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Pesky Pesticides

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T/F – Organic fruits and vegetables have higher nutritional value?
F – While there is a difference with the pesticides between organic and non-organic fruits and vegetables, studies have shown that the nutritional value is actually the same.

Why do you think it’s important for us to know about, and avoid pesticides?
Pesticides are designed to kill “pests”, but some pesticides can also cause health effects in people. The likelihood of developing health effects depends on the type of pesticide and other chemicals that are in the product you are using, as well as the amount you are exposed to and how long or often you are exposed.

  • Some short term effects of pesticide poisoning include: Nausea & Vomiting, Diarrhea, Loss of consciousness, Seizures, Coughing and sore throat and weakness.
  • Long term: Pesticides have been linked to cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, sterility and developmental disorders.

 

Researchers have created a list of the “dirty dozen” and “clean 15” to help consumers know when they should buy organic and when it is unnecessary.

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If you had to guess which fruits or vegetables were the worst offenders for pesticides, which would you guess?
– A general rule of thumb is if you eat the skin, and fruit/vegetable has  thinner skin, chances are that it has a higher pesticide count. These are known as the “dirty dozen”
         Think: Apples, Peaches, Peppers, Cucumbers, Cherry Tomatoes, Strawberries and Spinach to name a  few.

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Fruits and vegetables with thick skin, or vegetables that you peel tend to have fewer pesticides. These would be on the “Clean 15” list.
      Think: Avocado, Onions, Pineapples, Oranges, Sweetcorn, Kiwi, Mango and Grapefruit.

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The fruits and vegetables on “The Dirty Dozen” list, when conventionally grown, tested positive for at least 47 different chemicals, with some testing positive for as many as 67.

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is essential no matter how they’re grown, but for the items with the heaviest pesticide loads, we urge shoppers to buy organic.


Got Inflammation?

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Do you ever feel like you’re doing everything right with your diet, and yet you can’t seem to button your favorite pants? Let me guess; you’ve been working out, cutting calories, avoiding those late night cravings and you even joined a yoga class at the YMCA? It’s defeating to try so hard with little to no result.

Did you know that certain foods can actually work against your efforts and cause chronic inflammation? Inflammation can being annoying, especially when over time you notice that not only have you packed on weight, but it hurts. It’s true; there are certain foods that in addition to weight gain can actually cause inflammation and pain.

Inflammation is our body’s natural response to protecting itself against harm. There is more than one form of inflammation, first is acute. Acute inflammation occurs when you hit your elbow or worse…a paper cut! What we’re talking about in this case though, is chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation occurs in response to unwanted substances in the body. These substances can be found in number of foods that I am sure you could easily find on your daily menu.

I’m sure it’s no surprise that at the top of the list of foods that cause inflammation we see refined carbohydrates (this includes flour, white rice, processed cereals, chips, crackers and french fries). Also, I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised if I said that sugar, caffeine and alcohol were on the list too. But would it shock you a little if I said lactose (milk and other dairy products), yeast and meats (beef, pork and less commonly poultry) were among the culprits too?

I know what you’re thinking, what’s left, right? Although there are many foods that we should avoid there are still plenty of healthy foods to enjoy. Consider the following:

     Breakfast – Try to avoid sugary processed cereal, cereal bars and bakery items. Instead try an egg, plain Greek yogurt, or      a daily shake. Instead of a glass of 2% milk, try coconut milk or almond milk.

     Lunch – Instead of having a sandwich with highly processed white bread, consider a wrap with fresh veggies and chicken.

     Snack – Try some mixed nuts or a handful of blueberries.

     Dinner – A nice salad topped with fruit, veggies, avocado or nuts could be a great way to end your day. Also a stir fry with      brown rice and vegetables is a wonderful choice.

When choosing foods, think about whole foods and don’t be afraid of colors. How about taking an alcohol or caffeine vacation? You may find that by eliminating some of the processed foods (even foods that say “low calorie or low fat), artificial sweeteners (diet sodas!), and refined carbs you may not only be able to squeeze into those pants but also feel better and more pain free at the same time!

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Photo Credit:Harvard health