Health Center I.R



Stress and Nutrition


Balanced nutrition is essential to maintaining overall good health, but it also can affect your capacity to cope with stress. When you are going through a period of stress, you need more of all nutrients, particularly the B vitamins, which affect the nervous system, and calcium, which is needed to counteract the lactic acid your tense muscles produce.

Likewise, if you are lacking nutrients, your body will not be equipped to handle stress effectively.

Eat a variety of foods to ensure that you consume all of the forty to sixty nutrients you need to stay healthy. These include vitamins, minerals, amino acids (from proteins), essential fatty acids (from vegetable oil and animal fat), and energy from carbohydrates, protein, and fat. While most foods contain more than one nutrient, no single food provides adequate amounts of all nutrients.

Studies have shown that the body depletes its stores of nutrients when under stress, mainly protein and the B vitamins as well as vitamins C and A. A deficiency of magnesium, which helps muscles relax, has been linked to "Type A" or high-stress personalities. If you are under prolonged stress or are at risk for hypertension, consume foods high in potassium, such as orange juice, squash, potatoes, apricots, limes, bananas, avocados, tomatoes, and peaches. You also should increase your intake of calcium, which is found in yogurt, cheese, tofu, and chick- peas.

If you find that you have difficulty managing stress and often feel fatigued or stressed out, you might want to examine your diet for deficiencies in certain nutrients.   If you are deficient in certain nutrients, you will need to alter your diet or take supplements.

Since every person is unique, nutritional needs vary to some degree. It will probably take several months to change your diet and establish healthy eating habits. Experimenting and taking the time to reform your eating will have very positive immediate and long- term effects. Choose foods that you enjoy and try to make meals pleasurable times. Eat a relaxed meal. Continue your healthy diet and supplements even after the period of stress has passed so that your body will be best prepared to cope with the next stressful situation you encounter. The goal is to maintain maximum health with good nutrition, exercise, and active stress management.

Nutritional Deficiencies - They Are More Common Than Most People Believe

The research has shown that few of us eat very well, and nutritional deficiencies are very common. This is especially a problem for the elderly and hospitalized patients. Even many supposedly "normal" people have been found to be nutritionally deficient. For example, in a 30-month study of 800 patients in two U.S. hospitals, who were admitted for conditions not normally associated with malnutrition (pneumonia, hip fracture, etc.), blood tests found 55% to be malnourished. The malnourished surgical patients stayed in the hospital an average of five days longer than the adequately nourished patients.

In a study of 402 elderly Europeans living at home, the nutrient content of their diet was found to be low: folic acid intake was low in 100% of those studied, zinc in 87%, vitamin B6 in 83%, and vitamin D in 62%.





Stress and Nutrition


The Four Basic Nutrients

Water, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are the basic building blocks of a good diet. By choosing the healthiest forms of each of these nutrients, and eating them in the proper balance, you enable your body to function at its optimal level.



The human body is two-thirds water. Water is an essential nutrient that is involved in every function of the body.

  • Water helps transport nutrients and waste products in and out of cells.
  • Water is necessary for all digestive, absorption, circulatory, and excretory functions
  • Water is needed for the utilization of the water-soluble vitamins.
  • It is needed for the maintenance of proper body temperature.

It is recommended that you drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day.



Carbohydrates supply the body with the energy it needs to function. They are found almost exclusively in plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, peas, and beans. Milk and milk products are the only foods derived from animals that contain a significant amount of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are divided into two groups-simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates, sometimes called simple sugars, include fructose (fruit sugar), sucrose (table sugar), and lactose (milk sugar), as well as several other sugars. Fruits are one of the richest natural sources of simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are also made up of sugars, but the sugar molecules are strung together to form longer, more complex chains. Complex carbohydrates include fiber and starches. Foods rich in complex carbohydrates include vegetables, whole grains, peas, and beans.

Carbohydrates are the main source of blood glucose, which is a major fuel for all of the body's cells and the only source of energy for the brain and red blood cells. Except for fiber, which cannot be digested, both simple and complex carbohydrates are converted into glucose. The glucose is then either used directly to provide energy for the body, or stored in the liver for future use. When a person consumes more calories than the body is using, a portion of the carbohydrates consumed may also be stored in the body as fat.

When choosing carbohydrate-rich foods for your diet, always select unrefined foods such as fruits, vegetables, peas, beans, and whole-grain products, as opposed to refined, processed foods such as soft drinks, desserts, candy, and sugar. Refined foods offer few, if any, of the vitamins and minerals that are important to your health. In addition, if eaten in excess, especially over a period of many years, the large amounts of simple carbohydrates found in refined foods can lead to a number of disorders, including diabetes and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Yet another problem is that foods high in refined simple sugars often are also high in fats, which should be limited in a healthy diet. This is why such foods-which include most cookies and cakes, as well as many snack foods-are usually loaded with calories. Dietary fiber is the part of a plant that is resistant to the body's digestive enzymes. Only a relatively small amount of fiber is digested or metabolized in the stomach or intestines. Most of it moves through the gastrointestinal tract and ends up in the stool.

Although most fiber is not digested, it delivers several important health benefits. First, fiber retains water, resulting in softer and bulkier stools that prevent constipation and hemorrhoids. A high-fiber diet also reduces the risk of colon cancer, perhaps by speeding the rate at which stool passes through the intestine and by keeping the digestive tract clean. In addition, fiber binds with certain substances that would normally result in the production of cholesterol, and eliminates these substances from the body. In this way, a high-fiber diet helps lower blood cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease. It is recommended that about 60 percent of your total daily calories come from carbohydrates. If much of your diet consists of healthy complex carbohydrates, you should easily fulfill the recommended daily minimum of 25 grams of fiber.


Protein is essential for growth and development. It provides the body with energy, and is needed for the manufacture of hormones, antibodies, enzymes, and tissues. It also helps maintain the proper acid-alkali balance in the body.

When protein is consumed, the body breaks it down into amino acids, the building blocks of all proteins. Some of the amino acids are designated nonessential. This does not mean that they are unnecessary, but rather that they do not have to come from the diet because they can be synthesized by the body from other amino acids. Other amino acids are considered essential, meaning that the body cannot synthesize them, and therefore must obtain them from the diet.

Whenever the body makes a protein-when it builds muscle, for instance-it needs a variety of amino acids for the protein-making process. These amino acids may come from dietary protein or from the body's own pool of amino acids. If a shortage of amino acids becomes chronic, which can occur if the diet is deficient in essential amino acids, the building of protein in the body stops, and the body suffers.

Because of the importance of consuming proteins that provide all of the necessary amino acids, dietary proteins are considered to belong to two different groups, depending on the amino acids they provide. Complete proteins, which constitute the first group, contain ample amounts of all of the essential amino acids. These proteins are found in meat, fish, poultry, cheese, eggs, and milk. Incomplete proteins, which constitute the second group, contain only some of the essential amino acids. These proteins are found in a variety of foods, including grains, legumes, and leafy green vegetables.


Although it is important to consume the full range of amino acids, both essential and nonessential, it is not necessary to get them from meat, fish, poultry, and other complete-protein foods. In fact, because of their high fat content-as well as the use of antibiotics and other chemicals in the raising of poultry and cattle-most of those foods should be eaten in moderation. Fortunately, the dietary strategy called mutual supplementation enables you to combine partial-protein foods to make complementary protein-proteins that supply adequate amounts of all the essential amino acids. For instance, although beans and brown rice are both quite rich in protein, each lacks one or more of the necessary amino acids. However, when you combine beans and brown rice with each other, or when you combine either one with any of a number of protein-rich foods, you form a complete protein that is a high-quality substitute for meat. To make a complete protein, combine beans with any one of the following:

  • Brown rice.
  • Seeds.
  • Corn.
  • Wheat
  • Nuts.

Or combine brown rice with any one of the following:

  • Beans.
  • Seeds.
  • Nuts.
  • Wheat.

All soybean products, such as tofu and soymilk, are complete proteins. They contain the essential amino acids plus several other nutrients. Available in health food stores, tofu, soy oil, soy flour, soy-based meat substitutes, soy cheese, and many other soy products are healthful ways to complement the meatless diet.

Yogurt is the only animal-derived complete-protein source recommended for frequent use in the diet. Made from milk that is curdled by bacteria, yogurt contains Lactobacillus acidophilus and other "friendly" bacteria needed for the digestion of foods and the prevention of many disorders, including candidiasis. Yogurt also contains vitamins A and D, and many of the B-complex vitamins.

Do not buy the sweetened, flavored yogurts that are sold in supermarkets. These products contain added sugar and, often, preservatives. Instead, either purchase fresh unsweetened yogurt from a health food store or make the yogurt yourself, and sweeten it with fruit juices and other wholesome ingredients.



Although much attention has been focused on the need to reduce dietary fat, the body does need fat. During infancy and childhood, fat is necessary for normal brain development. Throughout life, it is essential to provide energy and support growth. Fat is, in fact, the most concentrated source of energy available to the body. However, after about two years of age, the body requires only small amounts of fat-much less than is provided by the average American diet. Excessive fat intake is a major causative factor in obesity, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and colon cancer, and has been linked to a number of other disorders as well. To understand how fat intake is related to these health problems, it is necessary to understand the different types of fats available and the ways in which these fats act within the body.

Fats are composed of building blocks called fatty acids. There are three major categories of fatty acids-saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated. These classifications are based on the number of hydrogen atoms in the chemical structure of a given molecule of fatty acid.

<strong><i>Saturated fatty acids</i></strong> are found primarily in animal products, including dairy items, such as whole milk, cream, and cheese, and fatty meats like beef, veal, lamb, pork, and ham. The fat marbling you can see in beef and pork is composed of saturated fat. Some vegetable products including coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and vegetable shortening-are also high in saturates.

The liver uses saturated fats to manufacture cholesterol. Therefore, excessive dietary intake of saturated fats can significantly raise the blood cholesterol level, especially the level of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), or "bad cholesterol. " Guidelines issued by the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), and widely supported by most experts, recommend that the daily intake of saturated fats be kept below 10 percent of total caloric intake. However, for people who have severe problems with high blood cholesterol, even that level may be too high.

<strong><i>Polyunsaturated fatty acids</i></strong> are found in greatest abundance in corn, soybean, safflower, and sunflower oils. Certain fish oils are also high in polyunsaturated fats. Unlike the saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats may actually lower your total blood cholesterol level. In doing so, however, large amounts of polyunsaturated fats also have a tendency to reduce your high-density lipoproteins (HDLs)-your .good cholesterol." For this reason-and because, like all fats, polyunsaturated fats are high in calories for their weight and volume-the NCEP guidelines state that an individual's intake of polyunsaturated fats should not exceed 10 percent of total caloric intake.

<strong><i>Monounsaturated fatty acids</i></strong> are found mostly in vegetable and nut oils such as olive, peanut, and canola. These fats appear to reduce blood levels of LDLs without affecting HDLs in any way. However, this positive impact upon LDL cholesterol is relatively modest. The NCEP guidelines recommend that intake of monounsaturated fats be kept between 10 and 15 percent of total caloric intake.

Although most foods-including some plant-derived foods contain a combination of all three types of fatty acids, one of the types usually predominates. Thus, a fat or oil is considered 'saturated" or "high in saturates' when it is composed primarily of saturated fatty acids. Such saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature. Similarly, a fat or oil composed mostly of polyunsaturated fatty acids is called "polyunsaturated," while a fat or oil composed mostly of monounsaturated fatty acids is called "monounsaturated."

One other element, <strong><i>trans-fatty acids</i></strong>, may also play a role in blood cholesterol levels. Also called trans fats, these substances occur when polyunsaturated oils are altered through hydrogenation, a process used to harden liquid vegetable oils into solid foods like margarine and shortening. One recent study found that trans-monounsaturated fatty acids raise LDL cholesterol levels, behaving much like saturated fats.


readings. Much more research on this subject is necessary, as studies have not reached consistent and conclusive findings. For now, however, it is clear that if your goal is to lower cholesterol, polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats are more desirable than saturated fats or products with trans-fatty acids. just as important, your total calories from fat should not constitute more than 20 to 25 percent of daily calories.



The Micronutrients: Vitamins and Minerals

Like water, carbohydrates, protein, and fats, vitamins and minerals are essential to life. They are therefore considered nutrients, and are often referred to as micronutrients simply because they are needed in relatively small amounts compared with the four basic nutrients.

Because vitamins and minerals are so necessary for health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has formulated recommended consumption levels for vitamins called recommended daily allowances (RDAs). But these allowances do not account for the amount needed to maintain maximum health rather than borderline health, only the amount needed to prevent deficiency diseases. Therefore, the average adult who is not suffering from any specific disorder should obtain more than the RDAs of vitamins and minerals from food sources and/or from supplements. A table  that shows the  guide lines for the intake of vitamin, mineral supplements, and other supplements for healthy living. Although the amounts listed are safe (they will not cause toxicity), they should be varied according to size and weight. People who are active and exercise; those who are under great stress, on restricted diets, or mentally or physically ill; women who take oral contraceptives; those on medication; those who are recovering from surgery; and smokers and those who consume alcoholic beverages all need higher than normal amounts of nutrients.

In addition to a proper diet, exercise and a positive attitude are two important elements that are needed to prevent sickness and disease. If your lifestyle includes each of these, you will feel good and have more energy, something we all deserve.


Nutritional Deficiency and Its Symptoms:


Incidence of Deficiency

Typical Symptoms and Diseases



Dermatitis, eye inflammation, hair loss, loss of muscle control, insomnia, muscle weakness


Average diet contains 40 to 50% of RDA*

Brittle nails, cramps, delusions, depression, insomnia, irritability, osteoporosis, palpitations, peridontal disease, rickets, tooth decay


90% of diets deficient

Anxiety, fatigue, glucose intolerance, adult-onset diabetes


75% of diets deficient; average diet contains 50% of RDA*

Anemia, arterial damage, depression, diarrhea, fatigue, fragile bones, hair loss, hyperthyroidism, weakness

Essential fatty acids

Very common

Diarrhea, dry skin and hair, hair loss, immune impairment, infertility, poor wound healing, premenstrual syndrome, acne, eczema, gall stones, liver degeneration

Folic acid

Average diet contains 60% of RDA*; deficient in 100% of elderly in one study; deficient in 48% of adolescent girls; requirement doubles in pregnancy

Anemia, apathy, diarrhea, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, loss of appetite, neural tube defects in fetus, paranoia, shortness of breath, weakness


Uncommon since the supplementation of salt with iodine

Cretinism, fatigue, hypothyroidism, weight gain


Most common mineral deficiency

Anemia, brittle nails, confusion, constipation, depression, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, inflamed tongue, mouth lesions


75 to 85% of diets deficient: average diet contains 50 to 60% of RDA*

Anxiety, confusion, heart attack, hyperactivity, insomnia, nervousness, muscular irritability, restlessness, weakness


Unknown, may be common in women

Atherosclerosis, dizziness, elevated cholesterol, glucose intolerance, hearing loss, loss of muscle control, ringing in ears


Commonly deficient in elderly

Bad breath, canker sores, confusion, depression, dermatitis, diarrhea, emotional instability, fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, memory impairment, muscle weakness, nausea, skin eruptions and inflammation

Pantothenic acid (B5)

Average elderly diet contains 60% of RDA*

Abdominal pains, burning feet, depression, eczema, fatigue, hair loss, immune impairment, insomnia, irritability, low blood pressure, muscle spasms, nausea, poor coordination


Commonly deficient in elderly

Acne, constipation, depression, edema, excessive water consumption, fatigue, glucose intolerance, high cholesterol levels, insomnia, mental impairment, muscle weakness, nervousness, poor reflexes

Pyridoxine (B6)

71% of male and 90% of female diets deficient

Acne, anemia, arthritis, eye inflammation, depression, dizziness, facial oiliness, fatigue, impaired wound healing, irritability, loss of appetite, loss of hair, mouth lesions, nausea


Deficient in 30% of elderly Britons

Blurred vision, cataracts, depression, dermatitis, dizziness, hair loss, inflamed eyes, mouth lesions, nervousness, neurological symptoms (numbness, loss of sensation, "electric shock" sensations), seizures. sensitivity to light, sleepiness, weakness


Average diet contains 50% of RDA

Growth impairment, high cholesterol levels, increased incidence of cancer, pancreatic insufficiency (inability to secrete adequate amounts of digestive enzymes), immune impairment, liver impairment, male sterility


Commonly deficient in elderly

Confusion, constipation, digestive problems, irritability, loss of appetite, memory loss, nervousness, numbness of hands and feet, pain sensitivity, poor coordination, weakness

Vitamin A

20% of diets deficient

Acne, dry hair, fatigue, growth impairment, insomnia, hyperkeratosis (thickening and roughness of skin), immune impairment, night blindness, weight loss

Vitamin B-12

Serum levels low in 25% of hospital patients

Anemia, constipation, depression, dizziness, fatigue, intestinal disturbances, headaches, irritability, loss of vibration sensation, low stomach acid, mental disturbances, moodiness, mouth lesions, numbness, spinal cord degeneration

Vitamin C

20 to 50% of diets deficient

Bleeding gums, depression, easy bruising, impaired wound healing, irritability, joint pains, loose teeth, malaise, tiredness.

Vitamin D

62% of elderly women's diets deficient

Burning sensation in mouth, diarrhea, insomnia, myopia, nervousness, osteomalacia, osteoporosis, rickets, scalp sweating

Vitamin E

23% of male and 15% of female diets deficient

Gait disturbances, poor reflexes, loss of position sense, loss of vibration sense, shortened red blood cell life

Vitamin K

Deficiency in pregnant women and newborns common

Bleeding disorders


68% of diets deficient

Acne, amnesia, apathy, brittle nails, delayed sexual maturity, depression, diarrhea, eczema, fatigue, growth impairment, hair loss, high cholesterol levels, immune impairment, impotence, irritability, lethargy, loss of appetite, loss of sense of taste, low stomach acid, male infertility, memory impairment, night blindness, paranoia, white spots on nails, wound healing impairment

(Source: Total Wellness by Joseph Pizzorno, ND )


Nutrients and Dosages for maintaining Good Health

The nutrients listed below are recommended for good health. Daily dosages are suggested; however, before using any supplements, you should consult with your health care provider. The dosages given here are for adults and children weighing 100 pounds and over. Appropriate dosages for children vary according to age and weight. A child weighing between 70 and 100 pounds should be given three-fourths the adult dose; a child weighing under 70 pounds (and over the age of six) should be given half the adult dose. A child under the age of six years should be given nutritional formulas designed specifically for young children. Follow the dosage directions on the product label. 


Daily Dosages

Vitamin A

10,000 IU


15,000 IU

Vitamin B1 (thiamine)

50 mg

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

50 mg

Vitamin B3 (niacin)

100 mg
100 mg

Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)

100 mg

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

50 mg

Vitamin B12

300 mcg


300 mcg


100 mg

Folic acid

800 mcg


100 mg

Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA)

50 mg

Vitamin C with mineral ascorbates

3,000 mg

Bioflavonoids (mixed)

500 mg


100 mg


25 mg

Vitamin D

400 IU

Vitamin E

600 IU

Vitamin K (use natural sources such as alfalfa, green leafy vegetables)

I 00 mcg

Essential fatty acids (EFAS)
(primrose oil, flaxseed oil, salmon oil, and fish oil are good sources)

As directed on label


Daily Dosages


1,500 mg

Chromium (GTF)

150 mcg


3 mg

Iodine (kelp is a good source)

225 mcg


18 mg


750-1,000 mg


10 mg


30 mcg


99 mg


200 mcg


50 mg

Optional Supplements

Daily Dosages

Coenzyme Q10

30 mg


As directed on label.


500 mg


50 mg


50 mg


50 mg


500 mg


200-500 mg


50 mg


100 mg


As directed on label.

Superoxide dismutase (SOD)

As directed on label.

(Source: Prescriptions for Nutritional Healing, James Balch, MD)

Caution: Iron should be taken only if a deficiency exists. Always take iron supplements separately, rather than in a multivitamin and mineral formula. Do not take iron with a supplement containing vitamin E.


Foods with The Highest And The Least Nutrition Content

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (Ralph Nader Group) has developed a rating scale to help people make more informed choices about the foods they eat. It is an open-ended scale that is based on a comparison of the beneficial components of a food to its harmful components. The higher the rating, the more nutritious the food.

In the snack food category, carrots have the highest nutritional rating, 48, because their high vitamin A and fiber content far outweigh, any detrimental components. Following carrots are green peppers, 44 (vitamin C and fiber); apples, 23 (fiber, iron, pectin); unbuttered, unsalted popcorn, 19 (fiber, eating satisfaction); celery, 17 (fiber, trace minerals); and potato chips, 15.

On the low end of the snack food scale are Twinkies, -34 (fat, sugar); jelly-beans, -38 (sugar, no nutrients); and Hershey's milk chocolate without nuts, -42 (sugar, cocoa, caffeine).

<strong>Desserts</strong>: Cantaloupe, 60, is rated highest, followed by strawberries, 34. Vanilla ice milk, 7, is rated higher than vanilla low-fat frozen yogurt, 3, which ranks much higher than vanilla ice cream, -22. And, then there's: Sara Lee chocolate cake, -26 and chocolate éclairs, -30.

Dannon Fruit Yogurt contains the equivalent of six teaspoons of sugar in each cup. Croissants are extremely high in fat.  59% of the 200 calories in Pepperidge Farm and Sara Lee's all-butter croissants come from fat. Compare this to the 5%-10% fat in breads, muffins and bagels.

Quiche is equally bad. More than half the calories in the crust come from fat. The basic filling of cheese, eggs, cream and bacon contains 25-27 grams of fat per serving... the equivalent of 7 teaspoons of lard. Wow!

Gourmet TV dinners are junkier than others. All of them are too high in salt. The difference lies in their fat content. Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers dinners have a lower percentage of fat than the others, but Le Menu and Armour Dinner Classics contain as much fat as the old-line Banquet or Morton dinners.

<strong>Snacks</strong>: Granola bars, which used to be more nutritious than chocolate bars, are getting more and more junky as the manufacturers begin adding more candy ingredients. Per ounce, Nature Valley Granola clusters contain 3.3 teaspoons of added sugar, the same amount that's in a Snicker's bar, and more than in Nestle's Crunch, Hershey's milk chocolate with almonds or Mr. Goodbar, which contain only 2.7 teaspoons added sugar. Quaker Honey & Oats Granola Bar is the best of the lot, with only 1.5 teaspoons of added sugar... less than half the sugar of a Nature Valley bar.

Low-calorie crackers:  Wheatsworth Wheat thins make you think they're full of whole-wheat flour ... but they contain 10 times more white flour than wheat, and 42% of their calories come from fat. Similarly, Keebler's Harvest Wheat Crackers are labeled "a blend of hearty wheat," but that's not the same as whole wheat. White flour and fat provide 51% of the calories in these crackers.


Organic Foods - FAQ

1. What is organic food?
Organic refers not to the food itself, but how it is produced. Organic food production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes the fertility of the soil. Organic foods are produced without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Organic foods are minimally processed to maintain the integrity of the food without artificial ingredients, preservatives or irradiation.

2. How is "certified organic" food different from other organic food?
"Certified" means that the food has been grown according to strict uniform standards that are verified by independent state or private organizations. Certification includes inspections of farm fields and processing facilities, detailed record keeping, and periodic testing of soil and water to ensure that growers and handlers are meeting the standards that have been established.

3. Who regulates the certified organic claims?
The federal government set standards for the production, processing and certification of organic food in the Organic Food Production Act of 1990. A National Organic Standards Board was established at that time and now is developing the guidelines and procedures that will regulate all crops from produce, grains, meat, dairy and eggs to processed foods. The law was activated April 21, 2001. Those who grow or market "organic" products were required to comply with the rule as of October 21, 2002. The Act provides that a person may sell or label an agricultural product as organically produced only if the product has been produced and handled in accordance with provisions of the Act and these regulations. The U.S. Department of Agriculture oversees the program.

4. Is organic food completely free of pesticide residues?
Organic food is not produced with toxic synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. However, there are some instances where residues may be carried to organic fields from neighboring conventional farms and environmental pollution.

5. Do organic farmers ever use pesticides?
Yes. However, only natural pesticides are permitted with restrictions as a last resort when growers are threatened with crop failure. Organic farmers' primary strategy is "prevention." By building healthy soils, healthy plants are better able to resist disease and insects. When pest populations get out of balance, growers will try various options like insect predators, mating disruption, traps and barriers. If these fail, permission will be granted by the certifier to apply botanical pesticides under restricted conditions. "Botanicals" are derived from plants and are broken down quickly by oxygen and sunlight.

6. Is organic food better for you?
There is no scientific evidence at this time to suggest that organically produced foods are more nutritious. However, well-balanced soils grow strong healthy plants that many people believe taste better and contain more nutrients. Many restaurant chefs across the country are using organic produce because they think it tastes better. Organic growers often select varieties to grow for their flavor, not only for their appearance.

7. Why does organic food cost more?
Prices for organic foods reflect many of the same costs as conventional foods in terms of growing, harvesting, transportation and storage. Organically produced food must meet stricter regulations governing all of these steps so the process is often more labor- and management-intensive, and farming tends to be on a smaller scale.

There is also mounting evidence that if all the indirect costs of conventional food production (cleanup of polluted water, replacement of eroded soils, cost of health care for farmers and their workers) were factored in to the price of food, organic foods would cost the same or, more likely, be less expensive.

8. Isn't organic food just a fad?
Not a chance. Sales of organic produce totaled $612.14 million in 1995. Sales of all organic food totaled $2.4 billion in 1995 and the market has grown an average rate of 25% each year. The adoption of national standards for certification will open up many new markets for U.S. organic producers.

Today, approximately 2% of the U.S. food supply is grown using organic methods. By the year 2000, analysts expect that to reach 10%. Worldwide, there are now almost 600 organic producer associations in 70 countries. Nations like Japan and Germany are fast becoming important international organic food markets.

9. Where can I find organic foods?
Organic foods are found at natural food stores, health food sections and regular produce departments of supermarkets, farmers' markets, and by mail. There is an increasing variety of organic processed foods making their way to market: baby foods, cereals, snacks, cookies, juices, peanut butter, yogurt, soups and even frozen meals.

10. Why does good organic fertilizer cost more than inorganic types?
It's more difficult to make. For example, the pelleted fish fertilizer contains ground fish scraps, fish bone meal, feather meal, blood meal, alfalfa meal, and sulfate of potash. Blending all of these different ingredients together isn't easy. However, when you consider that gradual-release organic fertilizers mostly end up being used by plants, while less expensive chemical fertilizers mostly evaporate or wash out of the root zone, then organics make better economic sense.

11. Why worry about bacteria, fungi, and other soil microorganisms?
In healthy soil, billions of these little soil critters are constantly digesting organic matter, transforming nitrogen and other elements into forms that plants can use, and when they die their nutritious little bodies become a perfect feast for plants. This is why it doesn't make sense to kill them with chemicals or inorganic fertilizers. A biologically active soil is plant-friendly!



Improving your quality of food choices can help you to reduce stress effects!

Health Center I.R