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Nutrition: Going Organic / Vitamin D and Cancer


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From Dr. Weil's Weekly Bulletin:

Nutrition: Going Organic

Throughout January we will feature ways to improve your health through tweaking your diet and lifestyle. Enjoy!

Fruits and vegetables should be a large part of your diet. I recommend at least 5 servings per day, if not more. The antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals present in produce help boost the immune system, prevent or lessen disease, and can even help you age gracefully. That said, some fruits and vegetables should only be purchased as organic.

The following list (from the Environmental Working Group) has the conventionally grown fruits and vegetables with the highest amounts of pesticide levels. Make sure to only buy the following in organic form - the small cost increase (if any) is worth it.










Sweet Bell Peppers

Visit www.DrWeil.com for more information on eating healthy.


Science and Supplement News: Vitamin D May Offer Cancer Protection

Getting adequate vitamin D may reduce the risk of cancer by 30 percent, according to the results of a forthcoming study from the Harvard School of Public Health. The study, which included 50,000 men, showed that rates of all types of cancer were 30 percent lower among those whose vitamin D intake was adequate. However, recent evidence suggests that more than 40 percent of all Americans have low vitamin D levels and deficiencies are believed to be widespread. Since our bodies can make vitamin D in response to sun exposure, most people maintain adequate levels during warm weather, but the further north you live, the less likely you are to get adequate sun exposure - and produce sufficient vitamin D - during the fall and winter months. Milk is fortified with vitamin D as is some orange juice. Good food sources of vitamin D are eggs, salmon (preferably wild Alaskan), mackerel and sardines. Most multivitamins contain vitamin D but often not enough to give you optimal levels, between 400 and 800 mg per day. The Harvard study has not yet been published but partial results were reported in The Boston Globe on December 30, 2004.

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That is a really useful list. It is more helpful to know which produce to buy organic if one is not going to go "all organic". The rule of thumb I had previously heard is that fruits like oranges and bananas were not as important to buy organic as grapes, cherries and strawberries as they would not absorb as much of the pesticide. Of course, some of the pesticides are absorbed through the earth over time but that is nothing compared to what is sprayed on.

There are some great products on the market for cleaning fruits and vegetables also. They are supposed to really increase the amount of dirt and pesticides removed over water alone.

As for vitamin D, it has been found to be lacking in the diets of people. They have also found a link between vitamin D and pain syndromes. Another relatively harmless thing to make sure we do for ourselves everyday. Thanks so much Hebbie!

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