Apples & Onions & Pesticides

June 14th, 2011

By Scott Hensley for NPR: Maybe you overlooked the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s yearly roundup of pesticides in foods released last month. It’s long and full of tongue-twisting chemicals — like tetrahdrophthalimide and pyraclostrobin — found on some popular produce.

But the Environmental Working Group, an advocate for stricter pesticide controls, has crunched the numbers from that report and a bunch of others to come up with a guide for concerned shoppers.

There’s a “Dirty Dozen,” headlined by apples, celery and strawberries. And there’s also a catchy “Clean 15″ of fruits and vegetables lowest in pesticides. The top three on that list: onions, sweet corn and pineapples.

The EWG suggests that people buy organically grown fruits and vegetables for the varieties on its list of the most likely to carry pesticide residues. But the group also says the health benefits from produce mean that “eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all.” Continue reading »

Harvard: Coffee Cuts Cancer Risk

May 29th, 2011

This article gives us reason to drink coffee, but I don’t recommend the six cups mentioned in the study — that much can cause other problems!

By Roni Caryn Rabin for the New York Times: If that’s java in your cup, drink up. A new study says that men who are heavy coffee drinkers are at lower risk for prostate cancer.

As part of the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, Harvard scientists followed 47,911 men who periodically described their coffee intake. The researchers found those who consumed six or more cups a day were almost 20 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer over two decades than those who drank none.

More important, the heavy coffee drinkers were 60 percent less likely than the non-drinkers to develop a lethal form of the disease. Even men who drank just one to three cups of coffee benefited: They were nearly 30 percent less likely to develop lethal prostate cancer, the study said.

It did not matter whether the coffee was caffeinated or decaffeinated. (Remember that decaf is more acidic than regular, so regular makes sense for those with reflux or heartburn, or those trying to maintain an alkaline diet.  With palpitations or a heart condition, decaf may be better.– Cathie)  Continue reading »

Western Diets Are Making the World Sick

April 16th, 2011

From NPR’s ‘Fresh Air': When physician Kevin Patterson described his experiences working at the Canadian Combat Surgical Hospital in Afghanistan, he noticed that the Afghan soldiers, police and civilians he treated in Kandahar had radically different bodies from those of the Canadians he took care of back home.

“Typical Afghan civilians and soldiers would have been 140 pounds or so as adults. And when we operated on them, what we were aware of was the absence of any fat underneath the skin,” Patterson says. “Of course, when we operated on Canadians or Americans or Europeans, what was normal was to have most of the organs encased in fat.”

In a conversation on Fresh Air, Patterson tells Terry Gross that the effects of urbanization are making people everywhere in the world both fatter and sicker.

“Type 2 diabetes historically didn’t exist, only 70 or 80 years ago,” says Patterson. “And what’s driven it is this rise in obesity, especially the accumulation of abdominal fat. That fat induces changes in our receptors that cells have for insulin. Basically, it makes them numb to the effect of insulin.”

He explains that the increase in abdominal fat has driven the epidemic of diabetes over the last 40 years in the developed world — and that he’s now seeing similar patterns in undeveloped regions that have adopted Western eating patterns.

Patterson explains that in his Canadian practice, where he takes care of indigenous populations near the Arctic Circle, there is a marked increase in the number of diabetic patients he sees.  “The traditional Inuit culture of relentless motion and a traditional diet consisting mainly of caribou, Arctic char, whale and seal has been abandoned over this period of time for Kentucky Fried Chicken and processed food and living a life very similar to ours,” he says.

Part of the problem, says Patterson, is that it’s so much cheaper for processed food to be flown into the Arctic Circle than fresh food.  “There’s no roads or rail access to any of those communities,” he says. “So a 4 liter jug of milk can cost you $10 or $11. But there’s a very clear parallel between that and the inner city. In poorer neighborhoods in North American cities, fresh food is either not available or extremely expensive compared to — on a calorie-by-calorie basis — compared to fast food available on every street corner.” Continue reading »

Great Recipe! Chickpea Soup

March 31st, 2011

Chickpea Vegetable Soup With Parmesan and Rosemary

This healthy recipe from Melissa Clark of the New York Times passes the taste test!  You may want add some hot red pepper also.

Time: 1.5–2 hours (plus overnight soaking if you use dry beans)

1 whole clove
1/2 onion, sliced root to stem so it stays intact, peeled
1 pound dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained, or 2 15 oz. cans of chickpeas, drained
1 sprig rosemary, plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped leaves
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 fresh bay leaves or 1 dried
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons salt, more to taste
1 small Parmesan rind, plus 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (vegans use toasted sesame seeds or nutritional yeast)
1 cup diced tomatoes, canned or fresh
2 medium carrots, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
2 celery stalks, sliced 1/4-inch thick
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

 

Continue reading »

ADD Kids Helped by Food Sensitivity Diet

March 14th, 2011

From NPR — All Things Considered: Hyperactivity. Fidgeting. Inattention. Impulsivity. If your child has one or more of these qualities on a regular basis, you may be told that he or she has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. If so, they’d be among about 10 percent of children in the United States.

Kids with ADHD and ADD can be restless and difficult to handle. Many of them are treated with drugs, but a new study says food may be the key. Published in The Lancet journal, the study suggests that with a restrictive diet, kids with ADHD could experience a significant reduction in symptoms.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Lidy Pelsser of the ADHD Research Centre in the Netherlands, writes in The Lancet that the disorder is triggered in many cases by external factors — and those can be treated through changes to one’s environment.

“ADHD, it’s just a couple of symptoms — it’s not a disease,” the Dutch researcher tells All Things Considered weekend host Guy Raz. The way we think about — and treat — these behaviors is wrong, Pelsser says. “There is a paradigm shift needed. If a child is diagnosed ADHD, we should say, ‘OK, we have got those symptoms, now let’s start looking for a cause.’ ”

Pelsser compares ADHD to eczema. “The skin is affected, but a lot of people get eczema because of a latex allergy or because they are eating a pineapple or strawberries.” According to Pelsser, 64 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD are actually experiencing a hypersensitivity to food.

Continue reading »