The EWG released its annual 'Dirty Dozen' and 'Clean Fifteen' lists.
The next time you shop the produce aisle you might want to beeline straight for the organic section--especially if strawberries, spinach, nectarines or apples are on your list. As it turns out, they're some of the most pesticide heavy fruits and veggies according to the Environmental Working Group. The EWG just released its 2017 list of the most and least pesticide ridden foods, aka 'Dirty Dozen' and 'Clean Fifteen'. Here's what you need to know.
To compile the ranking, the EWG analyzed tests by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration of more than 48 different types of produce. This year, the Dirty Dozen list includes, in order, strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, celery, grapes, pears, cherries, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers and potatoes.
Each of these foods tested positive for a number of different pesticide residues and contained higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce. Spinach made a huge leap from eighth to second place, while pears and potatoes were new additions to the Dirty Dozen, displacing cherry tomatoes and cucumbers from last years list.
The 'Clean Fifteen', which outlines the produce with the fewest pesticides detected. Those 15 are sweet corn, avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onions, frozen peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwis, cantaloupe, cauliflower and grapefruit.
But before you start throwing out any fruits or veggies that aren't on the Clean Fifteen, remember that this list does not mean you are going to keel over and die just because you grabbed the cheaper, non-organic strawberries the last time you were at the store.
Eating fruits and veggies, even non-organic, is still a better choice than processed crap like potato chips and sugar-laden cereals, so use this list as a a guide, rather than something to live and die by. Even the EWG believes we need to keep things in perspective saying: "The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure." Still, better to know which ones might need a more thorough wash!
A lack of vitamin D has been linked to everything from infertility to premature bone aging. If those long-term health concerns don't prompt you to look for ways to boost your vitamin D intake, consider the recent NPR report citing research based on 25 medical studies that found vitamin D intake may help prevent colds and flu. So, yes, a healthy dose of vitamin D can help you in the short term too.
But just how do you make sure you have adequate vitamin D intake? That's 600 IU (international units) per day for most adults, according to the National Academy of Medicine. Those over 70 years old are advised to get 800 IU per day.
Sure you can take multivitamins to help reach that threshold. Most of them have about 400 IU of vitamin D, reports NPR.
But there are plenty of natural ways to easily boost your vitamin D intake as well. Consider these 11 suggestions from experts.
1. Eat fatty fish: Fish are naturally rich in vitamin D. Here's how some of them measure up, according to a report by the Nation Institute of Health.
* cod liver oil, 1 tablespoon: 1,360 IU
* cooked swordfish, 3 ounces: 566 IU
* cooked sockeye salmon, 3 ounces: 447 IU
* canned tuna in water, drained, 3 ounces: 154 IU
* Two sardines, canned in oil, drained: 46 IU
2. Choose foods fortified with vitamin D: The NIH reports the following IU tallies for specific foods (check labels to verify amounts in individual brands).
* orange juice,1 cup: 137 IU
* nonfat, reduced fat or whole milk, 1 cup: 115-124 IU
* yogurt, 6 ounces: 80 IU
* margarine, 1 tablespoon: 60 IU
* ready-to-eat cereal, 3/4 to 1 cup: 40 IU
3. Cook up beef liver: This is not everyone's cup of tea, but the NIH reports 3 ounces of cooked beef liver delivers a luscious 42 IU of vitamin D.
4. Enjoy a slice of Swiss cheese: The NIH reports that 1 ounce of this cheesy goodness contains 6 IU.
5. Eat your eggs: One large egg yolk has 41 IU, reports the NIH.
6. Toss in some mushrooms: Various types of mushrooms--especially those exposed to ultraviolet light, deliver megadoses if vitamin D, reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For example, 1 cup of brown, Italian or Crimini mushrooms has up to 1,110 IU. Portobellos contain close to 1,000 IU.
7. Think kid stuff: Remember the old commercials urging kids to drink Ovaltine? Well, it turns out that is not bad advice. One cup of Ovaltine powder, about four, 4 tablespoon servings, has 284 IU, an amount comparable with one ready-to-drink bottle of Nestle Boost Plus, which has 218 IU, according to the USDA.
8. Serve some ham: Non-fish lovers may enjoy a slice of extra lean canned cured ham, 140 grams of 1 cup by volume. That amount has about 130 IU of vitamin D, according to the USDA.
9. Dish out yogurt: A container of Silk plain yogurt has 120 IU of vitamin D, reports the USDA. Many of the other ordinary yogurts contained 80-85 IU of vitamin D per container, while the Greek varieties hovered closer to 50. Be sure to check the label to be sure of what you are getting.
10. Grab some turkey or pork sausage: Include links or patties with your breakfast. A serving of about 1 cup of these sausages delivers 103 IU, reports the USDA.
11. Get a little sun: The days of sunbathing without sunscreen passed years ago due to revelations about the skin cancer risk. You don't need to go overboard, 20-25 minutes of daily sun exposure can prompt your body to manufacture more vitamin D, according to Stephen Honig, director of the Osteoporosis Center of NYU Langone Hospital for Joint Diseases, speaking to Shape magazine. It's important to go out into the sun, not catch rays through a window. To trigger maximum vitamin D production, expose as much skin as safely possible to receive the maximum benefit, taking into consideration your skin tone, the time of day, and the intensity of the sun where you live.
Sugar. It's the bane of many a weight-loss program. So sweet, so delicious and so tempting. And so calorie dense, nutrient poor, and unhealthy.
But how can anyone possibly give up all sweet treats?
Marketers from many companies want you to believe you can have your cake _and your soda, and your cookies), and lose weight too. All you have to do is replace sugar and sugar-sweetened foods with any number of popular artificial sweeteners, from sucralose to aspartame to acesulfame potassium, or AceK, to saccharin, and many more, and you'll get to enjoy the sweetness without the excess calories.
Despite compelling advertisements stating their products taste like sugar with none of the calories and none of the guilt, rest assured, these chemicals are anything but natural and may be just as likely--and in some cases, more likely--as sugar to prevent you from reaching your goals.
ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS AND WEIGHT LOSS
While animal studies have linked artificial sweeteners to weight gain and obesity, a recently published article provides evidence that artificially sweetened diet soft drinks may have a negative impact on a weight-loss program. In a study, which had no financial ties to the beverage industry and was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers from the University of Nottingham assigned 62 women, who regularly consume diet beverages, to one of two groups. Half of the women, were instructed to replace zero calorie, artificially sweetened beverages (diet soda) with water after their main meal, lunch, while the other half continued to drink diet sodas. The women in the latter group drank only one diet soda per day after lunch.
The researchers tracked the progress of the women for 24 weeks, and they were all instructed to follow the exact same weight-loss program including a reduced-calorie diet. As expected, at the end of the trial, all the women lost a significant amount of weight. However the women who replaced diet beverages with water lost, on average, 16% more weight than the women who drank diet sodas--and remember, they only drank one diet beverage per day. Not only that, the women who drank water experienced improvements in their insulin sensitivity and carbohydrate tolerance that were 70% and 42% greater, respectively, than the group who drank diet beverages. This study provides evidence that replacing artificially-sweetened diet beverages with water may lead to greater weight management and metabolic benefits during a weight loss program.
GUT-WRENCHING SIDE EFFECTS
You may also be surprised to learn that one of the most common sweeteners, sucralose, actually contains chlorine. Yes, the same chlorine that goes in swimming pools. Just like chlorine kills off micro-organisms in swimming pools, sucralose may kill of healthy bacteria that lives in your gut. That's healthy bacteria that's vitally important to virtually every aspect of your health.
Recently, a study at Duke University confirmed this very finding. The researchers found that animals fed sucralose--in realistic amounts well within the FDA's safety limits--for 12 weeks experienced a significant reduction in the amount of their "good" gut bacteria. Even after a 12-week recovery period, the quantity of beneficial micro-organisms remained significantly depressed.
Here's a direct quote from the study---"Sucralose suppressed beneficial bacteria and directly affects the expression of the transporter P-gp and cytochrome P-450 isozymes that are known to interfere with the bioavailability of nutrients. Furthermore, these effects occur at doses that contain sucralose levels that are approved by the FDA for use in the food supply."
Did you know that your digestive system houses over 70% of your immunity, which relies heavily on a healthy balance of gut bacteria? In fact, there are more than 110 Trillion living micro-organisms in your gut that control many aspects of your health, and due to things like artificial sweeteners, many people have created a substantial unhealthy imbalance of gut bacteria, called gut dysbiosis.
Here are some of the consequences that can result from gut dysbiosis if left unaddressed.
* Bowel irritation and digestive discomfort
* Skin issues
* Fatigue and low energy levels
* Lowered immune response
* Difficulty losing weight
* Poor carbohydrate management and suboptimal metabolic function
Perhaps you are thinking. "oh, that's just one sweetener." Not so fast. Another study published in the journal Nature found that humans consuming the artificial sweetener saccharin for just five days resulted in gut dysbiosis as well as reductions in carbohydrate tolerance.
THE KEY TO BEATING DYSBIOSIS
It's not all bad news, however. In fact, the great news is that you can actually supplement with healthy bacteria, more commonly known as probiotics, which support a healthy balance of gut bacteria and help your gut battle numerous threatening challenges, such as artificial sweeteners, aging, environmental factors, traveling, stress, poor food choices, and more. Research is now suggesting that supplementing with a quality probiotic supplement daily may:
* Help the immune system function properly
* Keep harmful micro-organisms in check
* Support healthy brain function
* Aid digestion, including breaking down difficult-to-digest foods
* Support healthy weight management
* Aid in nutrient absorption
UNFORTUNATELY, NOT ALL PROBIOTICS ARE CREATED EQUALLY:
You may not know this, but research has shown that after just one year on the shelf in a sealed bottle at room temperature, on average, only about 40% of many store-bought probiotics (which are delicate living organisms that are sensitive to heat, light, moisture, and acid) survive. What's more, due to the harsh environment of the stomach, another 80% of the remaining live probiotic cells may be killed off before they reach your gut (the "final destination" they must reach alive and well in order to provide you with their beneficial properties).
Furthermore, many products contain probiotics that are already dead within days or weeks of bottling due to poor manufacturing and storage practices that expose the cultures to high heat. In other word, a traditional probiotic supplement could be virtually worthless by the time you take it--what a waste of time and money.
AVOID THE ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS
Despite how widely available artificial sweeteners are and the overwhelming number of products they're found in, the unintended consequences can be downright frightening and more likely to lead to a lack of success than the "sweet" benefits that savvy marketers may lead you to believe.
So, the next time you're looking for a sweet treat, consider your gut and the tremendous importance it plays in your overall health. Instead, reach for a delicious piece of whole, low-sugar fruit like strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, or apples, or try a snack sweetened with truly natural low-calorie sweetener like stevia leaf extract.
From acai bowls and bone broth, food trends come and go. More often than not, the of the moment foods can set you back a pretty penny too. So which are worth it?? Whether it's just overpriced or overrated, here are five food trends you many want to think twice about.
1. Cold pressed juices--Cold pressed juices have risen in popularity over the past few years, and with the hefty price tag tacked on them (one serving of juice can be as much as $12!) one would assume guzzling some would provide you with all the nutrients you could possibly need. Unfortunately for your wallets, and you diets, that is not the case. While made of whole, raw fruits and veggies, the fiver from these foods is often stripped during the juicing process. On top of that, fruits like apples can be added to cut the bitter flavor of leafy greens, which can bump the carbohydrate content up to 20-30 grams of carbs per juice! And because there is no fiber or protein in these juices, guzzling one can cause blood sugar levels to spike too, leaving you right back where you started: hungry and craving something nutrient dense.
2. Vegan cookies--Just because something is vegan does not make it healthy--or helpful for weight loss. The reason vegan cookies taste just as good, if not better than, some regular cookies is they can pack the same amount of calories and fat as their non-vegan counterparts. Think about it this way: A vegan chocolate chip cookie may be dairy free and/or made with organic or raw ingredients, but it can still be 240 calories with 39 grams of carbs, 19 grams of which come from sugar. A small order McDonald's fries has less carbs, sugar and calories than that! White sugar is vegan, flour is vegan, chocolate chips can be vegan, and just because a cookie is made with these does not mean it's worth you biting into.
3. Jackfruit--Because of it's meaty texture, this Asian fruit has gained recent popularity as a meat substitute. However, just because jackfruit can taste and look just like pulled meat doesn't necessarily mean it's a great source of protein. And in fact, it's quite the opposite. A 1 cup serving of jackfruit has less than 3 grams of protein, making it ess-than-ideal substitute for meat in the diet. Not only is jackfruit low in protein, but because it is a fruit, it is also a major source of carbohydrates and sugar. That same one serving packs in 31 grams of sugar, which is as much as an Original Single Milky Way bar! There's a place in the diet for jackfruit, but if you're looking for a vegetarian source of protein,tofu or egg whites are a much better bet.
4. Avocado toast-- Avocado toast may seem like the healthiest choice on the brunch menu, but if you're dissecting this trend form a weight-loss standpoint, you may want to pass next time you see it on a menu. While avocados are considered a healthy fat, and do provide health benefits, it's not necessary to eat more tha a serving a day to reap those health benefits--and a servingof avocado is really not much at all. A serving of avocado is a third of a medium avocado. Most restaurants make their avocado mash with the whole fruit though, so you can be looking at a toast that tallies around 300-400 calories, before the thick slice of olive oil drizzled bread. If you're craving avocado toast, try opting for a variety that uses egg whites and tomatoes in the mash for an added lean-protein and nutrient boost.
5. Matcha lattes--Between the specialty matcha shops like Cha Cha Matcha popping up and all the coffee joints adding matcha lattes to their menus, matcha is one food trend that has taken the mainstage--and for $5-7 a cup, it will set you back a pretty penny too. While matcha is packed with antioxidants and provides detox health benefits that cannot be disputed, ordering up a latte may not be the magic elixir you bargained for. A 12 ounce matcha latte from a popular coffee chain packs 24 grams of sugar and will set you back 190 calories. To put that in perspective, that's like taking your coffee cup and stirring in 6 extra teaspoons of the granulated stuff. This wouldn't be so bad, except matcha alone naturally has no sugar, or calories at all! Say later to the store-bought matcha lattes, and whip up your own cup at home with unsweetened almond milk and stevia. Not only will your wallet thank you, but your waistline will too!!
Sorry about the spellings errors, I was unable to correct them~~~