Friday, January 10, 2014

Yes, it has been a long time since I have posted to the blog.  One of my New Year's Resolutions (there are not many) is too get a new, thought-provoking post out there on a weekly basis in 2014. 

So, I just finished reading a fantastic book by Jo Robinson, Eating on the Wild Side - The Missing Link to Optimum Health.  Ms. Robinson is a nutritionist, food activist, and health writer best known for her book Pasture Perfect, when published in 2004 was one of the first popular works to highlight the nutritional advantages of eating beef, pork, eggs, and dairy from animals raised on pasture.

For her new book, she has researched thousands of nutritional studies conducted worldwide over the last decade and has compiled all that information into an easy-to-read manual about selecting the healthiest fruit and vegetable cultivars available.  It probably won't surprise you to learn that most of the modern versions of tomatoes, apples, onions, potatoes, etc. that we find in the stores are the least nutritious varieties, having been developed over the last half century to grow fast, harvest easily, transport well, and look good on store shelves.  Over the next several weeks I will highlight some of the surprising things I have learned about eating healthier from her book.


Americans consume six times more orange juice by weight than we do whole oranges.  But which brand/type of OJ do you select from the store, with such a huge variety available? Researchers at Texas A & M University analyzed 26 different brands of orange juice they purchased from local stores.  To everyone's surprise, the juice that was made from concentrate had, on average, 45 percent more flavonoids than juice that had never been concentrated! 

Many people buy "not from concentrate" juice because they prefer its flavor.  According to Ms. Robinson, that flavor is more likely to come from a chemical flavor packet, however, than the juice itself.  Juice that is never frozen or concentrated is stored for weeks or months in million-gallon containers in order to spread the seasonal supply over the calendar year.  Oxygen is removed from the juice to keep it from spoiling or turning rancid, but the process alters and diminishes its flavor. Before bottling the juice, the producers add back a mixture of chemicals in an effort to restore the natural flavor.

Of course, fresh squeezed juice will always have the most nutrients, but if you buy orange juice at the store, purchase those brands made from concentrate, and go for the varieties with the most pulp.  The pulp contains a number of phytonutrients such as naringenin and hesperetin, that have antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antiallergenic properties.