Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious?
Due to currents levels of soil depletion, genetic modification and pesticides, crops grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today. But what’s the nutritional difference between a carrot in 1950s and one today?
Higher antioxidant levels, lower pesticide loads, better farming practices all lead to a more nutritious end product when choosing organic over GMO foods. But the primary culprit in this disturbing nutritional trend is soil depletion: Modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil in which the food we eat grows. Sadly, each successive generation of fast-growing, pest-resistant carrot is truly less good for you than the one before.
A landmark study on the topic by Donald Davis and his team of researchers from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry was published in December 2004 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. They studied U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits, finding “reliable declines” in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past half century. Davis and his colleagues chalk up this declining nutritional content to the preponderance of agricultural practices designed to improve traits (size, growth rate, pest resistance) other than nutrition.
Other findings published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that organically produced apples have a 15 percent higher antioxidant capacity than conventionally produced apples.
“Efforts to breed new varieties of crops that provide greater yield, pest resistance and climate adaptability have allowed crops to grow bigger and more rapidly,” reported Davis, “but their ability to manufacture or uptake nutrients has not kept pace with their rapid growth.” There have likely been declines in other nutrients, too, he said, such as magnesium, zinc and vitamins B-6 and E, but they were not studied in 1950 and more research is needed to find out how much less we are getting of these key vitamins and minerals.
The Organic Consumers Association cites several other studies with similar findings: A Kushi Institute analysis of nutrient data from 1975 to 1997 found that average calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27 percent; iron levels 37 percent; vitamin A levels 21 percent, and vitamin C levels 30 percent. A similar study of British nutrient data from 1930 to 1980, published in the British Food Journal,found that in 20 vegetables the average calcium content had declined 19 percent; iron 22 percent; and potassium 14 percent. Yet another study concluded that one would have to eat eight oranges today to derive the same amount of Vitamin A as our grandparents would have gotten from one.
Tomatoes grown by organic methods contain more phenolic compounds than those grown using commercial standards. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry analyzed the phenolic profiles of Daniela tomatoes grown either using ‘conventional’ or organic methods, finding that those grown under organic conditions contained significantly higher levels of phenolic compounds than those grown conventionally.
What can be done? The key to healthier produce is healthier soil. Alternating fields between growing seasons to give land time to restore would be one important step. Also, foregoing pesticides and fertilizers in favor of organic growing methods is good for the soil, the produce and its consumers. Those who want to get the most nutritious fruits and vegetables should buy regularly from local organic farmers.
UT’s Davis warns that just because fruits and vegetables aren’t as healthy as they used to be doesn’t mean we should avoid them. “Vegetables are extraordinarily rich in nutrients and beneficial phytochemicals,” he reported. “They are still there, and vegetables and fruits are our best sources for these.”
GMO Foods Are A Source of The Problem
Most nations in the world have no GMO-Free platform to protect their citizens and although this is slowly changing, most nations are far behind places like Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Egypt, Russia and others who have GMO-Free or national bans on GMOs. Nations such as The United States, Canada, China, UK, Australia, Mexico, and most of South America, Asia and Africa who have no formal GMO-free platforms so that they continue their unrestricted and widespread use in all foods.
The important thing to note in these deficiencies is that these are exactly the deficiencies in a human being that lead to susceptibility to sickness, disorders and cancer. People who have osteoporosis are low in calcium and magnesium, people who have cancer are low in manganese. The list goes on and on. A stunning report on GMO vs. organic corn posted on Moms Across America clearly showing the nutritional value difference between GMO corn and NON GMO corn.
- Non-GMO corn has 6130 ppm of calcium while GMO corn has 14 — non-GMO corn has 437 times more calcium.
- Non-GMO corn has 113 ppm of magnesium while GMO corn has 2 — non-GMO corn has about 56 times more magnesium.
- Non-GMO corn has 113 ppm of potassium while GMO corn has 7 — non-GMO corn has 16 times more potassium.
- Non-GMO corn has 14 ppm of manganese while GMO corn has 2 — non-GMO corn has 7 times more manganese.
Overall, non-GMO corn is 20 times richer in nutrition, energy and protein compared to GMO corn.
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It may well be that the lack of sunshine in the wintertime is the biggest reason we get more colds and flues during that time. It turns out, that sunshine directly charges the immune system – and it has nothing to do with vitamin D!
Sunshine must be the most underutilized and free remedy available to mankind. A recent notable study found that sunshine is the biggest climate element affecting mental health. Workplace sunshine helps increase sleep quality, physical activity and overall quality of life – whereas artificial light is harmful. Sunlight is even shown to help us lose weight.
In 2014, researchers declared that sunshine could reduce the risk of death from all causes. In fact, they said,
We suspect that the benefits to heart health of sunlight will outweigh the risk of skin cancer.
And now we may have the missing puzzle piece why…
Sunlight offers surprise benefit — it energizes infection fighting T cells
Georgetown University Medical Center researchers have found that sunlight, through a mechanism separate than vitamin D production, energizes T cells that play a central role in human immunity.
Their findings, published today in Scientific Reports, suggest how our skin – the body’s largest organ – stays alert to the many microbes there.
The study’s senior investigator, Gerard Ahern, PhD, associate professor in the Georgetown’s Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, said:
We all know sunlight provides vitamin D, which is suggested to have an impact on immunity, among other things. But what we found is a completely separate role of sunlight on immunity. Some of the roles attributed to vitamin D on immunity may be due to this new mechanism.
They specifically found that low levels of blue light, found in sun rays, makes T cells move faster — marking the first reported human cell responding to sunlight by speeding its pace.
T cells, whether they are helper or killer, need to move to do their work, which is to get to the site of an infection and orchestrate a response.
This study shows that sunlight directly activates key immune cells by increasing their movement.
Ahern notes that while production of vitamin D required UV light, which can promote skin cancer and melanoma, blue light from the sun, as well as from special lamps, is safer.
And while the human and T cells they studied in the laboratory were not specifically skin T cells — they were isolated from mouse cell culture and from human blood — the skin has a large share of T cells in humans, he says – about twice the number circulating in our blood.
“We know that blue light can reach the dermis, the second layer of the skin, and that those T cells can move throughout the body,” he said.
The researchers further decoded how blue light makes T cells move more by tracing the molecular pathway activated by the light, Georgetown reported.
What drove the motility response in T cells was synthesis of hydrogen peroxide, which then activated a signaling pathway that increases T cell movement.
Hydrogen peroxide, they reported, is a compound that white blood cells release when they sense an infection in order to kill bacteria and to “call” T cells and other immune cells to mount an immune response.
Ahern concluded [emphasis added]:
We found that sunlight makes hydrogen peroxide in T cells, which makes the cells move. And we know that an immune response also uses hydrogen peroxide to make T cells move to the damage.
This all fits together.
Ahern is eager to continue these findings and figures it might make sense to offer patients blue light therapy to boost their immunity.
What do you think? Have these discoveries made you want to catch some wintry sun?
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Scientists in the United States have developed a flexible microfluidic device that easily sticks to the skin and measures sweat levels to show how the wearer’s body is responding to exercise.
The low-cost device, which can quickly analyses key elements such as lactate, Ph or glucose levels and let the user know if they should stop or change their activity, could also in future help diagnose and monitor disease, the researchers said.
“Sweat is a rich, chemical broth containing a number of important chemical compounds with physiological health information,” said John Rogers, a professor Northwestern University in the United States who led the development of what he called a “lab on the skin”
Reporting results of the trial of the device in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the researchers said one of its attractions is that it allows people to monitor their health on the spot without the need for blood sampling.
The device, a slim, flexible patch measuring less than a couple of centimeters across, has integrated electronics that do not need batteries and can connect wireless to a smartphone.
Rogers explained that during exercise, sweat winds through the tiny microscopic channels of the device and into four compartments. Here, it reacts with chemical reagents to produce color-based readings relating to pH and to concentrations of glucose, chloride and lactate.
The wireless electronics trigger a smartphone app that captures and analyses the image to give the results.
Rogers’ team tested the device on two groups of athletes – one cycling indoors under controlled conditions and the other taking part in a long-distance ride in tough and dry conditions.
The sweat monitoring patch was placed on the athletes’ arms and backs to test its accuracy and durability.
Results showed that with the indoor cyclists, the device’s measurements and readouts were as good as conventional laboratory analyses of the same sweat. In the long-distance cyclists, the device proved robust – it stayed in place, did not leak, and provided good quality readings.
Designed for one-time use of a few hours, the device can also detect a bio-marker for cystic fibrosis, Rogers said, suggesting it could be adapted in various ways to help diagnose disease or monitor health in people with chronic illnesses.
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Many teens are afflicted by acne Credit: Telegraph
Spotty teenagers may have the last laugh over their peers with perfect skin after research found that those who suffer from acne are likely to live longer.
Their cells have a built-in protection against ageing which is likely to make them look better in later life, a study has found.
By the time she reaches middle age, the spotty girl who could never find a boyfriend could be attracting envious glances from her grey and wrinkly peers.
Experts had already noted that signs of ageing such as wrinkles and thinning skin often appear much later in people who have experienced acne.
Now, scientists believe they may have discovered why.
A study of white blood cells taken from individuals affected by spots showed they had longer protective caps on the ends of their chromosomes.
Called telomeres, the caps can be compared with the plastic tips that stop shoe laces becoming frayed.
They help prevent the chromosomes, packages of DNA, deteriorating and fusing with their neighbours during cell division.
Telomeres shrink over time and are closely linked to biological ageing – people with long telomeres age more slowly than people with short ones.
The new research shows that acne sufferers tend to have significantly longer telomeres and may therefore be blessed with the gift of long-lasting youthfulness.
Lead researcher Dr Simone Ribero, from King’s College London, said: “For many years dermatologists have identified that the skin of acne sufferers appears to age more slowly than in those who have not experienced any acne in their lifetime.
“Whilst this has been observed in clinical settings, the cause of this was previously unclear.
“Our findings suggest that the cause could be linked to the length of telomeres which appears to be different in acne sufferers and means their cells may be protected against ageing.
“By looking at skin biopsies, we were able to begin to understand the gene expressions related to this. Further work is required to consider if certain gene pathways may provide a base for useful interventions.”
The study, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, looked at 1,205 female twins, a quarter of whom reported having had acne.
One of the genes involved in telomere length was also found to be associated with acne, suggesting that being spotty did not slow ageing itself but flagged up what was happening in a person’s cells.
Analysis of skin samples from the twins highlighted a gene pathway called p53, which regulates apoptosis, or “programmed cell death” – a kind of cell suicide.
When telomeres become too short, it can trigger a series of events that lead to apoptosis.
The p53 pathway was shown to be less active in the skin of acne sufferers, although this is still under investigation.
Co-author Dr Veronique Bataille, also from King’s College London, said: “Longer telomeres are likely to be one factor explaining the protection against premature skin ageing in individuals who previously suffered from acne.
“Another important pathway, related to the p53 gene, is also relevant when we looked at gene expression in the skin of acne twins compared to twin controls.”
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Dandelion has been used medicinally since ancient times for its various health benefits. However, the most powerful benefit to come out of this common weed is something that medical researchers are super excited to have “discovered” – which is its potential to cure cancer!
This potent root builds up blood and immune system- cures prostate, lung, and other cancers better than chemotherapy. According to Dr. Carolyn Hamm from the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre in Ontario, Canada, dandelion root extract was the only thing that helped with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. This form of cancer typically affects older adults.
John Di Carlo, who at the time was a 72-year old cancer patient at the hospital, was sent home to live out his final days after all efforts failed to treat his leukemia. He told CBC News that he was advised to drink dandelion root tea as a last ditch effort. Perhaps it should have been the first option offered in his treatment plan, as his cancer went into remission only four months later! His doctors attributed this to the dandelion tea that he drank.
Recent studies have shown that dandelion root extract can work very quickly on cancer cells, as was evidenced in Di Carlo’s case. Within 48 hours of coming into contact with the extract, cancerous cells begin to disintegrate. The body happily replaces these with healthy new cells.
Further studies have concluded that the extract also has anti-cancer benefits for other types of cancer, including breast, colon, prostate, liver, and lung cancer! Dandelion root tea may not taste as pleasant as other teas, but it’s certainly more pleasant than living with the side effects of chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
Traditional cancer therapies harm the immune system by killing all cells, even the healthy ones. Dandelion root has the opposite effect – it actually helps boost your immune system and only targets the unhealthy cells. It’s definitely a win-win situation!
Dr. Hamm warns, however, that dandelion root extract can negatively impact the effects of chemotherapy. It’s always best to consult with your doctor, and let them know any and all supplements or foods that you are consuming on a regular basis.
Screenshot via YouTube
Even if you don’t have cancer, eating the greens or drinking dandelion tea can still give you great health! For example, the roots and stems of dandelion can help fight diabetes. It does this by stimulating the pancreas to produce insulin, which in turn stabilizes the spikes in blood sugar levels.
If you suffer from digestive issues or need to get rid of toxins, dandelion tea may be just what the herbal medicine doctor ordered! The liver aids the digestive system by producing bile, and it also filters the blood of chemicals and other impurities. According to Dr. Axe, the vitamins and minerals found in dandelions can help cleanse the liver and keep it in tip top shape. So by supporting your liver, you are actually creating better health!
Dandelions are also high in antioxidants and vitamin C, which is crucial to helping your body fight off infections, such as the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. If you suffer from frequent bouts of UTI, drinking dandelion tea on a daily basis may prevent it from happening ever again.
Dandelion greens are bitter, but completely edible – as long as you get it from an area that hasn’t been sprayed with chemicals. The greens are rich in fiber, which is great for intestinal health! High fiber diets have also been shown to reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.
The greens are also high in vitamin A – just one cup contains 100% of your recommended daily allowance. Vitamin A is critical for maintaining healthy vision, and it can also prevent premature aging of the skin.
Since you probably aren’t likely to eat an entire cup of bitter greens on its own, you can incorporate it into a morning smoothie. Just blend it up with your favorite fruit, which will offset the bitter taste.
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Researchers are using algorithms and machine learning to tackle the disease
Microsoft is working towards fighting cancer using computer science such as machine learning and algorithms.
By treating cancer like an information processing system, Microsoft researchers are able to adapt tools typically used to model computational processes to model biological ones.
Ultimately, the company hopes to create molecular computers to program the body to fight cancer cells immediately after detection.
“We are trying to change the way research is done on a daily basis in biology,” said Jasmin Fisher, a senior researcher who works in the programming principles and tools group in the Microsoft’s research lab in Cambridge.
This is combined with a data-driven approach; putting machine learning at the core of Microsoft’s attempts to try to tackle the disease. The company wants to take the biological data that is available and use analysis tools to better understand and treat the disease.
“I think it’s a very natural thing for Microsoft to be looking at because we have tremendous expertise in computer science and what is going on in cancer is a computational problem,” Chris Bishop, director of the Cambridge-based lab, told WIRED.
“It’s not just an analogy, it’s a deep mathematical insight. Biology and computing are disciplines which seem like chalk and cheese but which have very deep connections on the most fundamental level.”
For instance, machine learning and natural language processing are being used to provide a way to sort through the research data available, which can then be given to oncologists to create the most effect and individualized cancer treatment for patients.
At the moment, there is so much data available, it is impossible for a person to go through and understand it all. Machine learning can process the information much faster than humans and make it easier to understand.
Machine learning is also being paired with computer vision to give radiologists a more detailed understanding of how a patient’s tumor is progressing. Researchers are working on a system that could eventually evaluate 3D scans by analyzing pixels to tell the radiologist exactly how much a tumor has grown, shrunk or changed shape since the last scan.
Andrew Phillips, head of the biological computation research group at the Cambridge Lab said researchers benefit from Microsoft’s history as a software innovator.
“We can use methods that we’ve developed for programming computers to program biology, and then unlock even more applications and even better treatments,” he said.
Phillips is working to create a molecular computer that could be put inside a cell to monitor for disease. If the sensor detected a disease, such as cancer, it would activate a response to fight it.
Research such as this would also use traditional computing and re-purpose it into medical or biotechnology applications, so the body could be programmed to fight a disease, in the way we program a computer to do something.
Though the research is still in the early stages, Phillips told The Telegraph it could be technically possible to put in a smart molecular system to fight a disease in this way, in “five to 10 years time”.
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