Organic Fruits Vegetables - Most Pesticides, Least Pesticides

The concern implicit in this question is about pesticides, and it is a real one. The Environmental Protection Agency has reported that the majority of pesticides now in use are probable or possible causes of cancer. Studies of farm workers who work with pesticides suggest a link between pesticide use and brain cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple myeloma, leukemia, lymphoma, and cancers of the stomach and prostate.1 However, does the low level of pesticides remaining on our food present much of a risk?

Some scientists argue that the extremely low level of pesticide residue remaining on produce is insignificant and that there are naturally occurring toxins in all natural foods that are more significant. The large amount of studies performed on the typical pesticide-treated produce have demonstrated that consumption of produce, whether organic or not, is related to lower rates of cancer and increased disease protection. In short, it is better to eat fruits and vegetables grown and harvested using pesticides than not to eat them at all. The health benefits of eating phytochemically-rich produce greatly outweigh any risks pesticide residues might pose. That said, it should be recognized that fruits and vegetables are not all subject to the same pesticide exposure. The below chart shows the pesticide breakdown by food, but it is alphabetized and not in order of pesticide content. Spinach, strawberries and celery have the most pesticide residue and are the most important foods to consume organically grown.

 

If it is available, organic food is certainly your best bet to limit exposure to toxic chemicals. If you can eat only organic versions of the top 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables, you can reduce your pesticide exposure by about 90 percent. In addition, organic foods usually have more nutrients than their conventional counterparts.2 They also taste better and are generally better for farmers and the environment.

This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.

1. Sanderson W.T., Talaska G, Zaebst D, et al. Pesticide prioritization for a brain cancer case control study. Environ Res. 1997;74(2):133-144. Zahm SH, Blair A. Cancer among migrant and seasonal farmworkers: an epidemiologic review and research agenda. Am J Ind Med 1993;24(6): 753-766.

2. Worthington V. Nutritional quality of organic versus conventional fruits, vegetables and grains. J Alt Coml Med 2001;7(2):161-173. Grinder-Pederson L, Rasmussen SE, Bugel S, et al. Effect of diets based on foods from conventional versus organic production on intake and excretion of flavonoids and markers of antioxidative defense in humans. J Agric Food Chem. 2003;51(19): 5671-5676.

Image credit: *tamara*

Asparagus Protects Your Liver from Alcohol, But You Still Shouldn't Drink

Alcohol can destroy your health. Last month, studies found alcohol heightens risk of both colon and prostate cancer, but now, new findings in the Journal of Food Science suggest nutrients in asparagus may protect the liver against alcohol toxins associated with hangovers.

Researchers at the Institute of Medical Science and Jeju National University in Korea analyzed the components of young asparagus shoots and leaves to compare their biochemical effects on human and rat liver cells. "The amino acid and mineral contents were found to be much higher in the leaves than the shoots," says lead researcher B.Y. Kim.

Chronic alcohol use causes oxidative stress on the liver as well as unpleasant physical effects associated with a hangover. "Cellular toxicities were significantly alleviated in response to treatment with the extracts of asparagus leaves and shoots," says Kim. "These results provide evidence of how the biological functions of asparagus can help alleviate alcohol hangover and protect liver cells."

Booze is no party, even moderate drinking is suspect. Dr. Fuhrman insists moderate drinking—commonly defined as one drink a maximum of one drink per day for women and two drinks for men—may cause health problems, such extra body fat, cancer and atrial fibrillation.

Consuming more than this is associated with increased fat around the waist and other significant health problems.1 Even a moderate amount of alcohol may also increase the risk of breast cancer in susceptible women.2 The other problem with alcohol, especially more than one drink a day, is it can create mild withdrawal sensations the next day.

These sensations are commonly mistaken for hunger, which leads people to eat more than is necessary. Because of this, moderate drinkers are usually overweight. Furthermore, recent studies have also shown that even moderate alcohol consumption is linked to a significantly increased incidence of atrial fibrillation, a condition that can lead to stroke.3

But asparagus is amazing! Dr. Fuhrman says it’s full of health-promoting vitamins and nutrients, such as calcium and folate. All these plant nutrients help protect against cancer.

Asparagus is one of the most healthful foods on the planet. It leads nearly all fruits and vegetables in the wide array of nutrients it supplies. Ten ounces (one box of frozen spears) have only 68 calories and 9 grams of protein, yet it is like a vitamin pill, giving you a variety of minerals such as selenium, zinc, calcium, copper, and manganese. Plus, it is very rich in folate.

Asparagus has an exceptionally high nutrient-per-calorie ratio and is the perfect weight-loss food. Anti--cancer compounds that have been shown to prevent tumors and cancers in animals are plentiful in asparagus. Asparagus also contains isothiocyanates, indoles, and sulforaphane, powerful compounds that promote cellular rejuvenation with anti-cancer properties.

According to Dr. Fuhrman, asparagus is also an excellent source of Vitamin E, along with whole grains, seeds, nuts, avocados, berries, green leafy vegetables and tomatoes.

1. Dallongeville J, Marecaux N, Ducmetiere P, et al. Influence of alcohol consumption and various beverages on waist girth and waist-to-hip ratio on a sample of French men and women. J Obes. Relat. Metab. Disord. 1998;22(12):1178-1183.

2. Dumitrescu RG, Shields PG. The etiology of alcohol-induced breast cancer. Alcohol. 2005; 35(3):213-225.

3. Frost L, Vestergaard P. Alcohol and risk of atrial fibrillation or flutter: a cohort study. Arch Intern Med. 2004;164(18):1993-1998. Mukamal KJ, Tolstrup JS, Friberg J, et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of atrial fibrillation in men and women: the Copenhagen City Heart Study. Circulation. 2005;112(12):1736-1742.

Image credit: Esteban Cavrico

Eating to Live on the Outside: 222 Veggie Vegan

It’s Saturday! Time for another “trip” to sample veggie food from far-far away and this week Eating to Live on the Outside crosses the pond to visit 222 Veggie Vegan in London, England.

Now, just because Shaun of the Dead is my favorite movie does not influence my opinion in any way. 222 Veggie Vegan is awesome! Here’s a rough draft of stuff I might order:

Bean and Tofu Pancake

  • Black eye bean and tofu pate wrapped in a whole-meal pancake, topped with tomato chunks and vegan cream sauce; normally I avoid vegan faux-foods, but I’ll give this a whirl.

222 Gardens

  • Baked plantain, okra, falafels, tomato sauce, marinated aubergines and courgettes; believe it or not, I’ve never tried okra.

Chickpea Curry

  • Seasoned vegetables, chickpeas and brown basmati rice; I’m cool with the rice, no worries.

Chef’s Salad

  • Seasoned vegetables, greens, avocado chunks, asparagus, potatoes, sun dried tomatoes and artichokes marinated with olive dressing; looks great, but dressing on the side.

Broccoli and Mushrooms Salad

  • Red onion, broccoli, mushrooms and extra virgin olive oil; same thing with the olive oil here.

Tomato, Cucumber and Organic Tofu Salad

  • Tofu, tomato and cucumber with light pesto dressing; tomatoes are a wonderful thing!

Mixed Leaf Salad

  • Mixed leaves and light pesto dressing; I dig it.

Sun-dried Tomatoes and Jerusalem Artichokes Salad

Yeah, 222 Veggie Vegan is bloody good and I love that they avoid stuff like refined and fried foods. Now, if I REALLY had to pick something, I’m going with veggie-packed Chef’s Salad.

Okay, it's your turn. Check out 222 Veggie Vegan’s menu and let me know what you’d order.

Image credit: 222 Veggie Vegan

Rocking Out to Food Safety!

Food safety is a serious matter. Between salmonella and E. coli, we’ve got our hands full, but that doesn’t mean we can’t rock and roll! Check out Salmonella and the Pathogens belting out a silly version of "Heartache Tonight” by The Eagles:

 

 

I’m an Eagles fan, so my heart is with the original, but food music is pretty popular nowadays. For example, this funny looking guy can make wind instruments out of carrots, asparagus and broccoli. Clearly, he has way too much time on his hands.

Via SeriousEats.

Image credit: foodsafetymusic

Zinc Cuts Diabetes Risk in Women

Ladies eat your zinc! Because new findings in the journal Diabetes Care claim increased intake of zinc may lower diabetes risk in women. Researchers studied 82,297 women and during the course of 24 years more than 6,000 cases of type-2 diabetes were documented and data obtained from a food questionnaire showed women with the highest average dietary intake of zinc cut diabetes risk by 10% and 8% for those with highest average total intake of zinc; NutraIngredients reports.

Peas are a good source of zinc. So are sesame seeds, with lots of zinc, calcium, magnesium, copper, manganese and fiber. Asparagus is good too. Asparagus is packed with zinc as well as selenium and folate. And other green veggies, like broccoli, kale and lettuce are also awesome sources of zinc.

Zinc is important for guys too. Previous studies show low levels of zinc contribute to cancer, cardiovascular and all-cause mortality risk in middle-aged men. Eek!

Image credit: Dayna McIsaac

On Manager's Special 12.15.08

 

Slightly funky asparagus $2.84. I couldn't pass it up!

 

 

Great looking broccoli $0.84.

 

 

More awesome broccoli, still only $0.84.


Grand total, just $4.52.

I had to trim around some of the asparaugs, but most of it was great. And all the broccoli rocks!