Posts Tagged ‘fruit’

“Drug” to improve health, reduce cancer risk

Amen to this!! Turns out mom and grandma were right all along; eat your fruits and veggies! One interesting point in the article is that the lung cancer rate for smokers taking a supplement with beta carotene actually increased. But no such finding have been discovered with eating food. Very interesting. So ditch unnecessary diet pills, supplements, etc. and enjoy some fresh fruits and vegetables. They are naturals vitamins, health improvers and they taste good too.

Of course there are many more ways to improve health and protect against cancer (like choosing organic foods; cosmetic and personal care products with safe ingredients), but this is a simple and easy first step.

To Produce Good Health, Bite Into Fruit and Veggies
Washington Post
June 25, 2008

Imagine a drug that could whittle your waistline, control blood pressure, keep you regular, protect your heart, strengthen your bones, cut the risk of stroke and possibly help you sidestep some types of cancer. And what if this drug were also easy to obtain and inexpensive, and it even tasted good?

It would be hard to beat, wouldn’t it? There’s no pill with those benefits, but there is food that hits those high nutritional notes. I’m talking, of course, about fruit and vegetables.

Scientists are just beginning to fully understand the power of produce. And the start of summer provides a great opportunity to expand your nutritional horizons by sampling the foods that will come into peak season during the coming months.
Seasonal fruit and vegetables cost less than produce available at other times of year, so they can help stretch your food dollars. Plus, if you pick or grow your own, you can also save money and maybe even burn a few extra calories along the way.

What many people don’t know is that it isn’t only fresh fruit and vegetables that provide health benefits. Studies show that canned, dried and frozen produce have nearly all the same attributes as fresh — provided that you choose products that don’t come slathered with added sugar or laced with lots of extra salt.

Eating more fruit and vegetables sounds like a no-brainer, the kind of common-sense advice that mothers have dished out for generations. Now, 21st-century scientists are beginning to fathom why these foods provide so many benefits.
It has to do with an array of essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients –plant-based substances with tongue-twisting names such as anthocyanins and lycopene. Don’t worry about pronouncing them. All you need to know is that these antioxidants are found in red and deep-pink fruit and vegetables. That means pomegranates, red cabbage, cherries, red peppers, watermelon, red grapes and more. They appear to help reduce the risk of some tumors, including prostate cancer. And that’s just for starters.

Green fruit and vegetables, from avocado, pears and limes to okra, green beans and zucchini, are rich in carotenoids. These substances help preserve vision by protecting the retina and gobble up free radicals to help thwart cancer and aging.

Yellow and orange produce is rich in beta carotene, which is converted by the body into Vitamin A. It boosts immunity and protects vision. Count apricots, bananas, papayas, peaches, carrots and butternut squash in this group, which also packs other nutrients. Pineapple, for example, has bromelain, an enzyme that aids in digestion and reduces bloating.

White vegetables and fruit, from jicama to litchi nuts, contain allicin, which helps control blood pressure and cholesterol and may bolster immunity.

But the superstars seem to be cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, arugula, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, rutabaga, turnips, bok choy, horseradish, wasabi and watercress.

These vegetables contain potent substances that seem to protect against cancer and appear to have antimicrobial activity. In April, scientists reported that substances extracted from broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables thwarted (in the laboratory, at least) the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers as well as 23 of 28 other common microbes and fungi. There’s also evidence that eating cruciferous vegetables may help counteract the suspected cancer-causing chemicals found in grilled food.

Dietary supplement makers have tried to duplicate the health effects of fruit and vegetables, without success. And in one large Scandinavian study, smokers who took supplements with beta carotene had an increased risk of lung cancer compared with those who didn’t take the pills. To date, there have been no reported harmful effects of consuming any of these substances in food.

What makes food better? Scientists believe it comes down to synergy: reactions that take place in the food itself between phytonutrients and vitamins and minerals.
That’s why it’s key to meet the recommended daily intake for fruit and vegetables. Studies suggest that just 25 percent of adults and children in the United States eat enough fruit daily. Only 13 percent get enough vegetables each day.

How much do you need? Forget the old “five-a-day” advice. That was retired in 2005, when the U.S. Dietary Guidelines were updated. Current recommendations are for most adults to eat about two cups daily of fruit (roughly equal to two pieces) and about 2.5 cups of vegetables per day.

The message is simple: If you’re looking for flavor that also is worth its weight in nutritional benefits, reach for fruit and vegetables as often as possible. Or perhaps this Middle Eastern saying puts it best: “A melon for ecstasy!”

Whole Foods 365 Private Label Cans DO Contain Some BPA

I finally heard back from Whole Foods regarding whether or not their 365 brand contains BPA in the lining of their canned food products. Here is the response (I think he repeats himself, but this is the unedited email):

Trisha,

Thank you so much for your email.  We are committed to helping our customers protect themselves and their families and as such are concerned about the growing body of research which connects BPA and other estrogenic compounds, including phthalates, to certain health effects. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that such materials are appropriate and safe, we are currently evaluating certain products and packaging materials on a variety of criteria, including endocrine activity, toxicity, recyclability and functionality. Our goal is to help our customers avoid endocrine active materials in products and packaging where functional alternatives exist.

We are staying on top of the latest academic research regarding the endocrine activity of substances present in plastics, including BPA. When appropriate, we have stopped the sale of certain products and/or provided information to our customers about the products. For example, as of January 2006 we stopped selling baby bottles and child drinking cups made from polycarbonate plastic or other plastics with added phthalates because of the emerging scientific evidence on their risk.

We have begun the process of examining the plastic packaging materials we use to package foods in our stores, and are working with a leading testing firm to design a laboratory test to accurately assess the endocrine activity of these materials. We will continue to search for the safest and most functional packaging materials for our stores.

Some of the canned products sold in our stores may have small amounts of bisphenol-a in the lining material. We are actively assessing the safety of the packaging materials used in our stores, as we are committed to helping our customers protect themselves and their families and as such are concerned about the growing body of research which connects BPA and other estrogenic compounds to certain health effects. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that such materials are appropriate and safe, we are currently evaluating certain products and packaging materials on a variety of criteria, including endocrine activity, toxicity, recyclability and functionality. Our goal is to help our customers avoid endocrine active materials in products and packaging where functional alternatives exist.

We are staying on top of the latest academic research regarding the endocrine activity of substances present in plastics, including BPA. When appropriate, we have stopped the sale of certain products and/or provided information to our customers about the products. For example, as of January 2006 we stopped selling baby bottles and child drinking cups made from polycarbonate plastic or other plastics with added phthalates because of the emerging scientific evidence on their risk.

We have begun the process of examining the plastic packaging materials we use to package foods in our stores, and are working with a leading testing firm to design a laboratory test to accurately assess the endocrine activity of these materials. We will continue to search for the safest and most functional packaging materials for our stores.

Jason Hays

Guest Services Content Administrator, Private Label

Related Articles:

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  • Pregnant women told to avoid BPA
  • Today Show report on BPA & plastic safety
  • BPA may lead to health problems such as obesity and ADD/ADHD
  • Canned foods and BPA
  • BPA is found in infant formula
  • Gerber baby food containers
  • BPA and other plastic safety
  • Z Recommends: The Z Report on BPA In Infant Care Products, Third Edition
  • Environmental Working Group: Guide to Baby Safe Bottles & Formula
  • Environmental Working Groups Report on BPA in Baby Formula
  • Breastmilk contains stem cells
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  • Canned Foods Contain Bisphenol-A (BPA)

    Someone asked about the safety of individual applesauces, fruit bowls and canned food in the comments of my original article on bisphenol-a. I did not go much into detail about how it relates to canned foods, so thought I would make a post out of my response to her. 

    I called Dole several months ago asking about their #7 containers used for their plastic jarred foods and the little fruit bowls. They DO contain bisphenol A. I had several of these and I returned the ones I had not opened and stopped feeding what I had to my daughter.  As far as Dole’s canned foods, they said all their cans are made of tin and are not lined with plastic.

    Del Monte cans however ARE lined with an enamel containing BPA. I had to ask him several times and finally got it out of him and then he immediately got all defensive about it. Obviously they have had many calls about this. I asked if there were any plans to change this and he said “No, the USDA, FDA, etc. all approve the lining.” I said they recall items all the time and so I trust the independent research that shows BPA is dangerous and that I would be looking for another product line for my canned foods. I have sometimes use their corn and green beans for cooking, but will no longer.

    I always avoid anything with #7 and anything that is a hard, clear plastic. I would rather be on the safe side. Many people do not worry about BPA, but I do because there are so many other things to worry about like chemicals in shampoos, pesticides on food, antibiotics in meat… If it is something I can easily control, I do it, it’s a simple. It’s easy now to find healthier alternatives. If ever you are concerned, just call the 800# on the package and ask for a direct answer. If the person does not know, kindly ask them if they could find out. If they say the product does contain bisphenol A, ask if there are plans to change it and make it safe. If not, make the request for them to do so and tell them you are not going to purchase any more of their products until there is a change. Many will also say “Our research shows polycarbonate is safe.” Obviously there is enough independent research that proves this is not true.

    There are much safer alternative products. For example, Motts, Whole Foods and Earth’s Best all make applesauce containers with #1, #2 or #5 plastic. I am sure there are others. UPDATE: Mott’s (and possible all single serve applesauce) also come in #7 polycarbonate containers. I just called Mott’s and they confirmed they do use polycarbonate for some applesauce containers, but that #1 is also used. Mott’s maintains the FDA says #7 is safe, but we know better, don’t we! So, my advice is to either avoid Mott’s (and possibly all single serve applesauce and fruit) or check the bottom each and every time you make a purchase to make sure you are not selecting a #7 container. Sure is frustrating, but hopefully the FDA will come to their senses soon and ban this toxic substance.

    I have not seen any fruit bowls though that are not #7. I have gone to almost all fresh organic fruit, but on the extremely rare occassion I don’t, I use regular canned fruit and veggies (tin containers!). But so much fresh or frozen organic options are available, that canned fruits and veggies just really are not a necessity. Now, I may pull out a can maybe once a month. I no longer used canned tomatoes — i use fresh or do without. I just realized that this was a simple change and really has not had a big impact on our lifestyle.

    Related Articles:

  • “Cheat sheet” of BPA-free sippy cups and bottles
  • Pregnant women told to avoid BPA
  • Today Show report on BPA & plastic safety
  • BPA may lead to health problems such as obesity and ADD/ADHD
  • Whole Foods private label canned food contain BPA
  • BPA is found in infant formula
  • Gerber baby food containers
  • BPA and other plastic safety
  • Z Recommends: The Z Report on BPA In Infant Care Products, Third Edition
  • Environmental Working Group: Guide to Baby Safe Bottles & Formula
  • Environmental Working Groups Report on BPA in Baby Formula
  • Breastmilk contains stem cells
  • Breastmilk cures
  • Can breastmilk cure cancer?