Posts Tagged Blueberries
by: Kelsey Coy
July 24, 2012
For the eighth year in a row, the Environmental Watch Group (EWG) has published an updated ‘shopper’s guide’ based on a comprehensive analysis of government pesticide testing data of 45 different fruit and vegetables. The guide includes the ‘dirty dozen:’ the twelve foods most commonly contaminated with pesticides, as well as the ‘clean fifteen:’ the fifteen least contaminated foods. This year the dirty dozen also includes a ‘plus’ category, warning about two foods containing particularly concerning organophospates, insecticides that are known reproductive and neurotoxins. The use of organophosphates have been significantly reduced in the past decade, but is yet to be banned, and this year, a number of crops still tested positive. The journal Environmental Health Perspectives contains 25 articles published in the past week analyzing and discussing the dangers or organophosphates in our food supply.
Also new this year, researchers investigated the pesticide content of 190 samples of baby food, with rather alarming results.
As the EWG simply and frankly reminds us, ‘Pesticides are toxic by design. They are created expressly to kill living organisms — insects, plants, and fungi that are considered “pests.” Many pesticides pose health dangers to people. These risks have been established by independent research scientists and physicians across the world.” The U.S. and international government agencies have linked pesticides to health problems spanning brain and nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormonal disruption and skin, eye and lung irritation. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under pressure from The American Crop Protection Association, largely representative of the pesticide industry, has failed to apply adequate protective measures in regulating our food supply. One might well ask whether it is wiser to protect a country’s crops or its population.
The Dirty Dozen
Without further ado, the dirty dozen:
- Sweet bell peppers
- Nectarines (imported)
- Blueberries (domestic)
Plus 2 more to add to the dirty dozen:
- Green beans
- Kale/Collard Greens
Going into a little more detail for the dirty dozen, 100 percent of imported nectarines tested positive for pesticides, as well as 98% of apples and 96% of plums. Grapes had 15 pesticides in a single sample, while blueberries and strawberries each had 13. As an entire category, grape samples contained 64 different pesticides; bell peppers had 88 different residues, cucumbers 81 and lettuce 78.
The Clean Fifteen
And the clean fifteen:
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
- Cantaloupe (domestic)
- Sweet Potatoes
Highlights of the clean fifteen include pineapples, in which fewer than 10% of samples contained pesticides, mangoes and kiwis, both of which were completely free of pesticides more than 75% of the time, and watermelon and domestic cantaloupe over 60% of the time. Among vegetables, no samples of sweet corn and onions had more than one pesticide and more than 90% of cabbage, asparagus, sweet peas, eggplant and sweet potato samples contained no more than one pesticide.
One additional concern to consider: sweet corn, although it may contain less pesticide residues, is quite commonly genetically modified in the U.S. While genetically modified organisms (GMO) are banned or significantly restricted in Australia, Japan and throughout the European Union, the industry is still at large in the U.S., and no labeling is required by the federal government. For this reason, it is recommended that sweet corn consumption also be limited to organic.
Among baby food, green beans and pears were especially disturbing: almost 10% of green beans contained the organophosphate methamidiphos in amounts that could easily increase risk for brain and nervous system damage in infants consuming a four-ounce serving of green beans on a regular basis. 92% of pear samples tested positive for at least one pesticide and over a quarter of samples contained five or more, including iprodione, categorized by the EPA as a probable human carcinogen, and not registered for use on pears. In fact, the presence of iprodione in pears of any kind constitutes a violation of FDA regulations and the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
While there is no question that Americans need to eat more fruits and vegetables, it’s worth taking an extra step to make sure that produce is delivering the nutrition it’s supposed to, and nothing it’s not. Pause for a moment. Want some neurotoxins with that salad? I didn’t think so.
by: Elizabeth Renter
July 6, 2012
As if green tea couldn’t get any better, a little-known study from a few years ago showed that it is actually one of many foods to reduce stress. According to the Japanese study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2009), drinking five cups of the tea each day could reduce stress by 20%.
Green Tea Among Foods to Reduce Stress
The study looked at 42,093 people, 2,774 of which suffered from psychological stress and said green tea consumption lessened that stress.
As reported by Nutraingredients.com:
“After adjusting their results for potential confounding factors, including age, sex, history of disease, BMI, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, diet, and other factors, a significant inverse association between green tea consumption and psychological distress was observed for people who drank at least five cups of green tea per day, compared to those who drank less than one cup per day.
Being an epidemiological study, the authors could not offer any evidence as to what the active constituents behind the apparent benefits could be. Further study is needed to elucidate the bioactives and mechanism of action.”
The active component EGCG (epogallocatechin gallate) in green tea had been previously associated with reduced physical and mental fatigue. This same component is credited with numerous other benefits of green tea.
Over the past several years, use of green tea in the West has skyrocketed, at least in part due to all of the new and promising research of its benefits. While green tea only accounts for 20% of the global tea production, it is said to contain four times the number of beneficial antioxidents as black tea.
From 2000 to 2003, the number of studies on green tea rose from 430 to 1500. There’s no doubt it’s grown exponentially since that time as well.
Getting five cups of green tea may be a challenge for many people, but there are ways to sneak more into your daily consumption. If you enjoy smoothies, for instance, use a cooled green tea instead of water or your regular liquid. Also, having tea after meals can aid in digestion and shut off your appetite.
Other foods to reduce stress include:
- Blueberries – Contain antioxidants and vitamin C, both of which help to lower stress.
- Broccoli – Contains B vitamins, which are known to relieve stress. Broccoli also possesses folic acid, also shown to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Pistachios, Almonds, and Walnuts – The B and E vitamins in almonds are great for relieving stress. They also contain stress-reducing magnesium and zinc. Walnuts and pistachios also help fight stress thanks to B vitamins.
- Dried Apricots – Also among foods to reduce stress, apricots are rich in magnesium, a known stress-fighter and a natural muscle relaxant.
June 22, 2012
Smarter people tend to eat healthier than others; it’s true, and it begs the question: which came first? Is it because of your intelligence that you choose healthier foods or are the foods helping to increase brain power? Interestingly, evidence shows eating natural foods early in life leads to higher intelligence in adulthood. While eating a plate of blueberries before a test might not boost your scores, your diet can help prevent degenerative brain conditions, improve memory, and increase attention span.
6 Foods to Increase Brain Power and Help Make You Smarter
The following six foods are great to increase brain power and help you to think more clearly.
1. Kale and Spinach: Dark green, leafy vegetables like these are an excellent source of iron. Iron deficiency has been linked to irreversible, altered brain development in infancy and childhood, and attention problems in adolescents and adults. It’s also said to be one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the world.
2. Chocolate: Is chocolate good for you? Dark chocolate is a great source of Vitamin E, associated with less cognitive decline with age.
3. Salmon: Salmon and other fatty fish (as well as flax seeds and walnuts) are a great source of Omega 3 fats. A lack of these essential fats has been associated with cases of ADHD. Also, sufficient Omega 3 intake is linked to a decreased incidence of Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
4. Avocados: Avocados are a rich source of monounsaturated fats, known for improving blood flow. Increased blood flow keeps all organs and body systems running smoothly, including the brain. The health benefits of avocados also include the reduction in the risk of plaque build–up in blood vessels.
5. Blueberries: Berries are rich in antioxidants, which protect the body from damage by free-radicals. They also prevent brain degeneration and can boost memory dramatically. In one study, test subjects who ate the most blueberries and strawberries “delayed their memory decline up to 2.5 years when compared with those who did not report eating berries.”
6. Steel-cut Oatmeal: Complex carbohydrates are perhaps the most reliable source of long-lasting energy available. Steel-cut oatmeal is far less processed than the oats you find in the little packets and even has a decent amount of protein in it. A healthy breakfast means less chance of a midday crash and a more steady stream of brain power.
What you eat doesn’t just affect your waistline; it affects every single facet of your being. When eating to increase brain power and improve overall mental health, many of these foods should be included in your diet every week. Not only do they have long term effects, like the avoidance of cognitive decline, but they also have immediate benefits like being natural energy boosters, helping to improve focus, and helping to improve attention.