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Wondering which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues? The annual Dirty Dozen List of produce with the most pesticide residues has once again been published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). They suggest that these fruits and vegetables are good candidates for buying organic.

Why organic? Because while almost 70 % of the produce sampled by the Federal Government had pesticide residues, some have more than others. For example: about one-third of the strawberries sampled contained 10 or more pesticides. Yikes! The following article also discusses some recent reproductive research and  pesticides on food, as well as EWG's "Clean Fifteen" list of fruits and vegetables with the least pesticide residues. (See more PESTICIDE posts.) From Environmental Health News:

Report calls out worst produce for pesticides—strawberries, spinach top list

Just when you thought it couldn't get any harder to eat healthy. Turns out those nutrient packed foods we're all told to eat—such as strawberries and spinach— are also consistently tainted with potentially harmful pesticides. Both foods top the "Dirty Dozen" list released today by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which analyzed federal data on pesticides in produce.

EWG, which examined tests done over the past few years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reports almost 70 percent of the produce sampled by the feds had pesticide residues. Some were worse than others: "More than 98 percent of samples of strawberries, spinach, peaches, nectarines, cherries and apples tested positive for residue of at least one pesticide," according to the report.  ...continue reading "Fruits, Vegetables, and Pesticide Residues"

New research looked at people who "aged successfully" over a 10 year period compared with those who were "suboptimal agers" or had died. The successful agers were less likely to smoke, and have higher intakes of fiber from fruits, breads, and cereals (primarily from rolled oats and whole grain breads), but not from vegetables. Successful aging was defined as including an absence of disability, depressive symptoms, cognitive impairment, respiratory symptoms, and chronic diseases including cancer, coronary artery disease, and stroke. Fiber intake was more important for successful aging than glycemic index, glycemic load, carbohydrate intake, or sugar intake. From Medical Xpress:

Dietary fiber intake tied to successful aging, research reveals

A new paper—published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences by scientists from The Westmead Institute for Medical Research—reports that eating the right amount of fiber from breads, cereals, and fruits can help us avoid disease and disability into old age

Using data compiled from the Blue Mountains Eye Study, a benchmark population-based study that examined a cohort of more than 1,600 adults aged 49 years and older for long-term sensory loss risk factors and systemic diseases, the researchers explored the relationship between carbohydrate nutrition and healthy aging.

They found that out of all the factors they examined—which included a person's total carbohydrate intake, total fiber intake, glycemic index, glycemic load, and sugar intake—it was the fiber that made the biggest difference to what the researchers termed "successful aging." Successful aging was defined as including an absence of disability, depressive symptoms, cognitive impairment, respiratory symptoms, and chronic diseases including cancer, coronary artery disease, and stroke.

"Out of all the variables that we looked at, fiber intake—which is a type of carbohydrate that the body can't digest—had the strongest influence," she said. "Essentially, we found that those who had the highest intake of fiber or total fiber actually had an almost 80 percent greater likelihood of living a long and healthy life over a 10-year follow-up. That is, they were less likely to suffer from hypertension, diabetes, dementia, depression, and functional disability."

While it might have been expected that the level of sugar intake would make the biggest impact on successful aging, Gopinath pointed out that the particular group they examined were older adults whose intake of carbonated and sugary drinks was quite low.

This study backs up similar recent findings by the researchers, which highlight the importance of the overall diet and healthy aging. In another study published last year in The Journals of Gerontology, Westmead Institute researchers found that, in general, adults who closely adhered to recommended national dietary guidelines reached old age with an absence of chronic diseases and disability, and had good functional and mental health status.