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May 2014

Organic Food Labeling Causes Confusion

tomatoA recent Harris Poll of 2,276 U.S. adults showed that concern for the environment is growing, but Americans may not be ready to spend more for organic food. More than half think that labeling food or other products as organic is just an excuse to charge more. Yet more than half of respondents also believe that organic foods are healthier than non-organic. At the same time, only 23 percent know what the term “dirty dozen” means in regard to organic food; it’s the Environmental Working Group’s annual list of foods consumers should always buy in organic form due to high pesticide levels in conventional farming.

 
Ventilation and Cleaning Hinder Indoor Pollutants
April 2014

Keeping Healthy Spaces

woman-cleaningProperly ventilating and frequently cleaning our homes and offices are both important to our health, concludes a new European study published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Health. Researchers analyzed bacterial and fungal counts and suspended particulate matter in indoor air samples of 40 homes and offices. They determined that 45 percent had indoor pollution levels greater than that recommended by the current European Concerted Action Report on air quality standards.

An analysis of a Canadian government Health Measures Survey discovered 47 different indoor volatile organic compounds (VOC) among more than half of the 3,857 households surveyed throughout Canada. Most of the VOCs identified there have also been present in separate European and U.S. studies.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), VOCs are carbon chemical compounds that can evaporate under normal indoor atmospheric conditions. The concern with indoor VOCs is their potential to react with indoor ozone to produce harmful byproducts that may be associated with adverse health effects in sensitive populations.

Benzene, trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene and xylene top the list of common VOCs inside U.S. households, according to an EPA report. Typical sources comprise common household chemicals, furnishings and décor, as well as indoor activities such as unventilated cooking, heating and smoking.

 
Tomatoes Prevent and Even Treat Liver Disease
April 2014

The Power of Lycopene

tomatoesTomatoes are widely known for their outstanding antioxidant content, anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties, plus benefits to heart health. Now, research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center, at Tufts University, in Boston, Massachusetts, has found that consuming tomatoes—particularly their lycopene content—can also help prevent and even treat both liver disease and cancer of the liver.

The researchers combed through 241 studies and scientific papers to connect the dots. They report that lycopene up regulates the sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) protein, meaning it increases the number of receptors on cell surfaces, thereby increasing cellular response to it. SIRT1 activation is recognized to protect against obesity-induced inflammation and degeneration of the liver, explain the study’s authors. Lycopene was found to protect against fatty liver disease, liver fibrosis and the formation of cancer in the liver and lungs.

Multiple studies have shown cooked tomatoes and tomato sauce offer increased bioavailability of healthful lycopene.

 
CO2-Correct Food
April 2014

Menus Minimize Greenhouse Gases

co2Experts at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, at Aberdeen University, in Scotland, have created a new menu plan that is healthy and nutritious, as well as good for the environment. The researchers compiled a shopping list of 52 foods arranged in categories according to how much climate-changing greenhouse gases are produced to make and transport them (Tinyurl.com/ScottishDiet).

They then devised a weekly weight allowance for each food, which when followed, would reduce the use of greenhouse gases by about a third. Surprisingly, the list features foods such as chocolate, ice cream and red meat, but anyone wanting to reduce their carbon footprint must only eat them in relatively tiny quantities.

Some food groups, such as dairy products and meat, produce much bigger emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide than others because of the way they are manufactured and brought to market. The production of fruit, vegetables and legumes is much less likely to produce such high emissions.


Source: Scotsman.com

 
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