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Nutrition,food,health,life,fruits,vegetables,hydroponics

With the ever growing popularity of hydroponic gardening, along the way come questions regarding the nutritional value of hydroponics vs soil grown vegetables and fruits. Nutritional value has become a very important part of our lives, therefore knowing what you are growing and consuming is an important factor.

Without doubt, hydroponics is an environmental giant but are the nutritional values on the same scale as soil grown plants? Elements and nutrients found in soil have a strong impact on the plants' values. Hydroponics, on the other hand, are grown in water vs soil. It could be said that hydroponics are therefore lacking in important nutrients and elements. That is not the case though because hydroponic growth relies on a liquid nutrients fed to the plants and therefor hydroponic plants are given the same essential elements and compounds as soil grown plants.

Some will say that soil grown plants will always have a higher level of nutrients than those grown in water. If the hydroponic gardener chooses his or her nutrient supplements wisely, they will have plants that are just as robust and loaded with great nutrients as those grown in soil. There are higher-end nutrient solutions on the market that are probably a good investment to ensure the bumper crops within your home are top quality.

Pros and Cons:

Hydroponics, grown the proper way, have exactly the same values as plants grown in soil. Those interested in hydroponic gardening must do their homework and learn how to grow plants the proper way in a hydroponic system. Without the proper lighting, nutrients and water, whether grown in soil or hydroponically the plants will not do well.

If you are just starting off with a hydroponic garden, it is strongly suggested that you get with someone who has been doing this for some time. Your local nursery might have hydroponic systems and people experienced in how to grow plants correctly.

Humidity must be controlled regularly because these plants are using water for their base of growth. Too much water can cause rot and wilting but this can be said with plants based in soil as well. Getting advice and learning from knowledgeable hydroponic gardeners is going to save you from unexpected mishaps and get you on the road to great gardening success.

Some of the Pros for hydroponics is not needing soil which makes for a great alternative for apartment dwellers. Hydroponics can be grown in the middle of a desert as long as you have an ample water supply.

As the water stays within the system, you will save on your water bill unlike soil gardening. Nutrients can be controlled as well as deciding whether you want a lower end nutrient or a higher end, it's your choice. You will not have to worry about pesticides and other chemicals that are sprayed on produce you purchase from the store. Hydroponics is extremely environmentally friendly and cost efficient.

Learn from those with experience and you will have year round wonderful produce for your table and fresh aromatic herbs for your many wonderful dishes. You will have the same high quality nutritional value as you have come to experience in an outdoor garden.

Always include a good amount of vegetables and fruits in your daily diet. These foods are loaded with vitamins and proteins that your body needs to stay healthy. Experiment with a variety of vegetable and fruit dishes for a wonderful change of pace.

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The Story of Seaweed:

Anyone who has ever gone to the ocean is familiar with seaweed, it's that dark brown  stuff that washes up onto the beach.  Seaweed offers some of the most amazing nutrients and minerals for the human body - Bet you didn't see that coming!

People have been using seaweed for thousands of years and with good reason.  Seaweed is closely tied to many human cultures due to its availability and its chemical similarities to the human body.

People who have grown up by the sea have been using seaweed for their late night clam bakes for years with very good reason.  Anthropologists know that every living creature came from the sea and every living creature has elements of the sea in their bodies.  Before man got into agriculture, seaweed was the main basic staple diet  of early man who lived by the sea.  Seaweed is considered one of the oldest, nutritional food sources and one of the oldest life forms on earth.

The Magic Of Seaweed:

Seaweed is made up of minerals, vitamins and trace elements that form its composition.  Humans have the same makeup, internally, making seaweed's minerals and healing components easily absorbed into the blood and offers amazing healing benefits for various health issues.

Seaweed can offer detoxification in the human body, rejuvenate skin, destroy bacteria and give us a mountain of minerals.

Where Can I Get Seaweed:

You probably have been using seaweed and don't even know it.  Seaweed has been incorporated into many foods as well as in creams and lotions for your skin.  Seaweed pills have been available for quite sometime in health stores and can be found in an assortment of other consumable products.

How To Prepare Seaweed:

Short of washing it, there are no special processing steps involved in preparing it.  There are limitless foods cooked with seaweed worldwide.  Seaweed is an incredibly versatile food that can be consumed fresh, boiled, steamed, fried, etc. and served as a side dish with just about any type of entree.

You probably are not even aware that seaweed extracts are used in the production of gelatin, pudding, ice cream and toothpaste.  Seaweed is also used as a stabilizer and emulsifier in many everyday products.

Taking a Closer Look At Seaweed:

The benefits of incorporating seaweed into your diet are almost endless.  Seaweed is fat-free, one of the richest vegetables in minerals and low in calories. Sea vegetables  thrive without human intervention because they grow naturally in a marine environment.

This lovely food is high in phosphorous and calcium, higher still in magnesium, iron, sodium and iodine. That's better than the highest quality vitamin pill because seaweed also offers high levels of vitamin A,B1,C and E!  Adding to all this great stuff, add concentrated protein and healthy carbohydrates.

Seaweed is probably the most perfect, nutritionally loaded food source on this planet.

Are There Different Types of Seaweed:

Yes, there are two basic groups of seaweed - brown algae and red algae.  Adding to that, there are many variations to these two groups.  Each group has it's own nutritional properties and a number of different species:

Brown Algae:

Hijiki:

This algae is from the Far East and contains the highest level of calcium of all the types.  It's harvested, steamed and dried to capture the highest level of flavor.

Kelp:

This is the commonly known brown algae and grows along the coastlines of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  It is usually dried and sold as a granular that is sprinkled on foods or sold whole for an added part to a salad.  Kelp has been used for many years as a supplement for people who suffer from thyroid disorders.

Kombu:

This  algae is often used for added flavor in soups.  Added to beans, Kombu can reduce the gas effects caused by bean consumption.

Irish Moss:

This is used mostly in relishes, breads and various delicacies.

Nori:

Found in Japan, this algae is an ingredient in many recipes around the world.  It  is used in bread and sushi wraps. Nori is  extremely high in vitamin A and protein.

Incorporating Seaweed and Fresh Foods for a Healthier Life:

It would be a shame to consume seaweed with all those amazing benefits and then wash it down with junk foods!  Have you ever thought about starting your own hydroponic garden and taking the nutritional benefits a step further?

Hydroponic gardens are so hot that outdoor gardeners are bringing their expertise inside for fresh, nutritional vegetables and herbs year round.  Hydroponic gardens consist of a grow box or grown room, some plant lights, water filters and excellent nutrients for the production of the healthiest, most robust vegetables to place on your table.

Many gardeners and consumers are becoming less satisfied with the produce they find at the local supermarkets.  People are concerned about the chemicals that are applied at vegetable farms and the lack of flavor once they hit the shelves is disappointing.  A hydroponic garden is easy to start and the benefits are year round great tasting, healthy foods.  Growing your own herbs will give you the best flavor for your salads, soups and side dishes of seaweed!

In Conclusion:

Seaweed, in its raw state, has a less then pleasant taste, leaving few people beating down the doors to get it.  But, it is offered in so many excellent forms you needn't consume it raw.  The benefits for a healthy body, both internally and externally, are to extensive to ignore.  Used as a body wrap, the  seaweed literally draws out impurities or toxins.  From seaweed facials to seaweed sprinkled in soups, this amazing food has been benefiting humans for thousands of years and it's about time everyone found out about it.

0 Comments | Posted in News Fruits & Vegetable Gardening Recipes By Karen B. Vance

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Choosing to eat healthy means steering clear of some foods for better alternatives such as organic. Meats, vegetables and fruits grown with little to no processing, often referred to as organic, contain relatively low amounts of additives.

Some of the foods we consume are processed with additives and are neither clean nor sustainable. These foods are harmful to our health and/or the environment. There are foods that experts feel very strongly should be avoided, so let's take a look at these foods. Although these foods are not "banned", they are better left alone and replaced with alternatives.

Canned Tomatoes:

Tin cans are lined with a resin that contains bisphenol-A which is a synthetic estrogen. This estrogen is linked to various health issues including heart disease, Diabetes, Obesity and reproductive problems. The bisphenol-A exceeds acceptable levels and can cause suppressed sperm production or damage to eggs of animals.

Fredrick Vom Saal (Endocrinologist) stated, if you get 50 mcg of BPA per liter in a tomato can, that level is going to impact people, especially the young.

He went on to say that he will not go near canned tomatoes!

If you prefer tomatoes that are in containers vs fresh from produce, choose those that are in glass bottles. These bottles do not use resin linings.

BPA Causes Damage In OffSpring

Microwave Popcorn:

According to studies from UCLA, the bag lining contains perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and attributed to infertility in humans. Tests done on animals have shown these chemicals cause testicular, liver and pancreatic cancers. Adding to that, the microwaving process causes the chemicals to vaporize and end up in the popcorn.

Olga Naidenko, Toxicologist, believes these chemical remain in your body and also continue to accumulate every time you consume microwaved popcorn.

Researchers are concerned that the levels in humans could reach the amounts that are causing cancer in animals. Some manufacturers, including DuPont, will be phasing out PFOA by 2015. Unfortunately, there will be millions of bags sold between now and then.

It is strongly suggested that you return to the good old days when popcorn was prepared in a skillet. You can opt for real butter or other alternatives such as soup mix, vegetable flakes or other herbs.

You can make your popcorn organic by using coconut oil instead.

Stop Eating Microwave Popcorn?

Corn-Fed Beef:

Cattle, by nature, eat grass and have forever. Unfortunately, farmers want their cattle to fatten up and are therefore feeding them corn and soybeans. This equates to a higher price tag on cattle and lower prices at the grocery store. That also means, less nutritional value for the rest of us. Studies conducted by Clemson University and the USDA found that grass-fed beef is higher in vitamin E, beta-carotene, calcium, potassium, omega-3s and more. Grass-fed beef is lower in inflammatory omega-6s and saturated fats that are linked to heart disease.

Joel Salatin is co-owner of Polyface Farms and Author of many books on sustainable farming. He said that cows are herbivores but that doesn't mean they should be fed corn and chicken manure.

You can find grass-fed beef at specialty stores and farmers' markets. You may also find grass-fed beef, nationally, at Whole Food. As grass-fed beef demand a premium, most are labeled very clearly.

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Farmed Salmon:

You will not find salmon's natural environment in crammed pens being fed soy, poultry litter and hydrolyzed chicken feathers! Farmed salmon are much higher in contaminants such as pesticides, carcinogens, PCBs and brominated flame retardants. Do you really want your family or yourself eating this?

According to Dr. Carpenter, the highest contaminated fish come from Northern Europe and found on American menus. He went on to say that it's pretty bad when you eat only one of these dinners every 5 months without running the risk of cancer.Dr. David Carpenter is the director of the Institute for Health and Environment at the University at Albany

Preliminary tests have revealed this salmon can be linked to DDT, diabetes and obesity. Some do believe the level of omega-3s counter the risks. Concerns are in the high levels of antibiotics and pesticides that are treating these fish. When you consume these farmed salmon, you are taking in the same drugs and chemicals that are treating the fish.

You might want to choose wild caught Alaskan salmon instead. Packages that read "Fresh Atlantic" are actually farmed and therefore a false statement. There are absolutely no commercial fisheries left for wild Atlantic salmon. How Healthy Is The Fish You Are Eating?

How Healthy Is The Fish You Are Eating?

Nonorganic Potatoes:

Potatoes are a root vegetable that absorb nutrients as well as harmful pesticides, fungicides and herbicides from the soil. Potatoes are also treated with fungicides during the growing process, and then sprayed with herbicides in order to kill off the vines before harvesting.

Richard Moyer, farm director of the Rodale Institute, stated that if you buy a potato from the store and try to make it sprout, it will not happen.

He has spoken with many potato growers who told him, quite frankly, they will never eat potatoes they sell. They have separate plots without chemicals for themselves.

Richard Moyer is the farm director of the Rodale Institute, owned by Rodale Inc. the publisher of Prevention. He is also chair of the National Organic Standards Board.

Washing potatoes will not remove the chemicals that have absorbed into the flesh. Buying organic potatoes will only cost approx. $1 a lb. more and is worth it for your health.

Milk Production with Artificial Hormones:

Farmers treat the dairy cattle "recombinant bovine growth hormone" (also called rBGH or rBST) in order to boost milk production. This also increases the risk for utter infection and pus in the milk. This also causes high levels of hormone "insulin" like growth in the milk. This high level of insulin can lead to prostate, colon and breast cancers.

Richard North is project director of Campaign for Safe Food at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and former CEO - Oregon division of the American Cancer Society.

Mr North said that when the government approved rBGH, that IGF-1, from milk, would break down in the human digestion. He went on to state that even though there is not a 100% proof that there is an increase of cancer in humans, it is banned in almost all industrialized countries.

Look for labels for rBGH Free, rBST free milk products or purchase raw milk instead.

Do you Still Drink Milk?

GMO Unfermented Soy:

Genetically engineered food causes a great deal of concern because of the manipulation of DNA and genetic coding including one species to another.

Always check labels to make sure soy is Non-GMO or organic. Never consume unfermented soy and if possible, ask the company where exactly Non-GMO soy was obtained.

Buy Only Femented Soy - Foods Fit for Human Consumption

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Apples:

Out of all fruits that are harvest in the fall, Apples would win hands down in being treated with pesticides. Apples are descended from a singular tree in order to retain their individual flavors. As apples do not have a resistance to pest, they are continually sprayed. Although the industry maintains that the low residues are harmless, that might not be necessarily true.

Mark Kastel is a former exec. for agribusiness, co-director of Cornucopia Institute that supports organic foods. He believes it is only common sense to avoid the most treated produce, i.e. apples. He also stated that most farm workers have a higher risk of many cancers.

Studies from all sources are concerned with the startling increase of higher body levels of pesticides being linked to Parkinson's disease.

With the onslaught of Thanksgiving, preparing everything from potato dishes to apple pies, it might be to your best interest to start off with organic ingredients. Use common sense, read labels and have a healthy and safe Thanksgiving.

2 Comments | Posted in News By Florence B. Harrell

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We all have a plant or two that are favorites and we want to continually harvest from. Whether you are taking cuttings from your outside garden or want more harvesting from your indoor garden, it's essential that you go about it correctly.

Before you even start considering a constant supply of cuttings, you must start with a mother or donor plant. This plant should always be productive or abundant and healthy.

Choose a plant to grow that offers as many nodes as possible. An abundance of nodes will assure the plant's stress will remain low when you are making your cuttings. Also, be sure your mother plant is well watered at the time of cloning, as dehydration can be a serious problem for the clones.

Cutting Your Branches:

You are going to cut the side of the branch, approximately 6 inches long. Then emerge the cutting under water and make a second cut about two to three inches in from the cutting's end. This is to prevent an air bubble entering the inside tissue of your clone.

Once you have completed the above step, dip the clone in the rooting gel and place it in your choice rooting medium.

Rooting Gel:

A rooting gel is better than a powder because the gel will stick to the end of the clone and not wash off when watered. The gel also serves as a capping element for the end of the clone, preventing embolisms. IBA is a hormone that generates essential root formation.

Please Note: Never dip your clones into the bottle of gel. This could contaminate the gel for any future use. Pour a sufficient amount into another glass container or place on wax paper.

Rooting Medium:

Rockwood and peat plugs seem to be the favorites for root mediums. You can see the development of the roots without having to tug on the clones to find out if they are taking root.

Minimize Moisture Loss:

You want to make sure your cuttings have a high level of humidity by using a flat cover to maximize the moisture. This is important because moisture is lost during transpiration Transpiration is the passage of water through a plant from the roots and then into the atmosphere.

If you cuttings have large leaves, cut them in half to decrease moisture loss.

The Hydroponic Cloning System:

If you are planning on having many clones on a regular basis, you might want to seriously consider buying a hydroponic cloning system. These systems offer a much higher rate of returns on your rooting success. These systems do not require a medium to plant the cuttings into before they root. Clones can either remain in these systems or can be planted in soil afterwards.

The two most popular systems:

Bubble Cloners:

You can make a bubble cloner very easily, all you need are:

  • One three to five gallon bucket
  • One Air Pump
  • One Stone
  • Some 2-Inch Net Cups
  • Neoprene Collars

Maintain a water level that is just under the net cups in order for your stems to remain moist.

Aeroponic Cloners:

Although these systems are somewhat expensive, they offer the easiest and most efficient way to clone your plants. You should see visible root growth within 8 to 10 days and in some cases as briefly as 5 days.

You can then transplant your rooted cuttings into soil, a hydroponic medium or a soilless medium. Whatever you choose!

Cleaning:

It is very important that you keep your cloning system clean. This will prevent the chance of bacteria and fungi developing, which will rot your clone's stems very quickly.

Between uses, run H2O2 through the system for a few hours. Should you find areas that are not cleaning well, take a brush and dilute H2O2 or a bleach solution and apply to the stubborn spots. This will also insure there are no micro-organisms remaining in the system.

To Sum It Up:

Make sure your 6 inch cuttings have few large leaves and maintain a temperature of 75 degrees. Provide anywhere from 60% to 80% humidity.

Use cloning gels that contain micro nutrients with IBA hormones to hasten root development. Water your cuttings with a light, liquid fertilizer that is made specifically for clones and seedlings.

Cloning plants can be a great way to have extra harvests throughout the year. If you are new to cloning, ask your local nursery for assistance. If you are interested in purchasing a hydroponic cloning system, check with a nursery that specializes in them.

1 Comments | Posted in Fruits & Vegetable Gardening By Charles R. Sword

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When the Fukushima nuclear plant suffered a massive radiation leak in 2011 after the record-magnitude earthquake 9.0 and the tsunami, it seeped into the soil surrounding it. This included the soil of the farming village Kawauchi, located 19 miles from the plant, bringing to halt farming and possibly the village’s future.

Before the leak, Kawauchi was the country’s fourth-largest rice producer. However, in 2012, it slipped into seventh place because the amount it outputted slipped 17 percent. Over 105 billion yen has been lost from the nearly 100,000 prefecture farmers since the catastrophic event. Many farmers cannot even begin farming again including the imperial-family suppliers Sonoko and Yoshitaka Akimoto.

Despite repeated lab tests that showed there was no cesium in their crop last year, both farmers are suffering. Certificates have shown that they have organic produce but the nuclear blasts that decimated their area have also decimated their livelihood because no one trusts the food to be free of contamination.

In fact, not even half of the farmers have come back to the area after the disaster to revive the farming industry.

Factory Farming and Hydroponics

Hydroponics is a sub-category of hydroculture and is used to grow plants, not in soil, but with mineral nutrient solutions or another kind of medium like mineral wool, gravel, expanded clay pebbles, perlite, coconut husk, etc. The method is widely used in teaching and biology research.

Although the method was initially discovered in the 18th century, hydroponics didn’t really gain a foothold until the 20th century. In fact, the method, which is now being used to rebuild and revive the contaminated area, was initially tried in the country in 1945 by U.S. occupation forces. Why did they try it? Several local area farmers were fertilizing their fields with human excrement.

Enter in Local Government Official Takeo Endo who came up with the idea of farming without soil to combat the problem with soil contamination. Endo, along with a local government team, has pioneered a project to cultivate food in a sealed-off hydroponics factory.

The factory, which will be the size of a soccer field, is currently being constructed and will be able to grow 8,000 heads of lettuce every day. And, if all goes well, more factories will be built to grow strawberries, tomatoes and other fruits.

The 36-year-old said he was worried farmers were not going to be able to cultivate vegetables and rice for at least 10 years, and growing them in a building ensures that contamination from radiation doesn't happen.

Using a water-solution mixed with fertilizer and LED growing lights, people who once thought they were out of a job may find themselves back in one thanks to the cooperation of the government, researchers and the industry who wants to give farmers an opportunity to compete in the market and let Japanese consumers know their food is safe for consumption.

No Limits To Hydroponic Farming

Hydroponics doesn’t have to be limited to decimated areas; it can be also used in urban areas like New York City, which has a large proportion of people living in it and little farming space to grow food. Hydroponics factory farming could reduce the time it takes to get fruits and vegetables to grocery store, which also reduces the costs paid for the transportation of these foods.

The Past and Current Costs Behind Factory Farming

A big reason factory farming didn’t take off is how much it costs to do. However, with some time and development, the costs have dropped significantly. For a head of lettuce it costs 60 yen to grow; 10 years ago, it cost 300 yen. Today, hydroponically lettuce needs just one percent of water with 25 percent of fertilizer.

Last year, roughly 100 fruits and vegetable factory farms were developed and used in Japan. In 2009, that number was only 34.

Kawauchi’s Factory Farms

The lettuce plant is going to use filtered groundwater and is free of contaminants, and about 25 employees will be hired initially. The produce is set to be sold in supermarkets around Fukushima and will be labeled Kawauchi.

Hydroponics works for fruits and vegetables, because it doesn’t take long to grow the foods. For now, grains cannot be cultivated using this method because they still take months to grow. It’s a new kind of farming that will assist the community affected by the contamination to move forward in the industry.

1 Comments | Posted in Fruits & Vegetable Gardening By Charles R. Sword

More people have become environmentally aware, and work in various ways to be greener. One such way people have become greener is to create and cultivate roof gardens. And, once limited to buildings and other similar structures, roof gardens can now be found on moving vehicles.

That’s right! Moving vehicles like buses and vans. That means the next time you are waiting for the bus, you could get an environmentally friendly ride to your destination. Roof gardens on bus tops are showing up in various parts of the world.

How Are Rooftop Gardens Created On Vehicles

Now, you might be wondering, how in the world can gardens be grown on rooftops of vehicles? That’s a good question. And, it’s not as hard as one might think. These phytokinetic gardens created out of aquaponics foam are rooted in a steel grid that ensures the plants stay in place even in cases of sudden stops. A sedum carpet of succulents keeps the flower bed moist along with ferns and small shrubs. The entire area is covered using a protective mesh.

The vehicle’s air conditioning system waste waters the plants. And, with rooftop gardens, the buses see an automatic cool-down of 3.5 degrees Celsius, which saves on the vehicle’s air conditioning.

A roof garden also helps to reduce how much weight is on the roof of the bus. And, since soil isn’t used, additional weight isn’t a concern.

Hydro, Hydroponics, grow plants, grow lights, grow shop, grow room, grow box, herb garden, plant lights,

What Benefits Are Associated With Rooftop Gardens?

There are several worthwhile benefits to the rooftop gardens of moving vehicles including but not limited to:

  • It increases the aesthetic value of the bus.
  • It provides both Thennal and Acoustical Insulation
  • It increases the absorption of CO2 emissions.
  • It reclaims real estate that has long been forgotten.
  • It boosts public awareness and recreation.

What’s so popular about moving roof gardens? Well, the idea behind them is to lessen the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere while also boosting the amount of overall vegetation and bio-diversity in crowded cities, especially in cities that are limited in space due to infrastructure such as Tokyo, Barcelona, etc.

One Creator of Rooftop Gardens

There hasn’t been just one creator of the rooftop gardens, and the design’s birth was for various reasons. One such creator is New York City designer Marco Cosio, who used the idea from his graduate thesis. He designed rooftop gardens to make use of forgotten space on the city buses while also bettering urban life with greenery.

A prototype of his design was installed on the BioBus’ roof. The BioBus is a mobile science laboratory and has become the first bus to have the detailed green roof system. It’s been seen in areas around New York City and has even traveled to Ohio and other places in the Northeast United States. Of course, the BioBus is just one several other mobile gardens, which have been found on trains, trucks and other various other moving items.

Cosi said the public transit buses have a surface space of 340 feet with the Metropolitan Transit Authority owning about 4,500 buses. The amount of green space in the city could expand exponentially. Basically, that means an additional 35 acres of green space.

With so many benefits behind this concept, and the ease in which to implement it, it can definitely be viewed as being the wave of the future. And, there is little doubt that moving roof gardens – be it in the form of buses, trucks, cars, or trains - could be the best in carbon-neutral motoring. You can create one yourself, if you think a home roof garden of plants is doable, than you should go and take part in saving the planet. 

1 Comments | Posted in Plants & Flower Gardening By Florence B. Harrell

Manufacturers continue to use various additives that studies have shown to cause anything from heart disease to diabetes. Although there are several alternatives that would make their foods safer, the price tag is more than they are willing to pay.

Jeopardizing the well being of their consumers for their profit margin seems to be the sad state of the manufacturing world. That said, there are certain additives that should be checked off your list now and forever. You are about to discover some of the horrific chemicals that you and your family are consuming on a daily basis.

For centuries food additives have been added to boost the flavor and appearance of foods. Additives also increase their shelf life, but what about their contributing value in foods?

Why Additives:

To help the processing of foods, packaging and storage, food additives are in almost all the products we consume. You have to ask yourself, what exactly are these food additives and what do we really know about them. Why do foods have to have an increased shelf life that is leaning toward the ridiculous? Are any of these additives offering any nutritional value or offer even a small amount of health benefits?

Approximately 90% of U.S households purchase processed foods, loaded with artificial additives. That said, how many of these additives hold serious health issues that, as consumers, we are totally unaware of?

Believe it or not, there are actually additives that are worse for your health than others. Here are some of the worst food additives that you should avoid at all costs.

Artificial Sweeteners:

Equal (Aspartame) is just one of many sweeteners on the market today called artificial sweeteners. Aspartame is a neurotoxin and carcinogen that accounts for more adverse reactions than all other food additives put together. It has been known to affect your short term memory and erode your intelligence. These sweeteners could possibly lead to a variety of diseases including lymphoma, diabetes, brain tumors, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease. Other serious disorders include: depression and anxiety, Alzheimer's, dizziness, nausea, migraines and seizures. This is just a small list of the affects artificial sweeteners can have on you.

Aspartame is found in most of your artificial sweeteners and should be avoided.

Another, relatively new sweetener, called Acesulfame-K can be found in many baking goods, gelatins and gum. There has not been enough research done on this product yet, but is linked to kidney tumors.

You might well want to steer clear of artificial sweeteners and consider the natural components of sugar instead.

High Fructose Corn Syrup:

HFCS is the number one source of added calories in the U.S. It is a very refined artificial sweetener and is found in almost all processed foods. At lightning speed, HFCS will add more pounds on you than any other ingredient. It can increase your cholesterol and has contributed to an increasing percentage in diabetes and damage to tissues. Flavored yogurts, salad dressings, breads, candies and cereals are just a few foods containing HFCS. You might want to look at those labels a little closer.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Many Chinese restaurants used to add MSG to their dishes. Most of these restaurants have since pulled the additive due to its negative affects. MSG is an amino acid used to flavor soups, salad dressings, chips and frozen entrees. Excitotoxin is another name for MSG, contributing to depression, fatigue, obesity, headaches and disorientation. Neurological pathways to the brain and the removal of your ability to feel full are effects of MSG. Ergo, you eat beyond your fullness and gain weight.

Some of the foods containing MSG are: chips, cookies, many other snacks, seasonings, some Campbell Soups, frozen dinners, lunch meats and some restaurants.

Trans Fat:

Trans Fat is another additive used to increase the shelf life of foods and is considered one of the most dangerous. Deep fried fast foods, some processed foods containing margarine or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils when processed, form trans fats due to their contents.

Studies have shown that trans fats increase bad cholesterol levels while decreasing good cholesterol levels. This increases the risk of heart diseases, strokes and heart attacks. Trans fats also contribute to diabetes, inflammations and other serious health issues.

Trans fats are found in chips, crackers, fast foods, margarine and many baked goods.

Food Dyes:

Artificial colorings found in sodas, fruit juices and salad dressings may contribute to behavioral problems in children. This in turn can lead to a serious reduction in their IQs. Other food colorings have also been linked to cancer.

Blue #1 and #2 (E133)

This food coloring is banned in many countries including France, Norway and Finland. These colorings are found in candy, cereal, soft drinks, pet foods and sports drinks.

Red #3 (Red #40) (E124)

This dye has been banned since 1990 after years of debate regarding their incorporation into foods and cosmetics. Unfortunately, it is still on the market until the products, still out there, run out. Red dye has shown to cause thyroid cancer and chromosomal damage in animals and could be an interference in brain nerve transmission.

This dye is found in fruit cocktails, cherry pie mix, ice cream, candy, maraschino cherries and bakery products.

Yellow #6 (E110) and Yellow Tartrazine (E102)

These dyes have increased the number of kidney and adrenal gland tumors in animals. They are both banned in Sweden and Norway.

You can find this dye in American cheese, lemonade,candies and carbonated beverages.

Please Note: Macaroni and cheese was on this list. As of Nov 6, 2013 Kraft announced they are removing the yellow additive from this product! Give a big hand to Kraft!!

Sodium Sulfite (E221)

According to the FDA, one in 100 people are highly sensitive to foods containing sulfites. As most of these people suffer from asthma, it is believed their is a strong link between asthma and sulfites. These people usually suffer breathing problems, rashes and headaches. In extreme cases sulfite may cause death by closing down the airway and therefore leading to cardiac arrest.

Sodium Sulfite is found in wine and dried fruit

Sodium Nitrate/Nitrite:

Many foods, including many processed meats, bacon, hot dogs, luncheon meats, ham, corned beef and smoked fish use sodium nitrate as a preservative and for coloring and flavor. Sodium nitrate is highly carcinogenic once it enters the digestive system. It then forms many nitrosamine compounds that enter the bloodstream and may damage many internal organs including the liver and pancreas. It is considered extremely toxic and should have been banned a long time ago. The USDA tried to ban it in the 1970s but was vetoed by food manufacturers complaining there were no alternatives for preserving packaged meat products.

The biggest reason sodium is still used is because it makes old meat look fresh as it's a color fixer. Sodium nitrate is found in hotdogs, cured meats, corned beef, bacon, luncheon meats, ham and other processed meats.

BHA and BHT (E320)

Known as butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydrozyttoluene are preservatives that keep foods from changing color, changing the flavoring of foods or becoming rancid. It can alter the brain, behaviors and possibly cause cancer. These additives are oxidants which can form cancer causing compounds in your body.

BHA and BHT are found in gum, frozen sausages, cereal, potato chips, enriched rice, lard, shortening, candies and jello.

Sulfur Dioxide (E220)

This additive is considered toxic and both the United States and the Federal Drugs Administration have prohibited its use on raw fruit and vegetables. It has an adverse reaction on bronchial issues, especially those prone to asthma, low blood pressure, tingling or flushing sensations or anaphylactic shock. It should be avoided if you suffer from emphysema, bronchitis, asthma or cardiovascular disease, says the International Labour Organization.

Sulfur Dioxide is found in beer, dried fruits, cordials, wine, soft drinks, juices, vinegar and various potato products.

Potassium Bromate:

Potassium Bromate is used to increase the volume in white flours, rolls and breads. It is known to cause cancer in animals, even with the small amounts found in bread can cause problems in humans.

In Summary:

Even though the United States and the FDA are not coming down on food manufacturers and their bad habits of using additives, you can stop buying their products. In this day and age, there are healthy alternatives to these dangerous additives but manufacturers don't want to spend the money to implement better practices.

Read labels carefully and weigh the percentage of additives added to your purchases. For the sake of your health and the health of your family, it's up to you to just say no, I can live without your products. Sometimes the best way to know what is in your food is to grow it yourself, growing vegatibles and fruits hydroponically way is easier than you think.

1 Comments | Posted in News By Florence B. Harrell

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