Over 50? The health facts every woman should know

Over 50? The health facts every woman should know NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Over 50, women’s body changes bring health challenges

From about age 50 onwards, changes in a woman’s body bring health challenges you do need to address.

The good news is that – if you do – your energy and health can be better than ever.

Over 50? The health facts every woman should know NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
Reduced oestrogen can lead to loss of bone density and higher abdominal fat

One of the biggest changes is a reduced level of oestrogen, which causes you to lose bone density and increases your risk of osteoporosis in later life.

The same hormonal changes are linked to more abdominal fat which, in turn, raises the risk of heart disease, diabetes and colorectal cancer – making regular screening important.

Over 50? The health facts every woman should know NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
Inflammation can build up – a risk factor for degenerative diseases

In addition, for both women and men, inflammation can build up in body tissues and arteries which is a confirmed risk factor for heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s. Indeed, dementia has now risen to be the leading cause of death in UK women.

Over 50? The health facts every woman should know NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
DNA damage accumulates and can lead to cancer

Finally, damage to DNA caused by free radical action, begins to accumulate. This can be a trigger for cancer – at a time when the immune system gradually becomes less efficient.

All this is not meant to be alarmist, but to explain the underlying reasons why the risk of age-related diseases increases for women (and of course men too) after the age of 50.

Fortunately, armed with this knowledge, there are things you can do that hugely reduce your personal risk.

The secret to staying healthy, living longer, and even ageing more slowly, is to reduce, limit, or even prevent, each of these interlinked threats.

That means taking action to counteract declines in oestrogen levels, counteract inflammation, counteract free radical damage and boost your immune system.

By combining the results and advice from four major studies, each from a prestige university, we have developed a strategy to do this.

Because your diet and lifestyle need to change in line with the changes in your body, many of which, of course, that are brought about by the menopause.

The MIND Diet that can lower Alzheimer’s risk by 53%

Large scale health studies have been conducted on three particular eating plans that each significantly improve your health.

By combining them – and adding some extra nutrients – you can benefit from ‘the best of the best’. You are learning from the healthiest people on our planet.

The Mediterranean Diet

You will have almost certainly have heard of the Mediterranean Diet – based on diets in specific areas in the Mediterranean called ‘Blue Zones’. In these areas, a high proportion of people live free of illness into their 90s and beyond.

The Mediterranean Diet has been shown to reduce heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.

It features high levels of fruits and vegetables, fish, herbs, nuts, olive oil, limited red meat and dairy and occasional red wine.

Over 50? The health facts every woman should know NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

The DASH Diet

Less well known is the DASH Diet – which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It came out of extensive research at Harvard University.

The DASH Diet reduces blood pressure and is strongly recommended for heart health, reducing stroke risk, control of diabetes and for weight loss and maintenance. That’s important as your metabolism begins to slow after your 40s.

It’s fibre-rich and again features fruit and vegetable whole foods, whole grains, lean fish and poultry and low-fat dairy, with very limited processed foods, salt, sugars and red meat.

Over 50? The health facts every woman should know NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

The MIND Diet

The MIND Diet – which stands for the Mediterranean/Dash Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay – combines the two previous diets and was introduced in 2016.

The MIND Diet emphasises ‘brain foods’ that improve focus and memory – foods like berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries etc), green tea, Omega 3 rich oily fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel etc), nuts and olive oil.

Why these foods? Because oily fish (and some nuts and seeds like walnuts and flaxseeds) provide Omega 3 which is vital for brain health and normal neuron connections. Berry fruits – and leafy greens – are high in flavonoids and polyphenols which are brain protective.

Over 50? The health facts every woman should know NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
Flavonoids – as important as vitamins and minerals?

Flavonoids and polyphenols are a class of nutrients found in fruits and vegetables that are probably as important for health as vitamins and minerals.

Flavonoids include the colourants in the skins of plants – powerful nutrients like the carotenoids, beta carotene, lycopene and lutein. Carotenoids help prevent the formation of the beta amyloid plaques and tangles that degrade neuron brain cells and characterise an Alzheimer’s brain. They are also important anti-cancer nutrients.

Studies on MED-DASH-MIND diets show lower cancer, dementia and heart risks AND slower ageing

1: Healthier brains    The MIND diet can protect against cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer’s. This is a critical benefit when the UK’s Office of National Statistics confirms that in 2017, dementia is the leading cause of death for women! (And the second most frequent cause of death for men.)

2: Younger brains    A study in the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association found that adults following a MIND diet had a 53% lower risk of developing dementia than those eating a typical Western diet.

They went further – those eating the most DASH diet servings (in the top third of nutritional intake) were assessed as 7.5 years younger in biological age.

3: Healthier hearts    The MIND diet can lower inflammation in body tissues and blood vessels. Chronic inflammation is known to be a key driver of stroke and heart disease – and heart disease is the second leading cause of death in women. And the number 1 cause in men. Stroke is essentially ‘a heart attack in the brain’.

Over 50? The health facts every woman should know NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

4: Reduced cancer risk   By providing high anti-oxidant levels, the MIND diet can help reduce oxidation and therefore free radical damage to tissues and cells, which otherwise can lead to cancer, including breast and cervical cancer. The high fibre content of the MIND diet also helps to prevent colorectal cancer.

5: Increased bone density    A MIND diet is high in calcium, magnesium and vitamin K, because it includes leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach. So – with the addition of vitamin D – it will help to prevent loss of bone density.

Indeed, a study of more than 90,000 participants showed that eating a Mediterranean diet (a sub-set of the MIND diet) was linked to increased bone health and lower fracture risk in postmenopausal women.

6: Stronger immunity    The MIND diet is also a natural immune system booster. It’s high in vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, C and D, zinc, in flavonoids, carotenoids and in Omega 3 – all of which strongly support the immune system.

So it helps counteract the fact that your immune system would normally weaken over time. That’s one reason why we become more vulnerable to flu, contagious diseases and indeed cancer as we get older. Cancer is, in part, an immune system failure.

7: Healthier blood sugar    Finally, the MIND diet improves blood sugar levels and therefore helps protect against diabetes.

Improved memory from regular activity

Regular weight-bearing activity/exercise is also essential to maintaining health over 50. It can be as simple as walking, and doesn’t just strengthen bones, but has a direct impact on brain health.

Over 50? The health facts every woman should know NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

The hippocampus is a part of the brain that is critical to memory. Normally it shrinks by 1-2% a year as you get older, leading to potential cognitive impairment. But research shows that that just 40 minutes of brisk walking three times per week leads to significant brain growth.

In one study, adults who participated in aerobic exercise saw over 2% increase in the size of their hippocampus over one year, in contrast to a 1.4% decline in control subjects. A University of California study shows that women who are regularly physically active have far fewer of the plaques and tangles that are characteristic of Alzheimer’s.

All-round health defence

You will have noticed that the nutrient-dense MIND diet helps lower the risk of all three leading causes of death and disability in women.

Why? Because it addresses the risk factors we started with – it reduces inflammation, it reduces free radical damage, it strengthens the immune system and it helps reduce the risk of gaining fat around the belly area.

But can you go even further? Can you counteract the decline in your oestrogen?

Natural ways to boost oestrogen levels

There are several phyto-oestrogens (‘phyto’ means plant-derived). These plant foods mimic oestrogen and help increase your oestrogen levels. Many health researchers prefer them over HRT.

Foods made from soybeans – like tofu, soy chunks, soy mince and soy milk – contain soy isoflavones. Not only do soy isoflavones increase oestrogen levels in women, they are associated with the fact that the incidence of cancer in Japanese women is far lower than in the UK or USA.

Over 50? The health facts every woman should know NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Flax seeds are also a rich source of phyto-oestrogens. They have additional benefits, too – they contain Omega 3 oils and fibre and help lower cholesterol levels in the blood. They can easily be added to cereals or smoothies.

Nuts also contain phyto-oestrogens, as do dried apricots and peaches – which make a great healthy snack.

Over 50? The health facts every woman should know NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Counter-balancing a decline in oestrogen is important too for sexual health. Lowered levels of oestrogen lead to reduced vaginal lubrication, which can make sexual intercourse more difficult. It also increases your risk of urinary and vaginal infections.

Turn on the good genes and turn off the ‘bad’ genes

Although genes are a factor in health and longevity, a 2016 study clearly shows it is the impact of nutrition on the way genes are expressed that is the real key to health.

So, although you cannot alter your genetic make-up, there is a lot you can do to influence the way those genes are expressed. When a gene is expressed, it is either activated or deactivated, switched on or off.

The food and lifestyle choices you make can turn genes on or off – and those switches either favour health or lead to disease. It’s all part of two exciting new sciences called epigenetics and nutrigenomics.

The National Institutes for Health published a landmark research paper in 2018 called Effects of Dietary Nutrients on Epigenetic Changes in Cancer. It confirms that:

“Nutrition can alter gene expression, as well as the susceptibility to disease, including cancer, through epigenetic changes.”

How nutrition can impact gene expression to improve health—–

• The Leibniz Institute on Agingin 2017 showed that optimum levels of B complex vitamins is vital to prevent incorrect activation of genes. In this case optimum means a higher level than the RDA.

• Supplementing with B complex vitamins can activate genes that help protect against air pollution – a fact that should interest people working and living in cities.

Grapeseed flavonoids have been shown to activate genes that reduce stress and depression.

• The anti-oxidant flavonoids in blueberries activate genes that reduce DNA damage, which in turn reduces the risk of cancer.

Over 50? The health facts every woman should know NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Carotenoids like lutein and lycopene activate genes that repair DNA damage

Ginger and its cousin turmeric (which in supplement form is curcumin) activate hundreds of genes that are anti-inflammatory and neuro (brain) protective.

Over 50? The health facts every woman should know NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Zinc activates genes that improve immune defence.

Vitamin B12 and folic acid help to express genes that protect against colon cancer and neural damage.

Vitamin D3 activates numerous genes that inhibit tumours, improve immune response and prevent bone density and cartilage loss.

A lesser known nutrient called betaine (a quasi B vitamin) activates a gene that reduces the level of a compound in the blood called homocysteine. That’s important for heart health, because high homocysteine is a risk factor for heart disease.

Countering NEGATIVE GENE EXPRESSION

Some of the most extensive work on gene expression has been done by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Lead researcher Berit Johansen confirms that:

“… a diet high in carbohydrates negatively activates genes that are involved in type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and some forms of cancer.”

To counter this, cut down substantially on sugar, processed foods and simple carbohydrates ie. starchy foods like white bread, potatoes and white rice. Replace them with whole grains, fruits and vegetables and lean protein.

The optimum balance from their studies appears to be equal thirds complex carbohydrate, protein and fat – especially Omega 3 type fats. Essentially the MIND diet!

An ideal eating plan for women over 50

All this research strongly points to the ideal diet for a woman over 50 as a modification of the MIND diet – ie. by adding some soy products and flax seeds and increasing your intake of nutrients that promote positive gene expression.

But there is a catch …

The number of daily portions of fruits and vegetables in the MIND, DASH and MEDITERRANEAN studies is considerably higher than a simple 5-a-day recommendation.

Indeed, both the American Cancer Society and University College London in a recent huge study conclude that you need 9-10 portions of fruits and vegetables a day – plus 2-3 portions of oily fish a week. At these levels your blood chemistry becomes seriously protective against age-related illness.

Over 50? The health facts every woman should know NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

But for many people 70 portions of fruit and veg a week is not realistic. [When the UK Government was setting a recommendation for fruit and vegetables, their advisors arbitrarily cut the figure to 5 a day – even though the scientific evidence was 9-10 a day, believing that people would simply not even try to reach that level.]

… which is why a woman over 50 should consider a supplement

That supplement should include flavonoids, which are as important to health as vitamins and minerals. And it should include Omega 3, soy isoflavones, and the nutrients that promote positive gene expression – like lutein, lycopene, beta carotene, betaine, extra B vitamins and vitamin D. A simple one-a day multivitamin just isn’t enough.

Modified MIND Diet plus NutriShield health supplement

The one-page summary of the ideal, modified MIND diet does include a health supplement called NutriShield Premium, which supplies all these extra nutrients.

Over 50? The health facts every woman should know NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

It doesn’t include iron because iron supplements are NOT recommended for women past the menopause, as too much iron can cause liver and heart damage. [Iron supplementation is generally not recommended for men of any age.]

NutriShield also includes optimum levels of B vitamins and vitamins D3 and K2 and helps you reach the sort of levels of nutrients in the research.

Unlike most supplements, NutriShield doesn’t just contain the basic RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) amounts of vitamins and minerals, which only prevent outright deficiencies. Instead, it’s designed to provide you daily with the wide range and high level of nutrients found in the very healthiest diets.

You can download the plan free here.

Over 50? The health facts every woman should know NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
NutriShield Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Plan

Recommended Health Check-Up List for women over 50

You can see our list of recommended regular health check-ups for women over 50 here.

Over 50? The health facts every woman should know NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

And you can see how NutriShield Premium can help women over 50 stay fit and healthy here.


Over 50? The health facts every woman should know NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
This article was written by Colin Rose, a Senior Associate Member of the Royal Society of Medicine, who has been writing on science for 40 years.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it with family and friends.

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Over 50? The health facts every woman should know NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Dr Paul Clayton designed NutriShield as a comprehensive health supplement with OPTIMUM levels of 43 essential nutrients including soy isoflavones, polyphenols and flavonoids from fruits, vegetables and other plants, Omega 3, betaine and green tea. See more detail elsewhere on this site or click on the picture.


Over 50? The health facts every woman should know NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Dr Paul Clayton’s best-selling book Health Defence is available from bookstores or from Uni-Vite Healthcare here.

A free summary report and the opportunity to read the book online is available here.


Over 50? The health facts every woman should know NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

See online here for delicious recipes from the Health Defence Cookbook  incorporating healthy foods featuring in a Mediterranean Diet. 


REFERENCES

Estrogen production and action. Linda R. Nelson, MD, PhD, Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Molecular Genetics, University of Illinois at Chicago

Estrogen’s Dual Nature; Studies Highlight Effects on Breast Cancer. Renee Twombly; Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Volume 103, Issue 12, 22 June 2011

URL: hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/dash-diet

Dietary Patterns and Fractures in Postmenopausal Women. Haring B, Crandall CJ, Wu C, Leblanc ES, Shikany JM, Carbone L, Wassertheil-Smoller S. (2016).  JAMA Internal Medicine, 176(5), 645.

Mediterranean diet and brain structure in a multi-ethnic elderly cohort. Gu Y, Brickman A et al (2015). Neurology, 85 (20), 1744-1751.

https://www.rush.edu/news/press-releases/mind-diet-may-slow-cognitive-decline-stroke-survivors

Vitamins regulate gene expression and induce differentiation and growth inhibition in cancer cells. Their relevance in cancer prevention. Prasad KN, Edwards-Prasad J, Kumar S, Meyers A. 1993 Oct;119(10):1133-40.

Influence of Vitamin D on Gene Expression in Bone-building Cells; Genomic Determinants of Gene Regulation by 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 during Osteoblast-lineage Cell Differentiation J. Biol. Chem. 2014, 289.

URL: alzheimersresearchuk.org/dementia-is-leading-cause-of-death-for-women-in-england-and-wales

Feed your genes: How our genes respond to the foods we eat. The Norwegian University of Science & Technology. ScienceDaily 20 September 2011. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110919073845.htm.

Menopause, obesity and inflammation: interactive risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Amy Christensen and Christian J. Pike; Front Aging Neurosci. 2015

Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory. Sayal N (2015) Annals of Neurosciences, 22(2). doi:10.5214/ans.0972.7531.22

Buying organic – when is it worthwhile?

Buying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals


Are you eating the Dirty DozenTM?

When it’s worth buying organic – and when it’s probably not

Organic produce is more expensive. But is it worth the extra cost? Which is averagely 47% more than conventionally produced fruits, vegetables and meat.

Since a main reason to buy organic is to avoid pesticide residue, you need to know which conventionally grown produce have the most pesticide residues on them – and which have the least. We list them below.

By buying organic versions of the ‘dirtiest’ produce i.e. with the most contamination, and by buying conventionally grown versions of the cleanest produce, you get the best value for money. (Assuming you can’t grow your own.)

Pesticide residues are not the only reason to consider organic produce. Other positives include:

  • higher nutritional values
  • the fact that conventional, high intensity farming is having an increasingly detrimental effect on the environment

We’ll consider these factors too.

But first are the levels of pesticide residues actually serious?

Over 230 different pesticide residues in some non-organic produce

In 2014 Newcastle University reviewed 343 studies on produce and found pesticide residues to be four times higher in conventional crops than in organic.

The UK government’s Department of Food and Rural Affairs  (DEFRA), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) all produce yearly reports on pesticide residues. The latest DEFRA report is for 2017. In general, its analysis of the most contaminated produce agrees with the others.

  • USDA tests found a total of 230 different pesticides on the thousands of samples they analysed
  • USDA found that 98% of strawberries, spinach, peaches, cherries and apples tested positive for pesticide residue
  • In at least 12 crops, there were traces of multiple pesticides – whose potentially toxic effect could be amplified when in combination
  • Researchers at Stanford University found that heavy metal contaminants in conventionally farmed produce was as much as 48% higher than in organic.

But can this contamination actually have an adverse health effect?

Health risk from pesticide residue

Firstly, pesticides are – by definition – toxic. The word means “kill pests”.  Pesticides can harm more than just the pest targeted.

Buying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Initial exposure in humans rarely causes noticeable symptoms, so any harm can easily be overlooked. However, the cumulative effect of even low doses can potentially cause problems over time.

Chemical-based pesticides and pollutants have been shown to result in oxidative stress in the body which is linked to accelerated ageing processes and cell death.

Identified outcomes of pesticide residue include

  • respiratory tract infections
  • asthma
  • depression
  • leukaemia
  • and possibly cancer

Glyphosate-based herbicides have been shown to cause DNA damage and act as endocrine disruptors in human cell lines.

A 2016 study published in Frontiers in Public Health states:

“Population-based studies have revealed possible relations between the exposure to organophosphorus pesticides and serious health effects including cardiovascular diseases, negative effects on the male reproductive system and on the nervous system, and dementia.

“Furthermore, prenatal exposure to organophosphates has been correlated with decreased gestational duration and neurological problems occurring in children.”

A recent study in the American Medical Association Journal found a connection between consuming high-pesticide foods and reproductive problems. Women who regularly ate produce known to have pesticide residue were 26% less likely to have a successful pregnancy and men had a lower semen quality.

Toxico-pathologist Dr Vyvyan Howard is a member of the UK government’s advisory committee on pesticides. She states:

“There is sufficient evidence already that the pesticide cocktail effect is producing changes. Exposure to chemicals that disrupt hormones in the womb could be the cause of the decreased age of puberty in girls and early onset of puberty is linked to a greater chance of developing breast cancer later in life.”

Organic produce has higher nutritional values

Buying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

The University of Newcastle 2014 meta-analysis of 343 studies (published in the British Journal of Nutrition), concluded that organic crops contained significantly higher anti-oxidant levels than their non-organic counterparts.

Another European study confirmed that organic produce typically has 40% more anti-oxidants and also higher levels of minerals such as iron and zinc.

Higher anti-oxidants

The reason is interesting. Plants produce anti-oxidant defences, mostly in their outer leaves and skins. These are not for our benefit, but as natural defences for the plant itself against insects, disease and the stress of photosynthesis.

Plants that are not sprayed with pesticides develop stronger defences, hence their higher protective anti-oxidant levels. This protection is mostly in the form of plant nutrients called flavonoids and polyphenols.

When we eat these plants, we ‘inherit’ and absorb these protective plant nutrients. The anti-oxidants in flavonoids are beneficial to us because they help neutralise free radicals – and research strongly suggests that excess free radicals are a major contributor to heart disease, cancer and even premature ageing itself.

So a higher level of anti-oxidants in the diet has been linked to a reduction of chronic diseases such as heart disease and certain cancers – as well as improved skin health, and supporting the body’s natural repair processes.

The University of Newcastle study estimates that a switch to organic fruits, vegetables and cereals would provide additional anti-oxidants equivalent to eating between 1-2 extra portions of fruit and vegetables a day!

Buying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Local = fresher = higher nutritional value

There are two other reasons why organic food is higher in nutritional value.

Most is produced locally and is therefore fresher. Freshness and nutrition are linked because the level of vitamins, anti-oxidants and other nutrients in food declines over time.

Slower growth means more energy goes into developing nutrients

Organic fruits and vegetables also tend to grow more slowly – because they are not dosed with synthetic fertilisers. When plants are grown too quickly, they put most of their energy into simply getting bigger, rather than into developing a richer biochemistry.

Similar advantages apply to organic milk and meat production. Levels of anti-oxidants in milk from organic herds are up to 80% higher than in milk from conventional herds.

Organic is better for the environment

Fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides

Conventionally-grown crops rely extensively on chemical input to achieve high yields. These feature synthetic fertilisers containing “NPK” (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium), pesticides and herbicides.

Buying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Excess nitrogen can adversely affect the pH of soil and NPK combinations can and do run off into groundwater and waterways. This causes an excess of algae and a resulting loss of oxygen in the water which is needed by both fish and aquatic animals. (However, to be even-handed, the manure slurry used in organic livestock farming can and does also result in a similar run-off.)

Intensive farming, synthetic pesticides and fertilisers are beginning to have a negative impact on the environment. The WWF has stated that unsustainable agriculture practices are the greatest immediate threat to the world’s species and ecosystems.

Ammonia from animal waste

Another problem caused by intensive livestock farming has recently emerged – the build-up of ammonia gas from animal waste in both the atmosphere and land around very large-scale farms.

Ammonia in the soil drives out wild flowers and encourages weeds. At higher levels it is damaging even to trees. Ammonia gas in the air is toxic to humans and can cause lung damage.

Chemicals cause decline in bees and other pollinating insects

One of the most significant cases of the over-use of chemicals in industrial agriculture and the resulting fall-off in species is the decline of pollinating bees. At least 25 species of bees are now severely threatened.

Bees are not the only pollinators, however, and it’s serious for the future of harvests that insect pollinators have decreased so significantly. There has also been a decline in 75% of butterfly populations due to agricultural advance into natural habitats.

 

When did you last see more than the occasional butterfly – or a car windscreen covered with insects?

Organic processes encourage farmers to maintain areas of farmland for local wildlife, including hedgerows, grassland, pools and ponds, all of which are needed for insects to breed.

Buying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Maintaining soil quality should be paramount

Organic systems minimise chemical inputs, relying mainly on animal manures and crop rotation to maintain the fertility of the soil and letting it become naturally enriched by the local wildlife. Weeds and pests are mainly controlled through physical and biological control methods.

The climate change link

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has recently stressed the fundamental truth that soil quality is the foundation for all life and ultimately our health and even survival. They state:

“Lower greenhouse gas emissions for crop production and enhanced carbon sequestration, coupled with additional benefits of biodiversity and other environmental services, make organic agriculture a farming method with many advantages and considerable potential for mitigating and adapting to climate change.

“Many field trials worldwide show that organic fertilization compared to industrial mineral fertilization is increasing soil organic carbon and thus sequestering large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere to the soil.”

So, it’s not just a reduction in pesticide residue or increased nutritional values that we should be considering. Huge resources are used in conventional farming that are generally unrecognised. They include artificial heat, light and petroleum-based fertilisers, all of which are minimised in organic methods.

Organic meat, dairy and eggs – are they better?

UK national guidelines require practices for organic certification that are associated with more humane treatment of animals. They spend more time in the pasture and are less likely to be farmed to produce a specified amount of milk or eggs per month. Which, it is claimed, leads to less stress and healthier foods being produced by these animals.

Over-use of antibiotics in conventional livestock farming

Conventionally reared animals are routinely fed antibiotics, since it is permitted to use antibiotics prophylactically (preventively), ie. even when no disease has been diagnosed. This is because intensive production in confined conditions means the outbreak of disease is liable to be more frequent and harder to control.

In most countries, more antibiotics are used in animal production than for human health. In European countries the use of antibiotics in agriculture accounts for almost two thirds of all antibiotics used. In the UK, the figure is around 40%.

This is both triggering and contributing to a dangerous rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria as humans ingest these antibiotics through the food chain.

Scientist rarely use emotive language but Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, stated recently that:

We are really facing a dreadful post-antibiotic apocalypse.”
See
https://www.uni-vite.com/immunoshield

Organic certification prohibits antibiotics as preventatives

Less intensive farming, as used on organic farms, means reduced risk of transmitted disease and therefore there is less need for antibiotics (which are not permitted to be routinely used as a preventative).

Buying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Organic meat, dairy and eggs are higher in Omega 3

Poultry: Organic poultry is almost always raised without the routine use of antibiotics. Moreover, organic poultry cannot be fed “litter”, a mixture of droppings, spilled feed, and ground feathers. Meat and eggs from organic poultry are higher in Omega 3.

Meat: Organic cattle are also raised without routine antibiotics. Meat from grass-fed animals tends to have higher levels of Omega 3 and other polyunsaturated fatty acids than grain-fed cattle.

Milk: Organic milk tends to contain more beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids and more vitamin E than non-organic – though a huge 2016 study published in Food Science and Technology suggests that many study results are contradictory, and the difference may be more to do with output from different breeds than organic versus non-organic.

Eggs: The nutritional advantage of organic over conventional is clearer in eggs than other animal products. The same Food Science and Technology study found that organic eggs contained a greater quantity of lutein and zeaxanthin compared to free range and barn eggs. Lutein and zeaxanthin are powerful anti-oxidant compounds, with particular importance for eye health.

But if you are looking for the most environmentally friendly way to eat meat and animal products – the real answer is to eat less of them!

The Dirty DozenTM

This list – in DESCENDING ORDER of badness –  is taken from www.ewg.org who have actually trademarked the name The Dirty DozenTM.

Any % in brackets is the percentage of samples that DEFRA found contained residues in the UK, although DEFRA omitted several fruits and vegetables from their survey.

Ideally buy these 12 fruits and vegetable as organic (or grow your own), because the following produce, when conventionally grown, generally has high pesticide residues.

  1. Strawberries – over 33% of strawberries tested had over 10 separate pesticidesBuying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
  2. Spinach – 97% contained pesticide residue, including permethrin, a neurotoxic pesticideBuying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
  3. Nectarines – 94% contained at least 2 pesticidesBuying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
  4. Apples – The USDA found a total of 47 different pesticides on apples, 6 of which are either known or suspected carcinogens. (UK 80%)Buying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
  5. Grapes – on average contain at least 5 pesticide residues (UK 87%)Buying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
  6. Peaches – on average contain at least 4 pesticide residuesBuying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
  7. Cherries – on average contain at least 5 pesticide residues (UK 95%) Buying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
  8. Pears – more than half had 5 or more pesticide residues (UK 94%)Buying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
  9. Tomatoes – on average contain over 4 pesticide residuesBuying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
  10. Celery – 95% contained pesticide residueBuying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
  11. Potatoes – one pesticide, chlorpropham, predominates on potatoes. It is used to control sprouting during storage.Buying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
  12. Sweet (bell) and Hot Peppers – often contain traces of highly toxic pesticidesBuying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Note: Fruits and vegetables with thin skin or no skin, where you tend to EAT the skin, are often best bought organic, since they have a higher risk of cross-contamination and pesticides are more easily absorbed.

Fruits and vegetables with a thick peel which you don’t usually eat, such as avocados or bananas, have a lower risk – so they tend to feature on the Clean 15.

The DEFRA UK list also highlights the following produce that have a high percentage of pesticide residue:

  • Lemons and limes 96%
  • Oranges 93%
  • Parsnips 88%

THE CLEAN SIXTEEN

Lowest pesticide residues, so much safer to buy non-organic
  1. Avocados
  2. Sweetcorn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onions
  6. Peas frozen
  7. Papayas
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mangos
  10. Aubergine / Eggplant
  11. Honeydew Melon
  12. Kiwifruit
  13. Cantaloupe Melon
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Broccoli
  16. Carrots

What is the definition of ORGANIC?

To qualify as an organic product, there are a number of standards that farmers and producers have to meet and maintain according to the criteria outlined by an official accreditation body, such as the Soil Association. Such stipulations include:

  • Minimisation of pesticide use, with certain chemicals and toxins being banned on all occasions
  • Absolutely no use of artificially produced fertilisers or herbicides
  • Minimising negative impacts of farming on wildlife, while actively promoting diversity and species conservation
  • No Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to be grown or sold as organic

Could we feed everyone organically?

The Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Washington State University published a meta-analysis of international farming practices in 2016.

It found that organic farming overall is about 15% – 20% less productive than large-scale conventional farming.

It draws the sensible conclusion that:

“No single approach will safely feed the planet. Rather, a blend of organic and other innovative farming systems is needed.”

A reducitarian/flexitarian approach

Here is one way forward.

The amount of total agricultural land devoted to meat/dairy production (meaning direct grazing, plus land for animal feed) is an astonishing 58%.

If we devoted less land to animal production, we would free up more for plant production. It is then likely that we could substantially increase organic growing methods and still feed an increased estimated 9 billion population by 2050. Especially if we make serious efforts to cut food wastage.

There are so many more vegetarian and vegan meat alternatives easily and relatively cheaply available now. These are not just commercial “products” like textured soy protein, tofu and Quorn – but myriad beans, peas, nuts, lentils, chickpeas, wholegrains etc, which have a high protein content and can be added to most meals.

Buying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Our recommendations

1. Try to avoid the Dirty Dozen as conventionally farmed – and switch to organic as often as possible or affordable. Other produce is generally as safe in either form.

2. Buy fruits and vegetables at the peak of their season, when they’re not only the freshest, but also the least expensive. Freeze or bottle them, if possible, for the winter.

3. The most nutritionally powerful fruits and vegetables are often rich in colour. Because the most protective plant nutrients – called flavonoids and polyphenols – are mostly colourants in the plant’s outer layers. They include lycopene, beta carotene and lutein.

That group includes blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, papaya, strawberries, mangoes, plums/prunes (prunes are just dried plums), oranges, red grapes, cherries, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, chard, broccoli, red pepper, butternut and other orange/yellow squashes. Non-coloured power plant foods include onions and garlic.

Buying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

4. Organic eggs do have a higher nutritional content and are worth buying. Organic meat and dairy generally have a better healthy Omega 3 fat content – and it won’t have been routinely pumped full of antibiotics.

Aim for at least 3 meat-free days a week. It will improve your health and is one of the main environmentally protective actions you can take as an individual.

5. Meta-studies by University College London and the American Cancer Society define the ideal protective intake of fruits and vegetables as 9 -10 portions a day! If that’s a target too far, consider a supplement that includes a range of plant polyphenols and flavonoids.

Buying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

6. You can find an eating plan that takes all this into consideration here – https://nutrishield.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/CR-News-Food-table.pdf

 


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Dr Paul Clayton designed NutriShield as a comprehensive healthBuying organic - when is it worthwhile? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals supplement with OPTIMUM levels of 43 essential nutrients including soy isoflavones, polyphenols and flavonoids from fruits, vegetables and other plants, Omega 3, betaine and green tea. See more detail elsewhere on this site or click on the button.


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REFERENCES

www.consumerreports.org

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/expert-committee-on-pesticide-residues-in-food-prif-annual-report

https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/

Fruit and vegetable intake and their pesticide residues in relation to semen quality among men from a fertility clinic. Chiu YH, Afeiche MC, Gaskins AJ, Williams PL, Petrozza JC, Tanrikut C, Hauser R, Chavarro JE. Hum Reprod. 2015 Jun;30(6):1342-51. doi: 10.1093/humrep/dev064. Epub 2015 Mar 30.

Organic agriculture in the twenty-first century. John P. Reganold & Jonathan M. Wachter : Nature Plants Volume2, Article number: 15221 (2016)

Chemical Pesticides and Human Health: The Urgent Need for a New Concept in Agriculture. Polyxeni Nicolopoulou-Stamati, Sotirios Maipas, Chrysanthi Kotampasi, Panagiotis Stamatis, Luc Hens : Front Public Health. 2016; 4: 148.

Pesticides in the Modern World – Effects of Pesticides Exposure: Alewu B, Nosiri C. In: Pesticides and human health. Stoytcheva M, editor. InTech; (2011). p. 231–50.

Sources of exposure to and public health implications of organophosphate pesticides: Jaga K, Dharmani C. Rev Panam Salud Publica (2003)

Conventional and organic foods: A comparison focused on animal product: Fernanda Galgano et al; Food Science & Technology, 20