ORGANIC COTTON: Gossypium hirsutum
COMMON NAME: Cotton
Organic cotton is mostly grown in subtropical countries such as America and India, from non genetically modified plants, that is to be grown without the use of any synthetic agricultural chemicals such as fertilizers or pesticides. Its production also promotes and enhances biodiversity and biological cycles. In the United States cotton plantations must also meet the requirements enforced by the National Organic Program (NOP), from the USDA, in order to be considered organic. This institution determines the allowed practices for pest control, growing, fertilizing, and handling of organic crops. As of 2007, 265,517 bales of organic cotton were produced in only 24 countries and worldwide production was growing at a rate of 50% per year.
Cotton covers 2.5% of the world’s cultivated land yet uses 16-25% of the world’s insecticides, more than any other single major crop. Other environmental consequences of the elevated use of chemicals in the non organic cotton growing methods consist of:
-High levels of agrochemicals are used in the production of non-organic, conventional cotton. Cotton production uses more chemicals per unit area than any other crop and accounts in total for 10-16% of the world’s pesticides (including herbicides, insecticides, and defoliants).
-Chemicals used in the processing of cotton pollute the air and surface waters
-Residual chemicals may irritate consumers’ skin
-Decreased biodiversity and shifting equilibrium of ecosystems due to the use of pesticides
Cotton growers who make the transition to biologically based growing practices expect not only to offer a healthier and cleaner product, but also to benefit the planet. Some of the contributions to the different ecosystems include:
-Protecting surface and groundwater quality (eliminating contaminants in surface runoff)
-Reduced risk in insect and disease control by replacing insecticide with the manipulation of ecosystems
-Long-term prevention of pests through beneficial habitat planting
-Conservation of biodiversity
-Eliminate the use of toxic chemicals used in cotton
-Organically grown crops also yield soils with higher organic matter content, thicker topsoil depth, higher polysaccharide content, and lower modulus of rupture; therefore reducing considerably soil erosion
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APPLES: (Malus domestica) – in the rose family (Rosaceae)
PART USED: Fruit.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: Bone Protection, Asthma Help, Alzheimer’s/ Parkinson Prevention, Lowers Cholesterol due to high pectin content, Lung Cancer Prevention, Breast Cancer Prevention, Colon Cancer Prevention, Liver Cancer Prevention, Diabetes Management, Weight Loss, Reduced Risk of Digestive Cancers, Protect Against Oxidative Damage Linked to Neurodegenerative Diseases, help boost brain function, high in phenolics – an antioxidant.
PEAR: ( Pyrus )
PART USED: Fruit
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: Sweet, delicious and rich flavored pears offer crunchiness of apples yet juicy as peach and nectarine. Pears fruit is packed with health benefiting nutrients such as carbohydrate, protein, dietary fiber, folates, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc which are necessary for optimum health.
Regular eating of this fruit may offer protection against colon cancer. Most of the fiber in them is non soluble polysaccharide, which functions as a good bulk laxative in the gut. Additionally, the gritty fiber content binds to cancer-causing toxins and chemicals in the colon, protecting its mucous membrane from contact with these compounds. Just a few sections a day in the diet can bring significant reduction in weight and blood LDL cholesterol levels.
These fruits are moderate sources of antioxidant flavonoids phyto-nutrients such as beta-carotene, lutein and zea-xanthin. These compounds, along with good quantities of vitamin C and A, help the body protected from harmful free radicals.
Pears have suggested in various medicines being useful in treating colitis, chronic gallbladder disorders, arthritis and gout. Although not well documented, pears are among the least allergenic of all fruits and are therefore recommended by health practitioners as a safe alternative in the preparation of food products for allergy sufferers.
Fresh pears are readily available in the stores. While Bartlett variety is a predominant variety during summer, Comice, Seckel, etc. are chief fall-season pears. Asian pears are generally ready to harvest by August and available in the stores by September.
Choose fresh, bright, firm textured fruits with rich flavor. Avoid fruits with pressure marks over their surface as they indicate underlying mottled pulp. Some fruits, especially the Asian varieties, have rusted colored speckles on their outer surface, which is otherwise an acceptable characteristic.
Keep unripe pears in a basket with separate chambers at room temperature or wrap in paper to ripen as in papaya. Once their surface yields to gentle pressure, they are ripe and ready to be eaten. To get the maximum nutrient benefits eat them while they are fresh. Otherwise, keep them in the refrigerator where they will remain fresh for a few days.
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