CAT | Mental Health
Choosing organically grown foods is not just a trend. More and more studies are finding that organic food is better for our health than foods grown using conventional farming methods (which typically include the heavy use of chemical-laden pesticides, herbicides and insecticides). If you haven’t yet made the switch, here are three good reasons to go organic.
- Boost Your Antioxidant Intake by up to 40%
Researchers from Newcastle University in the UK recently looked at more than 340 peer-reviewed studies on organic food and published their findings in the July issue of the British Journal of Nutrition. They determined that organic crops and crop-based foods were significantly higher (up to 69%) in key antioxidants such as phenolic acids, anthocyanins, flavanones and flavonols, and that choosing organic over conventionally grown foods could mean a 20–40% increase in antioxidant intake levels.i
- Drastically Reduce Pesticide Levels
The same analysis out of Newcastle University determined that conventional crops were significantly lower in residual pesticide levels and had lower levels of cadmium, a toxic heavy metal known to pose severe risks to human health.ii Cadmium levels were on average about 48% lower in organic crops, according to the study abstract. In line with these findings, a study conducted earlier this year at RMIT University in Australia found that going organic for just one week could reduce pesticide levels in the body by nearly 90%!
- Avoid Probiotic-killing Glyphosate
You may recall from a recent blog how researchers discovered that a chemical called glyphosate—widely used as an herbicide on conventionally grown crops—was shown to destroy the beneficial bacteria (probiotics) in the human gut that help protect us from illness and disease. Already linked to a broad range of disorders from birth defects to cell damage, scientists now believe glyphosate can cause a gut imbalance that can ultimately interfere with our healthy immune response—as well as impact healthy mood and behavior.
Worried about the expense of organic foods? There are ways around that—such as choosing in-season produce as well as locally farmed fruits and vegetables. This often cuts out travel and distribution costs and results in lower-priced organic selections.
Have you ever stopped for a cheeseburger on your way home from a stressful day at work? Or reached for a bag of greasy chips when the pressure was just too much? It turns out your waistline may have suffered the consequences—particularly if you’re a woman.
A new study out of Ohio State University reveals that women who load up on high-fat, high-calorie foods when stress levels are high actually burn fewer calories and increase their risk of weight gain over time. From what scientists could tell, stressful events caused a spike in insulin, which in turn caused the women to store more fat instead of using it as fuel.
The study involved nearly 60 middle-aged women, and each was questioned about her individual stress level before consuming a meal consisting of 930 calories and 60 grams of fat. The participants were then monitored for seven hours after the meal, and it was determined that the women who reported being stressed burned 104 fewer calories than those who weren’t—a difference that could result in almost 11 extra pounds a year, said researchers.
And when stressful events were combined with existing depression? Researchers found that blood triglyceride levels jumped even higher, putting the women at a greater risk for heart disease. Interestingly, the study results were the same in women who received a meal containing saturated fat and those who consumed a “healthier” version with high-oleic sunflower oil.
Said Ohio State nutritionist and study co-author Martha Belury, “We know we can’t always avoid stressors in our life, but one thing we can do to prepare for that is to have healthy food choices in our refrigerators and cabinets so that when those stressors come up, we can reach for something healthy rather than going to a very convenient but high-fat choice.”