olive oil may not be what the label claims: 100% pure olive oil. There’s a good chance the bottle on your pantry shelf has been mixed with other oils. Is that really such a big deal? It is if you’re allergic to peanut oil, which is commonly mixed with olive oil in an act of food fraud.
Maple syrup comes from sap from a maple tree. The sap is boiled and becomes the sticky stuff you know as maple syrup. Pancake syrup (also called table syrup) is not the same. Pancake syrup’s main ingredients are corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup
A few types of fish that pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children should avoid due to mercury. Tilefish is one of them. Unfortunately, it’s easy to eat this fish and not realize it. Markets and restaurants sometimes swap it for more popular species such as red snapper and halibut.
Drugs in Your Honey
Food fraud isn’t the only reason some foods aren’t exactly what you think. Think about honey. It may benefit your health in many ways, sometimes as a wound dressing. It’s also a delicious natural sweetener. It may have plenty of contaminants, including traces of antibiotics that beekeepers use on their bee broods. They won’t make you sick, but they could add to the public health problem of antibiotic resistance.
There’s nothing natural about some of the “natural flavors” in packaged foods. Food companies make them in a lab to mimic the flavor of real foods. The FDA banned several synthetic flavorings in response to data that shows health risks in lab animals. If you want to eat healthier, stick with the original natural flavors: Found in real, whole foods.
Icky Side of Spices
The spice jars in your cabinet are filled with more than flavorful herbs. The FDA allows a certain amount of insect fragments, rodent hairs, and other gross things in every jar. For example, ground oregano can have up to 1,250 insect pieces per 10 grams before the FDA calls it “adulterated.” Most products are well below the standards allowed for these unwelcome additions.
It’s sweet and creamy. You can buy it in candy bar form or sprinkle chips of it into your cookie dough. But it’s not really chocolate. According to the FDA, chocolate has to have at least 10% chocolate liquor. That’s the cocoa butter and the solids you get when the cocoa bean is ground. The white kind is made of a mix of cocoa butter, milk solids, and sugar no chocolate liquor.
Often, fruit juice is not 100% real fruit juice. Make sure you check the ingredients list. If it’s a long list, that can be a clue that what you’re buying isn’t actually all that it seems. Even if the label reads “100% fruit juice,” it might not be what you’re expecting. That just means everything in it came from either a fruit or a vegetable
Vanilla Flavoring vs. Extract
Vanilla flavoring — also called imitation vanilla — is not the same as vanilla extract. The extract is made with vanilla pods and a simple alcohol called ethanol. But this is expensive. Also, high temperatures destroy much of the flavor. The flavoring is made with synthetic vanillin. Food companies sometimes make this from castoreum extract, which is a secretion from the anal glands of beavers. Even so, it’s considered a natural flavoring because it comes from an animal source. But most of the time, it’s made from chemicals found in wood pulp.
Orange juice that’s “not from concentrate” is pasteurized. This takes the oxygen out of the juice. This also takes out many of the natural chemicals that give the juice its flavor. Also, the producer may store the juice for more than a year. So they hire other companies to make flavor packs to add to the juice to make it taste fresh. These packs are often made by the same companies that make perfumes. The added flavors won’t be listed as an ingredient because they’re made from orange essence and oil.
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Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May in the United States since 1949, reaching millions of people in the United States through the media, local events, and screenings.
Its purpose is to raise awareness and educate the public about: mental illnesses, such as the 18.1% of Americans who suffer from depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder; the realities of living with these conditions; and strategies for attaining mental health and wellness. It also aims to draw attention to suicide, which can be precipitated by some mental illnesses. Additionally, Mental Health Awareness Month strives to reduce the stigma (negative attitudes and misconceptions) that surrounds mental illnesses. The month came about by presidential proclamation.
Common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents can include:
Excessive worrying or fear
Feeling excessively sad or low
Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
Avoiding friends and social activities
Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
Changes in sex drive
Difficulty perceiving reality
Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality
Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes
Thinking about suicide
Mental health conditions can also begin to develop in young children. Because they’re still learning how to identify and talk about thoughts and emotions
Changes in school performance
Excessive worry or anxiety, for instance fighting to avoid bed or school
Frequent disobedience or aggression
Frequent temper tantrums
Don’t be afraid to reach out if you or someone you know needs help. Reach out to your health insurance, primary care doctor.
If you or someone you know needs helps now, you should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255.
Research conducted at Harvard could disprove another major myth about cannabis fans. A study published in February in the Human Reproduction medical journal found that male cannabis smokers might actually carry higher sperm counts and concentrations when compared to men who have never used the botanical drug.
Findings were contrary to what we hypothesized at the start of the study,” study lead author Feiby Nassan, a post doctoral research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said Tuesday. Experts found that men who reported to have smoked marijuana had an average sperm concentration of 63 million sperm per milliliter of semen.
“Those who had never used marijuana had 28 percent less potent semen.”
However, researchers also observed that people who stopped smoking tended to have slightly higher sperm counts than current pot smokers. One possible explanation could be that men who generally produce higher testosterone levels are more likely to use marijuana, rather than the implication that cannabis use itself affects sperm potency. Dr. Jorge Chavarro, an associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “We were very, very surprised about this.” “It is well-documented that within normal ranges, high testosterone levels are associated with greater engagement in risk-seeking behaviors, including drug use,” Chavarro said. “Higher testosterone levels are also related to slightly higher semen quality and sperm counts.”
“We could have found what we thought we were going to find, and maybe wouldn’t have been as surprised and would have ended up writing a very different paper,” said Chavarro. “But the fact that we showed the exact opposite forced us to look very, very deeply into the marijuana health effects literature. There is not that much. We are operating mostly on assumptions and good intentions and hunches.” Stanford University researchers found a similar surprise in 2017. Male daily cannabis consumers had 1.3 times more sex per month (6.9 sex instances) than never-users (5.6 instances) as well as very infrequent users of cannabis (5.5 instances). Female daily cannabis consumers had sex about one more time per month (7.1 occurrences) than never-users (6.0 occurrences) as well as very infrequent users of cannabis (6.0 times).
Chagas disease, also termed kissing bug disease is an infection caused by a protozoan parasite (Trypanosoma cruzi) that can result in acute inflammatory skin changes (chagomas) and eventually may cause infection and inflammation of many other body tissues, especially those of the heart and intestinal tract. The disease was named after Dr. Carlos Chagas, who discovered the disease in 1909. The disease may have three phases in an individual: acute, with mild or no symptoms that may last weeks to about two months; intermediate or indeterminate phase that has few if any symptoms and may last 10-20 years or longer.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates about 8-11 million people are infected in countries where the disease is endemic. The parasites are transferred to humans by the bite of blood-sucking triatomine bugs in the subfamily Triatominae, also termed “kissing bugs.” The disease has been diagnosed in the U.S., mainly in immigrants from South and Central America. Triatomine bugs have been detected in Texas, and recently the CDC communicated that the bugs have now been found in 28 states, including California and Pennsylvania.
Symptoms and signs
Swelling and/or redness at the skin infection site (termed chagoma)
Swollen lymph nodes
Headaches and body aches
Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea
Treatment for Chagas disease
Treatment for Chagas disease depends on the phase of the disease. The prescription medications benznidazole (Ragonil) and nifurtimox (Lampit) may eliminate or reduce the number of parasites in the body. Some investigators suggest that drug-resistant parasites occur and others suggest these drugs of choice never eliminate all of the parasites. The CDC recommends drug treatment for “all people diagnosed with (Chagas) infection, congenital infection, and for those with suppressed immune systems, and for all children with chronic infection. Adults with chronic infection may also benefit from treatment.” The CDC cautions about treating adults over 50 years of age and recommends that treatment plans for older adults be individualized. Both of these anti-parasitic drugs are available in Central and South America. In America, however, the drugs can be obtained only through the CDC.
An investigation has been ordered into the research that led to the birth of twin girls earlier this month, Chinese Vice Minister of Science and Technology Xu Nanping told state broadcaster CCTV, the Associated Press reported. The work of a research team that claimed to have produced the world’s first gene-edited babies is illegal and has been halted, the Chinese government said.
He Jiankui claimed to have altered the DNA of the twins to try to make them resistant to infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS virus. The research “crossed the line of morality and ethics adhered to by the academic community and was shocking and unacceptable,” Xu said.
There has been wide condemnation of the unproven claim by He, who appeared this week at an international conference on gene editing in Hong Kong. 14 leaders of the conference said it’s irresponsible to attempt gene editing on eggs, sperm or embryos, except in lab research, because not enough is known yet about its risks or safety, the AP reported. The conference leaders also called for independent confirmation of He’s claim.
He was scheduled to speak again at the conference on Thursday, but has left Hong Kong. Through a spokesman, He issued a statement saying: “I will remain in China, my home country, and cooperate fully with all inquiries about my work. My raw data will be made available for third party review,” the AP reported.
It’s been said that your eyes are the window to the soul. Your face is also a window. Sometimes looking into the mirror may show something surprising. This blog post is designed to cover some of the many health symptoms that can show up on your face.
Yellow Skin, Yellow Eyes
Jaundice can indicate a viral infection like mononucleosis or hepatitis. If the infection is short-term, it is usually accompanied by other signs like fever, chills, and other flu-like symptoms. Jaundice can also signal problems with your pancreas, gallbladder, or liver. These include gallstones and pancreatitis. It may also be a sign of alcohol abuse.
Moles are spots or raised bumps of pigment on your skin. They are usually harmless, but unusual moles can indicate skin cancer. Remember ABCDE?
Asymmetrical: Is the shape irregular when comparing one side to the other? If you drew a line down the center, do both sides match? If not, it could be cause for concern.
Are the edges jagged or do they seem to “bleed” into the surrounding skin?
Color: Does the mole have a variety of colors, rather than just one? Cancers can present as various colors, including tan, brown, black, white, red, or even blue.
Diameter: Is the diameter of the mole bigger than the tip of a pencil eraser? Larger moles may be cancer.
Evolving: Does the spot evolve or change over time? Changes may include color, shape, size, or when a bump begins to crust, itch, or bleed.
Sometimes a sore is just a sore. But if its around the lips and mouth it could be a cold sore, which is caused by the herpes type 1 virus. Cold sores are very common.
Symptoms of oral herpes are usually mild. However for anyone whose immune system is weak, the symptoms can be more severe and can come on more frequently. There is currently no cure for cold sores.
Cracked and chapped lips are common under certain conditions. A cold winter can bring them on, as can a dry environments. Sometimes cracked lips indicate dehydration, which can cause dizziness, fatigue, and in extreme cases unconsciousness and even death. Cracked lips can also indicate an allergic reaction to medication. If you also have red, inflamed sores in the corners of your mouth as well, your chapped lips could be telling you that you have a condition called cheilitis, which can be caused by an infection. At other times it may be a sign of eczema, particularly for those who wear dentures.
A butterfly rash is something totally different. Butterfly rashes cover both cheeks, forming the shape of a butterfly. If you spot a rash like this in the mirror, you may have lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease. It causes the immune system to attack healthy body tissue. People with lupus often experience stiff and achy joints, fever, and fingers that turn blue when it’s cold.
Where Did That Hair Come From!
It’s not unusual to find hair in strange places as we get older. Older men find new hair growing in and around their ears, nose, and eyebrows. Aging women may find their facial hair growing coarser, particularly around the lips and on the chin. This hair growth is considered normal. When a young woman begins to develop facial hair, it can sometimes be a sign of a larger problem. Sometimes new facial hair growth is a sign of polycystic ovaries. A condition that affects about 20% of women. Makes pregnancy more difficult and has been linked with a higher risk for high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.
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Insomnia is a condition characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep. There is no set definition of insomnia in terms of hours of sleep, and insomnia can have many forms. Some people with insomnia may have no trouble falling asleep but wake up too soon. Other people may have the opposite problem
Sleep Tip #1 Keep the room pleasant, comfortable, and get rid of clutter and distractions. Be sure to select the right bed and mattress for your needs.
Sleep Tip #2Avoid use of the bed for TV, working, eating, or any other activities; use the bed only for sleeping and sex.
Sleep Tip #3“Reconditioning” recommended as part of the treatment plan for insomnia. This means that you are “reconditioned” to associate the bed with sleep. If you are not able to sleep at all, get out of bed and move to another room, so that you do not associate the bed with wakefulness.
Sleep Tip #4 Naps in the afternoon should be limited and short (around 20 minutes).
Sleep Tip #5Limit your consumption of caffeine in the afternoon and evening. Don’t forget that chocolate, hot cocoa, and colas also are sources of caffeine.
Sleep Tip #6 Don’t drink any alcoholic beverages in the few hours prior to going to bed. Cigarette smoking can also worsen insomnia.
Sleep Tip #7 Avoid strenuous exercise right before bedtime. Exercise 4-5 hours before bed is preferred.
Sleep Tip #8 Heavy eating in the evening or eating just prior to bedtime can disrupt your sleep.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on October 30, 2018 said that hair dyes can no longer contain lead.
New rule does not take effect for 12 months, but it ends the only remaining legal use of lead, a neurotoxin, in cosmetic products in the United States.
40 years since lead acetate was initially approved as a color additive, our understanding of the hazards of lead exposure has evolved significantly,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb explained in an agency news release. We now know that the approved use of lead acetate in adult hair dyes no longer meets our safety standard,” he added. “Lead exposure can have serious adverse effects on human health, including for children who may be particularly vulnerable. Moreover, there are alternative color additives for hair coloring products that consumers can use that do not contain lead as an ingredient.” For the most part, the hair dyes that now contain lead acetate, such as Grecian Formula, are used to darken gray hair, according to the Environmental Defense Fund . Along with new scientific data, the FDA’s decision was prompted by a petition opposing the use of lead as a color additive. “In the last several decades, we’ve seen tremendous progress in reducing exposure to lead from major sources. Given this progress and wide recognition that there is no safe level of exposure, it may seem unbelievable that common hair dyes contain the neurotoxin — putting those who use the product and their children at risk,” said Tom Neltner, chemicals policy director at the EDF, one of the groups involved in filing the petition. FDA’s decision is an important step to protecting people from a continued source of exposure to lead that is a more significant route than the agency originally thought over three decades ago. Now, there is no safe level of lead exposure, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Companies have 12 months to reformulate hair dye products that contain lead acetate. Consumers who want to avoid using these products during that time can check to see if lead acetate is listed as an ingredient or there is a warning label that states, in part: “For external use only. Keep this product out of children’s reach,” according to the FDA.
More than 80 million people suffer from chronic halitosis, or bad breath. In most cases it originates from the gums and tongue. The odor is caused by wastes from bacteria in the mouth, the decay of food particles, other debris in your mouth and poor oral hygiene. The decay and debris produce a sulfur compound that causes the unpleasant odor. What causes bad breath? Bad breath is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene but can also be caused by retained food particles or gum disease. Does bad breath come from other sources than the mouth? Bad breath also may occur in people who have a medical infection, diabetes, kidney failure or a liver malfunction. Xerostomia (dry mouth) and tobacco also contribute to this problem. Cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy may experience dry mouth. Even stress, dieting, snoring, age and hormonal changes can have an effect on your breath. An odor that comes from the back of your tongue may indicate postnasal drip.
Why is saliva so important in the fight against bad breath?Saliva is the key ingredient in your mouth that helps keep the odor under control because it helps wash away food particles and bacteria, the primary cause of bad breath. When you sleep, however, salivary glands slow down the production of saliva, allowing the bacteria to grow inside the mouth. To alleviate “morning mouth,” brush your teeth and eat a morning meal. Morning mouth also is associated with hunger or fasting. Those who skip breakfast, beware, because the odor may reappear even if you’ve brushed your teeth.
Do certain foods cause bad breath? Spicy foods, such as onions and garlic, and coffee may be detected on a person’s breath for up to 72 hours after digestion. Onions, for example, are absorbed by the stomach, and the odor is then excreted through the lungs. Studies even have shown that garlic rubbed on the soles of the feet can show up on the breath.
How do I control bad breath? It is important to practice good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day. Proper brushing, including brushing the tongue, cheeks and the roof of the mouth, will remove bacteria and food particles. Flossing removes accumulated bacteria, plaque and food that may be trapped between teeth. To alleviate odors, clean your tongue with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper, a plastic tool that scrapes away bacteria that builds on the tongue. Chewing sugar-free gum also may help control odor.
Part 1. GMO defined-The abbreviation for genetically modified organism. A GMO is an organism whose genome has been altered by the techniques of genetic engineering so that its DNA contains one or more genes not normally found there. A high percentage of food crops, such as corn and soybeans, are genetically modified. GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. … Because this involves the transfer of genes,GMOs are also known as “transgenic” organisms. Currently commercialized GMO crops in the U.S. include soy (94%), cotton (90%), canola (90%), sugar beets (95%), corn (88%), Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%), zucchini and yellow squash (over 24,000 acres).
Genetically modified foods have been linked to toxic and allergic reactions, sick, sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ studied in lab animals. The effects on humans of consuming these new combinations of proteins produced in GMOs are unknown and have not been studied. Crops such as Bt cotton produce pesticides inside the plant. This kills or deters insects, saving the farmer from having to spray pesticides. Farmers in India, who let their sheep graze on Bt cotton plants after the harvest, saw thousands of sheep die!
GMO Health Risk According to the Institute for Responsible Technology, “Human studies show how genetically modified (GM) food can leave material behind inside us, possibly causing long-term problems. Genes inserted into GM soy, for example, can transfer into the DNA of bacteria living inside us, and that the toxic insecticide produced by GMO corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses.”
Seven ways that GMOs may adversely affect health:
1. Food allergy – “The list of GMO food products intersect with the eight m ost common food allergens: eggs, milk, fish, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, and wheat.” OCA states that protein in foods is what triggers allergic reactions and “most of the foreign proteins being gene-spliced into foods have never been eaten by humans before or tested for their safety.”
2. Toxicity – “A review of 19 studies (including industry’s own studies submitted to regulators in support of applications to commercialise GMO crops) on mammals fed with commercialised GM soy and maize that are already in our food and feed chain found consistent toxic effects on the liver and kidneys,” reports GMO education.
3. Infertility – According to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, “There is more than a casual association between GMO foods and adverse health effects.” In a study on GMO corn and fertility there was a “significant decrease in offspring over time and significantly lower litter weight in mice fed GMO corn.”
4. Gluten Disorders – In a 2013 report released by the Institute for Responsible Technology, internist Emily Linder MD states, “Based on my clinical experience, when I remove genetically modified foods as part of the treatment for gluten sensitivity, recovery is faster and more complete. I believe that GMO’s in our diet contribute to the rise in gluten sensitivity in the U.S. population.”
5. DNA Transfer – GMO’s are created using horizontal gene transfers as opposed to natural reproduction, which is accomplished via vertical gene transfer.
6. Birth defects – Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the herbicide RoundUp. Monsanto Company, considered the giant of GMOs, engineers “RoundUp Ready” crops that are routinely treated with the herbicide. According to Andres Carrasco, head of the molecular Embryology Lab at the University of Buenos Aires glyphosate “is responsible for causing birth defects, infertility, sperm destruction, and cancer.”
7. Cancer – A study that linked GMO’s and Round Up to cancer was first published in 2012, was retracted in 2013 and republished in 2014.