• By Laurel J. Kelly

Consumer Health: Organic food 101

April 20, 2018

baskets full of beautiful fruits and vegetables on shelves in a marketOrganic food: Is it safer? More nutritious? 
Once found only in health food stores, organic food is now a regular feature at most supermarkets. What is organic farming? What standards determine if food is organic? Is choosing organic worth it when it comes to nutrition, safety and price? Here's what you need to know.

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Also in today's tips ...

Latisse: The answer for longer, thicker eyelashes?
Bimatoprost, a medication marketed under the brand name Latisse, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat inadequate eyelashes. Regular application of Latisse along the lash line of the upper eyelid gradually encourages growth of longer, thicker and darker eyelashes. But there can be side effects. Learn more from Dr. Alaina Softing Hataye, a Mayo Clinic optometrist.

Sodium nitrate in meat and heart disease risk 
Sodium nitrate, a preservative that's used in some processed meats, such as bacon, jerky and luncheon meats, could increase your heart disease risk by damaging blood vessels. Also, most processed meats are high in sodium and some are high in saturated fat, both of which can disrupt a heart-healthy diet. Learn more from Katherine Zeratsky, a Mayo Clinic registered dietitian nutritionist.

What are PCBs and what risk do they pose? 
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are industrial chemicals manufactured from 1929 until 1979, when they were banned. PCB remnants still cycle among air, water and soil, and traces are found all over the world. They settle into water and sediment, where they are taken up by small organisms and increasingly accumulate in fat and organs in fish and animals that eat fish. This includes humans who eat fish. Read more about the risks of PCBs in your diet.

Melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone in your body that plays a role in sleep. Melatonin also is available as a supplement and commonly is used for sleep disorders, such as insomnia and jet lag. Find out what the research shows about the benefits of melatonin supplements, and the potential side effects and drug interactions.

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