Culver City Observer -

Summer Fruit For Thought

Smart And Spicy


1 Cherries - much better than you thought. 2 But you must read the warnings! (see below cherries) I ate a cup of cherries for dessert. I'd forgotten how wonderful they taste. I felt very full, satisfied. I woke up feeling over-full, you know, like you had a great party and now it was payback. I remembered what I'd eaten; nothing would do that. Was it the cherries? So I looked them up to see what was in them, and got a surprise. What if you could give yourself an injection of something that's anti-cancer, sleep-maximizing, helps your cells process fluids? What if it tasted great at the same time? And made you smile? Would you do it? How much would it cost? Turns out, life is just a bowl of cherries. Their antioxidants inhibit enzymes associated with inflammation, and might prevent genetic mutations leading to cancer and control growth of cancer cells (anthocyanins); they're anti-cancer, with new studies showing they might help lesions predicting colon tumors, and may keep blood vessels supple (quercitin). They're high pectin, fiber helping prevent heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol. They help keep eyesight and skin healthy (beta-carotene, in sour cherries, 19 times what's in blueberries). And they help regulate sleep patterns and circadian rhythms (melatonin). They can offset the high blood pressure effects of salt, reducing hypertension (potassium). They might help with weight; rats on a diet supplemented with cherry powder gained less body fat and weight; anthocyanins activate a molecule that increases burning of fat, while decreasing fat storage. Gout? Research shows cherries lowered uric acid levels by 15%, reducing inflammation. Runners drinking tart cherry juice daily reported less pain. Sweet cherries have almost three times the anthocyanins as tart ones; darker cherries make more antioxidants. Ok, curiosity got me; are some fruits more optimum-healthy than others? Ode to summer fruit.

Watermelon: high antioxidants, amino acids, both help bodies function; high lycopene, protecting cells from damage; may lower heart risk and help bones; prevent prostate cancer. Decreases blood pressure and stiff arteries; may help reduce fat; helps athletic performance; its choline suppresses chronic inflammation. The fiber helps digestion; vitamin A helps skin/hair; electrolytes prevent heat stroke; antioxidants may lower cancer risk. Blueberries: May improve motor skills and reverse short-term memory loss; have antioxidants helping nighttime vision; help reduce infection risk; phytonutrients. Helps bones (calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, vitamin K); lowers blood pressure; improved insulin levels; may prevent or slow cancer; have folate, to repair DNA, preventing cancer cell formation from DNA mutations. Can reduce risk of cognitive decline as well as Parkinson's; vitamin C helps collagen. Picture the ripest red cherry, the freshest bulging blueberry. Indulge! This feast is not too good to be true. Yet, it's compromised by the other news. Do you think there's a link between all the chemicals in our food and the fact that we read more about people getting cancer? Did you know they're now spraying nerve gas on fields where fruits and vegetables are grown? Nerve gas can lead to brain problems and potentially cause cancer. And for those of you hoping and praying for less government regulation of things, be careful what you wish for. Fewer food inspectors, no EPA, fewer regulations on food labeling, less education for more people, and look! How much money it saves the government! Is this what you want? These are complicated economic and political issues. What can we do? Did you know about the "Dirty Dozen," a list of foods with the most pesticide residues? How about the "Clean 15"?The Dirty Dozen, after you read it, helps you figure out which foods it's important to buy organic. The Clean 15 helps you decide where eating organic's less urgent. Who does these lists? I'd suggest checking the EWG website (Environmental Working Group); it's an amazing amount of knowledge and research. Ever consider that sunscreens may hurt us? Wonder which cleaners are safe? And - What's happening to our strawberries?

Please, don't miss the Strawberry Update, on the EWG website. It's disgusting. U.S. Department of Agriculture tests found strawberries the most likely produce to be contaminated with pesticide residues, even after they're picked, rinsed in the field, and washed before eating. The USDA's Pesticide Data Program facts: * The dirtiest strawberry sample had residues of 21 different pesticides and breakdown products. * Some chemicals used on strawberries are linked to cancer, reproductive and developmental damage, hormone disruption and neurological problems. * Carbendazim, a hormone-disrupting fungicide that damages the male reproductive system, was detected on 20 percent of 2014 and 2015 samples. The European Union has banned it because of its intense toxicity. * Bifenthrin, found on more than 33 percent of samples in 2014 and 2015, is an insecticide that California regulators have designated a possible human carcinogen. * Malathion, found on 11 percent of recent samples, is toxic to the nervous system and, according to the International Agency for Cancer Research, is a probable human carcinogen. It is often sprayed to eradicate mosquitos and other insects. "None of these results violates weak U.S. laws or regulations on pesticides in food," the report states. California grows over 3/4 of the fresh strawberries sold in the U.S. CA data shows that nearly 300 pounds of pesticides were applied to each acre of strawberries in 2014. This compares to five pounds of pesticides per acre of corn, a crop thought of as pesticide-intensive. EWG reports an alternative to fumigating fields that's effective, but would raise prices. Organic strawberries now represent less than 10% of U.S. sales. If more people buy organic, and growers stop using pesticides/ fumigants, prices are expected to drop. Please take a look at "Dirty Dozen Endocrine Disruptors," if you really want to be scared. Please consider what less government means to what we eat, and to our longevity. ______________________________________________ ©Carole Bell 2017 Carole Bell is a writer interested in everything. You can write to her at:


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