CAT | Toxins and Health
The bounty of summer produce may be coming to an end, but the fall season has a lot to offer in the way of healthful fruits and vegetables. And since a recent study found that eating seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily reduces your risk of death at any age by 42 percent (and decreases your risk of heart attack and stroke), here are five of our favorites!
Apples: In addition to beneficial vitamins and antioxidants, apples are chock full of soluble fiber—which is not only important for digestive health and regularity but also promotes cardiovascular health and healthy cholesterol levels. Because of their high fiber content and fewer digestible sugars, Granny Smith apples are a great choice. They have also been shown to help increase the numbers of beneficial bacteria in the gut and may support weight loss and healthy weight management, according to a recent Washington State University study.
Pumpkin: Put down the carving knife… unless you’re carving up that pumpkin for soups and smoothies! The Halloween staple is loaded with essential nutrients like vitamin A for healthy vision (a cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 200% of your RDA), vitamin C to support immune health, the antioxidant beta-carotene, potassium, iron and of course plenty of fiber. And did we mention the seeds? In addition to magnesium and zinc, pumpkin seeds contain the amino acid tryptophan, which is linked to serotonin production and a positive mood.
Arugula: Spice up your fall salads with arugula! Dark leafy green are essential for healthy detox, gut health and overall wellness—and arugula stands out in particular. Its peppery leaves are high in fiber, antioxidants and health-promoting plant compounds called glucosinolates, as well as vitamin K (needed for calcium absorption), essential B vitamins and beneficial compounds that support a healthy inflammatory response in the body. Arugula is also an aphrodisiac!
Cranberries: Cranberries are low in sugar and loaded with vitamin C and fiber—not to mention they have more immune-supporting antioxidants (including vitamin E) than nearly any other fruit or vegetable. In studies, cranberries have been shown to support immune function as well as promote healthy blood pressure levels, and research shows they also promote urinary tract health. Just remember to avoid high-sugar juices and sauces!
Brussels Sprouts: Gone are the days of turning up our noses at these little green bulbs. Belonging to the same family as broccoli and kale, non-starchy Brussels sprouts are loaded with good things like fiber, vitamin C, folate, iron, potassium and B vitamins—along with powerful antioxidants and other plant compounds shown to support immune function and overall health. And the best part? Brussels sprouts are really simple to prepare: just cut off the ends, mix them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them in the oven for about 35–40 minutes.
When shopping for fall fruits and veggies, go organic whenever possible and check out your local farmers market first. You should be able to find locally grown, in-season produce that’s fresh and affordable—in addition to being a healthful and delicious addition to your table!
You may not be thinking about toxins the next time you change a diaper or put your child down for a nap, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. Recent studies show that flame retardant chemicals found commonly in changing table pads, crib mattresses, nursing pillows and even pajamas are highly toxic—especially to developing children—but a new bill could take a giant step toward reducing exposure to these dangerous substances.
United States Senator Charles Schumer recently introduced the Children and Firefighters Protection Act, which would ban the production and sale of children’s products and upholstered furniture made with the top ten most toxic flame retardants: TDCPP, TCEP, TBBPA, decabromodiphenyl ether, antimony trioxide, HBCD, TBPH, TBB, chlorinated paraffins and TCPP. The bill would also require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to review the safety of all other chemical flame retardants and ban them if necessary.
Speaking in New York last month, Schumer cited new evidence that exposure to the carcinogenic chemicals in flame retardants has been linked to developmental delays in children as well as a higher risk of hormone disruption and cancer. One study revealed they raised toxin levels in children by up to 23% compared to that of their mothers. And, when those toxins ignite and become airborne, they pose a significant risk to the firefighters who breathe them in.
On top of that, Schumer pointed out that the flame retardants used so often today are not even effective when it comes to preventing fires or slowing down the burn rate once a fire has been ignited.