Thursday, January 11, 2007

Health Notes

There do not appear to be any health risks associated with eating foods that contain folate. However, taking too many folic acid supplements might result in symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.

The results of a recent study suggest that folate intake might reduce your risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease. Folate is found in lots of foods.

While we’re talking about supplements, here is some info of interest: taking vitamin E might increase the rates of congestive heart failure; beta carotene might increase the risk of lung cancer; vitamin A might increase hip fractures in postmenopausal women, and increase birth defects if too much is taken early in a pregnancy; taking calcium could lead to kidney stones; taking too much calcium could interfere with your thinking, and lead to dementia. I take very few if any supplements. It’s better to get your nutrients from food.

Here is an article on being overweight or obese and having prostate cancer. The paradox: a thin man has a greater risk of developing prostate cancer, while an overweight man has a greater risk of dying from it? Yikes! And I just lost ten pounds. Here’s another article.

If you’re trying to lose weight, what you drink could be making that more difficult. Apparently liquids, which people often forget about, account for 22 percent of the calories in the American diet.

Caseins in milk decrease catechins in tea, so if you drink tea with milk you may not be receiving any health benefits.

I doubt that anyone wants toxins in his or her body. Here is a really good article, with information collated by Leanne Pratt, on avoiding toxins. And here are some of the suggestions taken from the article, for your education purposes:

How to minimise exposure to chemicals
• Reduce your consumption of processed foods - these usually contain additives and preservatives as well as being lower in nutrients than their whole food counterparts
• Reduce your consumption of high fat meats - toxins accumulate in fatty tissue, so if you remove the fatty tissue you are less likely to consume environmental toxins
• Get rid of bad fats that contain loads of chemicals, such as cheap oils and margarine
• Microwave your food in glass or ceramic containers rather than plastic to avoid leeching of chemicals into the food
• Do not microwave food when it is covered in plastic wrap or defrost meat when it is still in it's plastic wrapping
• Do not leave plastic water bottles in the car to heat up and then drink the water

Protect yourself by
• Supporting your body with antioxidants and detoxifying herbs (such as dandelion, milk thistle, vitamins A, C & E) if you are exposed to pollutants and chemicals on a daily basis
• Increase water intake to at least eight glasses of purified water daily. Water flushes toxins and waste from the system
• Reduce excessive alcohol intake - small amounts of red wine contain antioxidants
• Reduce caffeinated drinks and replace with water and herbal teas
• Increase fibre intake by eating more grains & vegetables
• Choose organic foods to reduce intake of chemicals
• Enjoy moderate exercise for 30 minutes every day to increase metabolic efficiency and enhance elimination.

Here is a very good article on omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. We have discussed this several times, but it never hurts to remind people. We need omega-6s, but we don’t need too many of them. The American diet has too many omega-6s, leading to inflammation and, of all things, possible DNA damage. Just yesterday I was talking about DNA repair. It is important to keep our DNA healthy, and to repair any that could cause us problems. Omega-6s undercut all our efforts to remain healthy. We can’t bring everything more into balance by merely consuming more omega-3s. We must consume fewer omega-6s.

The above article is interesting not only in the impact omega-6s have on humans, but also in the impact they have on some animals, which constitute part of our food supply: cattle contain more omega-6s because they are fed an unnatural diet of corn; farm-raised salmon may contain more omega-6s because of their diet in captivity; chickens fed with corn and soy have more omega-6s in their meat and in their eggs. Interesting, isn’t it?

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Note: links that look good today often are no longer good in the future. I make every effort to create good links. When I discuss a topic, I also attempt to provide enough pertinent information so that readers won’t have to rely solely on the link at hand for their understanding, or for their further research.


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The Tao of Politics Anthology, now available as e-book (only $6.00), or as paperback.

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