Why you should only buy organic strawberries

Herbs and Helpers

Other chemically-ridden produce includes spinach, nectarines and applesOther chemically-ridden produce includes spinach, nectarines and apples

Yet, only 1% of non-organic avocados and sweetcorn contain pesticide residues

Other ‘clean’ produce includes pineapples, cabbages, onions and cauliflowers

Of 48 types of produce, nearly 70% contain one of 178 synthetic chemicals

Previous research has shown eating organic reduces pesticides in urine samples

Strawberries contain the most pesticides of any fruit or vegetable, new research reveals.

The summer-favorite fruit contains at least 20 synthetic chemicals, a report found.

Other chemically-ridden produce includes spinach, nectarines and apples, the research adds.

Yet, only one percent of non-organic avocados and sweetcorn are contaminated with pesticide residues, the study found.

Other ‘clean’ produce are pineapples, cabbages, onions, frozen peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplants, honeydew melons, kiwis, cantaloupes, cauliflowers and grapefruits, the report adds.

Strawberries contain the most pesticides of any fruit or vegetable, new research reveals

THE ‘DIRTY DOZEN’

According to the Environmental Working Group, the produce with the most pesticide contamination are:

Strawberries
Spinach
Nectarines
Apples
Peaches
Celery
Grapes
Pears
Cherries
Tomatoes
Bell peppers
Potatoes

THE ‘CLEAN 15’

The least contaminated are:

Avocados
Sweetcorn
Pineapples
Cabbages
Onions
Frozen peas
Papayas
Asparagus
Mangoes
Eggplants
Honeydew melons
Kiwis
Cantaloupes
Cauliflowers
Grapefruits

How the study was carried out

Researchers from the Environmental Working Group analyzed 48 types of popular non-organically grown fruit and vegetables.

The analysis was based on more than 36,000 samples collected by the The United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

All of the produce was washed prior to examination.

It was also peeled if appropriate.

Other chemically-ridden produce includes spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches and celery

ORGANIC FOOD IS HEALTHIER: VEGETABLES GROWN WITHOUT PESTICIDES HAVE MORE ANTIOXIDANTS

Organic vegetables really are healthier than standard produce, research revealed last month.

Products grown without toxic chemicals, which can cost twice as much, contain higher levels of flavonols, a study found.

Such vegetables have 20 per cent more of the antioxidants, which prevent damage to the body, the research adds.

This comes five years after a major review of more than 200 studies concluded that organic food offers no nutritional benefit.

However, the new Teagasc Food Research Centre’s, Ashtown, investigation is the longest-running study to address the issue.

Key findings

Results revealed that nearly 70 percent of the samples were contaminated with pesticide residues, with 178 different chemicals being identified.

The foods that contain the highest number of pesticides, known as ‘the dirty dozen’, are strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, celery, grapes, pears, cherries, tomatoes, bell peppers and potatoes.

Yet, only one percent of the avocados and sweetcorn analyzed contained pesticides.

Other members of the so-called ‘clean 15’ are pineapples, cabbages, onions, frozen peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplants, honeydew melons, kiwis, cantaloupes, cauliflowers and grapefruits.

None of these ‘clean’ produce contain more than four types of pesticides.

How to avoid pesticides

Previous research by the University of Washington found that people who ‘often or always’ buy organic food have significantly less pesticides in their urine.

Pesticides have been linked to cancer, reduced brain development and behavioral problems in children.

The report authors wrote: ‘Smart shopping choices matter. People who eat organic produce eat fewer pesticides.’

Source: Daily Mail

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Nine lifestyle changes can reduce dementia risk, study says

Herbs and Helpers

One in three cases of dementia could be prevented if more people looked after their brain health throughout life, according to an international study in the Lancet.

It lists nine key risk factors including lack of education, hearing loss, smoking and physical inactivity.

The study is being presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in London.

By 2050, 131 million people could be living with dementia globally.

There are estimated to be 47 million people with the condition at the moment.

“Although dementia is diagnosed in later life, the brain changes usually begin to develop years before,” said lead author Prof Gill Livingston, from University College London.

“Acting now will vastly improve life for people with dementia and their families and, in doing so, will transform the future of society.”

The report, which combines the work of 24 international experts, says lifestyle factors can play a major role in increasing or reducing an individual’s dementia risk.

Children sitting examsGetty Images
How potentially modifiable factors contribute to the risk of dementia

mid-life hearing loss – 9%
failing to complete secondary education – 8%
smoking – 5%
depression – 4%
physical inactivity – 3%
social isolation – 2%
high blood pressure – 2%
obesity – 1%
type 2 diabetes – 1%
These – which are thought to be modifiable risk factors – add up to 35%. The other 65% of dementia risk is beyond the individual’s control.

Source: Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention and care

It examines the benefits of building a “cognitive reserve”, which means strengthening the brain’s networks so it can continue to function in later life despite damage.

Failure to complete secondary education was a major risk factor, and the authors suggest that individuals who continue to learn throughout life are likely to build additional brain reserves.

Another major risk factor is hearing loss in middle age – the researchers say this can deny people a cognitively rich environment and lead to social isolation and depression, which are among other modifiable risk factors for dementia.

Another key message from the report is that what is good for the heart is good for the brain.

Not smoking, doing exercise, keeping a healthy weight, treating high blood pressure and diabetes can all reduce the risk of dementia, as well as cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

Staying physically active can help to ward off the risk of dementia
The researchers say they did not have enough data to include dietary factors or alcohol in their calculations but believe both could be important.

Dr Doug Brown, director of research at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Though it’s not inevitable, dementia is currently set to be the 21st Century’s biggest killer. We all need to be aware of the risks and start making positive lifestyle changes.”

Dr David Reynolds, chief scientific officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Alongside prevention research, we must continue to invest in research to find a life-changing treatment for people with this devastating condition.”

Source: BBC

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The danger of flip flops: Expert warns they can PERMANENTLY damage your feet and cause you to trip

Herbs and Helpers

Wearing flip flops can cause Achilles tendon injury, says podiatrist and surgeon

Can be debilitating and in severe cases can lead to permanent pain and disability

The shoes can also lead to plantar fasciitis which sometimes needs surgery

They can alter your natural stride, resulting in shin splints and lower back pain

Use them only short-term use and get arch support and cushioned soles
Many of us opt for flip flops in the summer because they’re easy to slip on and allow your feet to breathe.

However the simple, but unstructured footwear can cause damage to your feet, an expert has warned.

Walking in flip-flops can alter your natural stride, resulting in shin splints, Achilles tendon problems and lower back pain, according to podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon Dr Christina Long.

They can also result in plantar fasciitis – inflammation of the band of tissue that runs from the heel to the ball of the foot – as well as hammer toes and stress fractures.

It’s also easy to stub a toe or trip and fall while wearing flip-flops.

Walking in flip flops can cause Achilles tendon problems and lower back pain says expert (file)

‘This time of year I frequently see patients with foot conditions related to wearing flip-flops,’ said Dr Long, who works at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina.

‘Wearing flip-flops is better than going barefoot because they do provide some protection for the bottoms of your feet, but that’s about it.

‘Flip-flops don’t offer any arch or heel support, and you have to grip them with your toes to keep them on.

‘Wearing them for too long or for the wrong activity can cause a lot of different problems,’ she explained.

Risks of permanent damage

An Achilles tendon injury is damage to the tendon which links calf muscles to the heel bone and can also be caused by wearing high heels.

Recovery may take months, depending on how serious the injury.

If you start pushing yourself before the Achilles tendon injury is fully healed, you could end up with permanent pain and disability.

Plantar fasciitis – the thickening of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue running underneath the sole of the foot – can be very painful.

Most cases resolve within a year, but if the heel pain is truly debilitating and interfering with normal activity, surgery may be needed.

Wearing flip-flops too often can lead to minor but irritating problems such as chafing, blisters, calluses and soreness.

They can also leave your feet exposed and susceptible to cuts, puncture wounds, bruises, torn nails, insect bites and sunburn.

BUYING FLIP FLOPS THAT WILL BE KIND TO YOUR FEET

If you want to wear flip-flops, look for those made of high-quality, soft leather, which minimize the potential for blisters and other types of irritation, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) recommends.

Gently bend the flip-flop from end to end, ensuring that it bends at the ball of the foot – it should not fold in half – and make sure your foot doesn’t hang off the edge of the flip-flop.

The APMA also says that all of your shoes – not just flip flops – should be slightly bigger than your feet.

Make sure you inspect older flip-flops and throw them away if they show signs of severe wear.

Get arch support and cushioned soles

But Dr Long advised that the popular footwear should not cause serious problems when they are worn for a brief time.

‘Flip-flops are fine for short-term use, especially if they have at least some arch support and a cushioned sole,’ she said.

‘They’re good to wear at the beach, around swimming pools, in showers and locker rooms at the gym, on short trips to the store.’

However, she warns that there are some activities where you should forgo the flip-flops entirely.

Driving is one of them – it’s easy for the shoes to slip off and they can get lodged between the pedals and the floor.

Also, never use them to when running, hiking, walking long distances, standing for extended periods, working in the yard or around the house or playing sports.

Source: Daily Mail

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China Donkey Shortage Where E’jiao Lives on Burro’d Time

Herbs and Helpers

China has a massive donkey shortage caused by the demand for e’jiao, a traditional medicine made by boiling donkey skin and producing a special gelatin.

E’jiao is why “there aren’t any donkeys left” in China, according to USA Today, quoting 80-year-old Chinese farmer Ma Yufa whose last donkey died in 2014.

“We’ve killed them all,” he said.

E’jiao is “good for building up the body and helps with what is known in Chinese medicine as ‘blood deficiency,’ for conditions such as anaemia and heavy periods, as well as irritating dry coughs,” said Emma Farrant, president of the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine.

“It usually comes in blocks of dried pieces which are melted down into a decoction of herbal mixture to drink,” she said, per The Guardian.

According to USA Today, “one donkey yields 2.2 pounds of e’jiao” and the demand for it has increased drastically since 2010. The national e’jiao trade noted that in 2015 donkeys yielded almost 15 million pounds of e’jiao.

This high demand for e’jiao has taken the population of donkeys in China from 11 million 30 years ago to anywhere between three and five million today.

Although e’jiao receives most of the blame for the donkey shortage, those who produce the medicine say they’re really not responsible.

“E’jiao is one of traditional Chinese medicine’s three great treasures, along with deer horn and ginseng,” said Liu Guangyuan, the vice chairman of Dong’e E’jiao, one of the largest makers of e’jiao in China. No donkeys, no e’jiao.

Donkeys once were known as “the world’s herd” because there were so many everywhere. Chinese medicine makers now have to scour the world for them.

Botswana just last month put a ban on the export of donkey skins after seeing that hundreds of animals were being killed on a weekly basis because of the Chinese trade, according to The Guardian.

Farrant said her Register condemns “the use of any substance that endangers any animal population, and in the UK it is illegal for herbal practitioners to prescribe animal products.”

Source: Newsmax

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