As consumers continue to grow curious about the origins of their food, there has been a shift to support famers markets and purchase food grown locally. To support this change, the US Department of Agriculture will supply $52 million to help the businesses of local farmers and fund research on organic cultivation. There are now 8,268 farmers markets in the country, which is a 78% increase from 2008. Considering this growth, we can also see that restaurants and super markets have started to integrate local foods into their sales. Backing local food operations is not only a good investment for reducing health care costs, but it also helps the economy through providing more employment opportunities. A list of farmers markets in your area can be seen by visiting the USDA website. What are your typical recommendations in terms of purchasing food to your patients?
A recently concluded study published in the British Journal of Medicine compiled and evaluated 343 peer-reviewed studies that focus on the nutrient differences between organic and non-organic foods. The evaluation concluded that the organic food had a higher concentration of antioxidants, and lower levels of cadmium and pesticide residues. Antioxidants are known to play a part in reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, and cadmium, in high levels, is a potential neurotoxin. What this translates to for consumers is a possible protective health benefit. How familiar are your patients with Environmental Working Group Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen? How often do you discuss organic vs non-organic foods with them?
Find out more from Environmental Working Group
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Obama allegedly vowed to fight for GMO mandatory labeling when campaigning in Iowa in 2007 and U.S. legislators along with more than 200 organic businesses/farmers and health environment agencies have not forgotten about it. Today, they delivered a letter to the President urging him to make it mandatory to label any food products containing genetically modified organisms. Many large food manufacturers are against the mandated labeling, arguing that GMO products pose no health risk, and that labeling would misguide the public.
How often are your patients asking you about organic and/or genetically modified foods? What type of labeling, if any, do you feel would be beneficial for public health?
For more information, go to Reuters
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