Just when I thought my diet was the cat’s meow, I learn arsenic is found in Mediterranean Diet foods!
Arsenic occurs naturally in the environment and while the EPA limits drinking water to 10 micrograms/litter, there are few limits for foods.
A new study conducted at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire www.nutritionj.com/conte
analyzed the toenails of 852 people who consumed 120 foods.
Four turned out to significantly raise people's arsenic levels: beer, white wine (and thankfully to a lesser extent, red wine), Brussels sprouts and dark-meat fish (tuna, mackerel, salmon, sardines, bluefish, and swordfish). now.dartmouth.edu/2013/1
1. Beer. Men who had 2.5 beers per day had 30%+ higher level of arsenic than nonconsumers. (Women had a 4.9% higher level.)
2. Wine. Women who drank 5-6 glasses of white wine/week had levels 20% higher than nonconsumers. (Men 12% regardless of color and red wine women drinkers a 5.3% higher level).
The researchers weren’t sure if the arsenic was related to the ingredients in beer and wine, the filtration process or the alcohol itself which impairs the body's ability to detoxify.
3. Brussels sprouts. Inorganic arsenic exists in soil, but is attracted to sulfur compounds in Brussels sprouts, along with other "super-veggies" in the cruciferous family, including kale, broccoli, and cauliflower. Regular sprout eaters’ arsenic was 10.4% higher than people who never ate them or ate them less than once a month.
4. Dark-meat fish. Organic arsenic exists naturally in seawater and is presumed to be harmless, but inorganic forms of arsenic were 7.4% higher in people eating dark-meat fish once a week, compared to people who ate them less than once a month.
The question is can the body metabolize organic arsenic into the inorganic forms that cause health problems? Per Kathryn Cottingham, PhD, professor of biological sciences (lead researcher), "That's part of the reason the FDA has had such a hard time acting on arsenic in rice". www.livescience.com/3665
As an aside, the study didn’t show a significant association between rice and arsenic, but her study participants weren't big rice eaters (1-3 cups of white rice/month). Still Consumer Reports suggests restricting your rice intake to two servings per week. consumerreports.org/cro/
Also, chicken and poultry weren't consumed in measurable amounts, but the birds are regularly given feed containing with arsenic-based drugs, which the FDA recently banned. www.rodalenews.com/arsen
While Cottingham noted, "We can't say much about the potential for harm because we don't know the health risks yet for the levels we found", www.npr.org/blogs/thesal
she recommends, "if there are foods that are high in arsenic, just don't eat them all the time."
Good advice as we become "AWAKE! ALIVE! AWARE! and Appreciative of ALL that IS".