In 2018, the EU widened a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides because of their impact on bees and other pollinators. At the time, the UK government pledged to keep the ban in place after leaving the EU, The Guardian pointed out. But on Friday, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) approved the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam for emergency use on sugar beets in 2021.
The decision was made in response to requests from the National Farmers' Union (NFU) and British Sugar to give sugar beets extra protection from a virus causing an ailment called virus yellows disease, The Guardian explained.
"Virus yellows disease is having an unprecedented impact on Britain's sugar beet crop, with some growers experiencing yield losses of up to 80%, and this authorisation is desperately needed to fight this disease. It will be crucial in ensuring that Britain's sugar beet growers continue to have viable farm businesses," NFU chairman Michael Sly told The Guardian.
Other countries still currently in the EU have also allowed emergency use of the product, including Belgium, Denmark and Spain.
But environmental advocates argue that any use of the pesticide is too risky at a time when insect populations are in peril. A 2020 study found that land-based insects had declined 50 percent in the last 75 years. The UK alone lost a third of its bees in the last decade, according to The Independent. The decline of UK bees since 2007 coincided with the introduction of thiamethoxam, according to The Guardian. Studies have shown that the pesticide can weaken bees' immune systems and harm the brains of young bees, making it harder for them to fly.
"Insects perform vital roles such as pollination of crops and wildflowers, and nutrient recycling, but so many have suffered drastic declines. Evidence suggests we've lost at least 50% of insects since 1970, and 41% of all insect species are now 'threatened with extinction'", the Wildlife Trust said in a Twitter thread responding to the news.
Bad news for bees: The Government has bowed to pressure from the National Farmers Union to agree the use of a highl… https://t.co/W8k7Tl9p4J— The Wildlife Trusts (@The Wildlife Trusts)1610127990.0
Other outraged citizens launched a petition calling on the government to reverse its decision.
"This pesticide is lethal to bees and other pollinators which our environment desperately needs to pollinate flora and fauna. Bees pollinate up to 3/4 of crops which makes the use of this pesticide incredibly counter-intuitive," the petition stated.
The petition earned signatures from celebrities including comedienne Sue Perkins, The London Economic noted.
2017: ‘The principal public good we will invest in is environmental enhancement.” Gove 2020: Introducing banned pe… https://t.co/uUS9Cz3feo— Sue Perkins 💙 (@Sue Perkins 💙)1610275182.0
In its statement, Buglife said it was especially concerned about a provision allowing farmers to destroy wildflowers around the beets and a lack of information about plans to keep the pesticide from polluting rivers. It noted that a similar application for emergency use was denied in 2018 due to its potential impacts on bees.
"Nothing has changed scientifically since the decision to ban neonics from use on sugar beet in 2018, they are still going to harm the environment," Shardlow said.
- 15 Organizations and Initiatives Helping to Save the Bees - EcoWatch ›
- Pesticide Touted as Neonicotinoid Replacement Still Harms Bees ... ›
- Study Shows Some Pesticides More Bee-Safe Than Others, But Are ... ›
- Neonic Pesticides Could Spell Disaster for Our Food Supply - EcoWatch ›
- Is Your Avocado Toast and Almond Milk Harming Bees? Maybe ›
By Ajit Niranjan
The way food is grown around the world threatens 24,000 of the 28,000 species that are at risk of extinction, according to a report published Wednesday that calls on world leaders to urgently reform the global food system.
Plants and animals are dying out at a rate that is at least tens — if not hundreds — of times faster than the average over the past 10 million years, according to the report, which was published by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), British think tank Chatham House, and animal welfare organization Compassion in World Farming. The decline has mostly been driven by people destroying natural ecosystems to make space for cropland and pastures.
But world leaders could slow the accelerating loss of the planet's wildlife with simple steps: protecting more land, farming with fewer pesticides and monocultures, and shifting diets from meat towards plants. The scope of the first two solutions, the authors warned, depends on how much people change their diets and stop throwing food away.
"If our demand for food continues to increase, the more intensively we have to use the land that is left," said Tim Benton, an ecologist at the think tank Chatham House and co-author of the report. "It is about changing the way that we relate to food."
Feeding the World
The food system sits at the heart of four worsening global crises: climate, extinction, hunger and obesity. With more than a third of the world's land used for agriculture, experts are grappling with how to feed a growing population more food that is healthy — while at the same time killing less wildlife and emitting fewer greenhouse gases.
For decades, environmental activists have held up organic farms, which avoid synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, as a nature-friendly alternative to conventional agriculture. Some farmers have turned to regenerative practices that store carbon dioxide in soils and make crops more resilient to storms and droughts.
But ecologists say there is a catch.
The Organic Dilemma
Because organic and regenerative farms typically yield less food per hectare than industrial farms, sustainable farmers need to use more land if they are to grow the same amount of food.
A 2019 study published in the journal Nature Communications found that adopting organic farming across the UK would, in fact, lead to more greenhouse gas emissions. Lower yields at home would be offset by imported food from croplands that would expand onto natural ecosystems.
In the US, a detailed lifecycle assessment of a regenerative farm found that its greenhouse gas emissions for each kilogram of meat were 66% lower than conventional alternatives, but took up 2.5 times more land, according to a study published in December in the journal Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems.
Experts say there isn't enough land to feed the world and its growing appetite for meat through sustainable farms alone, even if they were built on marginal lands like degraded cropland.
The only thing that will allow us to farm in a sustainable way is changing our demand for food, said Benton. "That sounds horribly elitist, middle-class, 'let's all go vegan'," he said. But it could free up demand for land that could then be satisfied by sustainable farms.
Beef and a few other red meats, for instance, supply 1% of the world's calories but account for 25% of the emissions that come with changing how land is used, according to a study published in the journal Nature in January. To produce the same amount of protein as tofu, beef uses up 75 more times land.
In countries like Brazil and Indonesia, foreign demand for commodities drives companies to raze rainforests to grow soy for cattle and oil palm for cooking and use in processed foods.
In many cases, the food is not even eaten. About a third of all food made is lost during production or wasted.
Cheap, Unhealthy Food
The charge sheet ecologists have against industrial agriculture is long: destroying forest homes of endangered mammals like orangutans; killing bees that farmers rely on to pollinate crops; chopping trees that suck CO2 out of the atmosphere; and degrading soils that future generations will need to feed themselves.
But doctors, too, are worried.
Expanding farmlands raises the risk of zoonotic diseases crossing from animals to humans. Factory farms pump antibiotics into livestock that encourages the growth of bacteria that are resistant to treatment. And then there's nutrition.
Obesity rates have tripled in the last half century amid a rise in foods high in fat and sugars and a fall in physical activity, bringing greater risk of heart disease and some cancers. The World Health Organization has called on the food industry to reduce the fat, sugar and salt content of processed foods, and make sure that healthy choices are affordable to everybody.
"Our current food system is a double-edged sword shaped by decades of the cheaper food paradigm," said Susan Gardner, Director of UNEP's Ecosystems Division. It aims to make more food, quickly and cheaply, without considering the costs to biodiversity and health, she said.
But at the same time, cheap food prices and productivity increases in agriculture have given more people access to food, said Irene Hoffman, Secretary of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture at the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), who was not involved in the report. "Otherwise, our current food insecurity index would be much, much higher."
The world population has doubled in the last 50 years to 7.8 billion people. While food production has kept up, 1 in 10 people today still go to bed hungry each night. By 2050, when the population is expected to reach nearly 10 billion people, the competition for land will be even greater because of efforts to grow plants to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
A landmark study published in the medical journal Lancet in 2019 found that world leaders could feed 10 billion people and still stay within a "safe operating space on Earth" by radically changing food production and shifting diets.
And doing so, the authors found, would make people healthier.
A move to healthy, sustainable diets would involve eating half as much red meat and sugar globally, and twice as many nuts, fruits, vegetables and legumes. It would avoid more than 7 million premature deaths per year, as well as reducing pressure on nature.
This, in turn, this would also make the farms more resilient to shocks like climate change, disease and soil erosion, safeguarding food supplies for the future.
"There's often a tendency to play nature against agriculture, which is absolutely not the case," said Hoffmann. "Agriculture depends on biodiversity, it is shaped by biodiversity [and] it manages biodiversity."
Reposted with permission from Deutsche Welle.
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Turns out, bee labor is required to produce most avocados and almonds in the U.S. Honeybees pollinate most fruits and vegetables in the country, The Washington Post reported. With native bee populations in sharp decline, there aren't enough of them to complete the job naturally or efficiently, The Post added.
Enter migratory beekeeping. Farmers truck beehives full of European honeybees across the country and into their fields so that the insects can pollinate crops during important fertile periods, The Post reported. Without this practice, farmers would lose about one-third of their crops, including broccoli, blueberries, cherries, apples, melons and lettuce, according to The Post.
The practice is so widespread that Tracy Reiman, a representative for PETA, said, "Average shoppers can't avoid produce that involves migratory beekeeping, any more than they can avoid driving on asphalt," Vegan Life reported.
In 2013, Scientific American estimated that California's booming almond industry used 31 to 80 billion migrant honeybees a year in order to achieve maximum pollination during almond trees' two-week bloom. California produces up to 80 percent of all the world's almonds, Scientific American noted, and could not achieve such scale without migratory beekeeping.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0
According to From the Grapevine, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.
U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. CNN reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.
Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.
Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.
Adding pesticides to the picture, bees don't stand a chance. Many countries still use neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics), which are believed to kill bees. In Jan. 2021, the U.K. faced backlash after approving the emergency use of the toxin on sugar beets, despite pledging not to increase its usage in the wake of Brexit. Although restricted, this family of pesticides is still the most widely used in the U.S., and scientists warn that neonics' continued prevalence could be catastrophic for food supplies, honeybee populations and mass die-offs of native species. Neonics are a primary cause behind the massive honeybee and native bee losses each year, researchers and environmentalists argue.
In Columbia, mass bee deaths are being blamed directly on avocado farms, Phys.org reported. Avocado exports from Columbia skyrocketed from 1.7 tons in 2014 to 44.5 tons in 2019, and in 2021, Colombia became Europe's largest avocado supplier, Phys.org added. This boom has resulted in the increased use of neonic insecticide fipronil. Banned in Europe and restricted in the U.S. and China, fipronil is still used in Colombia to grow avocados and citrus for export. This has been bad for neighboring bees, which become contaminated as they buzz through pesticide-treated plantations looking for food.
"They bring this poison to the hive and kill everyone else," Abdon Salazar, a Columbian beekeeper, lamented to Phys.org after losing 800 hives and 80 million bees in the last two years.
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0
Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.
The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could trigger food security issues.
Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"
Brown fat plays a bit of a different role as it burns calories to create heat and maintain body temperature in cold environments. White fat can be converted to brown fat through exercise and sufficient amounts of sleep. Brown fat is more metabolically active (burns more calories) because it has more mitochondria, the quintessential "powerhouses" of every cell in the body.
According to research published in the journal of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, CBD may support the conversion of white fat to brown, therefore burning calories at an increased rate and possibly resulting in weight loss. This is also promising regarding chronic conditions that are caused by excess white fat accumulation.
The Importance of a Healthy Diet
Although CBD hemp oil may support the browning of white fat and increases in thermogenesis, it does not completely replace a healthy diet. CBD supports the functions that may promote weight loss, but only if you are consuming a balanced diet as well.
In order to maintain a healthy weight, you need whole foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes—all of which contain vital minerals and vitamins that your body requires on a daily basis to function optimally. You can also introduce more natural herbs for weight loss to give an added boost to your diet plan.
Can CBD Help You Exercise?
Some research does show slight correlations between fat oxidation (burning fat) and CBD supplementation, however it is not an excuse to not move your body.
Exercise has a host of hormonal benefits such as increases in HGH (human growth hormone) which is linked to longevity and increases in muscle mass, which in turn leads to a boost in metabolism. Exercise also improves cardiac endurance and heart health, which becomes more helpful as we age or incur injury and cannot exercise consistently.
CBD also has the added benefit of decreasing muscle aches and recovery times after working out, which can make it easier to exercise more often. This is because CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory with analgesic (pain-killing) properties that can decrease pain from delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
CBD oil also does not have any nasty side effects like those associated with NSAIDs and other over-the-counter pain relievers.
Different ways to take CBD for Weight Loss
There are a slew of different application styles and CBD products available, although some are better than others when it comes to weight loss. CBD oils are a good option since they start working quickly (within 30 minutes), but don't have many other ingredients—so you won't have to worry about calories, sugars, sodium, etc.
CBD gummies on the other hand are more likely to contain added flavorings or sugary ingredients. While taking a couple of gummies each day won't throw off your diet plan, it is something you'll want to take into consideration when choosing the best CBD product for weight loss. If you like the thought of an easy, daily dose but want to skip the sugary gummy, a capsule or softgel may be a more efficient way to take CBD for weight loss.
Other products like CBD creams may help decease aches and pains caused by exercise, but they won't do much for you when it comes to metabolism, appetite, and other CBD oil benefits that tinctures and capsules can provide.
Takeaways on CBD for Weight Loss
A lot of people are turning to supplements for weight loss, and CBD is one of the best options for a natural plant derivative that can support a healthy mind and body. There are also many other wellness advantages to taking CBD oil for weight loss, including its ability to promote balance in a variety of bodily systems and processes. In conjunction with a proper diet and exercise regimen, CBD may be give you the added boost that you're looking for when trying to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle.
Jaclyn Jacobsen, MS is a Functional Nutritionist, freelance writer and founder of Lifestyle Nutrition. She has been in private practice for over 4 years and has extensive experience in community nutrition and the supplement industry. She earned a graduate degree in Nutrition, Dietetics and Education from Montclair State University. She has supported countless individuals in the areas of stress management, inflammation, weight management, fitness and hormonal health. Jaclyn has also worked within the eating disorder community, supporting women in resolving disordered eating behaviors, body dysmorphia and healing their relationships with food. She has applied her health and wellness knowledge through writing contributions and features in Greatist.com, Livestrong.com, and GoodHousekeeping.com.
Tiny Cacao Flowers and Fickle Midges Are Part of a Pollination Puzzle That Limits Chocolate Production
By DeWayne Shoemaker
It's almost impossible to imagine a world without chocolate. Yet cacao trees, which are the source of chocolate, are vulnerable.
I am a passionate chocolate lover and an entomologist who studies cacao pollination. The crop's sustainability currently appears to depend on several species of tiny fly pollinators, who are frankly struggling to get the job done.
Thousands of Flowers
Chocolate is derived from the seeds of the cacao tree, Theobroma cacao L., which literally means "food of the gods." The plant originated in the Western Amazon region of South America and has been cultivated for more than 3,000 years in many parts of Central and South America. Today it's grown in equatorial regions around the world, including western Africa and several tropical regions in Asia.
A mature cacao tree can produce many thousands of flowers each year. These flowers are tiny, only a half inch or so in diameter (1-2 cm). The flowers typically grow in clusters directly from the trunk of the tree or off large branches.
Each flower requires pollination to successfully produce a nearly football-sized fruit – a pod containing 30-60 seeds, which can be processed to make chocolate.
It sounds straightforward but, in fact, successful cacao pollination is problematic in many regions. Only around 10% to 20% of the flowers produced by a cacao tree are successfully pollinated. The rest, up to 90%, never receive pollen – or do not receive enough pollen to create fruits.
Scientists don't fully understand cacao pollination, which is surprising given that over 50 million people worldwide currently depend on chocolate for their livelihood.
A Big Job for a Tiny Fly
The insects responsible for pollinating cacao's tiny flowers are, themselves, also tiny, in order to access the flower's reproductive structures. Biting midges from the Ceratopogonidae family and gall midges from the Cecidomyiidae family are among the most important known cacao pollinators worldwide.
The majority of cacao trees are what are known as self-incompatible, meaning they cannot pollinate themselves. Successful pollinators must pick up pollen from the male parts of a flower of one tree and deposit it on the female parts of a flower on another tree.
Cacao flowers are also short-lived, typically receptive to pollen for only one or two days. Flowers that do not receive ample pollen die and fall within 36 hours of opening.
Evidence suggests improving midge habitat can increase fruit yield. So, in some cacao-growing areas, current farming practices include developing and maintaining suitable ground habitat within and near cacao orchards in an effort to increase the number of midges capable of pollen transmission.
The success of artificial or hand pollination, which can more than double yields, shows cacao trees are capable of producing many more pods than they currently do.
It's hard not to wonder: Why aren't midges doing a better job of pollinating cacao flowers? Scientists think part of the answer might be that midges don't solely depend upon cacao flowers for their life cycle. Because they can get sugar from other plant sources, they are likely passive rather than active pollinators of cacao. Scientists also wonder if they are up to the task of flying the significant distances between wild trees.
All of which begs the question: Are there insects better designed for the job? And, if so, where did they go?
Most studies linking midges to cacao pollination were conducted in orchards, while the biology of wild cacao pollination is almost completely unstudied.
One exception is a study that looked at both cultivated and wild cacao in Bolivia. It found that midges represented only 2% of all insect visitors to wild trees. Other flies and tiny wasps were more common there.
These results are intriguing and raise the possibility that one or more unknown insects are the primary pollinators of cacao in the wild. Only additional study of wild cacao may reveal if this is the case. Such information could have far-reaching implications for the chocolate industry.
DeWayne Shoemaker is a professor and the department head of entomology and plant pathology at the University of Tennessee.
Disclosure statement: DeWayne Shoemaker works for the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture.
Reposted with permission from The Conversation.
For many people, the holidays are rich with time-honored traditions like decorating the Christmas tree, lighting the menorah, caroling, cookie baking, and sipping from the unity cup. But there's another unofficial, official holiday tradition that spans all ages and beliefs and gives people across the world hope for a better tomorrow: the New Year's resolution.
It's believed that ancient Babylonians were the first people to make New Year's resolutions some 4,000 years ago. Over time, the popular practice shifted in scope from making promises to the gods about repaying debt to making promises to ourselves about self-improvement. Anyone who has ever made a New Year's resolution probably included something like get more sleep or be less stressed. And though it might not immediately come to mind when you brainstorm strategies for reaching your New Year's goals, it turns out that chamomile tea could be the answer for many of them.
If you've ever asked yourself why everyone is drinking chamomile tea, we've got the answer here. Read on to learn some of the reasons why this herbal beverage is all the rage.
Benefits of Chamomile Tea
Sleep More Soundly
Pick your grandmother's brain about the best way to fall asleep, and she might tell you to down a nice glass of warm milk. But if you consult with science, research shows that chamomile might be a better option. That's because it contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which can promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia and other sleep problems.
Two research studies even confirmed the power of chamomile throughout the day and before bed. In one of those studies, postpartum women who drank chamomile for two weeks experienced better sleep quality than the control group who didn't. Another research effort measured how fast people could fall asleep. Those results illustrated that participants who consumed 270 milligrams of chamomile extract twice daily for 28 days fell asleep 15 minutes faster than the control. The chamomile group also had considerably fewer sleep disruptions.
May Be Able to Keep Your Gut Healthy
Though the following studies used rats as the subjects, research shows that chamomile can potentially play a beneficial role in digestive health. According to that research, the anti-inflammatory properties in chamomile extract may be able to protect against diarrhea. Additionally, chamomile may be an effective way to stop the growth of bacteria in our stomachs that contribute to ulcers.
Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Few things are more relaxing than curling up with a good cup of tea, so it's logical that chamomile tea can serve a stress reducer. While it lacks the potency of a pharmaceutical drug, long-term use of chamomile has been shown to "significantly" reduce general anxiety disorders. In general, chamomile can act almost like a sedative, and many people enjoy the tea because it puts them in a calm and relaxed state almost immediately.
Boosts Immune Health
Vitamin C and zinc are common over-the-counter supplements that people often turn to when they're hoping to avoid becoming sick. While scientists admit that more research must take place to prove chamomile's impact on preventing ailments like the common cold, the existing studies do show promise in this area.
One study had 14 participants drink five cups of the tea every day for two consecutive weeks. Throughout the study, researchers collected daily urine samples and tested the contents before and after the consumption of the tea. Drinking chamomile resulted in a significant increase in the levels of hippurate and glycine, both of which are known to increase antibacterial activity. Inhaling steam from a pot of freshly brewed chamomile tea may also ease the symptoms of nasal congestion.
Minimizes Menstrual Cramps
This one may come as a surprise, particularly to readers who have tried every possible over-the-counter treatment to reduce period pain. Several research studies have proven that chamomile tea may be able to minimize the pain and cramps that occur during menstruation. Women in that same study also dealt with lower levels of anxiety that they typically felt because of menstrual cramps.
Help Diabetes and Lower Blood Sugar
For people with diabetes, regulating blood sugar levels can be a matter of life or death. And while chamomile will never replace prescription-strength drugs, it's believed that it can prevent an increase in blood sugar. A 2008 study on rats showed that chamomile could have a moderate impact on the long-term risk of diabetes.
Might Improve Your Skin
Ever wondered why there's been an influx of chamomile-infused cosmetic products? The reason why so many manufacturers now include chamomile in their lotions, soaps, and creams is because it acts as an anti-inflammatory on our skin. That means it may be able to soothe the puffiness that plagues us as we age. Those same anti-inflammatory properties can be vital in restoring skin health after we've received a sunburn.
Before discarding your used chamomile tea bags, try chilling them and placing them over your eyes. Not only will this help with the puffiness, but it can drastically light the skin color around the eye.
Help With Heart Health
Some of the most beneficial antioxidants we put into our bodies are what are known as flavones, and chamomile tea is chock full of them. Flavones have the potential to lower both blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which, when elevated, can lead to heart disease.
Why Everyone Is Drinking Chamomile Tea
Now that you know so much about the wonders of chamomile, it shouldn't come as a surprise why the tea is so popular with people of all ages. In addition to tasting great, chamomile offers up benefits that boost the health of body parts both inside and out. As you ponder your own New Year's resolutions, think about how healthy and natural vitamins, supplements, plants, and oils can help guide you on your own personal path to improvement. Happy New Year!
FGO tea bags are made of hemp fiber paper, free of dyes, adhesive, glue, and chlorine bleach. The tea is also certified USDA Organic by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF).
Josh Hall has been a professional writer and storyteller for more than 15 years. His work on natural health and cannabis has appeared in Health, Shape, and Remedy Review. The product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the link included, we may earn commission.
By Sarah Reinhardt
The federal government released new U.S. dietary guidelines Tuesday after three years of preparation, and it served a strong win to both alcohol and soda industries.
Rather than adopting a new recommendation for men to limit alcohol intake to one drink per day, the Trump administration instead passed on science and yielded to industry lobbying, leaving the prior limit of two drinks in place. New guidance for adults and children two and older to reduce added sugar from a maximum of 10 percent to 6 percent of daily calories was also rejected.
If you can look beyond its gratuitous gifts to industry, the new guidelines provide some wins for public health, too. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans retains evidence-based guidance on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and saturated fats, and for the first time includes dietary recommendations for infants, toddlers, and pregnant and lactating women.
Now, with the Dietary Guidelines on paper, another question looms large: How can federal agencies use it to make meaningful advancements in public health — particularly during a global pandemic?
What's the big deal about new Dietary Guidelines?
You may know the Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the food pyramid of the early 1990s — which, despite having been replaced by MyPlate nearly a decade ago, seems to have a stronghold on the popular imagination when it comes to our ideas about healthy eating. But the impact and reach of U.S. dietary guidelines is far greater than many people realize. In addition to being the nation's leading nutrition recommendations, the Dietary Guidelines provide the scientific basis for federal nutrition programs, including school lunch and breakfast programs, that reach millions of kids, parents, seniors, veterans, and other members of the public every day.
As required by law, the guidelines are updated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) every five years to reflect the best available scientific research. This process typically starts with the selection of an expert committee that spends two years developing a rigorous scientific report on current nutrition science, and ends with agency staff and political leaders writing and publishing final guidelines. And the decisions made by agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue and HHS secretary Alex Azar about what to include — or omit — in the new guidelines will affect the health of our children and communities for years to come.
How industry gets inside access to the Dietary Guidelines
The Dietary Guidelines aren't developed in a vacuum; the process is intentionally designed to be both transparent and accessible to the public, and provides opportunities to attend meetings of the scientific committee and to submit comments. These opportunities are open to all individuals, academic institutions, advocacy organizations, and industry groups and associations whose input can inform and strengthen the scientific committee's work. But problems can arise when industry groups bypass this process and attempt to directly influence federal agencies or members of Congress, either through lobbying or unofficial meetings that may not be documented. During the three years preceding the release of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines, dozens of industry groups representing the interests of beer, wine, and liquor companies spent an average of $27 million per year ($30.7 million in 2018, $29.3 million in 2019, and $22.2 million in 2020) lobbying members of Congress. Once formed, these cozy relationships can prompt Congress to act on behalf of companies by petitioning USDA and HHS secretaries to change or omit recommendations that industry finds unfavorable. In August 2020, 28 members of Congress addressed such a letter to UDSA and HHS secretaries, challenging the scientific committee's findings on alcohol and mortality.
Meanwhile, industry groups such as the American Beverage Association, which includes soda giants Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper, and Pepsi, pushed back against the added sugar recommendations in the scientific report, asking USDA and HHS secretaries to maintain current targets instead. But as we wrote this summer, the current limit of 10 percent prevents the average individual from meeting all requirements for a healthy diet within their target calorie range — a rationale spelled out clearly in the scientific report. The science is also clear that reducing added sugar intake across the U.S. population would yield significant public health rewards. Our 2019 report, Delivering on the Dietary Guidelines, found that drinking just one fewer sugar-sweetened beverage per day could avert nearly 19,000 deaths from type 2 diabetes and decrease medical costs by $16 billion annually among U.S. adults.
Though industry influence is the exception, not the rule, this isn't the first time that Congress has interfered with the Dietary Guidelines. For example, when the scientific committee behind the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines was charged with reviewing evidence on diets, sustainability, and food security, its findings were met with strong opposition from meat industry groups, including the North American Meat Institute (NAMI). As reported by POLITICO, NAMI spent more than $220,000 lobbying members of Congress in the first three quarters of 2015 on issues including the Dietary Guidelines, while the National Cattlemen's Beef Association spent $112,000 and the National Pork Producers Council spent $780,000. Under political pressure from Congress, USDA and HHS secretaries ultimately omitted the committee's findings on this topic and declared sustainability outside the scope of U.S. dietary guidance.
For core dietary advice, it's much of the same
The biggest update to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines is the all-new dietary recommendations for infants, toddlers under two, and pregnant and lactating women. Key recommendations for infants include exclusive human milk for the first six months, with iron-fortified formula as an acceptable substitute when milk is unavailable, and the introduction of complementary foods thereafter.
But core dietary recommendations for the general population have largely remained the same. Despite sensational headlines and nutrition trends du jour, most of what we know about a healthy diet has actually remained fairly consistent over time: we're healthiest when we eat a diversity of plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; consume lean sources of protein, including poultry, seafood, and legumes (think beans, peas, and lentils); and limit solid fats and sodium, in addition to added sugars. And though the new edition does not drastically depart from a longstanding tendency to skirt the health risks of red and processed meat, the new edition does newly (if subtly) suggest replacing some "processed or high-fat meats" with beans, peas, lentils, or seafood. Meanwhile, neither the scientific report nor the final guidelines addressed the potential health consequences of ultra-processed foods, which are increasingly the focus of diet and health research and have been acknowledged in international dietary guidance.
New Dietary Guidelines must provide a pathway to sustainability and health equity
Five years ago, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans described the myriad social, cultural, and economic factors that can influence dietary choices, and offered evidence-based strategies for health professionals and policymakers. Much of this information was notably absent from the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines released today, which named key federal nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), but otherwise seemed to place a much greater focus on individual choices than the external factors that constrain those choices.
Of course, even when these factors are explicitly addressed, they are only useful if the federal government has the will and the means to act on them.
Historically, there has been very little investment in implementing dietary guidance. Following the release of each new edition of the Dietary Guidelines, the USDA works to develop evidence-based educational tools and resources (like MyPlate and its predecessor, the food pyramid) to reflect current recommendations, but the buck often stops there. Because while the guidelines are supposed to serve as the backbone for federal nutrition programs, the government lacks a mechanism — and perhaps more importantly, funding — to make sure this happens and to ensure that dietary guidance is reaching communities who need it most. Furthermore, USDA educational materials and resources are largely limited to dietary patterns that do not reflect the broad cultural and culinary diversity in the United States. All of this means that the Dietary Guidelines remain inaccessible to many populations, including many immigrant communities and people of color impacted by systemic racism and other forms of oppression.
Thousands of individuals who weighed in on the Dietary Guidelines process are also watching to see how the USDA and HHS will handle the issue of sustainability. Although sustainability was excluded from the initial list of research questions provided to the scientific committee — effectively barring a review of current evidence on sustainable diets — sustainability was highlighted in the scientific report anyway. The committee encouraged federal agencies to "support efforts to consider the Dietary Guidelines in relation to sustainability of the food system," and further noted that "the achievability and maintenance of healthy food and beverage intakes is dependent on a complex number of factors that influence food access, availability, and cost. Long-term maintenance of healthy intakes requires long-term support of associated food systems." Though the word itself doesn't receive a mention in the 164-page document, sustainability will continue to be a key issue the USDA will be expected to confront in its implementation of dietary guidance.
These considerations are particularly important against the backdrop of the public health crisis caused by COVID-19, which has produced sharp increases in food insecurity for families nationwide and underscored the threats posed by widespread chronic disease. But they will continue to provide critical context for dietary guidance after this pandemic passes, and have the potential to leave us better prepared in the face of the next crisis, be it a viral outbreak or a climate-related natural disaster. Though Biden's USDA will have plenty on its plate (so to speak), putting our national nutrition guidance to good use — and restoring public faith in the process — should be a top priority to protect public health for generations to come.
Reposted with permission from Union of Concerned Scientists.
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When it comes to finding new shoes to fill your closet, finding something stylish and comfortable is likely the main goal. But shouldn't their impact on the earth matter just as much? Here is a roundup of the best eco-friendly and environmentally-conscious shoes.
Our picks for top eco-friendly shoes
- Best Recycled Plastic Shoe - SUAVS
- Best Zero-Waste Shoe - On Running
- Best Sustainable Materials - Cariuma
- Best Carbon Neutral Shoe - Allbirds
- Best Clean-Energy Production - Womsh
- Best Vegan Shoe - Beyond Skin
While flipping over a pair of shoes as you shop can tell you about the size of their literal footprint, discovering their carbon footprint isn't always as easy. That's because transparency, for many brands, remains less of a priority.
As a result, shoppers don't always have the clearest vision of how some shoe companies operate—including how and where they source their materials, and who actually puts them together. It's important to understand that the very practices that led to the mass production of so many classic brands are less than stellar for the environment and the people that actually make them.
How we chose the best eco-friendly shoes
To create our list of the best eco-friendly shoes, we compared brands on a number of factors. These included:
- Sustainable materials - Does the brand use recycled or sustainable materials to make their shoes? We looked for brands that utilize post-consumer recycled materials, like fibers from plastic water bottles or recycled paper, in their shoes and packaging. We also considered their sourcing of naturally-derived materials, like sugar cane, castor beans, cork, and wool.
- Transparency - How much does the brand tell you about its manufacturing process and materials? We checked out each brand's website to confirm their commitment to the environment and to make sure they weren't just green-washing their products.
- Ethical standards - Where does the brand manufacture their shoes and do they ensure fair labor practices? In addition to the environmental impact of a brand's shoes, we also looked at how they treat their people. We specifically looked for brand transparency and commitments around creating healthy and safe working conditions in factories, and that employees earn fair wages, as well as B-Corp certification.
- Giving back - We wanted to prioritize brands that do more than just make money. We looked for eco-friendly shoe brands that partnered with non-profits to give back, including projects like Soles4Souls, LifeWorks, and reforestation initiatives.
Discover five of our favorite eco-friendly shoe brands that you simply can't go wrong with. Whether you're in need of new sneakers, boots, flats, or heels, they've got you covered.
SUAVS makes comfortable, breathable, and sustainable shoes with uppers made of post-consumer recycled water bottles. They put the environment first and use only the safest materials that are better for the earth and you. SUAVS makes a point to give back and donates all extra footwear to organizations such as LifeWorks.
Why buy: Planning a vacation? Look no further. SUAVS shoes are known for being lightweight and flexible, allowing for easy packing and all-day wear. Their shoes have been featured in Buzzfeed, Conde Nast, Business Insider, PRNewsWire, and more for being a travel-friendly shoe.
Switzerland-based shoe brand On Running is beloved for its performance-based shoes that offer optimal performance without harming the earth in the process. The brand prides itself on sustainability, ethical sourcing, and transparency. They've even partnered with the ScienceBasedTargets initiative to ensure they lower their emissions to a level that will support the limiting of average global temperature raising to 1.5°C (34.7°F) above pre-industrial levels.Why buy: The Cyclon is a revolutionary zero-waste shoe. The sleek shoe is made with sustainable production efforts from castor beans and it's fully recyclable. The caveat? You can't own them. Instead, they're available via subscription to ensure that you recycle them back to the brand. By creating this production process, the brand is able to capitalize on circularity, effectively keeping materials out of landfills.
If you're a sucker for smooth-as-butter leather sneakers, Cariuma is the choice for you. Namely, the brand's OCA High Off-White Premium Leather high-top sneakers. Of course, the Rio de Janeiro-based shoe brand offers more than just leather, they sell canvas and suede silhouettes, too. The company is also committed to sustainability, planting two trees in the Brazilian rainforest for every pair of shoes sold.
Why buy: All of the materials used in Cariuma's shoe-making process are sourced sustainably and responsibly, from the leather and suede uppers and recycled plastic used in the brand's shoelaces, labels, and laces to the Bluesign-certified dye chemicals (which are non-harmful) and recyclable packaging. As a result of their rigorous eco-conscious efforts, the brand has earned seven sustainability certifications.
Known as Silicon Valley's most-beloved shoe, Allbirds are renowned for their versatile wool runners that are minimalist, sustainably-sourced, and cozy as can be. The brand is entirely carbon neutral. This means that they measure their carbon emissions each year, reduce their impact by using recycled materials, and offset whatever's left over by taxing themselves and putting that money toward projects that neutralize their footprint.
Why buy: These Tree Runners are made from FSC-certified eucalyptus trees, a castor bean insole, and a carbon-negative sugarcane midsole. While Allbirds shoes end up being carbon neutral, the company does provide their initial carbon footprint score. These running shoes come in at 9.0 kg CO2e.
Sustainability meets trendy fashion with Italian shoe brand Womsh (short for Word of Mouth Shoes). The celebrity-favorite sneakers are known for their chunky silhouettes overlaid with bold designs and text. Beyond their truly picture-worthy style, the shoes are created with sustainability at the helm.
Why buy: In addition to creating a fully vegan collection, as well as shoes that are fully recyclable, and producing their shoes in factories that use 90 percent clean energy, Womsh has teamed up with LifeGate to offset its carbon emissions. They do so by planting trees in areas that have been deforested. Since 2014, they've planted and protected over 118,403 square feet of forest per year. Talk about impact.
Sneakers aren't the only option when it comes to eco-friendly shoes. Since its inception in 2001, Beyond Skin has been committed to providing the world with luxury vegan footwear in the form of vintage-inspired sandals, mules, loafers, heels, boots, and more. All of the silhouettes are designed in England and brought to life in Spain using luxury Italian fabrics. By creating their products locally—as opposed to sourcing all over the world—they're able to reduce their carbon footprint. What's more, they use recycled materials in many of their designs, which makes them even more eco-friendly.
Why buy: In addition to paying mind to the materials used, Beyond Skin works very closely with their factories in Spain to ensure their workers are never exploited in the process of production. It is their mission to stand far apart from fast fashion, offering silhouettes that can withstand the test of time—both in terms of wear and classic styles—and practices that benefit the earth and its people.
Why choose eco-friendly shoes and products?
Eco-conscious and eco-friendly are used to describe products made with the earth in mind. In order to create eco-conscious products, a company must commit to sustainable manufacturing practices, the use of sustainable materials, and how much energy is used to create each product. This includes a commitment to use less water and fewer (or, better yet, zero) chemicals in production, along with paying mind to the amount of carbon emissions created as a result of production, the types of fibers that are used, and the quality of life offered to the workers creating the items. In other words, creating eco-friendly items—shoes, included—is a more involved process than is used for most mass-produced goods.
As a result, many earth-friendly brands are marked at a higher price due to the higher level of care dedicated to bringing them to life. The beauty is, however, when more care is devoted to the production process, the higher the quality ends up being. So, while a higher price tag may make you wince, knowing that the items will last much longer and will make less of an impact on the environment is definitely worth it.
Rebecca R. Norris is a writer in the DC metro area. She covers a number of topics in the sustainable beauty, wellness, and style industries. A graduate of George Mason University, the Virginia native is a lover of lists, Stevie Nicks, dark chocolate Sprinkles cupcakes, and the Oxford comma.
By C. Michael White
Members of Congress asked seven major baby food makers to hand over test results and other internal documents after a 2019 report found that, out of 168 baby food products, 95% contained at least one heavy metal. Foods with rice or root vegetables, like carrots and sweet potatoes, had some of the highest levels, but they weren't the only ones.
How concerned should parents be and what can they do to reduce their child's exposure?
As a professor and pharmacist, I have investigated health safety concerns for several years in drugs and dietary supplements, including contamination with heavy metals and the chemical NDMA, a likely carcinogen. Here are answers to four questions parents are asking about the risks in baby food.
How Do Heavy Metals Get Into Baby Food?
Heavy metals come from the natural erosion of the earth's crust, but humans have dramatically accelerated environmental exposure to heavy metals, as well.
As coal is burned, it releases heavy metals into the air. Lead was commonly found in gasoline, paint, pipes and pottery glazes for decades. A pesticide with both lead and arsenic was widely used on crops and in orchards until it was banned in 1988, and phosphate-containing fertilizers, including organic varieties, still contain small amounts of cadmium, arsenic, mercury and lead.
These heavy metals still contaminate soil, and irrigation can expose more soil to heavy metals in water.
When food is grown in contaminated soil and irrigated with water containing heavy metals, the food becomes contaminated. Additional heavy metals can be introduced during manufacturing processes.
The United States has made major strides to reduce the use of fossil fuels, filter pollutants and remove lead from many products such as gasoline and paint. This reduced exposure to lead in the air by 98% from 1980 to 2019. Processes can now also remove a proportion of the heavy metals from drinking water. However, the heavy metals that accumulated in the soil over the decades is an ongoing problem, especially in developing countries.
How Much Heavy Metal Is Too Much?
The World Health Organization and the Food and Drug Administration have defined tolerable daily intakes of heavy metals. However, it's important to recognize that for many heavy metals, including lead and arsenic, there is no daily intake that is completely devoid of long-term health risk.
For lead, the FDA considers 3 micrograms per day or more to be cause for concern in children, well below the level for adults (12.5 micrograms per day).
Young children's bodies are smaller than adults, and lead can't be stored as readily in the bone, so the same dose of heavy metals causes much greater blood concentrations in young children where it can do more damage. In addition, young brains are more rapidly developing and are therefore at greater risk of neurological damage.
These lead levels are about one-tenth of the dose needed to achieve a blood lead concentration associated with major neurological problems, including the development of behavioral issues like aggression and attention deficit disorder. That doesn't mean lower doses are safe, though. Recent research shows that lower blood lead levels still impact neurological function, just not as dramatically.
For other heavy metals, the daily intake considered tolerable is based on body weight: mercury is 4 micrograms per kilogram of body weight; arsenic is not currently defined but before 2011 it was 2.1 micrograms per kilogram of body weight.
Like with lead, there is a considerable safety margin between the tolerable dose and the dose that poses high risk of causing neurological harm, anemia, liver and kidney damage and an increased risk of cancer. But even smaller amounts still carry risks.
One example of the exposure infants can face is a brand of carrot baby food found to have 23.5 parts of lead per billion, equivalent to 0.67 micrograms of lead per ounce. Since the average 6-month-old eats 4 ounces of vegetables a day, that would be 2.7 micrograms of lead a day – almost the maximum tolerable daily dose.
What Can Parents Do to Reduce a Child's Exposure?
Since the amount of heavy metals varies so dramatically, food choices can make a difference. Here are a few ways to reduce a young child's exposure.
1) Minimize the use of rice-based products, including rice cereal, puffed rice and rice-based teething biscuits. Switching from rice-based products to those made with oats, corn, barley or quinoa could reduce the ingestion of arsenic by 84% and total heavy metal content by about 64%, according to the study of 168 baby food products by the group Healthy Babies Bright Futures.
Using frozen banana pieces or a clean washcloth instead of a rice cereal based teething biscuit was found to reduce the total heavy metal exposure by about 91%.
2) Switch from fruit juices to water. Fruit juice is not recommended for small children because it is laden with sugar, but it also is a source of heavy metals. Switching to water could reduce the intake of heavy metals by about 68%, according to the report.
3) Alternate between root vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, and other vegetables. The roots of plants are in closest contact with the soil and have higher concentrations of heavy metals than other vegetables. Switching from carrots or sweet potatoes to other vegetables could decrease the total heavy metal content on that day by about 73%. Root vegetables have vitamins and other nutrients, so you don't have to abandon them altogether, but use them sparingly.
Making your own baby food may not reduce your child's exposure to heavy metals. It depends on the heavy metal dosage in each of the ingredients that you are using. Organic may not automatically mean the heavy metal content is lower because soil could have been contaminated for generations before its conversion, and neighboring farm water runoff could contaminate common water sources.
Is Anyone Doing Anything About It?
The congressional report calls for the FDA to better define acceptable limits for heavy metals in baby food. It points out that the heavy metal levels found in some baby foods far exceed the maximum levels allowed in bottled water. It also recommends standards for testing in the industry, and suggests requiring baby food makers to report heavy metals amounts on their product labels so parents can make informed choices.
Baby food manufacturers are also discussing the issue. The Baby Food Council was created in 2019 to bring together major infant and toddler food companies and advocacy and research groups with the goal of reducing heavy metals in baby food products. They created a Baby Food Standard and Certification Program to work collaboratively on testing and certification of raw ingredients. Ultimately, baby food makers will need to consider changing farm sources of raw ingredients, using fewer seasonings and altering processing practices.
The U.S. has made important inroads in reducing heavy metals in air and water since the 1980s, dramatically lowering exposure. With additional focus, it can further reduce heavy metal exposure in baby food, too.
C. Michael White is a distinguished professor and head of the department of pharmacy practice at the University of Connecticut.
Disclosure statement: C. Michael White does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Reposted with permission from The Conversation.
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The holiday season is packed with parties, work events, and family dinners where delicious foods and beverages are enjoyed. Most of these tasty treats include some aromatic spices like cinnamon, clove, or nutmeg.
Aside from the joy that savoring a sip of eggnog or a bite of gingerbread may bring, consuming spices used to make these recipes may do wonders for your overall health thanks to the powerful plant compounds they contain.
This article covers six of the healthiest holiday spices that can be easily incorporated into a variety of festive dishes.
Cinnamon is one of the most popular spices to use, especially during the holiday season. It's used to flavor favorites like pumpkin pie, sweet potato casseroles, and spiced apple cider.
Cinnamon brings a warm, spicy taste to recipes, making it a perfect addition to both sweet and savory dishes served during Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years. It's also popularly used in seasonal beverages like eggnog.
Aside from its versatility, cinnamon offers a wealth of health-promoting benefits.
For example, studies demonstrate that cinnamon has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and may help lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels when taken in high doses as a supplement. Cinnamon may offer anticancer, neuroprotective, and metabolic benefits as well.
Cinnamon contains compounds including cinnamaldehyde and proanthocyanidins, which have potent antioxidant properties and may help protect cells against oxidative damage, which is critical for disease prevention.
When shopping for cinnamon, choose Ceylon cinnamon or "true cinnamon" whenever possible for the most benefits.
Ginger is a popular ingredient in health products, and for good reason.
This pungent holiday spice is packed with health-promoting compounds including gingerols, shogaols, and paradols. Dried ginger, which is most commonly used in holiday recipes, is most concentrated in shogaols while fresh ginger is packed with gingerols.
Consuming ginger can positively impact overall health in many ways as ginger has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anticancer effects.
Ginger supplements are commonly used as effective, natural treatments for nausea, infections, heartburn, bloating, and gas.
Plus, many research studies in animals and test tubes have shown that ginger has powerful anticancer properties, and that ginger may help inhibit cell growth and induce cellular death in certain types of cancer including gastrointestinal cancer and ovarian cancer.
Try incorporating fresh ginger into teas, dressings, marinades, and fresh juices, or using dried ginger in baked goods and dry rubs to reap the many impressive health benefits this spice has to offer.
Nutmeg has a distinctive, slightly nutty flavor that gives a powerful kick to holiday recipes like custards, ciders, and roasts.
In addition to its delicious taste, nutmeg contains a plethora of antioxidants that can benefit health in a number of ways. Terpenes, cyanidins, and phenolic compounds are just some of the powerful antioxidants found in this tasty spice.
Due to its high concentration of health-promoting plant compounds, nutmeg delivers a variety of health benefits.
Some research in animals has even demonstrated that nutmeg may be an effective natural treatment method for boosting libido.
Nutmeg is delicious when used in savory recipes such as curries and meat dishes, and it gives desserts like crisps, pies, and puddings a pleasant punch of flavor.
Allspice is the dried unripe berries of Pimenta dioica, which is native to the West Indies, Central America, and Mexico. It's used in traditional Carribean recipes like jerk chicken and mole sauces, and it's a staple in holiday dishes such as spiced apple cider, soups, and gingerbread.
Additionally, allspice has been used for hundreds of years as a folk remedy to treat ailments including indigestion, pain, headaches, and more.
Allspice has a spicy taste and pungent aroma and is rich in medicinal compounds including polyphenols, terpenoids, and lignans that offer antioxidant, antihypertensive, antiviral, and anticancer effects.
In particular, the bioactive compounds eugenol, ericifolin, and gallic acid, which are concentrated in nutmeg, have been studied for their potent anti-tumor properties.
For example, one test tube study found that eugenol was effective in fighting an aggressive type of breast cancer while another study found that allspice extract stopped the spread of, and induced cell death in prostate cancer cells. Although these findings are promising, human studies are needed to confirm these potential benefits.
Clove is another popular holiday spice that has a rich history. Clove has been used since ancient times in traditional medicine practices to treat pain and fight infections.
Like allspice, clove is rich in eugenol and gallic acid, as well as a number of other phenolic acids and flavonoid compounds, all of which offer impressive health benefits.
Clove has powerful antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties.
What's more, some research suggests that clove may offer anticancer effects due to its high concentration of eugenol. In fact, eugenol makes up around 89% of clove essential oil.
Additionally, clove oil has been shown to have powerful antifungal effects against Candida yeast and Aspergillus fungus, which commonly cause infections in humans.
Clove has a strong, slightly bitter flavor, so you only need to add a small amount of this spice to your favorite holiday recipes. Try adding clove to meat dishes, veggies, and baked goods.
You can even add a dash of this healthy spice to your coffee or hot chocolate for a seasonal taste during the holiday season.
Cardamom is a spice commonly used around the holidays to add a kick of flavor to baked goods and stews.
It is a staple ingredient in Indian cuisine and has been used in traditional medicine practices throughout history to treat medical conditions such as heart disease, constipation, colic, and fungal infections.
Recent research has demonstrated that cardamon may offer a variety of health benefits due to the abundance of phytochemicals — including myrcene, limonene, subinene, cineol, α-pinene, β-sitostenone, and γ-sitosterol — concentrated in this pungent spice.
A rodent study found that treatment with cardamom powder improved blood sugar, prevented increases in blood lipids, and reduced liver inflammation in rats fed a high fat diet over an 8-week period.
Other studies in test tubes and animals have demonstrated that cardamom may offer antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory effects.
Plus, one human study showed that supplementation with 3 grams of cardamom powder for 12 weeks significantly decreased blood pressure and significantly increased antioxidant levels in 20 adults with hypertension.
Interestingly, human studies are currently being conducted to assess the potential impact of cardamom supplementation on blood sugar, cholesterol, and inflammatory markers in people with diabetes and obesity, yet the results are not yet available.
Although the small amounts of cardamom used in cooking are unlikely to have the same benefits as high-dose supplements, adding cardamom to holiday recipes may benefit overall health by providing a wealth of protective plant compounds.
The Bottom Line
The holiday spices listed above are not only delicious, but they offer an abundance of powerful phytochemicals that may protect overall health.
Try adding these flavorful spices to your favorite seasonal recipes to kick up the flavor and nutritional benefits of your meal.
Registered dietitian Jillian Kubala holds a master's degree in nutrition from Stony Brook University School of Medicine as well as an undergraduate degree in nutrition science. She is certified in plant-based nutrition through the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies at Cornell University.
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While any ol' protein bar offers convenience, not all bars are created equal in terms of overall nutritional value and, certainly, overall level of sustainability and eco-friendly production. So, which are the best vegan protein bars on the market?
Finding the right protein bar can be hard, and the job is even tougher when you're a vegan. That's because many of the top bars on the market today are made with non-vegan ingredients, whether that's honey, whey protein, or milk.
We've done a little detective work for you, testing out some of the best, most filling, most sustainable, and more nutritious vegan protein bars available today. These are a few of our picks.
Our Picks for the Best Vegan Protein Bars
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Vegan, gluten-free, low-carb, and low-sugar, Aloha bars are one of the best vegan protein bars if you want a healthy dose of protein (14 grams) without too many additives or synthetic chemicals. They come in several great flavors, too; our favorites are chocolate mint and peanut butter, but we encourage you to try any that sound good to your palette.
Each Shanti Bar has 17 grams of plant-based protein, making them a great option when you only need a nibble of something to get you from meal to meal. The vegan credentials are off the charts: Shanti bars are organic, gluten-free, sustainably sourced, and made without any refined sugars. The nut butter chocolate chip maca flavor is especially tasty.
We love the Vega 10g bars not only because of their simplicity, but also their great flavor. You can pick them in chocolate peanut butter, chocolate caramel, blueberry oat, or coconut almond, and we'll vouch that all are really yummy. With any option, you'll get 10 grams of plant-based protein, plus four grams of fiber. A great snack item for anyone who wants their protein bars to be vegan, dairy-free, non-GMO, and altogether tasty.
GoMacro's protein bars are both filling and energizing. We love using them to begin the day, as they help give us the push we need to start the morning's activities with plenty of focus and stamina. Each one is made with 10 to 12 grams of plant-based protein and is completely vegan. Again, there are loads of flavor options. Our top pick: blueberry with cashew butter.
Looking for a protein bar that's not only vegan-friendly, but also offers the natural power of hemp protein? Evo's product line is one of our favorites. These bars are noteworthy for offering plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, too, which can help naturally reduce inflammation. There are plenty of other nutrients packed into these bars, too, along with some excellent natural flavors, making them high on our list of best vegan protein bars.
If you're looking for simplicity, give Rise Bars a try. They're made with four simple ingredients yet have an impressive 15 grams of plant-based protein per bar. There's just something refreshing about these simple vegan bars, especially if you opt for a light flavor like lemon cashew.
7. 22 Days Nutrition Organic Protein Bar
If it's flavor you're after, the 22 Days lineup has a lot of enticing options: Peanut butter chocolate chip, salted caramel, fudge brownie, you name it. This is one of our top options for sweet tooths, but we'll also note how much we appreciate the balanced nutritional contents. There's even a high iron quotient here, which is something many vegan diets tend to lack.
It's right there in the name: No Cow bars are totally dairy-free, in addition to being gluten-free, kosher, and non-GMO. But boy, do they pack a lot of nutritional punch. Each bar comes with 19 grams of fiber, 20 grams of protein, and a scant 190 calories per serving. There's a lot to love about the No Cow bars, and we haven't even touched on the amazing array of flavors.
Raw Rev Glo makes some of the best vegan protein bars that are loaded with superfoods; you'll find amazing, plant-based nutrients here, along with delicious flavors and an appealing texture. Each bar has 11 grams of protein plus 13 grams of fiber, which means it has a high overall nutritional value. These bars are an altogether wholesome and eco-friendly way to add some protein to your daily diet.
Looking for a low-carb option? You'll find just a single net carb in each Pegan bar, yet there is plenty in the way of protein and fiber. Specifically, they are rich in prebiotic fiber, which can help you sustain that helpful bacteria in your gut, easing the digestion process. We also like that these bars offer some flavors you don't see from other brands, like the tasty ginger snap option.
Start Snacking on a Vegan Protein Bar
As you consider your options for different vegan protein bars, there are a lot of factors to consider, including flavor, total fiber content, and more. One thing you can feel confident about is that each of the bars we've recommended here is fully compliant with a vegan diet. And all are made with admirably earth-friendly practices.
These are bars you can feel good about any time you need to reach for that fast vegan breakfast or that afternoon pick-me-up. Try one of the best vegan protein bars today and see which ones you like the most.
Josh Hurst is a journalist, critic, copywriter, and essayist. He lives in Knoxville, TN, with his wife and three sons. As a writer and independent reviewer of CBD products, Josh covers the relationship between natural wellness products and the human body. His writing has appeared in Health, Shape, and Remedy Review.
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CBD, one of the many compounds found in the cannabis plant, has been getting a lot of attention recently. Some of it good and some of it bad. Increasingly, people in the UK are turning to CBD oils for help in relieving pain, anxiety, sleep and a host of other health issues. Find out which brands made our list of the best CBD oil in the U.K. below.
While CBD is gaining in popularity, and more products are becoming available on the high street and online, there is little scientific research to back the claims made by some CBD product manufacturers. That's why if you're going to buy CBD oil it is important to understand what you're purchasing and to choose products from brands that lab test their products and make the results available to customers.
To help you find the best CBD oil available in the UK, we've done all the hard work and created a list of the best CBD oil brands and products that are available online for you to choose from.
Our Top Picks for Best CBD Oils in the U.K.
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
How We Chose the Best CBD in the U.K
To create this list of CBD oil producers and sellers, we've:
- Spoken with over 100 different producers
- Tested over 50 products for potency, quality and accuracy of labelling
- Tried every product on the list
We've tested CBD oils for taste, consistency, cannabinoid profile, value, and accuracy of lab test results to compile our list of the best CBD oils available online today.
Our readers also provide feedback on the brands they've tried and like or don't rate so much. We take our readers' feedback into consideration when we make our Buyer's Guides.
We also work directly with many of the leading CBD brands to bring you their latest offers and discounts, so it's worth checking back to see how you can continue to get the best value CBD oils for your money.
It is important to note that the details for the products listed here are not intended for diagnosing, treating, curing or preventing any particular disease. If you take prescription medicines you should speak to your GP or other healthcare professional before you take CBD oil about possible drug on drug interactions.
In this buyer's guide to CBD oils in the U.K., you'll find:
- A list of the brands we trust most
- A price comparison chart to help you find the best value CBD oil
- The potential benefits that you can derive from CBD oil
- CBD dosage recommendations
- How to pick the best CBD oil for your needs
CBD oil works differently for everyone and just because something works well for a friend or colleague doesn't necessarily mean it'll be as effective for you. Fortunately, there are many options out there to choose from. The CBD market is growing fast, however, quality can vary between brands, which is why we have conducted our own research to compile a list of CBD products that we think are the best.
Evopure CBD drops are independently tested and they offer a line of broad spectrum hemp oil in multiple concentrations. As a bonus, all of their oils are extracted from organically grown US hemp on farms that use sustainable farming practices. The Flow blend is best for stress and anxiety. Evopure also has a sleep blend available.
Why buy: Since these drops use broad spectrum CBD oil, they contain zero THC while still providing you with all of the other benefits of a full spectrum oil. They are also organic, vegan, and non-GMO.
If you're looking for a tasty CBD oil, there are various flavours available at Love Hemp, including natural, peppermint, and orange. Their CBD products are also certified THC free, and have a precise amount of CBD for easy dosing.
Why buy: Love Hemp is the leading CBD brand in the UK and for good reason, we haven't found a better product for the price.
CBDistillery offers a range of CBD products, including oil tinctures, softgels, gummies, and topicals. Their most popular product is the Relief + Relax CBD oil, made with full spectrum CBD in several different potencies.
Why buy: All products from CBDistillery use CBD sourced from non-GMO industrial hemp grown using natural farming methods in the U.S. The CBD oil they use is CO2 extracted and tested by independent third-party labs.
aire tinctures are natural, organic, and ethically sourced. The oils contain no THC and are tested by the Cannabis Trade Association approved testing laboratories. Each 10ml bottle contains 1500mg of CBD.
Why buy: Since this is a stronger blend, aire recommends the 015 bottle for more experienced CBD users.
As the most popular tincture from Blessed CBD, this 1,000mg formula is potent and full-spectrum, but still contains less than 0.2% THC. This family run business spent 12 months searching for the best hemp source, eventually settling on a hemp extract from organically grown, non-GMO, hemp plants in Colorado. This ensures that each drop of CBD oil contains rich cannabinoids and terpenes for enhanced effects.
Why buy: We didn't find a single negative review online, which speaks volumes for the quality and effectiveness of their products.
For a tincture with a high potency, the No. 30 CBD oil from Eir Health contains 3000mg of CBD in one 30mL bottle. This equates to 100mg per serving.
Why buy: This full spectrum oil is packed with cannabinoids and terpenes that come from organically grown European hemp plants.
The key numbers to look at are the cost of CBD per mg (how much you're paying for your CBD) and the mg of CBD per mL (how much CBD you're getting per milligram). Where possible, compare each brand's 1,000mg product. It's worth bearing in mind that a higher strength bottle may be more cost effective in the long run.
For instance, Eir Health's 30ml 3,000mg bottle works out at £0.04 per milligram and delivers 100 milligrams per milliliter. So if you're looking for a higher strength bottle which will last you, paying slightly more initially would be beneficial. It's worth bearing in mind that a higher strength bottle may be more cost effective in the long run. For instance, Eir Health's 30ml 3,000mg bottle works out at £0.04 per milligram and delivers 100 milligrams per milliliter. So if you're looking for a higher strength bottle which will last you, paying slightly more initially would be beneficial.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD is short for cannabidiol and is a chemical compound found in all varieties of the cannabis plant. CBD oil has become popular in recent years due to changing worldwide legislation. In the UK specifically, there were several high-profile medical cases relating to medicinal cannabis and the treatment of children with epilepsy and other health conditions. CBD is the non-psychoactive component of cannabis and, it's thought, the primary cannabinoid that interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system. This system promotes homeostasis, or balance, and regulates physiological and cognitive functions such as mood, appetite, and how we feel pain caused by inflammation.
CBD oil is produced using a range of extraction methods, including CO2 or ethanol extraction, and then added to a carrier oil, such as MCT coconut oil, to create a tincture with a broad range of possible health benefits. CBD oil is just one form that this cannabinoid can be found in and is different to hemp seed oil, which is generally used as a dietary supplement for the essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals it imparts. Hemp seed oil is produced by cold pressing hemp seeds and creating a dark coloured oil with the nutrient-rich composition described above. CBD, on the other hand, is extracted from the flower and leaves of hemp plants.
CBD is wildly popular for its potential therapeutic effects, which some clinical trials and animal studies have found to help with a number of symptoms and conditions that CBD may help alleviate, including:
Benefits of CBD Oil
- Chronic pain
The most common health and lifestyle issues that people turn to CBD oil for are:
- Anxiety – CBD oil has been found to relieve symptoms of anxiety in people in several small studies. This is not restricted to one form of anxiety as social anxiety, generalised anxiety, panic attacks and some forms of depression have all been found to be relieved with CBD oil. It's thought that this is achieved by changing the way the brain reacts to anxiety.
- Pain – CBD oil for pain is another area that anecdotal evidence and limited medical studies show people may find relief. CBD may help reduce inflammation in the body and therefore, relieve pain. Chronic pain, back pain and generalised pain have all been shown to be relieved with CBD oil.
- Sleep – Falling asleep and staying asleep for longer periods may be enhanced with CBD oil. Both direct and indirect benefits for sleep can be derived from CBD oil. An oil or edible form of CBD can help to calm the mind (indirect) and in some cases, taking CBD can make the user drowsy (direct).
While there are a wide range of benefits that may be derived from CBD oil, the MHRA – which stands for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and is the equivalent to America's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – has taken the stance that unless a CBD product has been approved as a medication it cannot make any medical claims on its packaging or in its marketing. This means producers need to hold a product licence to legally sell, supply or advertise them as medicine in the UK. However, no licences for selling CBD oil as a medicine have been granted by the MHRA to date. The MHRA advises people to speak to their GP or other healthcare professional if they are considering taking CBD products.
Is CBD Oil Legal in the UK?
Yes, but there is some confusion. In the UK and EU, CBD products are completely legal, as long as they have been derived from industrial hemp and contain no more than 1mg of THC per product. But the general advice is that UK CBD oil should contain no more than 0.01% THC, as current testing standards may not be able to detect 1mg of THC.
It has been reported that CBD Oil in the UK with no more than 0.2% THC is legal but this only applies to the cultivation of hemp and not CBD oils, which are hemp derivatives. Also, any THC contained in CBD products must be difficult to separate from the rest of the product. There are two exceptions to this law; one for Sativex, a 50% CBD and 50% THC product approved by the MHRA as a medication for treating multiple sclerosis symptoms, and for the prescription of cannabis derived medicinal products by specialist clinicians. The second exception came into law in November of 2018 after several cases were brought to court requesting the use of medical cannabis products to alleviate severe epileptic symptoms in two children.
CBD Strength and Concentrations
Concentrations of CBD in oils vary from 1mg of CBD per millilitre to 50 or 400mg per millilitre.
If a bottle has 1000mg of CBD in a 10ml bottle, this means that 100mg of CBD is dissolved in every 1ml of liquid. You can work out the number of milligrams of CBD in each millilitre by dividing the milligrams (weight) of CBD by the millilitres (volume) of the bottle; for this example, that's 1000 divided by 10 which works out at 100mg per ml.
Many UK-based brands highlight the percentage of CBD in their products, such as 5% or 10% CBD. This simply refers to the weight of the drug by volume measured in grams in 100 millilitres. Using the example above, we need to convert 1,000 milligrams to grams, which is 1 gram of CBD, that's our weight. And as the bottle is 10ml, we divide 1 gram by 10 millilitres, and multiply by 100 to get our percentage, which is 10%.
How to Dose with CBD Oil
Advice on how much CBD oil you should take varies. It's almost impossible to find a definitive answer based on clinical guidance so people need to experiment in order to find out what works best for them. It's wise to start with a low dose and work your way up to find a dosage that works for you. Understanding different product types and labelling will help you to properly measure the amount of CBD to take.
Because dose guidelines are limited, it's best to start low and work your way up to a dose of CBD oil that works for you. One resource we've found suggests starting at 1 – 6mg of CBD per 10lbs of body weight. This would mean an average UK woman weighing 11 stone, could take anywhere between 15 – 92mg of CBD per dose. This could be broken into smaller doses throughout the day instead of taking all in one go.
Typically, 10ml works out to approximately 200 drops. Using the same example above, we know 1ml contains 100mg of CBD. That would mean to take 100mg of CBD you would need 20 drops of the CBD Oil. We got to that number by dividing 200 by 10. To get 15mg of CBD you would need to take only 3 drops.
What is the Correct CBD Oil Dosage?
How to take CBD and the concentrations for each does will vary depending on the condition you are looking to find relief from. For example, if you're taking CBD oil for anxiety, regular, lower doses seems to be appropriate. CBD oil for sleep calls for a single, higher dose no more than an hour before bed. That's not medical advice, that's what we've gleaned from people who use CBD products.
Dosing is the most common question people have about CBD oil and other products. It's also the question we're most often asked. We cannot overstate the fact that there is no one definitive answer.
With that being said, here is a typical dosing guide to help you get started:
CBD Oil Dosing Guide
How your body reacts to CBD is different to everyone else. The reason to take CBD is also personal to you – some people want to feel relaxed, others are thinking of a daily supplement to boost their health. CBD oil capsules can give your body a steady supply of cannabinoids to absorb over the course of the day. Oils will have you feeling the effects faster, but they still take time a small amount of time to work their way into your system (usually somewhere between 5 and 20 minutes). If you don't feel the effects immediately, don't take more. CBD can have an accumulative effect so wait a while before re-dosing.
Use Your Head
If you want to take 50mg of CBD and buy gummies containing 10mg each, consider the amount of sugar you'll also consume to get your CBD dose. Remember you're looking for a supplement, not a sugary snack. Choose the product that makes the most sense in regard to the dose of CBD you wish to take.
It's also worth considering price. If you find oils that declare 500mg of CBD for £15, yet everywhere else is selling the same for £50, ask yourself a few questions. Is it likely that the cheaper brand has found a way to lower the cost of growing, extracting and packaging their CBD that the others haven't? It's more likely that the cheaper brand is making bogus claims or misleading you in regards to the quality of CBD in their product? Check online guides, research brands, read a comparison list, and do your homework so you are sure you are purchasing the best CBD products for your individual circumstances.
How to Buy the Right CBD Oil Online
Consider How Much You Want to Spend
Before you purchase CBD oil online, you should consider how much you're comfortable spending. Products can be expensive, so setting an upward limit can help you narrow down the selection and find something that works for you, without breaking your budget.
Check the Test Results
The best CBD products and brands show third-party test results on their websites, or sometimes send them to you if requested. There are a few points you should look out for when viewing test results that can help you decide which brand is best for you.
- Batch numbers – Some brands are fastidious about testing and you can check individual batch numbers for products. This lets you follow a crop from soil, to lab, to bottle. Test results should be recent, within the last quarter is good, within the past year is acceptable, anything more is less helpful.
- Cannabinoid strength, potency and terpene levels – A recent UK study by the Centre for Medical Cannabis found 62% of UK CBD mislabelled. Checking on test results can help you confirm the CBD, THC and other terpene levels found in products.
- Heavy metals and pesticides – Hemp sucks up whatever is in the soil. This can compromise the quality of CBD products and is why we like established brands that use land free from pesticides and heavy metals, as opposed to pop-up brands that may source their product from growers using unproven ground. Test results should show the heavy metal content of CBD products is below the safe threshold.
- Solvents and bacteria – All CBD products should be free from solvents and manufactured in clean facilities that are free from bacteria such as salmonella.
If you are making a purchase via the internet, always make sure to review recent Certificates of Analysis.
Check to See What Kind of CBD Extract is Used in the Product
CBD products in the UK fall into three different categories: Full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate. Full and Broad-spectrum CBD oils are thought to have greater therapeutic benefits as the multiple cannabinoids work together. This is known as the 'entourage effect'. Experts we have spoken to support the idea of 'whole-plant therapy'. Some people may prefer CBD isolate if they are subject to drug tests through work and so on.
Consider the Taste
Some people can stand the taste of hemp. The earthy green flavour can be a turn off. Some CBD oil products have milder hemp flavours or natural additives that mask the hemp flavour to make them more palatable.
While you need to be aware of scammers, there are a lot of great brands that care about their product and customers. In terms of taste and strength of product, you may find it helps to try a range of brands to find the one that suits your personal preferences best.
Is CBD oil safe?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) released a report in 2017 stating that there was little potential for abuse of CBD. Furthermore, they recognised the potential therapeutic benefits that could be derived from CBD for treating a wide range of conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, cancer and diabetic complications, along with general pain, anxiety and depression.
Does CBD get you stoned?
No. CBD is the non-psychoactive component of cannabis. THC is the compound that has a psychoactive effect when taken in large enough doses (more than the 0.2% found in CBD products). Someone would need to smoke a CBD joint the size of a telephone mast to feel any psychoactive effects. CBD products allow people to get beneficial cannabinoids into their system to help their body function better, without becoming 'high' or 'stoned'.
How long does CBD oil last?
This partly depends on how quickly your body processes CBD and also the kind of CBD product you use. 6 – 8 hours is generally the length of time CBD oils will provide a noticeable effect.
Some products, like capsules are considered a daily supplement that needs to be taken over a period of time for it to reach its potential. Other kinds of CBD are faster acting and stronger; these types of products are better for specific issues such as social anxiety, problems with public speaking, or irregular and unexpected pain or discomfort.
Can I take too much CBD Oil?
You need to be careful about taking anything that will affect your health and if you are taking other medication, you should definitely discuss how CBD might interact with them, with your GP or healthcare professional. That said, most experts agree it is impossible to overdoes on CBD and even the World Health Organisation has published a report stating CBD is non-toxic and safe to use.
If you do take a very high dose of CBD, you may experience dizziness, lethargy, nausea, dry mouth and diarrhoea, but this will pass as your body processes the dose you have taken.
Other Types of CBD Products
This page covers most of what you need to know about CBD oils. If you're in the states, we also have this helpful list of organic CBD oil brands. There are lots of CBD products on the market, and each have their pros and cons.
If you're interested in CBD gummies, topicals, capsules or anything else, check out our additional online guides to find out all about the CBD product that interests you most.
Melena Gurganus is passionate about health and wellness and her writing aims to help others find products they can trust. Her work has been featured in publications such as Health, Shape, Huffington Post, Cannabis Business Times, and Bustle.