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Is Organic Food More Nutritious Than Conventional? Large Study Says Yes.

Is Organic Food More Nutritious Than Conventional? Large Study Says Yes.

A meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Nutrition analyzing 343 studies that compare the nutritional value of organic to conventional produce delivers a pretty convincing verdict: organic produce IS better than food grown with pesticides.

The authors of the study found statistically significant differences between organic and non-organic crops, particularly in antioxidant values. Antioxidants are nutrients that destroy cell-damaging free radicals linked with aging and disease. In addition to higher levels of vitamins and minerals, certain other nutrients such as phenolic acids, flavanones, flavonols, and anthocyanins were 19%, 69%, 50%, and 51% higher in organic produce, respectively.

These compounds have been linked to a reduced risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases and some forms of cancer.

Not only are organic fruits and vegetables more nutritious than conventional produce, researchers found significantly lower levels of the highly-toxic heavy metal cadmium and pesticide residues. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, in animals, chronic ingestion of cadmium causes increased blood pressure, reduced blood flow to the limbs, and especially kidney disease.

According to the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the kidneys are the primary organs targeted by chronic exposure to cadmium. Human studies show that there is a latency period of approximately 10 years after cadmium exposure before the onset of kidney damage, depending on intensity of exposure. Cadmium accumulates in the bones and reduces calcium absorption thereby affecting bone density.

While organic produce can be more expensive than conventional produce, you can save money by growing your own. You can also prioritize produce on the EWG’s “dirty dozen” list to reduce pesticide consumption.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international best-selling and 15-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine, whose works include: 60 Seconds to Slim, Weekend Wonder Detox, Healing Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme Cure. Subscribe to her free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News at to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more.


Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  

Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
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Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination.

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…
     Melodies from Within ~ Available Now! 
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9 Food Pairings that Fight Disease


Over the last few decades, there has been a mountain of research on  the healing powers of individual compounds in  foods, such as lycopene,  vitamin D and essential fatty acids. Yet, scientists  are now realizing  that while an antioxidant like sulforaphane in broccoli can  be a potent  cancer fighter on its own, combining it with another compound such  as  selenium found in chicken, fish and Brazil nuts,  will give you even more  impressive disease-fighting results.

“Food synergy ties into the prevention of so many of our chronic  illnesses,  including heart  disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes,” says  California-based  dietitian Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, author of Food  Synergy: Unleash Hundreds of Powerful  Healing Food Combinations to  Fight Disease and Live Well (Rodale,  2008).

You don’t have to eat in a fancy restaurant presided over by a  professional  nutritionist to enjoy the benefits of food synergy, either.  While researchers  haven’t even begun to untangle all the science behind  the synergy, these “power  couples” can easily come together in your own  kitchen — and prove that, when it  comes to our diets, one plus one can  easily equal three.

Tea & Lemon

Green  tea is at the top of the functional-drink heap, promoting  wellness  through antioxidants called catechins, which can aid in  reducing the  risk of both heart  disease and cancer. But if we want a  bigger health boost from our  tea, we should be adding a splash of  citrus, says Mario Ferruzzi, PhD,  associate professor of food science at  Purdue University.

“In test tube and animal studies, we discovered that ascorbic acid,  such as  that in citrus including lemon, orange and lime juice, helps  stabilize  catechins in the gut and increase absorption into the  bloodstream,” he says.  Looking for a warm-weather alternative? Brew up a  batch of iced tea and add  slices of lemon.

Other research suggests that pairing green  tea with capsaicin (the  compound that gives chili peppers their pow)  can increase satiety and  potentially aid in weight loss. The tag team of green  tea and lycopene,  present in watermelon,  tomatoes and pink grapefruit, works  synergistically to help men dodge prostate  cancer.

Bananas &  Yogurt

Yogurt and other fermented foods, such as kefir, tempeh and  sauerkraut, are  teeming with beneficial live bacteria called probiotics that keep our immune and  digestive systems strong. But, like all living  creatures, they need something  to munch on to thrive. Enter inulin.

Found in bananas, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), onion,  endive, garlic, leeks, wheat germ and artichokes, inulin is a  nondigestible  carbohydrate that acts as a food source for intestinal  bacteria. “It behaves as  a prebiotic to enhance probiotic growth,” says  Georgianna Donadio, PhD, program  director for the National Institute of  Whole Health in Massachusetts. In  addition to boosting the friendly  critter count in your gut, inulin increases  the intestinal absorption of  bone-strengthening calcium.

Calcium & Sun

If calcium could speak to vitamin D, it would say, “You complete me.”  That’s because the sunshine vitamin increases the amount of calcium  that gets  absorbed in the intestines, says Magee. Ergo, you can down all  the calcium-rich  foods you want, such as tofu, yogurt, sesame seeds,  broccoli and cheese, but  without a steady supply of calcium’s wingman,  your bones won’t reap the  rewards.

European scientists recently reported that adequate daily consumption  of  both calcium and vitamin D was linked to a 20 percent drop in the  rates of hip  fracture in individuals 47 or older. Harvard scientists  found that subjects  with the highest calcium intake and blood vitamin-D  levels had reduced insulin  secretion, which may offer protection from  type 2 diabetes. And another Harvard  study determined that premenopausal  women with the highest intakes of both  vitamin D and calcium had a 30  percent lower risk of  developing breast cancer.

Your best bet for getting enough vitamin D is to spend a minimum of  10  minutes a day in the sunshine (with a decent amount of skin exposed),  but you  can also benefit from good food sources, like cod liver oil,  salmon and  sardines. The latest recommendations from respected experts  like Andrew Weil,  MD — 2,000 IU of daily vitamin D — suggest that you  may also need a daily  vitamin-D supplement.


Salads & Avocado (or Nuts)

Find naked salads unbearably boring? Then, by all means, top them  with  vinaigrette or a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts.  Similar studies  from Ohio State University and Iowa State University showed  that adding  healthy fats like nuts, extra-virgin olive oil or avocado to your salad  bowl  can increase the amount of beneficial antioxidants — such as lutein  in leafy  greens, lycopene in tomatoes and red peppers, and  beta-carotene in carrots— your body absorbs.

Fat slows down the digestion process, which gives the plant  compounds in the same meal a better chance of being absorbed,” says  Magee. Fat  also helps fat-soluble antioxidants, such a vitamin E,  dissolve in the  intestine so they can be passed into the bloodstream  more efficiently. After  absorption, says Magee, these antioxidants may  help vanquish some of the free  radicals in our bodies, which can damage  DNA and trigger diseases and hasten  aging.

In fact, a 2008 Journal of Nutrition study reported that those who  ate more  alpha- and beta-carotenes — compounds in fruits and  vegetables  that help bring out their stunning yellow, orange or red hues — had   roughly a 20 percent lower risk of dying from heart  disease over a  15-year period than those who took in less.


Beans & Raw Peppers (Iron +  Vitamin C)

Long before food synergy became part of our lexicon, scientists knew  that  iron and vitamin C form a unique relationship. Iron  comes in two  guises: heme iron, the type found in animal products such as beef,  fish  and poultry, and a form called non-heme, found in plant foods like  beans,  whole grains and spinach.

On its own, the body absorbs up to 33 percent less non-heme iron than  heme  iron, says Donadio, “but you can increase its absorption two- to  threefold by  consuming it with the vitamin C in whole fruits and  vegetables.”

So how does vitamin C pull off this nifty trick? Donadio says it  likely  participates in the production of an enzyme responsible for  changing non-heme  iron to a more easily absorbed form called ferrous  iron, so you get more  mileage, for example, out of the iron in your bean  salad. Iron is necessary for  producing hemoglobin, which transports  oxygen to muscles and the brain. Low  levels can lead to fatigue,  weakness and poor concentration. Vegans and  vegetarians should take  particular heed of this food pairing to help keep iron stores replete.   Premenopausal women are also particularly vulnerable to iron deficiency  due to  losses through menstruation.


Burgers & Bananas (Salty Foods +  Potassium)

By all accounts,  the American diet is tantamount to a salt lick.  According to Centers for  Disease Control data, the average person in the  United States consumes an  elephantine 3,436 milligrams of sodium daily,  double the amount most people  should ingest. For some, this is a recipe  for cardiovascular woes because of a  salt-induced rise in blood  pressure, which raises stroke and heart-attack risk.  But potassium,  which encourages the kidneys to  excrete sodium, can counter the harmful  effects of sodium overload. So, when  noshing on salty dishes or  sodium-packed canned soups, frozen meals and  fast-food fare, make sure  to load up on potassium-plump fruits, vegetables and  legumes at the same  time.


Brown Rice & Tofu (Carbs +  Protein)

If you emerge  from the gym with a rapacious appetite, make sure to  quell it with a healthy  dose of both protein and carbohydrates. “Carbohydrates and protein together after a workout work jointly to  speed up  muscle recovery by enhancing the blood insulin response,” says  Molly Kimball, a  sports dietitian at the Elmwood Fitness Center in New  Orleans. “Higher insulin  levels will supply muscles with a faster and  larger dose of repair nutrients  such as glucose and amino acids.”

The outcome of this perfect pairing is less muscle soreness and  better  fitness results. Postworkout, Kimball recommends carbohydrate and  protein  combinations such as a turkey sandwich, yogurt and fruit; brown  rice and  grilled chicken or tofu; and pasta with meat sauce.


Wine & Fish

Merlot and  salmon may indeed be a perfect pairing. A 2008 study  published in the American  Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that  European men and women who consumed  as little as 4 ounces of wine a day  had higher blood levels of the omega-3 fats found in fish such as trout,   salmon and sardines. The same results were not found for beer or  spirits.

Scientists believe that heart-chummy polyphenol antioxidants in wine  such as  resveratrol might be responsible for the improved absorption of  omega-3 fats,  which have been shown to protect against myriad maladies,  including depression,  diabetes, mental decline and stroke.

Prefer chardonnay over merlot? According to a 2008 Journal of  Agricultural  and Food Chemistry study, white wine contains its own  distinct polyphenol  compounds that give it the same heart-protective  qualities as red. You can  enjoy wine with your fish or even use it to  marinate your catch  of the day.

Both on food labels, and in nutritional reporting, the tendency has  been to  trumpet one nutrient at a time. But food scientists have  uncovered thousands of  bioactive phytochemicals in fruits, vegetables  and whole grains, says Magee, “and now they are discovering that these  often work better in pairs or  groups.”

What we’re learning, she says, is that extracting and isolating  nutrients  doesn’t work very well: “The power is in the packaging, and  pills with single  nutrients just can’t match the healing power of whole  foods.”

The lessons of food synergy, it seems, are the same commonsense  lessons  we’ve been hearing for a long time now: For good health, eat a  variety of whole  foods — and eat them together.


Herbs & Olive Oil + Meat

Good news for grilled-meat lovers: Scientists at Kansas State  University  discovered that adding rosemary and other herbs to meat  cooked at  high temperatures reduces the formation of suspected  carcinogenic compounds  called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) by as much as  70 percent. Antioxidants in  extra-virgin olive oil have also been found  to help fend off cancer-promoting  HCAs. Similarly, marinating meat such  as steak and chicken in an  antioxidant-rich spice or wine blend has been  shown to be a very effective  method of reducing HCAs.



Not-So-Good  Pairings:

Alas, some couples were never meant to be. Here are  three common food  pairings that fail to bring out the best in either party.

Milk and Tea

A recent study in the European Heart Journal suggests you  shouldn’t follow  the lead of the Brits and spike your tea with milk. The  scientists discovered  that adding moo juice to black tea blunted its   cardiovascular benefits. Casein protein in milk may bind up antioxidants  in  tea, rendering them less available for absorption.

Milk and Chocolate

A few studies have also found that milk can reduce absorption  of flavonoids  in cocoa. These flavonoid antioxidants are believed to be  behind the numerous  health perks, such as reduced blood pressure,  attributed to dark chocolate. So choose dark chocolate  over milk  chocolate when possible.

Coffee and Oatmeal

“Tannins present in coffee, tea and wine are known to interfere  with iron absorption, particularly the iron found in plant-based foods  like  oatmeal, beans and leafy greens,” says Jarod Hanson, ND. The upshot  is this: If  you’re prone to iron deficiency, you might want to avoid  the cup of joe with  your morning oats.

Matthew Kadey MSc, RD, is a Canada-based dietitian and food and nutrition writer. His favorite food pairing is dark chocolate and almond butter. (Leesa recommends all your choices be organic!)  


Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!   I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

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5 Natural Cold and Flu Remedies

5 Natural Cold and Flu Remedies
It has been an extra sickly flu season for a lot of the folks in my life, and  I bet that a lot of you are battling the wintertime ick, as well. With more cold  weather on the way in a lot of the northern hemisphere, it felt like a good time  to round up a few of the cold and flu remedies that seem to actually make a  difference. While there’s no way to totally cure a cold or the flu once it’s taken hold, these remedies  can definitely help reduce your sickness’ severity and duration.


1. Oil of  Oregano

I wish I could remember who hipped me to oil of oregano, but this stuff has  been great for me this flu season. Oil of oregano is rich in vitamins and  minerals and is said to reduce pain and inflammation.

The second you start feeling run down, you’ll want to pop oil of oregano  pills twice a day between meals. I normally get a couple of bad illnesses during  the winter, and this time around I managed to kick the sick in just a few days,  rather than battling symptoms for a week.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by frostnova

hold the sun

2. Vitamin D

I’ve talked about vitamin D’s flu-fighting abilities before, and it bears  mentioning again. You can get your vitamin D through dietary sources, supplements, or good old sunshine. The only trick with vitamin D is that you  want to be careful not to take too much. Since this is a fat soluble vitamin,  your body doesn’t eliminate it as efficiently as water soluble vitamins.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by danibelle2906


3. Zinc

According to a recent article in the New York Times, zinc is a powerful natural cold and flu remedy. The trick is finding a  reliable lozenge. Many of the ones in the drug store have additives that either  make the zinc less effective or lower the zinc content too much. Stick to a  brand you trust and do some careful label reading to find a zinc supplement  without too many extra ingredients and a higher percentage of zinc.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by ethorson

man using a neti pot

4. Neti Pot

I can’t say enough good things about the neti pot! While it’s a little bit  tricky to use at first, once you get the hang of it, you’ll never want to be  without yours. If you’re feeling congestion coming on, I’d suggest flushing with  the neti pot a couple of times a day. Even if you still get sick, you’ll spend  fewer days mouth breathing and nursing a dry, painful nose.

New to the neti pot? Here are some tips for getting started with a neti pot.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Buffawhat

Rest is key to fighting cold and flu

5. Rest

When all is said and done, rest is one of the best things you can do for your  body when you’re under the weather. Your immune system needs time to do its  thing, and resting gives your body a chance to heal. It’s sometimes hard to take  a day off from work to nurse yourself back to health, but a day or two of rest  now can help cut down the duration of your illness and save you many days of  discomfort.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by planetchopstick

By Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta,  Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible  to everyone! Like this article? You can follow  Becky on Twitter or find her on  Facebook!

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Anna Gutermuth

Top 10 Spring Superfoods

Top 10 Spring Superfoods

Spring is finally here and along with it starts the cascade of vibrant  superfoods.  Obviously, some take a little longer than others, but here are  my picks for the top 10 spring superfoods.  Enjoy!

Artichokes—A medium-sized artichoke is loaded with fiber (about 10 grams) and vitamin  C. It also contains plentiful amounts of the heart- and muscle-health minerals  magnesium and potassium.  It’s also high on the ORAC list of foods that have  high antioxidant values.  High amounts of antioxidants translate into reduced free radicals linked to aging and disease.

Asparagus—An excellent source of nutrients like vitamin K  which is necessary for bone health and folate, asparagus also contains good  amounts of vitamins C, A, B1, B2, niacin, B6, manganese, potassium, magnesium,  and selenium.  Its high folate content makes it especially good for pregnant women who have higher folate needs than most  people.

Chives—Potent in antibacterial, anti-yeast and  antifungal compounds, chives has many similar properties to its  relatives garlic and onion.  Chives also help boost glutathione levels in the  body.  Glutathione is a powerful detoxifier and anti-cancer compound.

Collards—Research shows that collards are among the best  foods for lowering cholesterol levels due to its superior ability to bind to  bile acids in the intestines.  Collard also shows excellent anti-cancer  properties thanks to its naturally-occurring components, including:  glucoraphanin, sinigrin, gluconasturtiian, and glucotropaeolin.

Kale—Proven to lower the risk of bladder,  breast, colon, ovary, and prostate cancer, kale is among the best superfoods  available.  Great for building healthy bones largely due to its high calcium  content, kale also improves the body’s detoxification systems by increasing  isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from the vegetable’s glucosinolates.  Researchers  have identified over 45 phytonutrients in kale, including  kaempferol and quercetin, giving it impressive antioxidant and  anti-inflammatory properties.

Rhubarb—High in fiber, vitamins C and K, rhubarb stalks (not  the leaves which are poisonous), rhubarb is an excellent spring food but most  people don’t know what to do with it.  Sorry, dumping cups of sugar into it for  jams and pies wrecks any superfood qualities this food might otherwise have.  I  enjoy it stewed or added to chutneys.

Spinach—Not just for Popeye anymore, spinach is high in  iron, calcium, beta carotene (which turns into vitamin A in your body), and  vitamin K, which is important for bone and blood health.  The chlorophyll gives  spinach their green color and is a powerful blood cleanser.  High in neoxanthin,  which is proven to aid prostate health, spinach also contains the phytonutrients  lutein and zeaxanthin which strengthen the eyes and help prevent macular  degeneration and cataracts.

Spring greens—Spring greens contain high amounts of calcium  and magnesium needed for strong bones, muscles, and a relaxed nervous system.   Like spinach, they also contain the blood cleansing  phytonutrient chlorophyll.

Strawberries—Just eight strawberries pack more vitamin C  than one orange.  Whether you want to evade heart disease, arthritis,  memory loss, or cancer, these berries have proven their ability to  help.

Watercress—If ever there was a vegetable made for smokers,  watercress is it.  In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical  Nutrition, researchers found that eating raw watercress daily increased the  ability of cells to resist free radical damage to DNA, which reduces the  risk of cell changes linked to cancer.  Their research showed that this protective benefit was pronounced in smokers.  But, anyone can  benefit from this spring nutritional powerhouse.  It is also high in beta  carotene (essential for skin and eye health), B-complex vitamins (important for  nerves, energy, and mood balance), and vitamin E (critical for skin and immune  system health).

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international best-selling and twelve-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine, whose works include: Healing Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme Cure. Check out her natural health resources and subscribe to her free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News at


Slather Your Lips With DIY Cocoa Lip Balm

Slather Your Lips With DIY Cocoa Lip Balm

Slather Your Lips With DIY Cocoa Lip Balm

What could be better than protecting your lips from the winter’s chill by slathering on chocolate? Not much, and I bet if you went to the Environmental Working Group’s, Skin Deep website and checked out what’s lurking in lipstick (lead, yikes!) you’d ditch the lipstick and opt for healthy, homemade Cocoa Lip Balm. Here at Care2 we’ve posted about all that nastiness here and here.

Why Cocoa?

The cocoa bean is used to make chocolate. It’s made from roasted, husked, and ground seeds of the cacao bean, theobroma cacao, from which much of the fat has been removed. Cocoa contains large amounts of antioxidants. According to Your Daily Thread:

“Cocoa contains large amounts of antioxidants. According to research at Cornell, cocoa powder has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine, and up to three times those found in green tea. Our super friend also contains magnesium, iron, chromium, vitamin C, zinc and more.”

Antioxidants that protects the body from aging, vitamins and minerals for overall health and…chocolate. Sign me up. In fact, my husband so sweetly made this Lip Balm for everyone on his holiday list after he read this. It was a huge hit! Try this recipe for healthy Cocoa Lip Balm that will make you smacking your lips for more:

DIY Cocoa Lip Balm

What you need:

1 teaspoon beeswax
2 teaspoons pure Fair Trade organic cocoa butter
3 teaspoons organic coconut or olive oil
5-10 drops peppermint essential oil
recycled containers

What to do:

Slowly melt ingredients in a double boiler or in 30-second spurts in microwave. Cool slightly and fill recycled containers. You may need to adjust the ratio of ingredients to suit your liking. Yum!

by Ronnie Citron-Fink

Ronnie Citron-Fink is a writer and educator. Ronnie regularly writes about sustainable living for online sites and magazines. Along with being the creator of, Ronnie has contributed to numerous books about green home design, DIY, children, and humor. Ronnie lives in the Hudson Valley of New York with her family.

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