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Got a gut feeling that you should be taking probiotics? You’re right.

October 5th, 2016

10 Reasons Why Probiotics Should Be in Your Diet

Probiotics. Gut bacteria. Gut flora. Microbiome. These are all buzz words circulating about in the media, in magazines and on social channels. But what do they all mean? Are probiotics good for you? If so, why?

If the thought of ingesting bacteria turns you off, you’re not alone. In a world of good bacteria and bad bacteria, probiotics are the good guys. The superheroes. The health ninjas. Probiotics are a live culture of beneficial bacteria that help maintain the natural balance of organisms in the intestines.  They help out most in our digestive system and GI tract where large amounts are found in the intestine and colon. And while they are created naturally by our bodies, they can also be found in certain foods and supplements.  In fact, probiotics have a myriad of health benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked.

That’s why Uncle Matt’s decided to add GanedenBC30®, a proven, patented probiotic of “good bacteria” strain, Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086, into our Organic Orange Turmeric and Reduced-Calorie Organic Orange-Coconut juices.  We also included GanedenBC30 in our new Fruit Infused Probiotic Waters. Just one 8 oz. serving delivers a powerful probiotic punch of 1 billion CFUs (colony forming units). When consumed daily, our probiotics help  increase protein and amino acid absorption and support digestive and immune health that can become compromised by many factors including travel, poor diet and lack of sleep. These conditions can decrease the levels of good bacteria found in the gut –– where over 70% of your immune cells reside. What’s more, roughly 95% of your serotonin (the feel good or ‘happy’ hormone) is stored in your gut as well.

Besides supporting digestive health, probiotics are a powerhouse of other health benefits. Check out the top 10 reasons we think a probiotic prescription is a must for anyone:

#1 RENEW THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

Healthy bacteria help increase the function and effectiveness of our immune system.  One study showed a 50% increase in immune function after two weeks of probiotic supplementation (British Journal of Nutrition).

#2   REDUCE CHOLESTEROL LEVELS

By as much as 33% when taken orally! (World Health Organization)

#3 REPLENISH A HEALTHY GUT

Beneficial bacteria reduce the growth of harmful bacteria. An estimated 100 trillion microorganisms representing more than 500 different species inhabit every normal, healthy bowel.  Probiotics help ensure this delicate balance is maintained.

#4 RESTORE DIGESTIVE HEALTH

Probiotics have been shown to help ease the symptoms of IBS, abdominal pain, cramps, bloating and more.

 #5 RECHARGE POSITIVE EMOTIONS

Two particular strains of probiotics –– lactobacillus helveticus and bifidobacterium –– improved “levels of psychological distress, including measures of depression, anger, anxiety, and problem-solving.” (British Journal of Nutrition, March 2011).

#6 RESIST INFECTION

Following 12 weeks of lactobacillus rhomnosus probiotic supplementation, a 34% reduction in upper respiratory infections was reported (British Journal of Nutrition)

#7 RESURFACE YOUR SKIN

Recent research confirms that gut health and skin health are closely related. An anti-inflammatory balance in the gut will help fight the severity of skin-related issues, like acne and rosacea.

#8 RETRACT ANTIBIOTIC-RELATED DIARRHEA

Can’t get around being on an antibiotic? At least now you can minimize its side effects as probiotics reduced antibiotic-associated diarrhea by 64%. (Cachrone Databases of Systematic Reviews, 2013).

#9 RECYCLE YOUR HORMONES

Beneficial flora metabolize and recycle hormones, including estrogen, thyroid hormones, and phytoestrogens from food sources, which can help offset symptoms of menopause, PMS and perimenopause.  In this way, they help maintain proper hormonal balance, and may protect bone and breast health as well (Source: womentowomen.com, Marcelle Pick, Ob/Gyn.)

 #10 REINFORCE/REALIGN VAGINAL BALANCE

Supplementing probiotics helps protect against a number of vaginal infections in females. Friendly bacteria (especially of the Lactobacillus genus) produce natural disinfectants that help maintain an optimal pH and a healthy balance of beneficial microorganisms in the vagina by excluding harmful bacteria and other pathogens. (lifeextension.com)

Organic Lemon Water with Peel… Your Morning Ritual’s New Best Friend

October 1st, 2016

It’s amazing how one small, simple change to your morning routine can boost the way you feel throughout your day.  Even better, this change can quickly result In a noticeable, positive and long-term impact on your overall health when repeated daily.

What’s the simple step we’re talking about?  Drinking organic lemon water with added peel. It’s the ultimate early morning no-brainer. While lemons are known for their cleansing and detoxifying properties (not to mention the proverbial vitamin C dose), there’s so much more to lemon water. Here’s a closer behind-the-scenes look into why this citrus powerhouse combined with water and peel yields so many healthy rewards:

1)   Digestion-Aiding From encouraging the liver to produce bile for digestion to loosening ama, or toxins, in the digestive tract, lemon juice makes it easier for the digestive system to do its job. The chemical composition of lemons is similar to saliva and the hydrochloric acid of digestive juices. The digestive qualities of lemon juice are also known to relieve the symptoms of indigestion and all its accompanying unpleasantries.

2)   Detoxifying Lemon water in the morning helps flush those toxins out! Because lemons are a diuretic, unwanted toxins are released faster because lemons increase the rate of urination in the body. This helps keep your urinary tract healthy! And don’t forget the citric acid in lemons, either. It helps maximize enzyme function, which stimulates the liver and aids in detoxification.

3) Immunity-Boosting. We all know citrus is high in vitamin C and lemons are no exception. Vitamin C is great for fighting and reducing the longevity of colds, minimizing phlegm, and having anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Moreover, lemon peel is high in potassium, which helps maintain a healthy blood pressure and stimulate brain functions.

4) Body-Alkalizing. We think of lemons as acidic, and they are. But did you know once they’re ingested, they’re one of the most alkalizing foods out there? Because lemons contain both citric and ascorbic acid, the weak acids are easily metabolized, allowing the mineral content of lemons to help alkalize the blood. In contrast, disease-conducive environments occur when pH levels in the body are acidic. Drinking lemon water regularly can help restore balance to the body’s pH.

5) Weight Loss-Promoting. Lemons are high in pectin fiber, which helps fight hunger cravings. Combine that with the extremely low calorie count of lemon water and better digestion, and you’re heading in the right direction to shedding unwanted weight.

6) Bacteria-Fighting Experiments have found the juice of lemons destroys the bacteria of malaria, cholera, diphtheria, typhoid and other deadly diseases. It can also kills some types of bacteria known to cause acne.

7) Cholesterol-Lowering. Compounds in citrus peels have the potential to lower cholesterol. A recent pilot study just showed that peel compounds called “polymethoxylated flavones” (PMFs), when combined with other citrus chemicals, significantly reduced total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

8) Breath-Freshening. This goes hand-in-hand with bacteria-fighting. Besides fresher breath, lemons have been known to help prevent gingivitis by fighting the bacteria that causes it. Lemon water in the morning makes for cleaner mouth to start your day without hurting your tooth enamel!

9) Energizing According to The Reams Biological Ionization Theory, lemon is one of the few foods that carries a “negative” charge. Because of this, when it enters the digestive tract, it provides the body with more cell energy compared to most other foods. Also, the smell of lemon juice can brighten your mood and clear your mind.

10) Cancer-Fighting Lemons contain 22 anti-cancer compounds including naturally-occurring limonene, an oil which slows or halts the growth of cancer tumors in animals. Additionally, flavonol glycocides stop cell division in cancer cells.

Apples offer some surprising health benefits

August 1st, 2016

by Dianne Hyson, Ph.D., R.D.

Your mother was right. An apple a day may help keep you out of the doctor’s office, and scientists are just beginning to find out why. Plenty of vitamins and minerals, as well as phytonutrients, or plant compounds, are packed into one baseball-sized piece of fruit.

Considerable research is currently centered on the role of phytonutrients that act as antioxidants, which are found in many fruits, red wine and tea. Antioxidants counteract chemicals in the blood that oxidize, or damage, certain molecules. Flavonoids are the most common group of phytonutrients in foods. Apples are particularly high in one of the flavonoids called quercetin, which has high antioxidant activity.

Exciting new research is showing that not only do apples and apple juice contain a variety of phytonutrients, but that making apples a regular part of the diet may translate into real health benefits. At UC Davis, they recently completed a 12-week study of 25 healthy men and women who added either 12 ounces of 100 percent apple juice or two apples into their daily diet without changing the rest of their diet or exercise levels. Half drank apple juice for six weeks while the other half ate apples. After six weeks, the subjects switched groups.

Before the study and at each six-week interval we measured something called “LDL oxidation lag time,” which provides an indication of how long it takes for cholesterol to oxidize when exposed to certain chemicals. When LDL or “bad” cholesterol is broken down in our bodies, it tends to accumulate along the walls of the coronary arteries and causes atherosclerosis. Hence, a longer lag time is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

The study showed clear beneficial effects after only six weeks of including apples in the diet. Study results were more dramatic in subjects drinking apple juice, showing a 20-percent increase in lag time after six weeks. Eating apples also showed potential health benefits, including reduced oxidation indicators and a 22-percent increase in dietary fiber. One study of 2,500 middle-aged men in Wales found that lung function improved in those who ate an apple a day.

Recent studies have demonstrated other diverse health benefits associated with eating apples. One study of 2,500 middle-aged men in Wales found that lung function improved in those who ate an apple a day. A study in Hawaii found that individuals who regularly incorporated apples, onions and white grapefruit (all foods high in flavonoids) into their diet cut their lung cancer risk in half. Another study of 9,208 Finnish men and women found that those who ate the most apples over a period of 28 years had the lowest risk for stroke.

Another interesting study looked at the effect of phytonutrients from apples on the growth of colon cancer and liver cancer cells in a test tube. They found that cancer cell growth was inhibited by phytonutrients from apples, with just two-thirds of a medium apple providing the same level of antioxidant activity as 1,500 mg of vitamin C. Since apples contain only about 12 mg of vitamin C, researchers attributed the combination of nutrients in apples as being key to their positive activity.

Apples are high in fiber and potassium, and contain no fat or salt. They are also an excellent source of boron, a trace mineral with largely unexplored health benefits. Preliminary studies indicate that boron may be helpful in retaining the beneficial health effects of estrogen during menopause.

Does this research show that we should load up on apples every day? No. But studies clearly indicate that consuming apples and apple juice as part of a healthy, varied diet can confer significant health advantages.

And by the way, when eating a fresh apple, don’t peel it first. Most of the fiber and antioxidants are in the peel.

Source: UC Davis Medical Center

From the EWG: Study Links Childhood Cancer and In-Home Pesticide Use

June 7th, 2016

WASHINGTON – A new study by Harvard researchers provides disturbing evidence that children’s exposure to household insecticides is linked to higher risks of childhood leukemia and lymphoma, the most common cancers in children. The analysis also found an association between use of outdoor herbicides to lawns and gardens and higher risks of leukemia.

“It is very troubling, albeit not surprising, to see additional scientific evidence linking pesticide use to childhood cancer,” said Ken Cook, EWG president and co-founder. “The findings confirm parents’ worst fears that they could be unknowingly exposing their children to harmful chemicals that can lead to serious, even life-threatening, illnesses.”

“This study should remind us once again that we must protect our kids by curtailing our use of these toxic chemicals in and outside of the home,” Cook added.

The results from a meta-analysis, to be published in the journal Pediatrics in October, combined 16 studies reporting children’s exposure to pesticides used in and around the home. As the authors noted, children are more vulnerable to harmful pesticides because their bodies and immune systems are still developing. The researchers added that infants and toddlers are at especially high risk of exposure because they often play on pesticide-treated lawns or on carpets or floors where pesticide residues accumulate, and then put their hands and fingers in their mouths.

“Parents should consider the danger of pesticides in terms of the lethal toxicity of any products and the proximity to where your children play, eat, rest and sleep,” said Dr. Alex Lu, a Harvard Chan School of Public Health associate professor and senior author of the study. “This is also true for schools, playgrounds and sports fields.”

Lu added, “There is no justification for using chemical pesticides to maintain buildings, play areas or sport fields. There are plenty of non-chemical based treatments that will serve the purpose.”

EWG advises parents to stop using lawn and garden care, and to use indoor pesticides only as a last resort. See Healthy Child Healthy World’s greener tips on how to control indoor pests and how to protect your pets from fleas and ticks.

Another major source of children’s exposure to pesticides is food. Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables often carry multiple pesticide residues even after they have been washed, and in some cases, peeled. That’s why EWG updates its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ every year in order to help shoppers figure out which are the “dirtiest,” or most contaminated, and which are the “cleanest,” or least contaminated. The guide encourages shoppers to opt for organic versions of the “dirtiest” fruits and vegetables.

As Lu explains in this video, switching to an organic diet can significantly lower a child’s exposure to pesticides.

The American Academy of Pediatrics cites EWG’s Shopper’s Guide as a reliable resource for parents looking to reduce their children’s exposures.

Source: EWG.org

Study shows grapefruits tackle diabetes as well as leading drug

February 22nd, 2016

Scientists have found that the popular breakfast fruit works just as well as the common diabetes pill metformin in lowering harmful blood sugars.The breakthrough discovery could be a simple way to get Britain’s soaring diabetes and obesity crises under control.

US researchers have found that the so-called “grapefruit diet” which was popular in the Seventies and Eighties as the latest “Hollywood” diet secret followed by the likes of actress Brooke Shields may in fact have some scientific basis.

The team, from the University of California, Berkeley, gave one group of mice an antioxidant called naringin, a bioactive compound in grapefruit juice that has been identified as a key agent in weight loss.

They gave another group metformin, the most common glucose-lowering drug prescribed for patients with Type 2 diabetes.

The mice were fed a diet that was either 60 per cent fat or 10 per cent fat for 100 days, and their metabolic health was monitored throughout the study.

Researcher Professor Joseph Napoli said: “The grapefruit juice lowered blood glucose to the same degree as metformin.

“That means a natural fruit drink lowered glucose levels as effectively as a prescription drug.”

The group of high-fat-diet mice that received naringin had lower blood glucose levels than the control group, but there was no effect on weight, suggesting that some other ingredient in grapefruit juice is also beneficial.

The study did not find as big an impact on mice that ate a low-fat diet.

The researchers also randomly divided mice into six groups, including a control group that drank only water.

Those drinking grapefruit juice got a mixture diluted with water at different concentrations, and sweetened slightly with saccharin to counteract grapefruit’s bitterness.

The researchers also added glucose and artificial sweeteners to the control group’s water so that it would match the calorie and saccharin content of the grapefruit juice.

At the end of the study period, the mice that ate the high-fat diet and drank diluted grapefruit juice not only gained less weight than their control counterparts, they also had a 13 to 17 per cent decrease in blood glucose levels and a three-fold decrease in insulin levels, which reveals greater sensitivity to insulin.

In Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes extra insulin to compensate for increased resistance to the hormone.Those that drank the grapefruit juice saw a two-fold decrease in insulin levels, but there was no significant change in weight or other metabolic factors.

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, also found that mice fed a high-fat diet gained 18 per cent less weight when they drank clarified, no-pulp grapefruit juice compared with a control group of mice that drank water.

Juice-drinking mice also showed improved levels of glucose, insulin and a type of fat called triacylglycerol compared with their water-drinking counterparts.

Prof Napolli added: “We see all sorts of scams about nutrition. But these results, based on controlled experiments, warrant further study of the potential health-promoting properties of grapefruit juice.”

Previous research has hailed the benefits of grapefruit for beating diabetes.

One study by experts in Jerusalem and Boston found that naringenin helps the liver to burn fat instead of storing it after eating while increasing the production of insulin.

This mimics the process in long periods of fasting where fatty acids are broken down instead of carbohydrates.

Naringenin gives citrus fruits – in particular grapefruit – a bitter taste.

Source: Express

7 tips for eating organic on a budget

November 18th, 2015

A recent study by the Organic Trade Association found eight in 10 parents in the US report they purchase organic products at least some times and an growing number are making this choice because of their desire to provide healthy food options for their kids. But how can you afford financially to make the same choices for your whole family? If you want to shop organic foods without breaking the bank, here are 7 ways you can go organic without going over your budget.

1. Buy food items in their raw, unprocessed form. While there are many processed organic products available on the market, purchasing processed organic products is the most expensive way to buy organic. If you have the financial means, go ahead. For everyone else, it is about getting back to basics and buying staple foods in their minimally processed form and turning them into other food through the means of your own cooking, brewing and baking.

2. Cook from scratch. Not only frugal, but healthier for you. Cooking at home means that you know exactly what is going into your food and you avoid the unknown additives, preservatives, and origins of mixed foods.

3. Compare prices between fresh and frozen, dried and canned varieties of organic foods. They may be less expensive than fresh, yet equally delicious when prepared correctly.

4. Only buy what you need for the week. For example, if don’t be stuck buying a whole five-pound bag of organic potatoes if you won’t use them. So, plan another meal that will use the remainder of the bag.

5. Use coupons! Although they are harder to come by, there are organic-based coupons available online. Take time to email your favorite companies too, for the opportunity to receive coupons by mail. And, sign up for our Juicy News newsletter online, where we give frequent coupons to our fans.

6. Plan, plan, plan. Did we say plan? Make a menu prior to shopping. Plan meals that will include meat every other day, versus having it in every single dish. That saves you money, and is good for your health.

7. Buy in bulk. Organic options can be found at Costco, BJ’s, and Sam’s Club and buy in bulk. You can purchase many organic grains (including brown and wild rice and whole oats), pastas, flours, dried fruits, and nuts in the bulk sections of stores for far less. Organic brown rice in bulk is about 99 cents per pound.

Organic food is often more expensive, but when it comes to the staples of your diet, organics are a worthwhile investment, with payoffs that might surprise you. The benefits influence your health today—and long-term.

The many health benefits of orange juice

September 1st, 2015

Orange juice is the excellent source of vitamin C and fulfills the entire day requirement of vitamin C in just one serving. It is tasty and delicious with full of medicinal as well as health benefits. Orange juice is known for many minerals such as magnesium, potassium, Vitamin B6, beta carotene, calcium, folic acid, and having low fats and no cholesterol.

Folic acid in orange juice is highly beneficial for brain development and spinal cord. In a recent study, it has been found that orange juice is good for weight loss. Orange juice has other important health advantages like cardiovascular problems, diabetes, cancer and gastrointestinal disorders. The juice boosts your immunity due to the presence of vitamin C. Orange juice has the highest nutrients value among all the citrus fruits.

What are some other health benefits of orange juice? Read on.

Prevents inflammation

The modern day faulty lifestyle along with paradox in dietary pattern leads to inflammatory reactions in the body, which causes lifestyle related disorders such as diabetes, heart diseases, arthritis, asthma, depression, etc. Drinking of orange juice helps to minimize the impact of type II diabetes and atherosclerosis. The flavonoids like hesperidin, and naringenin are acting as anti-inflammatory products and good for arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma.

Helps keep your BP in check

Orange juice is good in the management and prevention of cardiovascular disease. Orange juice contain a plant pigment called ‘hesperidin’ that is beneficial for overall the smooth functioning of  blood vessels thereby helps in balancing of blood pressure and good for cardiovascular diseases.  Drinking of orange juice decreases bad cholesterol or low density lipoprotein in the body. Bad cholesterol accounted for cardiovascular problems. The adequate amount of magnesium is good in normalizing blood pressure.

Radiant, glowing skin

Drinking orange juice is said to bring a radiant glow to your skin and provide other skin benefits as well. Drinking OJ will help to hydrate skin and keep it firm. Using this juice as a topical treatment does wonders for the skin as well. It cleans out and tightens clogged pores and is believed to prevent wrinkles and fine lines. Orange juice is also a great natural remedy for treating sunburns.

Orange juice prevent birth defects

Birth defects like low birth weight and neural tube defects can be overcome by drinking orange. The pregnant mother is suggested to take half cup of orange juice daily to fulfill the deficiency of folate, which leads to many birth related problems.

Lowers risk of heart disease

An apple a day is said to keep the doctor away, but orange juice may be good at the job, too.

An antioxidant in orange juice called hesperidin improves blood vessel function and helps lower a person’s risk of heart disease, researchers report.

Hesperidin is a plant-based compound called a flavonoid. (Grapes, red wine, green and black teas, and chocolate also contain flavonoids.) A growing body of evidence suggests that flavonoids can improve the health of the delicate cells that line blood vessels. The way these cells work is referred to as “endothelial function.” Problems with these cells can lead to the development of clogged arteries, a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

For the study, 24 healthy men at risk for cardiovascular disease each drank either 500 milliliters of orange juice each day, a “dummy” drink that contained the same calories as orange juice, or a dummy drink fortified with 292 milligrams of hesperidin. A 500 milliliter glass of orange juice naturally contains 292 milligrams of hesperidin. Over the course of the study, every man drank every beverage for one month straight.

The researchers found that when the men drank the daily orange juice or the hesperidin-fortified drink, they had better endothelial function and lower diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number of a blood pressure reading) than when they drank the non-hesperidin beverage. In addition, gene expression profiles (as related to cardiovascular disease development) were improved.

Orange juice is a cancer fighter

In a recent scientific research, it has been found that orange juice contains a bio-chemical substance called ‘D-limonene’, which is effective in preventing of skin cancer, breast cancer, mouth cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer. The adequate amount of vitamin C is also good in prevention of cancer.

Orange juice treats anemia

Orange juice is one of the best sources of vitamin C that helps in the absorption of iron into the blood stream. Anemia is a disease where there is a severe deficiency of iron. Regular intake of orange juice helps the patients in this regards.

Aids in strong teeth and bones

Calcium in oranges ensures strong teeth and bone. It is also supports to maintain a healthy blood pressure level. Calcium in oranges also assists for a healthy muscle function. Carotenoids in oranges act as powerful antioxidants against harmful radicals that can damage cells. A daily glass of orange juice can help prevent the reappearance of kidney stones better than other citrus fruit juices such as lemonade.

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Feed Your Family Organic

May 14th, 2015

1.    More Nutritious
 
In an organic farm plan, the soil is managed by sustainable practices that nourish the soil, which in turn, results in more nutrient-dense crops. Multiple studies show the nutritional content in organically-grown fruits, vegetables, and grains is higher versus their conventionally-grown counterparts. And when it comes to dairy, did you know organic milk can contain about 2x the levels of heart-healthy Omega-3 fats compared to conventional milk?

2.    Supports the Farmer and the Farm
 
According to The Organic Center, about 25,800 square miles of degraded soils would be converted to rich, highly productive crop land if consumers were choosing at least one organic product out of every 10 food items purchased.  Every year, American tax dollars subsidize billions of dollars for a farm bill that heavily favors conventional agribusiness. By supporting organic farmers and their farms, you are making an investment in the farmers who care about our ecosystem and the sustainability of the soil for future generations.

3.    USDA Certification
 
Consider it a “Peace of Mind” seal of approval. Wherever you find the “USDA Organic” seal, you know that food was grown and raised by farmers who never use synthetic pesticides, GMOs, growth hormones or antibiotics.  The USDA Organic seal also guarantees no artificial colors or flavors, no artificial preservatives, no irradiated ingredients and no GMOs.  Further, to obtain the seal, organic farms have to be free from prohibited substances for at least 3 years and must pass yearly inspections.

4.    No GMOs
 
Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are prohibited in organic production.  Besides concerns over forever contaminating our food supply’s gene pool and the now documented negative long-term effects on human and environmental health, GMOs have dramatically increased herbicide use.  Most GM crops are engineered to be “herbicide tolerant,” which means they’re designed to survive applications of Roundup herbicide. According to the Institute for Responsible Technology, between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. GM foods contain higher residues of toxic herbicides and consuming residual traces of herbicide are linked with infertility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer.
 
5.    No Antibiotics or Hormones
 
Antibiotics, drugs and growth hormones are directly passed into meat and dairy products. According to Prevention Magazine, roughly 70% of antibiotics produced in the U.S. are fed to animals for nontherapeutic reasons, while sex and growth hormones are injected into cattle to artificially increase the amount of meat and milk the cattle produce without requiring extra feed. These practices are strictly prohibited in organic farming, thus eliminating the negative  potential health consequences.

6.    Reduces Pollution and Saves Energy
 
Did you know that 2.9 billion barrels of imported oil would be eliminated each year if 1 in 10 purchased food products were organic? What’s more, organic farms have 30% less greenhouse gas emissions than their conventional couterparts! That’s some serious energy saved. There are also residual effects of synthetic agricultural chemicals contaminating our land and infiltrating our water supplies remain unanswered.  Sadly, an estimated 1% of applied pesticides reach the target pests, while the remaining 99% is absorbed by the surrounding environment, according to Cornell entomologist David Pimentel.  Conversely, organic farming practices require the responsible management of the soil while encouraging biodiversity.

7.    No Biosolids
 
Sewage sludge, also referred to as biosolids, are not permitted in certified organic foods. Biosolids contain heavy metals, toxins, steroids, and questionable substances that can pose a threat to your health. Possible health risks from substances in biosolids include kidney damage, adverse effects to the immune system, hormone disruption, and even cancer. (Source: Mamavation)

8.    Tastes Better
 
If you think organic tastes better, there’s actually scientific data to back up your taste buds. According to Richard C. Theuer, Ph.D, the more intense flavors in organic fruits and vegetables probably stem form two factors: somewhat higher levels of antioxidants, and somewhat lower crop yields.  Yield levels, and the availability of nitrogen to crops, can affect both nutritional and taste quality.  Organic food is harvested when it’s ripe, rather than gassed with ethylene to quickly ripen it, allowing for natural flavor development.

9.    No Persistent Pesticides
 
Organic farmers don’t uses persistent pesticides such as glyphosate and organophosphate pesticides. The negative effects of residual glyphosate traces found in GM foods has been linked to cancer, autism, allergies and a host of other health-related problems.  In lieu of these synthetic chemicals, organic farmers use natural methods to keep pests off of their crops. Some methods organic farmers employ are sophisticated crop rotation to disrupt the pest’s environment, introducing soil organisms and insects that benefit the crops, and traps or barriers.  
10. Preserves the Environment and Ecosystems
 
Organic farming is about farming in harmony with nature.  Organic farming encourages the coexistence of beneficial insects, wildlife, frogs, birds and soil organisms within its farm plans.   The cultivation of healthy soil and crop rotation keep farmland healthy, while chemical abstinence preserves the ecosystem.
 
 
 

7 Health Benefits of Drinking Organic Orange Juice

April 28th, 2015

You grew up drinking orange juice every morning at breakfast, but did you ever ask why? What’s so special about orange juice that makes it a staple around the world?

There are so many health benefits to drinking organic orange juice that no one could possibly name all of them. With high concentrations of vitamin C and other nutrients that are not only healthful but necessary, the orange is a super-fruit that most of us take for granted. Even if you aren’t a fan of peeling and eating sticky, juicy oranges, you can still get many of the same benefits out of a glass for breakfast each morning. If you need an extra push to start putting a jug of orange juice in your cart as you pass by the organic section on your next grocery run, check out these seven reasons to not let another day go by without adding orange juice to your diet.

1. Healing Phytonutrients: Oranges have particularly high levels of certain phytonutrients that are thought to be helpful for reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure and balancing cholesterol! Adding a glass of organic orange juice per day to your diet can provide enough of these phytonutrients to contribute to an improvement in your overall health.

2. Daily Value of Vitamin C: We all know that we can’t function well without at least some vitamin C in our diets. It does everything from promoting strong and healthy bones and clear skin to strengthening your immune system to fight off infections and viruses. You could always take a supplement, but why do that when a delicious glass of organic orange juice provides more nutrients than vitamin C supplements with added health benefits?

3. Consuming Citrus Lowers Risk of Certain Diseases: Oranges contain many of the elements that are thought to reduce the risk of heart disease and cardiac arrhythmias, and some studies have even shown a slight reduction in the occurrence of many types of mouth, throat, esophageal, stomach and liver cancers in people who have a lot of citrus fruits in their diets.

4. Lower Cholesterol: Certain compounds in oranges are being studied as possible means to lower cholesterol. These compounds may interact in such a way with the body that they reduce its ability to produce LDL cholesterol. Lowered cholesterol then translates into a reduced risk for many types of health issues from heart disease to stroke.

5. Prevents Ulcers: Some studies have shown that people with a higher blood level of vitamin C are at less of a risk of developing peptic ulcers—a condition which can lead to stomach cancer. How do you get your vitamin C levels up? Orange juice, of course!

6. Prevents Kidney Stones: If you want to reduce your risk of developing calcium oxalate kidney stones, you may be pleasantly surprised to know that simply drinking a couple of glasses of orange juice or other citrus juice per day increases your citric acid excretion preventing kidney stones from forming.

7. Healthy Carbohydrates: For diabetics or those who are watching carb intake, you’ll be happy to know that you can still drink orange juice! Like any food, it’s important to be aware of how much you are drinking, but orange juice only has a glycemic index of 40. This means that, since it is under 55, you can drink orange juice in limited quantities to benefit from all of its nutrients—and great flavor—without having it spike your blood sugar or cause problems with weight gain.

Are you convinced? Whether you are simply looking for a healthy, nutritious alternative to a 500 calorie morning latte, or you are looking for natural ways to help reduce your risk of certain health problems, organic orange juice may be just what you need to add to your daily diet.

Kayla Matthews is a healthy living blogger with a passion for organic and natural foods. You can read all of her latest articles by following her on Google+ and Twitter.

Eco-Friendly Easter Celebration

April 3rd, 2015

Eco-Friendly Easter1. Locally sourced eggs
If you choose to celebrate with real eggs, support your local farmer and buy eggs from pasture-raised chickens. Or buy organic eggs. Eggs from pasture-raised hens or organic fed hens are healthier for you, containing more vitamin A, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids, according a report conducted by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

2. Alternatives to Easter eggs
There are many alternatives to using real eggs for Easter celebrations; for instance, the White House traditionally uses decorated wooden eggs for its annual Easter Egg Roll. There are also plastic Easter eggs that are compostable, and ceramic Easter eggs that are dyeable!

3. Blown eggs
Blown eggs are another reusable dyeable option. Blown eggs are made of real eggs whose yolks and whites have been removed. Here is a tutorial. The leftover yolks and whites can then be used for baking, scrambled eggs, or other cooking projects.

4. Homemade egg decorating
There are many methods to make homemade egg dyes, using vinegar and spices, fruits, and vegetables. Check out these instructions from Real Simple Magazine!

5. Prevent food waste
If you hard boil fresh eggs before you dye them, the prospect of eating all of those hard boiled eggs may be daunting, but throwing them out is wasteful. Turn the eggs into a delicious dish: here are some great ideas!

6. Avoid plastic Easter grass
Cellophane Easter grass, often found in Easter baskets, cannot go into the recycling bin. If you already have Easter grass, reuse it. If you were going to buy some for Easter baskets, try replacing it with shredded newspaper or tissue paper.

7. Give children stuffed toys instead of live Easter bunnies and chicks
Dyed Easter chicks are a perennially controversial topic: chicks are dyed while in the egg or sprayed shortly after hatching. The food coloring used to dye the chicks is non-toxic, but the real concern is what happens to the chicks after the dye wears off. Chicks are sold as seasonally-themed pets, most of whom are discarded or neglected after they molt and lose their artificially colored feathers.

Rabbits are also common Easter gifts: just as with chickens, rabbits are often neglected, surrendered to animal rescues, or released into the wild when the novelty wears off. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends giving children stuffed or chocolate bunnies instead of live animals, as rabbits can live seven to ten years on average and are a serious commitment.

8. Make a locally sourced Easter meal
If it’s your tradition to have an Easter meal, why not try to make as many of the dishes as you can from local food? Check Local Harvest for your nearest farmer or farmers market.

9. Visit a local farm
Take the time to bring your family to a nearby farm. Children and adults will get an up-close look at how their food gets from the farm to home. Be sure to contact the farmers ahead of time! Here’s another link to Local Harvest with helpful things to remember before your visit.

10. Instead of an Easter basket, Easter plants
Check your local nursery for seeds or seedlings and give friends and loved ones a reusable Easter gift: a homemade herb garden.

11. Give a donation to Heifer International
If giving plants is not your style, consider making a donation to Heifer International or a similar non-profit to fight poverty while providing an animal to a family in a developing nation.

12. Minimize packaging with candy and treats
Choose Easter treats with less packaging to cut down on the amount of waste generated by the holiday festivities.

13. Reuse your existing plastic eggs
If you still have a treasure trove of plastic eggs at home, there are plenty of ideas online for upcycling. From tea candle holders to a set of toy teacups to sophisticated Easter decorations, there are many great tutorials online.

Source: Huffington Post