Brown Rice Is Good For You, But...
In my opinion, organic meats and produce are better for you than conventionally raised foods. Plants and animals that have been nurtured naturally are less likely to contain pesticide residues, to begin with. And they often provide higher levels of certain beneficial nutrients. Organic spinach, for example, provides more vitamin C than conventionally grown spinach, while grass-fed beef contains essential omega-3 fatty acids that are missing from factory-farmed beef (although, if you read my column last week, you may be hesitant to eat red meat at all, due to its negative influence on the makeup of your gut bacteria).
So organic is arguably better for you, generally speaking. But “natural” or “organic” don’t always translate to “good for you”. The classic example is arsenic. Arsenic is completely natural; it’s an element. But, of course, it’s also a poison. So natural doesn’t automatically mean healthful.
Recently the words “organic” and “arsenic” made headlines together. The issue is organic brown rice. Brown rice is a healthful whole grain. As it turns out, though, sometimes it harbors troubling amounts of arsenic. This week, I’ll delve deeper into this intriguing topic, revealing some hidden sources of potential arsenic contamination that may be lurking in your foods. I’ll also offer some solutions to the oxymoronic problem of toxic health foods.
Koh E, Charoenprasert S, Mitchell AE. Effect of organic and conventional cropping systems on ascorbic acid, vitamin C, flavonoids, nitrate, and oxalate in 27 varieties of spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.). J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Mar 28;60(12):3144-50. doi: 10.1021/jf300051f. Epub 2012 Mar 20.
Roy P, Orikasa T, Okadome H, Nakamura N, Shiina T. Processing conditions, rice properties, health and environment. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 Jun;8(6):1957-76. doi: 10.3390/ijerph8061957. Epub 2011 Jun 3