Posts Tagged fruits
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
By: PF Louis
[NaturalNews] There are two controversies with eating fruits: Should you eat them and if so, when? Those who reject fruit consumption point to glycemic indices and claim fruit’s sugar spikes could lead to diabetes while pointing out that fruit sugar is fructose, and fructose is hard on the liver.
Those who regard eating fruit as a healthy habit caution against mixing fruit with other foods. Their concerns are solely digestive. Both viewpoints have their interesting points that should be compared to one’s own experience.
A little discourse on the matter may help one reach a healthy decision for eating fruit without concerns.
Fructose and sugar spike concerns
Pure fructose is worse than plain sugar, although sugar does also contain fructose. Table sugar (sucrose) is generally 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose. Fructose goes to the liver directly to be metabolized, and the metabolic product is fat and toxic byproducts rather than the instant energy that sucrose provides.
The stuff added to processed foods and beverages, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), is anywhere from 55 percent to 90 percent fructose. A study at The University of Southern California (USC) concluded that most popular sweet beverages are 65 percent pure fructose.
You may think what the heck, that’s only 15 percent more than table sugar. But according to USC professor of preventive medicine and The Childhood Obesity Research Center, Michael Goran who led the research mentioned above, the 15 percent differential amounts to 30 percent more extracted fructose.
Goran points to the main source of obesity among the young with the intrusion of HFCS into their diets. Breast milk contains lactose, which is not a sugar problem for infants. But baby formulas, baby foods, children’s cereals, juices, sodas and other foods often contain HFCS to create a liver shock among the young. (Goran’s site link below)
Professor Goran is quick to point out that fruit’s fiber and other nutritional aspects inhibit rapid fructose assimilation and minimize fructose’s negative effects. You would need to eat a heck of a lot of fruit to endanger your health in any way. (Science 20, source below)
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: Dr. Veronique Desaulniers
July 21, 2012
The human body’s entire metabolic process depends on one critical factor – the pH of the plasma fluids. The pH scale is very simple. The lower the readings on the pH scale are acidic and the higher readings are more alkaline. Through homeostasis, the body maintains a healthy plasma pH of 7.4. Although the pH of the body will fluctuate with meals, exercise, stress, hormones and sleep, a healthy and balanced saliva pH should be between 7.0 to 7.5.
A simple principle to apply concerning health and disease is that a low pH creates an environment conducive to disease and a higher, alkaline pH promotes health.
There are key factors that can create an acidic environment in the body:
- Eating acidic foods such as meats, dairy, sugar and refined grains
- Extreme physical exertion
- Emotional and mental stress
When the scales tip in favor of an acidic micro-environment, a domino effect is created. Toxins are not properly excreted which creates a favorable environment for pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and yeasts to thrive. Also, prolonged irritation of the cell membrane from environmental carcinogens blocks the intake of much needed oxygen. When the cell lacks oxygen it creates lactic acid and becomes acidic. This creates the perfect environment for cancer cells to develop and multiply.
Studies conducted at the University of Bari in Italy clearly demonstrated that a hallmark of all tumors, regardless of their origin or background, is their acidic environment. In fact, tumor progression increased with an acidic pH and hypoxia, or a low oxygen level.
July 19, 2012
Thursday, July 19, 2012
by: Katie Brind Amour
[NaturalNews] Scientists at the University of Warwick have identified a potential preventive effect of strawberries on Type 2 Diabetes risk. Although strawberries have previously been identified as effective at battling high cholesterol and post-meal blood glucose levels, professor Paul Thornalley’s research has now demonstrated that strawberry extract actually stimulates the protein “Nrf2” in our bodies, which activates antioxidant activity and decreases blood lipids.
Eating strawberries or strawberry extract may offer a simple, natural solution to improving cardiovascular health. Now that researchers know how strawberries stimulate this protective effect, they can focus on determining how much and which form of strawberries will work best to fight cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Eating fruit despite diabetes
Of course, a proper diet has always been the first line of defense in preventing diabetes naturally and – coupled with maintaining a healthy body weight – is the best natural treatment for achieving safe blood glucose levels. Many diabetics focus so much on carbohydrate counting and the avoidance of sugar that they virtually eliminate fruit from their diet. Unfortunately, this habit may prevent them from benefiting from the natural disease-fighting properties of some of nature’s most delicious foods (such as strawberries).
In fact, when incorporated carefully into the diabetic diet, eating a variety of fruits can be the key to maintaining energy levels, improving memory, fighting neurodegenerative illness, safeguarding cardiovascular health, achieving healthy skin and organs, and even preventing common diabetes complications.
So why the diabetic war on fruit?
Many diabetics believe that fruit sabotages blood glucose levels and eats up large portions of their carbohydrate budget for meals. Eaten in correct serving sizes and as part of an otherwise balanced diet; however, virtually any fruit can be a regular addition to the diabetic diet. In general, diabetic and non-diabetic diets should be composed of lean protein, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, lots of vegetables, and a variety of fruit.
Serve up some strawberries with Greek yogurt and walnuts for breakfast, snack on some grapes and whole grain crackers in the afternoon, or whip up a mango salsa to serve with fish at dinner. In general, the more variety, the better. Berries, bananas, apples, and citrus all boast wonderful health benefits, and can be easily monitored for portion size and identified on glycemic index charts. After a few weeks with strawberries and other fruits in the diet, things may start looking up as your diabetes risk and health woes go down – naturally!
Sources for this article include:
by: Elizabeth Renter
July 11, 2012
Want to know how to avoid dementia? Just change your diet. Once again, science is substantiating what many of us already know—that diet can prevent disease, and that fruits and vegetables provide a far reaching range of benefits—specifically, that a group of compounds within produce could help protect people from Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia.
How to Avoid Dementia with Food
Dr. Robert Williams of Kings College in London spoke at the British Pharmacological Society’s Summer Meeting a few years ago highlighting the potential benefits of flavonoids found in vegetables, fruits and red wine. The research shows how to avoid dementia and related diseases through simple dietary changes, with these flavonoids being able delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.
He says his own research has countered many previously held beliefs that such antioxidants were broken down by the body before they could have any beneficial effect on the brain. Also, some clinical trials on other antioxidants showed little benefits on dementia symptoms or prevention, further boosting skepticism.
He says, however, that flavonoids don’t only act as antioxidants, but “exert their biological effects through other mechanisms,” according to Phys.org. Limited studies looking at the effects of green tea flavonoids and those found in grapes can potentially reduce brain pathology and even possibly improve cognition.
Dr. Williams’ research has focused on a specific flavonoid, known as epicatechin.
“We have found that epicatechin protects brain cells from damage but through a mechanism unrelated to its antioxidant activity and shown in laboratory tests that it can also reduce some aspects of Alzheimer’s disease pathology…This is interesting because epicatechin and its breakdown products are measurable in the bloodstream of humans for a number of hours after ingestion and it is one of the relatively few flavonoids known to access the brain suggesting it has the potential to be bioactive in humans.”
His research is admittedly limited at this time and Dr. Williams says that further research is needed to better know what specifically is causing the protective effect.
“The challenge now is to identify the single flavonoid or combination of flavonoids that exert the most positive effects and to define the mechanisms of action and optimal quantity required before embarking on clinical trials to treat their effectiveness in dementia.”
Not only is fruit and vegetables consumption the answer for how to avoid dementia, but consuming these foods could also make you more attractive.
This isn’t the only research to suggest that Alzheimer’s and diet could be linked, or at least that diet could have positive effects on the symptoms of dementia.
Thursday, March 01, 2012
By: Paula Rothstein
[NaturalNews] Circumventing reliance on sugar is something akin to a national pastime as many individuals seek unique ways to lessen their daily intake. This sort of dependence sends food marketers into a frenzy resulting in numerous products boasting “sugar free” or “low calorie” on their labels. For decades, thishas generallybeen achieved through the use of artificial sweeteners; however, the safety of these products is finally gaining appropriate public attention. One interesting if somewhat confusing alternative – “sugar alcohol” – is now offered in an ever-increasing number of products. It warrants a closer look.
What exactly is sugar alcohol?
Truly a misnomer, this sweetener is neither sugar nor alcohol even though it does share the chemical structure of each. Sugar alcohol, also known as polyol, is created by adding hydrogen atoms to sugar. For example, in the case of sorbitol, one of the more widely used sugar alcohols, hydrogen is added to glucose.
Potential benefits and risks
Extracted from chemicals in plants such as berries and fruits, its sweetness is achieved using less calories. While this sounds like an excellent outcome, like all deals that sound too good to be true, a price eventually must be paid. In this particular instance, it is the body’s inability to absorb the sugar alcohol that results in a lower caloric count. The price is paid by your small intestines. Therefore, when the unabsorbed sugar alcohol passes through your intestinal tract it can result in a laxative effect, causing bloating, diarrhea or abdominal pain.
Common sugar alcohols
There are several sugar alcohols being used in products today, each of which should appear on the ingredient list of the specific food or drink. Contained within the list you most commonly will find one of the following, most of which end with the letters “ol”:
Hydrogenated glucose syrups (HGS)
Hydrogenated starch hydrolysis’s (HSH)
Not all sugar alcohols are created equal
Each sugar alcohol occupies a different place on a scale of tolerable to intolerable. For example, mannitol and sorbitol are known to be the worst offenders when it comes to gastric distress. They should be consumed with caution. At the other end of the spectrum is erythritol which can be absorbed in the small intestine and, therefore, does not cause a laxative effect.
The one sugar alcohol which appears to be the most promising appears to be xylitol. Several studies have demonstrated xylitol can positively affect tooth enamel and bone mineral density. This explains why you frequently see it being used in chewing gum. However, although useful in smaller quantities, overconsumption remains a problem.
On the other end of the scale, sorbitol poses a unique health challenge for diabetics. Our bodies are capable of converting glucose into sorbitol within the body. However, this conversion process is greatly accelerated in diabetics. Because the accumulation of sorbitol has a hard time exiting the body, it causes the cells to swell, thus increasing the risk of nerve, kidney, and blood vessel damage as well as the development of cataracts. For that reason, it would be advisable to avoid sorbitol if you are diabetic.
As always, if your food carries any sort of health claim, you should carefully scrutinize the ingredients contained therein. The bottom line is that even though sugar alcohols may be safer than other artificial sweeteners, you will still want to limit their consumption or avoid them altogether if you are prone to gastric distress.