Thursday, May 19, 2016

Ten Common Items in Your Pantry That Are Toxic

This article is from Country Living and supplements my healthy living concept of eliminating high glycemic and bad foods - maximizing low glycemic foods; living a physically active life; taking quality nutritional supplements; and, avoiding toxins. Riding your pantry of these bad foods is a simple process. Just a little bit of care, here and there, can help make a difference. Stop giving your hard earned cash to companies who make foods that are not only NOT good for us, they are BAD for us.


Organic rice baby cereal, other rice-based breakfast cereals, brown rice, and white rice have all been found to contain arsenic, a "potent human carcinogen [that] also can set up children for other health problems in later life, " says Consumer Reports. The problem occurs because rice is grown in flooded paddies and takes up the arsenic that occurs naturally in water and soil. Repeated flushing with fresh hot water can reduce some of the arsenic.

Food Coloring and Dyes

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) calls them a "Rainbow of Risks." A CSPI report finds that many of the food dyes approved for use raise serious health concerns. For example, Red Dye #3 was recognized in 1990 by the FDA as a thyroid carcinogen in animals and is banned in cosmetics and externally applied drugs. Red 40 (also seen on labels as Red Dye #40), the most-widely used dye, may accelerate the appearance of immune-system tumors in mice. The dye causes hypersensitivity in a small number of consumers and might trigger hyperactivity in children, says CSPI. Yellow 5 may also cause hyperactivity and other behavioral effects in children. The European Union requires a warning notice on most dye-containing foods, but here in the U.S., manufacturers need only say that the dye is in the product.

Grain and Corn Products That Contain GMOs

Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, have been incorporated into the seed used to grow a variety of grains. The original idea was to produce crops that would be more resistant to diseases and pests. But ironically, GMOs seem to have spawned an increase in pesticide use, while some animal studies show a link to potentially pre-cancerous cells, smaller brains, livers, and testicles, false pregnancies, and higher death rates. Products that contain grains or corn products are those most likely to contain GMOs, which means cereal, flour, pancake mix, cake mixes, corn meal, anything sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, and even beer. Though many European countries have banned GMO food products, that's not the case in the U. S., though some states have started to require companies to label GMO-tainted food ingredients.

Canned Tuna

Canned tuna is the most common source of mercury in our diet, with white albacore tuna usually containing far more mercury than light tuna, reports Consumer Reports. Mercury is a problem because exposure in pregnant women and young children can impair hearing, hand-eye coordination and learning ability. Evidence suggests that frequent consumption of high-mercury fish might also affect adults' neurologic, cardiovascular, and immune systems.

Canned Foods

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical compound that mimics the reproductive hormone estrogen. It is associated with a wide variety of health problems, including cancer, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and ADHD. The chemical is often infused into the internal lining of cans, where it may leach into the food inside. In fact, a study by a coalition of health advocacy and environmental groups found that 100% of bean and tomato food cans tested at "dollar" discount stores contained the chemical.

Noodle Cups and Instant Soups

If your pantry houses food in foam-like containers, beware. The containers may be made from a compound called polystyrene, a petroleum-based compound that contains the toxic substances styrene and benzene, suspected carcinogens and neurotoxins that are hazardous to human health. Styrene leaches into food when it comes into contact with heat or acid, so adding boiling water to cook ramen or instant soup should be avoided, as should making or serving hot coffee, tea, or chocolate in a styrene cup.

Plastic Food Packaging

Plastic food packaging (as well as shower curtains) may be made from vinyl chloride, one of the first chemicals designated a known human carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Vinyl chloride may also contain phthalates, BPA, and chlorine, which makes it particularly dangerous to manufacture.

Microwave Popcorn

PFOA is the slippery stuff that makes Teflon-type pans non-stick. It's also what lines bags of microwave popcorn so that the kernels can pop without sticking to the bag and burning. At high heat, like what is found in a microwave, PFOAs can spread onto the popcorn. You might also end up inhaling them when you open the bag of popped corn and the steam escapes. PFOA has been linked to cancer, liver disease, developmental problems, and thyroid disease, reports Duke University.

Pesticide Residue on Foods

Fruits and vegetables that are grown the "old fashioned" way–by being treated with pesticides and herbicides to control bugs and weeds—generally retain some toxic residue. Environmental Working Group ranked 48 different fruits and vegetables them according to how much reside could be detected on each one. Apples, peaches, nectarines strawberries and grapes contained the most residue; pineapples, sweet corn and avocados the least. Though EWG's study considered fresh produce, it's likely dried produce is also contaminated. For example, the USDA Pesticide Data Program found 26 different pesticide residues on raisins.

Brominated Vegetable Oil, or BVO

BVO is a synthetic chemical that helps ingredients like orange juice mix better in soft drinks. The compound also makes the natural colors in food brighter. You might find it in soda pop, sports drinks, and citrus-flavored waters. The chemical could increase cholesterol; it may also damage the liver, testicles, thryroid, heart and kidneys. WebMD reports that "in very high amounts, drunk over a long period of time, BVO can build up in the body and cause toxic effects."

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

More Prescription Drug Risks: Common Meds Linked to Dementia

This article came out on WebMD, written by Peter Russell and reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD, and underscores yet another side effect or risk with prescription drugs. Some prescription drugs are unavoidable, but the user needs to understand the risks and to take steps to mitigate these risks, the primary step being to maintain as healthy immune system as possible. I also take supplements thought to help maintain a healthy liver and your liver is affected by many of the common prescription drugs being used heavily today.

Older people who take certain medicines to treat conditions like urinary incontinence, depression, asthma, allergies, and sleeping problems should be warned that their use may bring a higher risk of dementia, scientists say.

A small Indiana University study found that people using "anticholinergic medications" did worse on thinking-related tests and had smaller brain sizes than those who didn't take them.

The researchers say that although a link has been found before, this might be the first time that their effect at blocking a brain chemical called acetylcholine has been implicated.

But the study showed an association, and it can't prove these drugs cause dementia.

Go here to see a list of drugs (Generic Name, Brand Name and the assigned Anticholinergic Cognitive Brain Score) associated with each prescription drug that the researchers studied.

Thinking Impairment

"These findings provide us with a much better understanding of how this class of drugs may act upon the brain in ways that might raise the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia," says Shannon Risacher, PhD, assistant professor of radiology and imaging sciences, in a statement.

The latest research project, published in JAMA Neurology, involved 451 people with an average age of 73.3 years, 60 of who were taking at least one medication from this class of drugs.

Tests on their brain function revealed that those taking the anticholinergic medications did worse than those not taking the drugs. These included results on short-term memory, verbal reasoning, planning, and problem solving.

The researchers also found that anticholinergic medications led to users' brains processing blood sugar (glucose) -- a sign of brain activity -- differently in both the overall brain and in the hippocampus, a region that's tied to memory and which shows early effects of Alzheimer's disease.

Smaller Brain Volume

Another discovery was that volunteers using anticholinergic drugs had less brain volume and larger ventricles, the cavities inside the brain.

"Given all the research evidence, physicians might want to consider alternatives to anticholinergic medications if available when working with their older patients," Risacher says.

Commenting on the study in an emailed statement, Dr. Rosa Sancho, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, says: "This small study adds to evidence for an association between anticholinergic medicines, memory difficulties, and changes in brain biology, but from this research we can’t conclude that this particular type of drug causes dementia.

"There are many different lifestyle factors that could explain the apparent link between this particular class of medicine and the changes seen in this study, and larger and longer studies are necessary to understand the true long-term impact of these drugs on the brain.

"Anticholinergics can have many beneficial effects, and these need to be balanced against potential side effects, but anybody concerned about their current medication should speak to a doctor before stopping a course of treatment."

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