HOME GROWN IS HEALTHIER
It is a proven fact that eating fresh fruit with all of their phytonutrients is a major method of prevention of cancer and heart disease, and one of the basics of a healthy diet and weight loss. Eating fresh fruit is one way we can combat the trends of increasing cancer and heart disease rates and the prevalence of obesity and diabetes even among children.
However, fruit grown commercially that is available at most grocery stores is sprayed with many kinds of chemicals and pesticides (commercial peaches receive up to 13 kinds of sprays annually), and the only requirement for shipping to stores is washing, which does not remove all the chemicals absorbed into the fruit during growth. In addition, many deadly chemicals banned by the U.S. are still used rampantly in Central and South America, where much of our fresh fruit is imported when out of season in the U.S.
How do you feed fresh fruit to your family that is not grown with all of the chemicals and pesticides? The answer is to grow your own fruit at home!
TRENDS IN AMERICAN HEALTH The incidence of cancer (of all types) rates have been increased by over 15% in the last 35 years in the U.S. (even though they have gone down slightly recently), according to statistics from the National Cancer Institute. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.
According to the Center for Disease Control 34% of Americans are obese, compared to 32.7% who are overweight and 6% are "extremely" obese.
One-third of adults, or 72 million people, were considered obese in the government health study, which took place between 2005 and 2006. The obesity rate in America has more than doubled since 1980, but the number of overweight people has remained stable.
Childhood obesity is also reaching epic proportions. The CDC reported that 32% of U.S. children were overweight and 16% are obese.
EAT MORE FRUIT!
Eating fruit is a cancer and heart disease preventative, and the CDCand many other organizations recommend fruits as an essential part of the diet because they are rich in vitamins and antioxidants and other phytonutrients that are proven in research to assist in the prevention of cancer and heart disease. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, 30 to 40 percent of all cancers are directly linked to diet and exercise. This means that the foods you eat make a big impact on your long term health and longevity. For instance, researchers at CornellUniversity have shown the value of eating an apple a day, and that phytochemicals found in apples that directly reduce the growth of cancer cells.
Fruit is also considered an essential in the efforts to lose and control weight. The World Health Organization, among many other sources, promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables as a very important part of a diet to reduce obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
PESTICIDES AND CHEMICALS IN COMMERCIAL FRUIT
However, many chemicals and pesticides are used in the commercial production of fruit in America and overseas. Commercial apple and peach orchards often receive as many as 13 different sprays each year! Research from the US Food and Drug Administration has found high levels of residual chemicals, which can sometimes be toxic even in legal amounts, especially in commercially grown strawberries, cherries, apples, and peaches. Surface washing may not remove these residual amounts, especially when incorporated by the plant into the growing fruit. Even when these residual chemicals are below legal limits, they can accumulate
over time, causing health risks over time.
In addition, many pesticides and chemicals that are banned in the U.S. are still widely used in Central and South America, where much of the fresh fruit is imported from when American crops are out of season. Not only does this pose extra risk for residual chemicals (because of the unregulated nature of usage in these countries) but these highly toxic and dangerous chemicals also cause lots of damage to migratory birds, wildlife and farm-workers who are applying these chemicals.
THE SOLUTION= GROW YOUR OWN FRUIT!
On a small scale, production of fruit does not need the chemicals used in commercial agriculture. Non-toxic nutritional sprays can promote the growth of healthy trees that are more resistant to pests, and a natural system of production that does not kill beneficial insects and predators helps control pest populations. Pest problems such as scale can be controlled with dormant sprays of oil that simply suffocate the scale insects. Orchard floor cover crops that build up the soil over time reduce the need for herbicides. There are many different techniques that can be used to produce fruit without all of the chemicals. It can even be as simple as a sharp knife used to cut out a bug hole before you eat the fruit!
Growing your own fresh, healthy and safe fruit should be an important part of everyone's goals. You can grow these trees and plants quite easily, and it will be a valuable effort on many levels - for your family's health, for the pleasure of watching the plants grow and the reward of picking fruit from your own trees, and for the health of the earth, the wildlife and the natural systems in your own backyard.
Food and medicine are not two different things: they are the front and back of one body. Chemically grown vegetables may be eaten as food, but they cannot be used as medicine.
- Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution