This GMO Apple Won’t Brown. Will That Sour The Fruit’s Image? : The Salt : NPR

Soon after being sliced, a conventional Granny Smith apple (left) starts to brown, while a newly developed GM Granny Smith stays fresher looking.

Courtesy of Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.

If you (or your children) turn up your nose at brown apple slices, would you prefer fresh-looking ones that have been genetically engineered?

Neal Carter, president of Okanagan Specialty Fruits, in British Columbia, Canada, certainly hopes so. His company has created the new, non-browning, \”Arctic\” apples, and he\’s hoping for big orders from despairing parents and food service companies alike. Food service companies, he says, would no longer have to treat their sliced apples with antioxidant chemicals like calcium ascorbate to keep them looking fresh.

The cost savings \”can be huge,\” he says. \”Right now, to make fresh-cut apple slices and put them in the bag, 35 or 40 percent of the cost is the antioxident treatment. So you could make a fresh-cut apple slice 30 percent cheaper.\”

The new apples are waiting for approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But they face opposition — including from apple producers who worry that this new product will taint the apple\’s wholesome, all-natural image.

\”Our concern is marketing,\” says Christian Schlect, president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, which represents apple growers in the major apple-producing areas of the Pacific Northwest.

Schlect sees a risk that consumers who are viscerally opposed to genetic engineering will avoid apples entirely, and the industry will have to spend precious time and money keeping GMO apples separate from their conventional cousins.

The non-browning trait was created by inserting extra copies of genes that the apple already possessed. These genes normally create an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase, which is responsible for the chemical reaction that causes browning.

Yet when extra copies of the gene are added, the apple reacts by shutting down all of them, stopping production of the enzyme and preventing the browning reaction. (Like any apple, these apples eventually will go brown from normal rotting. It\’s the immediate \”enzymatic browning\” that\’s blocked.)

Okanagan Specialty Fruits licensed this technique from the Australian research institute where it was first discovered.

At the moment, there are non-browning versions of Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apples. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has allowed Okanagan Specialty Fruits to produce them in test plots covering a few acres in the states of New York and Washington. Carter says his company now is working to put the trait in Fuji and Gala apples, too.

The USDA has studied the apple and released a preliminary conclusion that Arctic apples are pretty much as harmless as conventional ones. That assessment is now open for public comment, and thousands of people have taken advantage of the opportunity — most of them fiercely opposed to it.

Even if the USDA approved the apples within a few months, as Carter hopes, it would take several years before commercial quantities of non-browning apples could show up in grocery stores.

Okanagan Specialty Fruits does not plan to grow large quantities of apples itself. It will license its variety to commercial growers, charging them a one-time fee of $1,500 per acre of trees. Carter says this is comparable to the license fees that growers currently pay for the right to produce patented varieties such as Gala or Fuji.

Carter is convinced that most consumers will be curious to try the apple. The company conducted focus groups in four U.S. cities, from San Francisco to Raleigh, N.C. The company showed consumers the apple, explained that it was genetically engineered, and asked them, \”Would you buy it?\”

\”Typically, it\’s about 80-20,\” says Carter. \”80 percent say, \’Fantastic, bring it on.\’ And 20 percent say, \’Hmm. I don\’t think I like genetic engineering.\’ But they all eat it. Even if they were a nay-sayer that was never going to eat any GM fruit, they will eat a slice. It\’s not like we have to ask them to eat a slice. They will ask if they can eat a slice.\”

Carter thinks it may be more difficult convincing grocery stores to stock the new apple. Even if only a minority of their customers are viscerally opposed to it, grocery stores are risk-averse, and don\’t want to drive away any business at all.

via This GMO Apple Won’t Brown. Will That Sour The Fruit’s Image? : The Salt : NPR.

7 Foods That Help Protect Your Skin from Harmful UV Rays

Before you soak up some sun now through Labor Day, maybe try munching on a few from the article below!

You know that a lot of foods are really good for you, but did you know that several actually have properties that can help protect your skin from the sun? Considering the intense rays many of us are exposed to this summer, everything helps, right?

Here’s a little more about how this works, and what foods to add to your diet for a little extra skin protection.

Science Indicates Foods Can be Skin Protective

According to the University of Maryland Medical System, eating certain foods can help protect against skin cancer. Though we don’t yet have scientific tests that have measured and compared various foods and their ability to protect the skin, research has shown that antioxidants may offer protection.

A study published in 2010 also came to similar conclusions, though it added that food nutrients can protect not only against skin cancer, but photo-oxidative damage that leads to skin aging. Scientists noted in the study that antioxidant vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, in addition to essential fatty acids, have demonstrated protective properties. They added that the presence of these nutrients in the traditional Greek-style Mediterranean diet may have contributed to the low levels of melanoma there, despite the population’s exposure to high levels of solar radiation.

“The increasing incidence of skin cancer despite the use of externally applied sun protection strategies,” said Niva Shapira, lead author, “alongside research showing that nutrients reduce photo-oxidative damage, suggest nutritional approaches could play a beneficial role in skin cancer prevention.”

Some of the Best Choices

Though many foods may offer sun protection, below are a few of those with the most promise so far, though we’re always finding out about new super foods.

1. Apples. Surprised? A Japanese study actually found that apple polyphenol extracts, particularly flavonids called “procyanidins,” inhibit skin cancer in mice. Another polyphenol, quercetin, protected DNA from human skin cancer cells.

2. Green Tea. Yes, it’s a beverage, but it’s got powerful antioxidants. The University of Maryland Medical Center says it contains polyphenols, potent antioxidants that have shown in studies to help prevent skin tumors from starting or growing.

3. Dark Chocolate. Another reason to indulge now and then, dark chocolate has powerful antioxidants that may help protect from sunburn.

4 and 5. Olive Oil and Tomato Paste. Did you need another reason for using these health-filled goodies, often critical in flavorful pasta sauces? Here it is. German studies found that those subjects consuming about 2 teaspoons of olive oil and about ¼ cup of tomato paste daily for 10 weeks experienced 35 percent less reddening when exposed to sunlamps than those who didn’t eat these items. In addition, research from the University of Michigan found that lycopene and other antioxidants in tomatoes can help prevent the skin from becoming sunburned.

6. Broccoli. Research from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine exposed areas of volunteers’ skin to intense ultraviolet light one to three days after applying a broccoli-sprout extract to the same area. The extract was all but rubbed away by the time of the exposure, but those areas had, on average, 37 percent less redness and inflammation. Simultaneous animal studies showed that mice treated with the extract had significantly fewer and smaller skin tumors after exposure to UV rays. Scientists say that broccoli turns on the body’s natural cancer-fighting machinery, and once turned on, it works for days. The lead researcher of the study recommended eating one-half cup of broccoli each day to protect against skin cancer.

7. Green, Leafy Vegetables. This includes kale, spinach, and chard. According to an Australian study, these could decrease skin cancer risk. Scientists studied over 1,000 adults living in Australia over an 11-year period, and found that increasing intakes of green leafy vegetables was associated with a 41 percent decreased risk of skin cancer. These vegetables are rich in folic acid, which plays a key role in DNA synthesis and repair. In addition, researchers also examined those participants that previously had skin cancer, and found that those who did had a 55 percent decrease in skin cancer with increasing intakes of green leafy vegetables. “Our findings show that higher intakes of green leafy vegetables may help prevent Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) tumors among people who have prior skin cancers,” the researchers stated.

via 7 Foods That Help Protect Your Skin from Harmful UV Rays / Cinco Vidas.

Top 7 Supermarket Foods to Avoid

Pardon my summer hiatus – be back in a day or two!

I found this article really interesting –

By Emma Sgourakis, Certified Nutritional Therapist

In a recent article, seven experts in the fields of both food and the environment (scientists, doctors and farmers) were asked just one simple question: “What foods do you avoid?” Their responses had nothing to do with calories or nutrient-density, but all to do with their insider knowledge on how certain seemingly “healthy” foods that they closely work with are produced and packaged. The findings are scary.

If the farmer who grows the food won’t eat it himself, then I won’t touch it either.

Here’s a summary of the findings. You can add these seven to your ‘Foods to Avoid‘ list:

1. Canned Tomatoes

An endocrinologist and expert on the topic of the synthetic oestrogen bisphenol-A (BCA), linked to heart disease and infertility, won’t go near canned tomatoes. Tin cans are lined with a resin containing BCA which is especially a problem with canning tomatoes, as the acid in tomato breaks this down in dangerous amounts. This is a serious health concern for everyone who loves a Spag Bol, especially children. My advice: if you still want the convenience of stored, ready-to-cook tomatoes, opt for sauces and passata in glass bottles.

2. Conventional Beef

For fat cows (and fat people) feed them grain, corn and soy. This is what farmers do to increase profits. The end product is meat that is nutritionally inferior. Cows were meant to eat grass. Studies show that grass-fed beef (compared to corn-fed) is higher in important vitamins, minerals and the heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory fats. Then there’s also the issue of all the antibiotics used on those inappropriately-fed, sick cows… My advice: Look for “grass-fed” or “pasture-fed” organic beef from strong healthy beasts.

3. Microwave Popcorn

Another poisonous packaging issue: Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) lines the bags of those popcorn bags, and the heat in the microwave leaches this straight onto your movie munchies. The UCLA links this compound to infertility. My advice: Corn kernels + butter + sea salt + plus a big pot (with a lid!) Simple.

4. Conventional Potatoes

More than any other vegetable, non-organic potatoes are heavily sprayed with herbicides, pesticides and fungicides throughout every stage of their growth, harvesting and storage. So much so that potato growers never eat the potatoes they sell and grow their own separate plots without all the chemicals. My advice: Organic or Bio-dynamic potatoes only.

5. Farmed Salmon

This is particularly scary considering that in Australia, the only fresh Salmon we have access to is farmed; all farmed, this includes “Atlantic” Salmon. These fish are crammed in pens and fed all manner of junk from soy and hydrolyzed chicken feathers and pellets. A scientific study on fish contamination showed high levels of DDT and PCB’s (carcinogens). So serious were the findings that the director for the Institute for Health warns that any more than one salmon meal every 5 months increases your cancer risk. Not to mention that fact that the levels of Omega 3 and Vitamin D are devoid in these poor factory-versions that their wild, up-stream-swimming ancestors contain. My advice: For fresh fish, choose small & wild varieties wherever available. For salmon in Australia, your only wild option is out of a tin. Look for brands like Paramount Wild Alaskan Salmon, or other brands form Norway and Canada are often wild too. Even still, eat these only occasionally.

6. Conventional Milk

Dairy cows today are fed growth hormones to maximize milk production. Not only does this make for a potentially breast/prostate/colon cancer milk shake, but it also leads to increased incidence of udder infection for the poor cow, leading to pus in the milk. My advice: if you do drink cows’ milk, make sure it states clearly on the label that it is produced without artificial hormones, and ideally choose organic whole milk from pasture-fed cows.

7. Conventional Apples

There’s no coincidence that farm workers have higher rates of many cancers. Of all common fruits, apples are the most heavily and frequently doused with pesticides. Pesticide reside on conventional fruits is also linked to Parkinson’s. To limit exposure, be wary of apples especially. My advice: Organic. Or at the very least, wash and peel.

Source: www.thenutritioncoach.com.au/blog…