In order to obtain essential nutrients, it is recommended that we eat a balanced diet, however if we don’t consume adequate amounts of certain foods we may end up having nutrient shortfalls. Over a lifetime, deficiency in one or more nutrients may contribute to serious health issues. When I discuss foods I always emphasize “organic” and local where possible. Why do I do this? Did you know that over 320 pesticides can be routinely used in non-organic farming and these are often present in non-organic food? It is essential that the fruit and veg we eat work for our bodies and not against them.
Organic crops are of a much higher nutritional quality than their non-organic counterparts, so by eating organic foods we increase intake of antioxidants, the equivalent to eating between 1-2 extra portions of fruit and vegetables a day! Studies have linked antioxidants from fruit and veg, to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as certain cancers.
Organic fruit and veg can be expensive and not economically viable. If you can’t afford organic then it is always important to eat more fruit and vegetables and get the recommended 7-11 portions, even if they are non-organic, 5 a day, is a thing of the past. Make sure you wash all fruit and vegetables thoroughly under running water. Use cleaning solutions meant for fruit and veg, no washing method is 100% effective for removing all pesticide residues, but some do help, like soaking fruits and veg for 20 minutes in sodium bicarbonate which will reduce pesticides up to 80%.
At the end of the day it is a balancing act, and it has to work for your pocket too, so I always recommend to stick to “The dirty dozen and the clean 15” list. The dirty dozen are the list of fruit and veg that you should make sure are org-anic in your kitchen, due to the high pesticide levels remaining in them after being thoroughly washed, and the clean fifteen the fruit and veg where pesticide resi-due is least likely to be present.
Dirty Dozen: Clean Fifteen:
Kale (collard and mustard greens) Mushrooms
Pears Cantaloupe melon
Cherries Honey melon
Follow this list and stick to your 7-11 every day, making sure your food bill becomes an investment in your health.
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