Sunday, April 14, 2013

Nonstick Cookware is Back

The New York State Department of Health has announced the results of various safety tests performed on several popular brands of nonstick cookware. They conclude the products are safe when used properly. 
The villain under fire is PFOA, a compound the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has studied intensely since it was suspected to be a human carcinogen. It has been noted that most of the harmful chemical is burned off of the cookware before it leaves the factory. It was found that new nonstick cookware heated to 356 to 444 degrees F. did emit PFOA, both into the air and into the water that was being heated, but the amounts were "very little." The amounts emitted also declined with each subsequent use. The highest level found was 100 times lower than Consumer Reports concluded to be of little concern to public health. Concerns regarding the breakdown of the product and the release of toxic particles and fumes over time have also been addressed. It has been shown that such a breakdown of materials only occurs when the cookware is heated beyond normal - to temps. above 500 degrees F. At that temp., foods will burn and the handles will melt. When the cookware coating becomes damaged or begins to flake with age, it's time to replace it.
~ Environmental Science Technology, 41:1180, 2007

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ten Years Later...

No proof exists that farm raised salmon is any safer than it was 10 years ago. In 2002, 700 samples of farm raised salmon showed 10 times the amount of PCBs, dioxins, pesticides, and mercury than wild salmon. What is typically called "Atlantic Salmon" is actually farmed in Chile and Canada. Farms in Scotland and Norway also show similar amounts of toxins. Farmed salmon absorb the PCBs and other industrial chemicals from the fishmeal & oils they are fed. Since the 2002 studies, no other tests have been performed. Environmental organizations oppose most salmon farming for the reason that large amounts of wild fish are used to feed the farmed fish, and that waste from the ponds pollute the oceans.
The EPA recommends that consumers eat farm raised fish no more than once a month. Use caution when purchasing frozen fish; packaging labels can be misleading. If it does not say "Wild", it probably isn't.
~ Institute for Health and the Environment, 2013

Friday, April 5, 2013

New Autism Reports

Prenatal folic acid supplements have proven effective in preventing neural tube defects such as spina bifida. A Norwegian study tracking 85000 children recently discovered a 40% reduction of incidences of autism in children born to women who took the B vitamin before and during their pregnancies, compared to women who did not take the supplement. If you plan to become pregnant, be sure to start the supplements before hand; about 6 to 8 weeks. The study also showed that women who started the supplement mid-term did not have similar results; the children had no lower risk of autism. The Center for Disease Control recommends 400 micrograms of folic acid daily for women who are or plan to become pregnant.
~ JAMA, 2013

Monday, April 1, 2013

Life Really Is a Bowl of Cherries!

People with gout may be able to cut in half their risk of recurrent attacks by eating about 20 tart cherries a day, according to research from the Boston University School of Medicine. Cherries contain a powerful natural property that inhibits the production of uric acids in the body, and the elimination of the same. It is the high levels of uric acid that cause the joint inflammation. The phyto-chemicals in the red cherries also work as an anti inflammatory similar to ibuprofen. Subjects in several studies concerning arthritis have reported relief from arthritis pain not related to gout.
The flavinoids in cherries are most concentrated in the skins of the cherries, so the best way to get the powerful antioxidant benefits is by eating the whole fruit, either fresh or dried. Look for juices containing the entire fruit; a residue of settled fruit puree on the bottom of the container is the best evidence the whole fruit was used to make the product. Also, many  juices are mostly apple juice with cherry flavoring or just enough cherry juice to give it color. Be sure the ingredient label says "100% cherry" juice and not just "100% juice."  If you eat cherries alone for gout treatment or in combination with  medication, it is advised to drink a lot of water to help flush out the toxic properties of uric acids from the body.
The benefits of medical diets often work as well as traditional medications and have no side effects. And, when used on a long-term basis, they provide the body with other health benefits. Even with the cherries, it is still necessary to stick to a low-purine diet for the treatment of gout. As always, be sure to discuss your diet and medications with your doctor so that there won't be a surprise of drug - food interactions.