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The Top 12 Foods to Buy Organic – Meet the Dirty Dozen

The Top 12 Foods to Buy Organic – Meet the Dirty Dozen

Did you know that nearly two-thirds of the 3,015 produce samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2013 contained pesticide residues? This is a surprising fact considering the rapid increase in consumer demand for food without agricultural chemicals.

In efforts to help educate shoppers, each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases its report on pesticides in produce along with a list of foods that we should aim to buy organic – enter the Dirty Dozen. The EWG looks into the Department of Agriculture data surrounding pesticide residue and ranks foods based on how much or little they have. The EWG estimates that people can reduce their exposure by about 80% if they switch to organic when buying these foods. Now that makes spending a few extra dollars at the grocery store a bit more compelling, doesn’t it?

This year, apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes ranked the highest for pesticide residue. The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other produce. Between 97-98% of apples, peaches and nectarines tested positive for at least one pesticide residue, while a single grape or sweet bell pepper sample contained up 15 pesticides.

In general, it’s good to get smart on what we put in our bodies so we can be the best, most healthy version of ourselves. Organic section, here we come!

Read the EWG’s 2015 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce here.

Skip right to the Dirty Dozen list here.

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Wellness Warriors

The Not-So-Sweet Truth: Sugar & pre-mature skin aging

Sugar—the main ingredient in some of nature’s most tempting indulgences. When we consume it, our brain sends out pleasure sensors and signals the body, “I want more of that good stuff.” Most of us know too much sugar contributes to weight gain, tooth decay and other health conditions. So we resign ourselves to just one Snickers out of the Halloween bucket.  However, despite our best intentions, many of us have a persistent “sweet tooth.” Now research suggests that sweet treats not only contribute to elevated blood sugar levels, those higher levels actually can cause pre-mature skin aging.

Foods with little-to-no nutritional benefits, like sugar-packed doughnuts, can actually damage the collagen and elastin that keep skin firm and youthful. The breakdown of sugars, called glycation, damages the collagen that keeps skin smooth and firm. These aging effects start at about age 35 and increase rapidly after that, according to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

glazed donut – a high-glycemic carb

Furthermore, board-certified Dermatologist Dr. Nicholas Perricone, a world renowned healthy aging expert, advocates an anti-inflammatory diet. He asserts that clinical inflammation is the cause of aging and disease. One of the reasons inflammation occurs is from a rapid rise in blood sugar, which is why he recommends avoiding sugar and high-glycemic carbohydrates. Sugar not only increases body weight, it also triggers cellular inflammation in all organs, including the skin.  This inflammation may lead to wrinkles, sagging and other signs of aging.

What are high-glycemic foods you may ask? Any carbohydrate has a certain level and is ranked on a scale from low to high. The lower the glycemic “index” the better, because high-glycemic carbs break down quickly during your body’s digestion process. This is a problem since this fast breakdown results in an immediate effect on blood sugar levels. High-glycemic culprits include pasta, white bread, white rice and potatoes, just to name a few.

Substitute bad sugars with sweet fruits like kiwi, peaches, pears, plums and cantaloupe. Turn to low glycemic index foods such as wholegrain breads and non starchy vegetables like spinach, asparagus, broccoli and cabbage. By incorporating fruits and vegetables, you’ll also be getting plenty of antioxidants to protect your skin and body.

fresh veggies are good for both your skin & body

Resources:

  1. Discovery Fit & Health: Shun the Sugar for Sweeter Looking Skin
  2. Elle: Sugar Aging How to Fight Glycation
  3. Fox News: Diet and Exercise Mistakes that Age
  4. Guide Well: Women Keeping Skin Looking Youthful
  5. Perricone MD: 3 Foods to Leave Out of your Perricone Diet

 

Disclaimer: The information provided by Coolibar and its contributors is general skin care information and should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem.

 

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