Archive for July, 2007

Orange juice flavanoids fight disease?

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Orange juice is a healthy drink due to the presence of flavonoids, which help fight diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, says study published last week.

The news is sure to please manufacturers, who for a long time have been promoting orange juice as a healthy drink, despite its high sugar content.

The study, carried out by the University of Buffalo in the US, examined flavonoids present in orange juice the way that they suppress oxygen free radicals, also known as reactive oxygen species (ROS).

Paresh Dandona, the study’s senior author, concluded that the study’s findings are more important than fears over the sugar content of juice, especially in the US.

“Obesity, being overweight and type 2 diabetes are associated with oxidative stress and inflammation, and more than 60 per cent of US population is affected by these conditions,” Dandona said.

The study involved 32 healthy participants between the ages of 20 and 40, who were of normal weight, with a body mass index of 20-25 kg/m2.

They were divided into four groups, and given the equivalent of 300 calories-worth of either glucose, fructose, orange juice or saccharin-sweetened water. Fasting blood samples were taken before the test and at time intervals of 1, 2 and 3 hours after the drinks were consumed.

Results showed that there was a significant increase in ROS amongst participants who drunk, whereas ROS levels remained stable for all the other groups.

“We were intrigued by the fact that there was no increase in ROS or inflammation following orange juice consumption, even though its glucose concentration was the same as in participants in the glucose group,” said Dandona.

Further tests suggested that one of the flavonoids in orange juice, naringenin, inhibited ROS by massive 77 per cent, Dandona added.

The production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is a natural process in the human body. Under normal conditions, a balance exists between the body’s anti-oxidant defences and these ROS.

However, factors such as aging, smoking, pollution, exposure to sunlight, and high intensity exercise disturb this balance in favour of ROS and results in oxidative stress – a process linked with an increased risk of chronic disease.

The US is by far the biggest global market for fruit juice, according to industry analysts Canadean, accounting for over 35 percent of sales.

Elsewhere in North America, Canada’s consumption has risen by more than 45 per cent since 1997, giving Canadians the highest per capita consumption in the world. Orange is particularly popular there, with a share some 18 percentage points higher then the global average.

Source: BeverageDaily.com

10-Year Study Concludes: Organic Really IS Better For You

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

Organic foods are not only tastier, they are actually more nutritious as well. A 10-year study that compared organic and non-organic tomatoes found that the organic varieties contained more antioxidant flavonoids.

Specifically, levels of two flavonoids — quercetin and kaempferol — were 79 percent and 97 percent higher, respectively, in the organic tomatoes. Getting more flavonoids from your tomatoes is certainly a good thing. They’re known to fight high blood pressure, heart disease, certain forms of cancer and dementia.

If this study spurs more people to recognize the benefits of growing food without toxic pesticides and fertilizers, and in the most nutrient-rich soil as possible, then it’s done its job.

You should seek out foods grown in this way as much as possible, and remember that you can sometimes find locally grown foods that are organically grown, yet the small farmers have not been able to afford the certification process to legally claim that they are.

Of course, these foods will give you the same health and taste benefits, and have the added bonus of not taking up valuable fuel to be transported across the country or farther.

Now, while organic produce is likely to be more nutritious for you and your family, don’t be fooled by the processed organic foods that have recently hit the market claiming to be healthy. Organic potato chips, organic cookies, organic ice cream and even organic milk are still not health foods.

Source: The New York Times 

Never Answer “Paper or Plastic?” Again!

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

Envirosax has introduced a new line of reusable bags for groceries that is sustainable, functional, practical and fashionable. Their new organic series is made with hemp. Cultivated in China as early as 4000 BC, the hemp plant produces the strongest natural fibre known. Hemp fabric is three times stronger than cotton fabric of the same weight. With no known insect enemies and a high resistance to disease, there is no need to use harmful pesticides in cultivation.  A strong eco-friendly alternative.

Check out Envirosax! 

Orange juice flavanoids fight disease?

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Orange juice is a healthy drink due to the presence of flavonoids, which help fight diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, says a recent study.

The news is sure to please manufacturers, who for a long time have been promoting orange juice as a healthy drink, despite its high sugar content.

The study, carried out by the University of Buffalo in the US, examined flavonoids present in orange juice the way that they suppress oxygen free radicals, also known as reactive oxygen species (ROS).

For more info, click here. 

Citrus Bacterial Canker Disease and Huanglongbing (Citrus Greening)

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Here’s a publication issued by the University of California outlining the issues of canker and greening. To download the report, click the link below.

Citrus Bacterial Canker Disease and Huanglongbing (Citrus Greening)

“It’s just like eating an orange!”

Monday, July 16th, 2007

We were excited to learn that organic.org featured our 59 oz. orange juice in their product review section.

Read on…

Uncle Matt’s Organic Calcium and Vitamin D Juice is a blend of fourth-generation Florida Hamlin and Valencia oranges and tastes as if it is freshly squeezed. One of our younger testers even exclaimed, “It’s just like eating an orange!”

Uncle Matt’s juices are lower in acid than most of the competition, and they are certified organic, kosher, and pareve. And, Uncle Matt’s juices are made without any additional flavorings or oils. In addition to the Calcium and Vitamin D variety we tested, the juice is also available in pulp and pulp-free blends and is packaged in 56-, 32-, and 10-oz. sizes.

Also available in a 59-ounce carafe style bottle made from recycable PET #1 plastic.

Going Green: Organic Eating and Fashion

Monday, July 16th, 2007

Going green doesn’t have to break the bank. Being organic doesn’t mean you can’t dress trendy, either. Check out this CBS snippet on eating and dressing in organic style. You can go shopping, eat delicious food and do good for our planet all at the same time!

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=sSldx8YOdns]

Good for you… and your budget, too

Monday, July 16th, 2007

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=F5DGF6sgfjU]

We think this is a good intro on organics for those new to buying and eating organic food.
Check it out!

Organic fruit and vegetables really are better for your heart

Monday, July 16th, 2007

Organic fruit and vegetables may be better for the heart and general health than eating conventionally grown crops, new research has found.

A ten-year study comparing organic tomatoes with standard produce found that they had almost double the quantity of antioxidants called flavonoids which help to prevent high blood pressure and thus reduce the likelihood of heart disease and strokes.

Alyson Mitchell, a food chemist, who led the research at the University of California, believes that flavonoids can also help to stave off some forms of cancer and dementia.

She found that levels of quercetin and kaempferol, both flavonoids, were on average 79 and 97 per cent higher, respectively, in organic tomatoes. Her findings are due to be published in full in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Dr Mitchell said that previously it had been hard to make comparisons between organic and conventionally grown produce because of difficulties in comparing soil quality, irrigation practices and the handling of harvested produce. But for this study researchers used data from a long-term project in which standardised farming techniques were used to reveal trends in crop productivity.

The team believes that the different levels of flavonoids in tomatoes are due to the absence of fertilisers in organic farming.

Plants produce flavonoids as a defence mechanism; they are triggered by nutrient deficiency. Feeding a plant with too many nutrients, such as inorganic nitrogen commonly found in conventional fertiliser, curbs the development of flavonoids. The lower levels of flavonoids in conventional tomatoes were caused by “over-fertilisation”, the research team concluded.

The Soil Association is now pressing the Food Standards Agency to review its guidance on the merits of organic as opposed to conventional fruit and vegetables. Peter Melchett, its policy director, said that there was now a rapidly growing body of evidence which showed significant differences between the nutritional composition of organic and nonorganic food.

Recent research in Europe found that organic tomatoes contained more vitamin C, B-carotene and flavonoids than conventionally grown tomatoes. Organic peaches and organic apple purée were also found to have more antioxidants. Lord Krebs, the former chairman of the Food Standards Agency and now Master of Jesus College, Oxford, said that even if such benefits existed, higher flavonoid levels did not make organic food healthier. “This depends on the relevance of the differences to the human body,” he said. “Tomato ketchup has higher levels of lycopene [a strong antioxidant] than either organic or conventional tomatoes. So if you wanted lots of lycopene you should eat tomato ketchup.”

The Food Standards Agency, however, has commissioned a three-year study into the benefits of flavonoids. It said: “There is accumulating evidence that dietary flavonoids. . . may in large part explain the cardiovascular disease benefits of increased fruit and vegetable intake.”

Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk

Sowing Success Through Organic

Monday, July 16th, 2007

Q & A with Uncle Matt’s Organic CEO, Matt McLean

Matt McLeanA seasoned advocate of the natural way, the citrus grower behind the Uncle Matt’s juice brand foresees 50% growth this year. He tells how his farm made the switch

More and more Americans are clamoring for organic products. Shoppers are ever more convinced that food produced without harmful pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and hormones is better for their health. And according to a study by the Organic Consumers Assn., they are willing to pay a 50% premium for swallowing their principles, so to speak.

In 2005, U.S. organic food sales totaled nearly $14 billion, a 30% jump from the previous year. With overall retail grocery sales growing at a tepid 4% a year for the last decade, it’s no wonder that retailers from Wal-Mart (WMT ) to Kroger (KR ) are jumping at the chance to satisfy Americans’ growing appetite for organics.

Clearly, this is a huge opportunity for American farmers (see BW Online, 5/25/06, ” Going Organic: The Profits and Pitfalls”). According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), organic farming has been one of the fastest-growing segments of American agriculture in the last 10 years. Certified organic cropland for many crops, such as wheat, lettuce, and apples, has doubled in the last five years, while organic dairy farming grew even faster. There’s plenty more room to grow — only about 0.4% of all U.S. cropland and 0.1% of all U.S. pasture has been certified organic.

ANCESTRAL METHOD. The fact is that, down at the farm, organic can be a hard sell. For starters, it takes at least three years for most conventional farms to complete the transformation to organic and win USDA certification. Most farmers are afraid of the costs and risks involved in such a move.

One convert is Matt McLean. A fourth-generation citrus grower in Clermont, Fla., the 34-year-old McLean takes pride in the fact that he tends his crop without the aid of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, just as his ancestors did in the early 20th century. His customers include local natural-foods stores and supermarket chains such as Whole Foods (WFMI ), Wal-Mart, Trader Joe’s, and Kroger. BusinessWeek Online writer Pallavi Gogoi spoke with McLean about the potential and the perils of organic farming. Edited excerpts of their conversation follow:

Everybody’s talking about the growth of organics. As an organic farmer, how has the growth affected you?

Organic has been growing quite rapidly in the last five years. But right now there’s a frenzy, with big retailers like Wal-Mart saying they will double the organic produce they offer. We’ve always grown over 20% every year since 1999. Last year, we saw a pickup in demand and grew 30%, but the last six months we’re on pace for over 50% growth. In fact, we’re limited by our supply — otherwise, it would be even faster.

Have you always been an organic farmer? How did you start?

We are a fourth-generation Florida citrus family. I’ve been in organic farming for the last seven years. It started when I was marketing our juices in the mid-1990s to Europe and the Middle East. I met someone in Germany who wanted organic juice. Given that my granddad had been preaching the benefits of organic farming for a while, I naturally got interested.

What had your grandfather been preaching?

We called my granddad Pappy, though his name was Ben McLean — we have a picture of him on my juice cartons. He used to say that we need to go back to how we used to farm and not use as many pesticides.

He was like everybody. When synthetic farming came in, he got in and saw his crop yield grow, and everybody thought it was good and made more money. But after a while everybody realized that maybe it’s not all good. He said that this was a rich man’s disease, and that we’re our own enemy because our soil had become poisoned and sterile, and that nothing was natural anymore.

Didn’t you think it would be risky to switch to organic farming?

I felt like that the market for organic juice was starting to build. My granddad had the experience, and I started to listen to him and became more passionate about it. I also felt like this was a way the family would really come full circle and Pappy could teach me all he could and I would learn.

Initially, I exported 50% of what we produced. Today, we sell 95% of our produce here. After all, why do I need to ship overseas when there are all these thirsty people right here in the United States?

Your juice brand is called Uncle Matt’s Organic, after you?

Yes, I have 10 nieces and nephews, who range in age from 1 to 11 years. But I got married in March, and if we have children, maybe we can expand (laughs) into some other names.

How big is your farm?

We started on my dad’s five acres, and today we control 1,000 acres. We own half of that and lease the rest. Under our organic certificate, we have to farm it a certain way so we have total control over all 1,000 acres. Two-thirds of our farm is still in transition — since we have to wait three years by law before we can sell the produce from those groves in the organic market. Then we will be the largest organic juice-producing farm in Florida. We are already the largest grower of oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines that goes to Whole Foods and other local supermarkets.

Everybody says that it is a hard transition. What was your experience?

It depends on your location. Florida is the hardest place to farm in the U.S. Disease, weeds, and humans — they all like Florida. So, that makes it a tough transition. We get 50 to 60 inches of rain, and things grow fast, and there isn’t a good organic herbicide, and the soil isn’t that dense in nutrients, either.

It’s so easy with conventional farming — just use ammonia, urea, and ammonium sulphate. But now we’re always looking for a good source of organic nitrogen. Our first year, we had low yields, and it takes a while to build the soil back. All those chemicals make the soil sterile, and we have to start building back the bacteria levels in the soil that are friendly for our crop. Still, by the second year we bounced back, and now our yields are as good as conventional farms.

And do you believe that the fruit and plant is better?

We feel there are huge benefits. When you have a healthier tree, you will yield a healthier fruit. There are studies that show that organic fruits have a better and [more] dense nutrient content. Organic citrus has a higher mineral content, more vitamin C and folic acid. One reason is that these plants build their own antioxidants as they fend for themselves and build resistance naturally, whereas plants with the synthetic fungicides didn’t ever have to rely on their own natural ability to fight disease.

What environmental benefits have you seen?

One of our groves is part of a University of Florida study, which is still ongoing. So far, the study has found that our grove had the lowest level of nitrogen leached into the soil, which is quite big, considering a lot of people get sick from nitrogen leaching into the water supply. I feel good when I hear stuff like that because, ultimately, we’re in it because we want to farm better, leave a lighter footprint on this world, and produce more nutrient-dense fruit.

How has this affected your family?

My family farmed 800 acres of citrus before the great freezes came in the late 1970s and early 1980s and killed off all the [trees] and the banks wouldn’t loan us money — so we lost it all. My grandfather, Ben McLean, and father, Benny McLean, stayed in the business as consultants, helping other growers with advice.

Now we’re raising money and getting back into farming with organics. Our family has really come full circle. I feel like we’re fulfilling my grandfather’s wish to go back to organic farming and my own father’s dream of managing our own groves. Now my brother, Ben III, is also in the business with a master’s degree in fruit crops. He is trying to figure out how to make a better herbicide and spray, which will be all organic.

And your grandfather? He must be really satisfied.

He passed away on Valentine’s Day in 2001. But he got to see the beginning. He was so passionate about farming, and because we were always growers we sold to juice plants. But in 1999, I changed that and we made our own juice and marketed the family name. Pappy definitely got a kick out of that. And I feel so good that towards the end of his life, he finally saw the entire puzzle pieced together from the beginning stages of growing to the end of making, marketing, and selling [juice]. It was such a reward.

Source: Business Week Online