers’ market. What’s so special about them? And please tell me — are they really worth all that money? For the prices I’ve seen, they should be made out of gold!A: To buy or not to buy organic, that is the question. The answer: Like all reliable things in life, it depends. The word organic refers to the way farmers grow and process fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products, and meat — organic farmers do it in a way that conserves soil and water and reduces pollution. For example, they’ll use natural fertilizers to feed soil and plants and won’t spray insecticides. Organic farmers give animals organic feed and clean housing and allow them access to the outdoors to minimize disease. So there are ecological reasons to buy organic, but do they justify dropping all your dough on everything organic? Not necessarily.
          In my opinion, there is no evidence that organic foods are more nutritious than conventionally grown food; they meet the same quality and safety standards as conventional foods. Some claim organic foods taste better, but, as you know from taking your mom gown shopping, taste is totally subjective and everyone is different.
          If you do want to splurge on organic, get the best bang for your buck with the “dirty dozen” — 12 fruits and vegetables for which buying organic can make a real difference in pesticide levels: apples, cherries, grapes (imported), nectarines, peaches, pears, raspberries, strawberries, bell peppers, celery, potatoes, and spinach. Conventional versions of these produce tend to have higher levels of pesticides than other fruits and veggies. Other organic foods to invest in include milk, poultry, and beef.
          Save money by comparison shopping, hitting the local farmers’ markets, joining a local co-op or ordering by mail if possible. Oh, and buyers beware — read labels and ask questions. If a food bears the USDA Organic label, you can trust that at least 95 percent of the food’s ingredients were organically produced. Other terms to look for are “100 percent organic” and “made with organic ingredients.” Labels such as “all-natural,” “free-range,” and “hormone-free” are not the same. (Don’t get me started…)

          Wikio

          The 7 foods experts won’t eat

          How healthy (or not) certain foods are—for us, for the environment—is a hotly debated topic among experts and consumers alike, and there are no easy answers. But when Prevention talked to the people at the forefront of food safety and asked them one simple question—“What foods do you avoid?”—we got some pretty interesting answers. Although these foods don’t necessarily make up a “banned” list, as you head into the holidays—and all the grocery shopping that comes with it—their answers are, well, food for thought:

          1. Canned Tomatoes

          The expert: Fredrick vom Saal, PhD, an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A

          The problem: The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Unfortunately, acidity (a prominent characteristic of tomatoes) causes BPA to leach into your food. Studies show that the BPA in most people’s body exceeds the amount that suppresses sperm production or causes chromosomal damage to the eggs of animals. “You can get 50 mcg of BPA per liter out of a tomato can, and that’s a level that is going to impact people, particularly the young,” says vom Saal. “I won’t go near canned tomatoes.”

          The solution: Choose tomatoes in glass bottles (which do not need resin linings), such as the brands Bionaturae and Coluccio. You can also get several types in Tetra Pak boxes, like Trader Joe’s and Pomi.

          2. Corn-Fed Beef

          The expert: Joel Salatin, co-owner of Polyface Farms and author of half a dozen books on sustainable farming

          The problem: Cattle evolved to eat grass, not grains. But farmers today feed their animals corn and soybeans, which fatten up the animals faster for slaughter. More money for cattle farmers (and lower prices at the grocery store) means a lot less nutrition for us. A recent comprehensive study conducted by the USDA and researchers from Clemson University found that compared with corn-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium; lower in inflammatory omega-6s; and lower in saturated fats that have been linked to heart disease. “We need to respect the fact that cows are herbivores, and that does not mean feeding them corn and chicken manure,” says Salatin.

          The solution: Buy grass-fed beef, which can be found at specialty grocers, farmers’ markets, and nationally at Whole Foods. It’s usually labeled because it demands a premium, but if you don’t see it, ask your butcher.

          3. Microwave Popcorn

          The expert: Olga Naidenko, PhD, a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group,

          The problem: Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans, according to a recent study from UCLA. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer. Studies show that microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize—and migrate into your popcorn. “They stay in your body for years and accumulate there,” says Naidenko, which is why researchers worry that levels in humans could approach the amounts causing cancers in laboratory animals. DuPont and other manufacturers have promised to phase out PFOA by 2015 under a voluntary EPA plan, but millions of bags of popcorn will be sold between now and then.

          The solution: Pop natural kernels the old-fashioned way: in a skillet. For flavorings, you can add real butter or dried seasonings, such as dillweed, vegetable flakes, or soup mix.

          4. Nonorganic Potatoes

          The expert: Jeffrey Moyer, chair of the National Organic Standards Board

          The problem: Root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides that wind up in soil. In the case of potatoes—the nation’s most popular vegetable—they’re treated with fungicides during the growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. After they’re dug up, the potatoes are treated yet again to prevent them from sprouting. “Try this experiment: Buy a conventional potato in a store, and try to get it to sprout. It won’t,” says Moyer, who is also farm director of the Rodale Institute (also owned by Rodale Inc., the publisher of Prevention). “I’ve talked with potato growers who say point-blank they would never eat the potatoes they sell. They have separate plots where they grow potatoes for themselves without all the chemicals.”

          The solution: Buy organic potatoes. Washing isn’t good enough if you’re trying to remove chemicals that have been absorbed into the flesh.

          5. Farmed Salmon

          The expert: David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany and publisher of a major study in the journal Science on contamination in fish.

          The problem: Nature didn’t intend for salmon to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. As a result, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT. According to Carpenter, the most contaminated fish come from Northern Europe, which can be found on American menus. “You can only safely eat one of these salmon dinners every 5 months without increasing your risk of cancer,” says Carpenter, whose 2004 fish contamination study got broad media attention. “It’s that bad.” Preliminary science has also linked DDT to diabetes and obesity, but some nutritionists believe the benefits of omega-3s outweigh the risks. There is also concern about the high level of antibiotics and pesticides used to treat these fish. When you eat farmed salmon, you get dosed with the same drugs and chemicals.

          The solution: Switch to wild-caught Alaska salmon. If the package says fresh Atlantic, it’s farmed. There are no commercial fisheries left for wild Atlantic salmon.

          6. Milk Produced with Artificial Hormones

          The expert: Rick North, project director of the Campaign for Safe Food at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and former CEO of the Oregon division of the American Cancer Society

          The problem: Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST, as it is also known) to boost milk production. But rBGH also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk. In people, high levels of IGF-1 may contribute to breast, prostate, and colon cancers. “When the government approved rBGH, it was thought that IGF-1 from milk would be broken down in the human digestive tract,” says North. As it turns out, the casein in milk protects most of it, according to several independent studies. “There’s not 100% proof that this is increasing cancer in humans,” admits North. “However, it’s banned in most industrialized countries.”

          The solution: Check labels for rBGH-free, rBST-free, produced without artificial hormones, or organic milk. These phrases indicate rBGH-free products.

          7. Conventional Apples

          The expert: Mark Kastel, former executive for agribusiness and codirector of the Cornucopia Institute, a farm-policy research group that supports organic foods

          The problem: If fall fruits held a “most doused in pesticides contest,” apples would win. Why? They are individually grafted (descended from a single tree) so that each variety maintains its distinctive flavor. As such, apples don’t develop resistance to pests and are sprayed frequently. The industry maintains that these residues are not harmful. But Kastel counters that it’s just common sense to minimize exposure by avoiding the most doused produce, like apples. “Farm workers have higher rates of many cancers,” he says. And increasing numbers of studies are starting to link a higher body burden of pesticides (from all sources) with Parkinson’s disease.

          The solution: Buy organic apples. If you can’t afford organic, be sure to wash and peel them first.

          Wikio

          %d bloggers like this: