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New research once again confirms that raw fruits and vegetables result in a person ingesting lots of microbes. Millions of bacteria. Which is considered beneficial for our gut microbiome! What's interesting in the latest study looking at bacteria in both conventionally and organically grown apples is that organic apples are a better source of bacteria - that their bacteria are more diverse, distinct, and balanced (when compared to conventionally grown apples).

The Austrian researchers (Wassermann et al) wrote in the Frontiers In Microbiology: "Our results suggest that we consume about 100 million bacterial cells with one apple. Although this amount was the same, the bacterial composition was significantly different in conventionally and organically produced apples."

Interestingly, there were a lot of beneficial Lactobacillus species in the organic apples, but not conventionally grown ones. The researchers thought that the diverse microbiome of organic apples probably limits or hampers harmful microbes (human pathogens). The researchers also wrote: "The described microbial patterns in organic apples resemble the impact of apple polyphenols on human health, which have not only been shown to alleviate allergic symptoms (Zuercher et al., 2010), but also to promote growth of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in the human gut and to reduce abundance of food-borne pathogens."

Another bonus of eating organic apples is that it means avoiding pesticides that are routinely sprayed on conventional fruit. So eat away! Microbes, fiber, and nutrients all in one small fruit!

Fun fact: The researchers write that apples are the most consumed fruit world-wide. Excerpts from Science Daily: An apple carries about 100 million bacteria -- good luck washing them off  ...continue reading "Excellent Reason To Eat Apples: The Bacteria"

Do you trust food labels? This past month several people have expressed doubts to me over the organic label found on many foods.  But actually the organic label on American grown foods is one that people can trust, and it means that a government agency (the US Department of Agriculture) has certified that the food was grown organically. Yes, there are standards for organic food.

The worst label on a food is "natural' - it is totally meaningless. View it as a marketing term and nothing more. I personally look for the organic label on all foods whenever possible, and I like meat and dairy products also labeled grass fed.

Here is a great article about some of the terms now used on food labels and what they mean. The food labels discussed are: organic, non-GMO, cage free, free range, pasture raised, grass-fed, and Fair Trade. I would add that I trust food labeled as organic from the USA, Canada, and Europe the most. Unfortunately many (most? almost all?) organic foods from China and Turkey may not really be organic.

Excerpts from the Washington Post: Why Food Reformers Have Mixed Feelings About Eco-Labels  ...continue reading "Can You Trust Organic and Other Food Labels?"

This interesting small study shows how quickly one can eliminate many pesticides from the body by switching to an all organic diet. One Swedish family of 2 adults (aged 40 and 39) and 3 children (aged 12, 10, and 3) who had been eating mainly conventional food were studied. For the study they only ate conventionally grown food for one week and then they switched to an all organic diet for 2 weeks (fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, etc,). Urine was collected every morning from all family members, and a food diary was kept. Common pesticides and their metabolites were analyzed: atrazine, chlorpyrifos, 2.4-D, pyrethroids, MCPA, chlormequat chloride (CCC) etc. However, the most commonly used pesticide in the world - glyphosate (Roundup) was not looked at. The results showed that pesticide levels were reduced very quickly once they started eating an all organic diet.

The family of five. Credit: You Tube/CoopSverige

The report also mentioned that currently pesticide standards are only for one pesticide at a time, but people have exposure to many pesticides in daily life (foods, their environment, cleaning supplies, etc) - thus people are exposed to a chemical cocktail that we know very little about about - whether looking at short-term or long-term effects. Article (and video link) from The Sydney Morning Herald:

Family eats organic for just two weeks, removes nearly all pesticides from body

A Swedish family has shown just how quickly an organic diet change can rid the body of pesticides. In a fortnight-long experiment, the family of five - parents Anette and Mats, and kids Vendela, Evelina and Charlie - swapped their conventional diet for an organic one and found that just two weeks of eating an organic diet managed to rid their bodies of most traces of pesticides.

The video explaining the experiment, which was conducted by Swedish supermarket Coop and the Swedish Environmental Research Institute, has been viewed more than a million times on YouTube. 

The researchers measured the levels of plant growth regulators chlormequat chloride, mepiquat, 3-PBA and cleaning agent TCP in urine samples taken from each family member before and after their two weeks of organic eating. Before the experiment, middle child Evelina's urine was showing nearly five nanograms of chlormequat chloride per millilitre. After eating only organic foods for two weeks, the chemical was unable to be detected in her sample. The most profound effects were found in toddler Charlie's samples. Despite his urine before the experiment showing high levels of all four of the chemicals, after the experiment none of the substances were detected.

The original 2015 report Coop Sverige AB, Report number U 5080, from the Swedish Environmental Research Institute: Human exposure to pesticides from food: A Pilot Study  ...continue reading "Eat Organic Foods to Quickly Lower the Pesticide Levels In Your Body"