Monday, May 27, 2013

New Use for Older Produce, Organic Food Musts, Eating For Your Eyes

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Monday 05/27/2013
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Using Older Produce

Next time you contemplate tossing out those limp greens, softening grapes or spotted bananas, you may want to reconsider. A study found that fruits and vegetables don't lose any antioxidant capacity in the days after purchase, and still provide abundant nutrients, including antioxidants, up until the time that they begin to spoil. 

Belgian researchers purchased an assortment of fresh produce and measured its antioxidant content, then stored them at room temperature or refrigerated them. They continued to check the antioxidant levels of both groups until spoilage occurred, and found that the fruits and vegetables did not lose any phenolic compounds, ascorbic acid or flavanols - the trio of chemical types associated with antioxidant content. And in some cases, the total count of phenolic compounds actually increased prior to spoilage. 

Instead of tossing produce, try cooking methods that exploit their softened state - you can easily turn older fruits into jams, add limp greens to soups and stews, and overripe bananas are perfect for banana bread or smoothies!

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Seasonal FoodSeasonal Food


Known as an aggregate fruit - meaning that smaller sections with seeds and fruit create a larger whole - raspberries are among Dr. Weil's favorites, due in part to their significant nutritional value. Raspberries are a good source of vitamin C and fiber, and provide folate, vitamins B2 and B3, magnesium and other essential nutrients. Raspberries have considerable antioxidant potential (50 percent more than strawberries), and they place in the top 15 of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition's top antioxidant sources. In addition, ellagitannins, natural protective compounds found in raspberries, appear to have potent anti-cancer activity.

For an added dose of fiber and antioxidants, top your cereal with raspberries, add some to a salad, use them in sauces and baked goods, or enjoy them on their own. Because commercial strains may be heavily sprayed with pesticides, Dr. Weil recommends buying organic varieties.
Food as Medicine
Food for Healthy Vision

The eye is a highly complex and sensitive organ that requires a careful combination of nutrients, protection, exercise and rest for optimal function. Consider the following dietary suggestions to help nourish and protect your eyesight.

  • Follow a diet that is rich in whole foods. Organic vegetables including legumes, fruit, whole soy products, whole grains and wild-caught fish such as Alaskan salmon are good choices.
  • Eat berries and other antioxidant-rich foods frequently. A lack of antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and lutein may increase the ability of plaque to stick to the blood vessel walls and promote macular damage. Berries, and blueberries in particular, can help provide some of these nutrients.
TipQuick Tip: Since raspberries are highly perishable, handle them carefully and buy only what you intend to use within a day or two.
13 Foods That Should Be Eaten Only if Organically Grown

Eating fresh produce is the best way to obtain daily nutrients, but the pesticides used on many crops remain a major health concern. By choosing organic foods, you can reap the health benefits of fruits and vegetables without exposing yourself to potentially harmful chemicals.

Make sure you purchase only organic varieties of the produce listed below. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), common growing practices make these crops the most likely to contain pesticide residues:

The following "Dirty Dozen Plus" had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy organic versions - or to grow them organically yourself:

Checklist 1. Apples
Checklist 2. Celery
Checklist 3. Sweet bell peppers
Checklist 4. Peaches
Checklist 5. Strawberries
Checklist 6. Spinach
Checklist 7. Nectarines (imported)
Checklist 8. Grapes
Checklist 9. Green beans
Checklist 10. Lettuce
Checklist 11. Cucumbers
Checklist 12. Blueberries (domestic)
Checklist 13. Potatoes

Plus these which may contain organophosphate insecticides, which EWG characterizes as "highly toxic" and of special concern:

  • Kale/collard greens
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Disclaimer: All material on and related programs is provided for educational purposes only. Consult your own physician regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or medical condition. ©Copyright 2013 Weil Lifestyle, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

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