Posts Tagged Kale

New Dirty Dozen: 12 Fruit and Vegetables to Always Buy Organic, Plus the Clean 15

via: NaturalSociety
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:

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Sweet bell peppers
  4. Peaches
  5. Strawberries
  6. Nectarines (imported)
  7. Grapes
  8. Spinach
  9. Lettuce
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Blueberries (domestic)
  12. Potatoes

Plus 2 more to add to the dirty dozen:

  1. Green beans
  2. 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:

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Cabbage
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Eggplant
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cantaloupe (domestic)
  12. Sweet Potatoes
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Watermelon
  15. Mushrooms

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.

Additional Sources:

Environmental Working Group

Duke Law Journal

United States Census Bureau

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Diabetes Control Diet – Can Vitamin K Prevent Diabetes?

via: NaturalSociety
by: Elizabeth Renter
July 19, 2012

The American Diabetes Association estimates that 25.8 million Americans are diabetic; that’s more than 8 percent of the entire population. We know that type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease, one that is completely preventable and treatable with proper nutrition. And scientists have found that vitamin K may have a prominent place in a diabetes control diet.

According to Reuters Health, researchers found that among a group of more than 38,000 Dutch adults, those with the most vitamin K intake were least likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. They were 20% less likely to than the other study participants.

Scientists caution that the study wasn’t enough to say with certainty that vitamin K is the cause for the lowered risk, but that there is a link and more research is needed.

The study looked at two forms of vitamin K, K1 and K2. While both were related to a lower risk of diabetes, K2 shows the stronger relationship.

The study monitored the 38,094 participants for more than 10 years. All were between the ages of 20 and 70, both men and women. Questionnaires allowed researchers to estimate each person’s average intake of vitamin K.

In the study period, 918 participants were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. For each increase of 10-microgram of K2, a participant’s risk of being diagnosed with the disease dropped. With K1, the risk decrease wasn’t noticeable until the intake of the vitamin was high.

The one-quarter of participants with the highest levels of vitamin K intake had about a 20% less likely chance of type 2 diabetes. The research also accounted for other lifestyle factors such as weight, age, and exercise habits, as well as consumption of other nutrients.

Previous studies have highlighted the link between vitamin K and osteoporosis.

Diabetes Control Diet – Foods Containing Vitamin K

Where can you get your daily dose of vitamin K? K1 is most abundant in green leafy vegetables and oils including:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Parsley
  • Broccoli
  • Soybean oil
  • Olive oil

K2 on the other hand, is mostly found in animal products, so add be sure to add these foods to your diabetes control diet:

  • Meat
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Cream
  • Butter
What else can be included in a diabetes control diet? A magnesium and diabetes connection has been made, with research showing that magnesium may play an integral role in helping to prevent type 2 diabetes – the type escalating in children. So, consuming some magnesium-rich foods like beans, seeds, or nuts may be of extremely benefit.Turmeric spice has also been shown to cut heart disease and diabetes risk.

Additional Sources:

Linus Pauling Institute

American Diabetes Association

Reuters Health

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Vitamin B6 deficit promotes inflammation, heart disease and cognitive decline

via: NaturalNews
Thursday, July 12, 2012
By: John Phillip

[NaturalNews] As cardiovascular disease continues to take the lives of millions of unsuspecting individuals worldwide, a continual stream of scientific evidence is emerging to show that many who suffer from this illness could be spared by relatively simple dietary and lifestyle interventions. Prior studies have shown that low vitamin B6 (pyridoxal-5-phosphate (PLP)) status are the root cause behind most inflammatory diseases, including cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and diabetes and new research indicates that vitamin B6 and B12 deficiencies are linked to cognitive decline and depression.

Researchers reporting in The Journal of Nutrition from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center at Tufts University in Boston have now provided conclusive evidence that low levels of vitamin B6 significantly increases the risk for diseases mediated by systemic inflammation, with special emphasis on the leading cause of mortality in the US, cardiovascular disease. Including natural foods such as leafy greens (spinach and kale), seeds and nuts to your diet may go a long way to cut the risks associated with heart disease, loss of cognition and early death.

Vitamins B6 and B12 are essential to prevent cognitive decline and depression

Researchers examined 2,229 men and women as part of the Framingham Offspring study and found that those individuals with the lowest plasma levels of vitamin B6, experienced the highest rise in circulating inflammatory markers. The study monitored 13 individual inflammatory markers, including interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor alpha and intercellular adhesion molecule-1, each known to be an independent risk factor in increased risk of inflammation and cardiovascular disease in particular.

Additional evidence supporting the importance of B vitamins is presented in The Journal of Nutrition to demonstrate that both vitamin B6 and B12 are essential to prevent cognitive decline and team together to provide natural relief from depression. Prior studies have demonstrated that supplementation with both B vitamins lowers damaging levels of the amino acid homocysteine and are associated with improvements in a range of mental tests including global cognition and spatial memory.

Using questionnaires to assess dietary and health factors, researchers analyzed the data to determine that low vitamin B12 concentrations were associated with higher scores to assess degree of depression and low B6 status related to poor mental status, a measure of cognitive abilities. The full spectrum of B vitamins are essential to energy metabolism in the human body and the latest research confirms that a well-balanced diet and daily supplementation can help prevent a range of chronic, debilitating conditions including heart disease, dementia and depression.

Sources for this article include:


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Increase Brain Power with these 6 Powerful Foods

via: NaturalSociety
Elizabeth Renter
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 buildup 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.


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