Liberal Arts Blog — Leafy Vegetables — Good News, Bad News, Tips from “Consumer Reports”
Liberal Arts Blog — Wednesday is the Joy of Science, Engineering, and Technology Day
Today’s Topic — Leafy Vegetables — Good News, Bad News, Tips from “Consumer Reports”
Last time legumes. Today, leafy vegetables. Healthy, but not risk free. Has anyone done the risk/reward math? Is the risk of listeria so low it’s not worth thinking about? Do you have any practical tips on the growing, washing, or preparing of leafy greens? What’s your favorite leafy vegetable? Why? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE GOOD NEWS — nutrient density, linked to reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers (second link)
1. “In a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that calculated nutrient density for almost 50 fruits and vegetables, 17 of the top 20 were leafy greens.”
2. “Research shows that a diet that contains plenty of leafy greens is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, macular degeneration, and type 2 diabetes.”
3. “They may also help to keep memory sharp as a person ages.”
THE BAD NEWS — listeria — risk is low, but infection can be serious especially for pregnant women (second link)
1. “Listeria monocytogenes is different from other types of bacteria that cause foodborne illness. “It’s one of the very few bacteria that can actually grow under refrigerator temperatures. That’s where we have extra trouble with listeria,” says Thesmar, at the Food Marketing Institute. In fact, she says, the cold, moist environments of refrigerators and food-processing facilities make ideal breeding grounds for the bacteria.”
2. “And while listeriosis isn’t as common as some other foodborne illnesses, it is often more serious. The CDC estimates 1,600 people develop the disease each year, compared with 1 million who become ill from salmonella in food. But almost everyone who develops the disease requires hospitalization and about 20 percent die, while less than half a percent of people infected with salmonella die.”
3. Why are there so few listeria infections? Not everyone exposed to the bacteria gets sick from it. “It is rare for healthy adults to get sick with listeria infection,” the CDC’s Wong says. “Listeria primarily causes illness in pregnant women, newborns, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.”
NB: Pregnant women are 10 times more likely to get a listeria infection than other people. Although the women themselves may not become very ill, it can affect their fetuses: The bacteria can cause miscarriage, preterm labor, and stillbirth. About 25 percent of listeriosis cases in pregnant women result in the loss of the baby, according to the CDC.”
CONSUMER REPORTS TIPS
1. In general, benefits outweigh the risks.
2. To be extra safe, cook them.
3. If you’re going to eat them raw, eat them soon after you buy them.
NB: “Finally, avoiding raw greens at restaurants may also help protect against foodborne illness: 85 percent of outbreaks linked to greens stemmed from restaurant meals, according to a 2015 CDC study.”
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