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Health

Ground Insects Used To Dye Food And Drinks

In today’s health conscious society, many consumers have became avid label readers of the products they purchase, especially food products. For someone suffering from high cholesterol, high blood pressure or other health problems, knowing which products to avoid or limit can help restore them to a better state of health. But, simply checking a label for fat or sodium content may not be enough, you may also want to check to see if the product contains ground up bugs!

Food Dye Made From Ground Insects

The cochineal (Dactylopius coccus)

Although it is not widely known, companies have been using a dye made from insects in many different types of products, including food, for many years. These insects, Dactylopius coccus, live on cacti and are native to South and North America. Commonly known as cochineal, these scale insects are less than one-quarter inch long and have flat, oval shaped bodies. The dye is the result of the carminic acid that is produced by the insect as a natural repellent for other insect predators. It is derived from the female cochineal and from the eggs.

Collecting Cochineal
Collecting Cochineal

Cochineal dye has ancient origins, being used by both the Mayans and the Aztecs as a textile dye as far back as the 10th century.

By the 17th century, cochineal was exported around the world and became a commodity that was considered as valuable as silver and gold.

The deep, vibrant colored textiles produced by the dye were even highly sought after by royalty.

But, with the introduction of artificial dyes that were easier and less expensive to produce, the demand for cochineal dye fell sharply.

However, the industry is thriving again after the discovery of the carcinogenic properties found in many of the artificial dyes.

While the thought of crushed bugs adding color to the foods we eat may not be pleasant, it could be considered a better alternative than artificial dyes.

Synthetic dyes like Red No. 40 and Red No. 2 are derived from byproducts of petroleum and coal and pose a much more serious health risk than natural dye derived from crushed bugs.

The Cochineal (Dactylopius coccus)
The Cochineal (Dactylopius coccus)

In 1998, a consumer advocacy group, The Center for Science in Public Interest (CSPI), urged the Food and Drug Administration to either ban the dye or to pass regulation requiring companies to list cochineal dye in the ingredient section of the label.

After more than a decade, the FDA finally passed a regulation that required companies to include the dye by name on the ingredient list of all food and cosmetic products containing cochineal in 2009.

And, in 2006 the FDA announced they would do a separate review of ingredient lists on prescription drugs that contain dyes derived from cochineal.

Understandably, manufacturers were strongly opposed to including “insect-based coloring or dye” on their labels. So, the FDA allowed them to simply add “cochineal extract” or “carmine”, a purer dye created through a different process. Although those are the two most commonly used phrases for the coloring it may also be listed as:

  • Natural Red 4
  • Crimson Lake
  • E120
  • Carminic Acid

Prior to 2009, this dye made from powdered bugs was simply listed as “natural and artificial coloring” or “artificial coloring.”

The Cochineal (Dactylopius coccus)
The Cochineal (Dactylopius coccus)

Insect Food Dyes – Health Risks?

While the idea of crushed bugs in your favorite foods and drinks may not be appetizing, the bigger concern for many is the health risks.

In an effort to protect consumers, the CSPI also requested that companies be required to state that “”carmine may cause severe allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock and that it is derived from insects. The FDA declined this request stating that they had “found no evidence of a significant hazard to the general population.”

Despite the FDA’s claim, the CSPI states that the dye has been linked to “dozens of cases of anaphylactic shock and near-death.”

May Vegetarians And Vegans Consume Insects?

Along with a large number of general consumers, some people are opposed to cochineal food colorants due to lifestyle choices or religious beliefs. Many vegetarians and vegans consider the additive to be “non-vegan” because it is derived from insects.

Insects In Food Kosher?

And, while some suppliers literally claim to have a “Kosher Certificate”, a colorant made from insects simply cannot be kosher! Over the last few years, grievances from these communities have helped to bring this subject to the public’s attention.

How Wide Spread Are Cochineal Dyes In Products We Use Everyday?

So, how wide spread is the use of cochineal dyes in the products we use everyday?

As of now there isn’t a complete list of every product that uses this natural dye, but it’s sure to reach into the thousands. Not only is it used in the food industry, it’s also used in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. Pharmaceutical companies use the dye to color everything from pills to ointments. And, cosmetic companies use it in a variety of products including lipsticks, blushes, rouge and face powder. It can even be found in body care products such as shampoo, soap and lotions.

Even with it’s use in other industries, the main industries consumers are concerned about is it’s use in the food industry. It is fairly certain that at one time or another, maybe even on a regular basis, each and every consumer has eaten products containing dye made from crushed bugs. It’s in such a wide range of food products that there is little chance of avoiding every food that contains cochineal.

Two of the most prominent yogurt manufactures, Yoplait and Dannon, both use cochineal or carmine in their products. It can be found in chewing gum, candy, popsicles and ice cream. Some manufacturers add it to frozen meat and fish and it can even be found in sausage. Jellies, jams, marmalades, syrups, canned fruits, ketchup, canned soups, gelatin, cake icings, dry mixes, cereal and bakery products are among the limitless number of items whose colors are enhanced with cochineal.

Drinks Colored With Cochineal Dye

Foods aren’t the only products that contain this controversial dye, it is also used in many drinks.

Any pre-made drink or powdered drink mix that is red almost certainly contains cochineal. These include milk based beverages, energy drinks, soft drinks, fruit drinks and even some alcoholic drinks. But, while the most common color of products containing cochineal is red, it can also be different shades of pinks or purple depending on how the colorant is processed.

Some companies like Starbucks have already stopped using cochineal, while other like Dannon have announced they will continue to use the coloring in their products.

The bottom line is that it is up to you as a consumer to decide if you would prefer to use products with an insect based dye or with synthetic dyes.

Connie Corder
Connie Corder

“You now have another good reason to read ingredient labels and weigh the options.

While the idea of consuming products with insect based colors definitely isn’t appetizing, it may be a much safer alternative to the health risks of synthetic ones.”

Written by Connie Corder, Copyright HonestInformation.com All Rights Reserved

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The Honest Truth About Obesity And Children

Obesity Is a Major Health Concern For Children

The concern over the increasing number of children that are overweight or obese has became a world wide problem. It’s being called an epidemic and has became a major health problem for children and adolescents from 2 to 19 years of age.

Obese children face many health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, respiratory problems, joint and back trouble and even sleep disorders. And, it’s not just a childhood affliction, much of the damage done by obesity is permanent and carried through the rest of their lives.

It also affects their emotional health on a daily basis. Many obese children are subjected to teasing and bullying in their everyday lives from their peers. It can lead to behavior problems, rebellion, defiance and depression.

Inherited genes and gland problems can cause children to be overweight. But, usually stems from unhealthy eating habits and an inactive lifestyle. You can help your child by encouraging them to eat a healthy diet and participate in activities such as swimming and biking.

Incorporate fresh vegetables and fruits into your meals. Grill more foods to remove fat instead of frying them and choose healthier meals when eating out. You can help your child loose weight and have a healthier future!

Obesity Is Permanently Damaging To Children’s Health

In America alone, it is estimated that at least 17% of children and teens between the ages of 2 and 19 are overweight or obese and the numbers are growing every year. And, children and teens that are overweight have an alarming 70% chance of being overweight or obese even after reaching adulthood.

The problems of child obesity don’t just last through childhood. It will follow them into adulthood and cause health problems that will last a lifetime. Obesity has became so wide spread that many health professionals are referring to it as an epidemic!

Supersized To Super Healthy
Supersized To Super Healthy

The factors that contribute to heart disease such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, appear more often in overweight children. Other problems stemming from obesity include respiratory disorders, sleep apnea and many orthopedic disorders from damaged joints to back problems.

Once considered a disease that inflicted adults, Type 2 diabetes is showing up in children and adolescents much more often. Diabetes is now afflicting many obese children before they even reach puberty. And, this form of diabetes has been closely linked to being overweight or obese.

Obesity Can Cause Emotional Problems For Your Child

There are many other health problems that obese children potentially face. But, obesity doesn’t just cause physical health problems it also causes problems with emotional health. It’s one of the major causes of depression in this age group.

The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study on the emotional effects of obesity on children. The study revealed that obese children had the same low outlook on life as children that had cancer and was going through chemotherapy!

Overweight or obese children are often teased, picked on and bullied throughout their young lives. Their self esteem gets beaten away and their hope for the future is very low. They may often feel exiled, alone and even worthless.

Many times the emotional problems that obese children face causes behavior problems. Some children might become rebellious or defiant and lash out. While others may just become the class clown, or do bad things to get other children to like them and accept them.

The Causes Of Child Obesity And How To Avoid Them

The Obesity Cycle (Photo courtesy of earlychildhood-educations.blogspot.com)
The Obesity Cycle (Image courtesy of earlychildhood-educations.blogspot.com)

Obesity is now classified as a disease and is expected to be a major health concern for the 21st century. While obesity can be an inherited disease, more often it’s the result of an unhealthy diet and an inactive lifestyle. It can even result from stress in the world around them.

A child going through a divorce or the loss of a loved one may turn to food for comfort. Pay close attention to your child’s eating habits. Do they look for something to eat when they get stressed or upset? Do they turn to food when family members argue?

If you see signs they’re using food to comfort themselves, do your part to remove the stress from their lives. Seek professional help if you have to, counseling may help them learn to deal with their emotions instead of eating.

As a parent you can do your part to help your child by encouraging and even monitoring their diets. Serve foods that are low in fats, cholesterol and sugars. Keep a selection of fresh fruits at hand instead of candy or snacks. Grill more of your foods instead of frying them and make fast food an occasional treat instead of a regular meal!

Plan family outings to encourage activity such as bike rides, hikes or  long walks. Even something as simple as going to the pool for the day will get your children up and moving. Anything that encourages activity can help your child with weight loss. Changing your child’s lifestyle into a healthy one is an investment in their future!

Complications With Childhood Obesity
Complications With Childhood Obesity (Image courtesy of mozartinshape.org)

Written by Connie Corder, Copyright 2013 HonestInformation.com

Child Obesity: A Parent’s Guide to a Fit, Trim, And Happy Child

Child Obesity
Child Obesity: A Parent’s Guide to a Fit, Trim, And Happy Child

Is your child overweight? Do you worry about the effects of excess weight on the health and self-esteem of your family’s youngest and most vulnerable members? If so, you are not alone.

Weight problems among children have now reached epidemic proportions. And its no wonder. High-calorie fast foods and soft drinks are everywhere, and they are heavily promoted in many of the 40,000 TV commercials that kids watch every year.

A nationally recognized expert on child obesity, Dr. Roa uses the latest and best medical evidence available to show you how to help your child avoid or overcome this prevalent and dangerous health problem. In the first part, he gives you the knowledge you need to understand the scope of the problem.

In the second part, he carefully explains a rational approach to helping your child achieve or maintain a healthy weight, including the science of changing people’s behaviour. Dr. Roa makes it clear that despite all the talk about ‘low-carb’ and other fad diets, there are no magic bullets for treating childhood obesity.

But the good news is that armed with the right information, parents can reverse this dangerous trend and succeed in helping their children become fit, trim and happy.

Obesity And Children Book List

Supersized to Superhealthy! Beat Childhood Obesity and Stop Your Kids Getting Fat. Healthy eating for children…

Your Child’s Weight: Helping without Harming

Fed Up!: Winning the War Against Childhood Obesity

Underage and Overweight: America’s Childhood Obesity Epidemic–What Every Parent Needs to Know

Child Obesity: A Parent’s Guide to a Fit, Trim, And Happy Child

The Poisoning of Our Children: Fighting the Obesity Epidemic in America

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Health

Chronic Stress Can Be Fatal

Stress Can Have a Devastating Effect on Both Health and Happiness

The American Medical Association credits stress as being the root of over 60% of all of the human diseases and illness. It is estimated that over 95 million people take medication each week for stress. And,  studies have shown that stress is more likely to cause heart disease or cancer than even smoking cigarettes or eating a diet high in cholesterol!

In response to stress the body performs numerous functions including releasing a host of hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones include adrenaline, dopamine, norepinephrine and cortisol. And, all of these hormones in large, constant doses affect vital organs seriously damaging your health.

They also lower your immune systems ability to protect the body by fighting off illness or infections. This slowing of the immune system is believed to be the cause for many of the physical symptoms that are stress related. Your body is literally no longer able to fight back!

insomniaMost cases of insomnia can be directly related to stress. In severe instances you may not be able to sleep at all. In minor instances, you’ll be waking up all through the night and find it hard or impossible to go back to sleep. Proper rest is essential to your health and good health is essential to a strong immune system.

One of the most serious health problems related to stress is heart attacks. Hormones released during stress constrict blood vessels, greatly increase heart rate and cause the blood to clot faster. Stress is also directly related to high blood pressure, all of these combined together put you at a much greater risk for heart attack.

There are many other physical afflictions directly related to stress, you’re at a higher risk of flare-ups of arthritis and even asthma. You may experience nausea, stomach bloating and cramping and migraines. And, now research is even linking stress to diabetes and infertility!

Stressed & AngryStress doesn’t stop at just attacking the physical well being of the body, it also attacks the emotional well being. It’s been linked to mood swings, depression, agitation and even aggressive behavior. It can leave you feeling totally helpless, alone, overwhelmed and in a constant state of worry.

For many people stress leads to addictions of alcohol, drugs or smoking. It’s linked to eating disorders, some people will over eat for comfort, while others will rarely eat. And, most suicide victims are pushed over the edge by stress.

While it’s impossible to avoid stress completely, you can learn how to deal with. Learning ways to control stress instead of letting it control you is the only way to lead a longer, healthier and much happier life!

Some Stress Can Actually Be Good

Most people see any type of stress as bad, nothing could be further from the truth. When your bodies stress reaction kicks in and then resets or turns off as it should, stress can be very helpful and even lifesaving! It can give you the extra push to need to get something accomplished.

There is both good and bad stress, good stress can help you save someone in a life threatening situation or it can just help you meet a deadline at work. Good stress can give you added energy and motivate you to perform better or quicker!

Three Different Types of Stress

Aside from stress being both good and bad, there are three major categories of stress types, acute stress, chronic stress and episodic stress. Although, these categories have many sub-categories for other types of stress such as mental, physical and emotional stress.

Acute Stress

car wreck and stressIf you’ve ever experienced a near miss auto accident, or a surprise birthday party, then you’ve experienced acute stress! Acute stress is short lived and can be described as a feeling of terror, shock, surprise or excitement. It can be a good feeling if you’ve just won something or a bad feeling if you almost wrecked your car.

Episodic Stress

Some people don’t even realize that they suffer from episodic stress. It occurs when stress factors are overwhelming and seem to never end. A busy lifestyle that always has you on the go, constantly rushing to get here or there or meet deadlines at work, are just some of the events that lead to episodic stress. It’s when your life is in an uproar constantly.

Chronic Stress

If you have any type of stress besides chronic stress, then it’s good stress. Chronic stress is the worst of all, it’s the potentially fatal type of stress! The stressors are constant like caring for a loved one that’s dying, being in an abusive relationship, or in a state of poverty and despair.

Chronic stress generally results in strokes, heart attacks and high blood pressure problems. It can also lead to mental depression that can result in suicide, or nervous breakdowns that need long term treatment.

Chronic stress can cause sudden fits of anger, you feel constant despair and hopelessness and are completely out of control with your emotions.

If you suspect that you have chronic stress you should see an expert. This type of stress isn’t something that you should try to treat yourself. Medication should be a last resort in coping with stress, but chronic stress sufferers are generally better off on medication than taking the chance of a fatal heart attack!

Written by Connie Corder, Copyright 2013 HonestInformation.com

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Health

How to Strengthen Your Immune System with Natural Herbs

Natural Herbal Remedies And The Immune System

The amount of man-made products that we have been taking in for the last century have gotten many of us away from looking to remedies and preventative medicines that have been around for thousands of years.

These remedies from nature not only can help treat illnesses and imbalances, they can also help prevent them from occurring in the first place.

A strong immune system is vital for good health. Fortunately there are things we can do to strengthen our natural immune systems for dealing with contagion and disease.

Why The Immune System Is Important

These days it seems that many people are talking about coming down with one thing or another in the way of viruses and sickness. It is a strong possibility that part of this is because so many artificially produced antibiotics are made to counteract a bacteria or infection that could easily be cured by less aggressive means. The over-prescription of antibiotics has in turn caused bacteria to become even more resistant. In the meantime, our immune systems are weakening because we’re too quick to go get a prescription once we are sick rather than work towards keeping our bodies healthy in the first place.

Echinacea

When the immune system stops working or becomes weakened, the body is vulnerable to any and all parasites, viruses, bacteria and other illnesses. Lifestyles that are high in stress and involve unhealthy habits such as eating fast food on the run, not exercising, and anxiety about impending bills or the economy are unfortunately commonplace. All of these things can compromise our immune systems, thus making us more at risk for getting sick and longer recovery periods.

The many different “super” bacteria and viruses that have come about attack the body much more aggressively, which puts a further strain on already weakened immune system. We cannot prevent all of these factors that can make us sick, however we can be pro-active in boosting our immunities in what we eat and how we take care of ourselves before we become ill.

It has been said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and there are many natural ways to get healthy and stay healthy. Simply changing a few things about our eating and exercise habits as well as learning coping techniques for handling stress can make a huge boost in our immune systems before we are rushing to a doctor to cure what ails us.

Benefits Of Using Natural Immunity Boosters

One of the biggest benefits to using natural immune boosters (such as vitamin supplements, healthy diet, and better exercise) is fewer side effects than the harsh chemicals that have been put together by the pharmaceutical companies.

People whose immune systems have been weakened because of disease or stressing the body to its limits have often had to resort to such treatments which can be detrimental in other ways to our health. There are of course diseases such as the AIDS virus that require more intensive treatment regardless of side effects, but for many, the issues can come from not taking care of daily health and rejuvenation needs each day.

Golden Seal

The other advantage to using natural means to boost our immunities is that they are much more effective. When pharmaceutical measures are needed, it is basically trying to make up for an immune system that is barely or no longer functioning.

By taking the time to watch what we eat, make sure we get enough sleep, make sure that we are taking enough vitamin supplements for our age and health needs, and keeping our bodies and hands clean, we can keep much of the bacteria and illness away from us.

It is also important to remember as with anything that balance is the key. Overloading our bodies with immune boosters will sometimes cause even more problems than otherwise. An immune system that over-reacts to foreign viruses and disease can make an allergic reaction twice what would be normally as well as causing auto-immune disorders.

As with any machine that is forced to work double time, when it is overdone, a common reaction is to shut down altogether.

The most important benefit to opting for natural ways to boost the immune system is that overall general health will be much better.

Much of what causes our immunities to be compromised are poor eating habits, lack of sleep, too much caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes or other vitamin-stripping vices, processed and fast foods, and not enough exercise.

By simply taking a look at our daily habits and reducing the ones that are taking away from our health as well as increasing activities that will improve it, we can go a long way to getting healthy and staying healthy.

Immune Boosting Herbs And Their Benefits

Along with better sleep and exercise habits as well as a healthier diet, there are many herbal supplements that are specifically geared toward keeping us healthy. Some prefer using them in their actual form because they belief the body reaps the benefits even better, but the over the counter supplements are available for those who may not have access to some of these herbs in their natural state.

Astragalus: This particular plant is indigenous to the northern areas of China as well as Mongolia. The root of the plant has often been used by doctors in China to treat anything from a cold to more serious ailments. The polysaccharides that are contained within the root are believed to enhance immunities.

Probiotics (such as acidophilus): These are thought to work very effectively in the digestive system to counteract any potential harmful bacteria. These tiny organisms are living in many of the foods we eat such as yogurt which contains live acidophilus, a friendly bacteria which can fight the growth of more harmful varieties.

Golden Seal Root: This is derived from the hydrastis canadensis plant which is indigenous to the North American region. The alkoloids in the root are believed to boost immunities especially against colds, flus, and allergies.

Echinacea Plant: This has the more popular name of the purple coneflower and has been thought to be effective in treating upper respiratory infections. IMPORTANT TO NOTE: This is one of the supplements that has been thought to actually worsen allergic reactions if too much is taken. As with anything, less is more, so use Echinacea with caution until you are sure that there will be no negative side effects.

Garlic

Zinc: Zinc is found in nearly every cell our bodies have. It is essential for cell growth, and any disease that affects the production of zinc will lower the ability to resist infection. Zinc lozenges have been used effectively for colds and upper respiratory issues as well promoting the enzymes to naturally fight off infections.

Garlic: The garlic bulb has been heralded for some time now as a natural way for the body to fight off infections as well as promoting good heart health. Supplements are effective, but this is definitely one that is believed to be more beneficial in its natural form. While most people prefer it cooked, the raw garlic actually has the most health benefits. However, in any form, its health benefits have been known for centuries, even going back to the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt.

These are just a few of the herbs and herbal supplements that can be used to keep our immune systems healthy. The most important thing to remember is that our bodies are only as healthy as the mechanisms that fight invading infections and diseases. If we take time to keep ourselves healthy and our immunities strong, we won’t be sick as often therefore eliminating some of the stress that can cause the system to go down in the first place. It’s all about prevention before the fact–not fixing it when it might be too late.

Written by Angela Sangster, Copyright 2012 HonestInformation.com

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Health

Common Causes of Food Poisoning

Common Mistakes Can Lead To Getting Sick

Even as advanced as we have become in how to keep water and food preparation more sanitary, there are common mistakes that are made every day that lead to food poisoning related sickness.

The worst part about food poisoning is that so much of it can be prevented.

We make common mistakes every day that can cause bacteria to form in our bodies that could lead to some very uncomfortable and potentially dangerous illnesses.

Over 30 million cases of food borne illness each year is a very sobering number, but if you take the time to practice some healthy habits in the kitchen and in restaurants, you can minimize your chances of exposure to these bacteria.

Dirty Dishes

Bacteria thrives in warm moist areas so leaving dishes overnight to soak in water is never a good idea

Keep dishes and kitchen area dry: Bacteria thrives in warm moist areas so leaving dishes overnight to soak in water is never a good idea. This makes it twice as difficult to remove all of the dangers by washing alone.

Keep dishes washed regularly and if leaving overnight, rinse all food off and do not leave to soak in water. Make sure all areas of the kitchen are clean and dry as well.

Sponge and Dish Rag Dangers

Wash and sterilize sponges between uses:

Sponges carry all kinds of bacteria and many people mistakenly will use and re-use a sponge for dishes and for wiping countertops without properly cleaning them. Throw the sponge in the dishwasher or steam it in the microwave for about a minute.

Hand Washing

Wash Your Hands

Wash your hands before eating or preparing food: Much of the bacteria that ends up in food gets there because of human contamination. Whether it is eating before really washing your hands or eating food that was prepared by someone who didn’t make sure their hands were clean, this ranks up at the top of causes for food poisoning.

Do Not Rely on Taste

Don’t check by taste to see if food has gone bad: It’s a misconception to think that bacteria has a taste or a smell, and even a small amount of food that is contaminated can make you very sick. For a guideline on food storage times in the refrigerator and when it should be tossed, check this food safety site. http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/storagetimes.html

Safe Preparation

Cut and prepare meat and vegetable products separately: If you use the same cutting board and utensils, any bacteria that is in the meat, especially uncooked poultry, it will spread to the other food being touched. Emeril Lagassi, well known chef, often jokingly says about chicken and poultry to “wash everything… wash the car it came in!”, and he’s not far off. Never use the same utensils directly after cutting and handling meat products.

Food Thawing

Don’t thaw food on the counter: I know a lot of people say that this was done for years with no ill effects, but that is not quite true. More often than not, these food borne illnesses can pass us right by and we chalk it up to a slight ‘flu’ bug or just not feeling right. It is known now that thawing food in this way will increase the bacteria growth and make the food itself a breeding ground. Most microwaves have a ‘defrost’ option which can be used–just be careful that it is watched so the food doesn’t start to cook. Thawing in the refrigerator overnight or in cold water (changed every half hour) is fine as well.

Undercooked Food

Avoid undercooking food: This is especially true of pork, poultry or fish, but is also a concern with red meat. It has often been said that red meat is safe at any temperature as long as the person is not at risk. That is not altogether true, as the E.Coli bacteria can be on meat even when it has passed inspection. Poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature. Pork products should be cooked to at least an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit while most other meat should be at 165 degrees. Preparation instructions for sashimi or raw fish for sushi dishes must be strictly adhered to such as freshness, cleanliness and proper handling.

Raw Dough

Don’t eat raw dough: Raw cookie dough has often been a temptation as we are making a batch of cookies–however the raw egg in the mixture is a breeding ground for many bacteria that can make you sick. Best to avoid the raw stuff and opt for ice creams and treats that mimic the ‘raw cookie dough’ flavor.

Proper Refrigeration

Refrigerate uneaten food within an hour: It has been believed that allowing food to cool before putting it in the refrigerator is the better way, but this is actually incorrect. Once the food is prepared, the bacteria begin to multiply the longer it sits. It is recommended that food be refrigerated within and hour or two after it has been cooked. Another thing to remember when storing meat that includes bones–be sure and remove the meat from the bones and keep them separate if not throwing the bones away.

Raw Marinades

Don’t re-use raw marinades: Food that is marinated overnight needs to have the marinade itself either disposed of immediately or if used again, brought to a boil first. Waste not, want not is a good practice,but there are some things that are just plain unhealthy to keep using.

Watch those Expiration Dates

Check expiration dates on all foods: Never ever think that food which is in a can or a box can’t go bad. On the contrary, botulism is caused by contaminated canned foods and it is one of the more dangerous food borne illnesses. Canned and boxed foods past their expiration date need to be thrown away. Also check when you are purchasing food at the grocery store that the expiration date is within a reasonable range (2-3 years)

Fruits and vegetables

Wash all fruits and vegetables: Although most foodborne illnesses come from meat or poultry products, fruits and vegetables are certainly not immune. Much of this food is stored in the same area and the bacteria can end up on the produce as well. Make sure all fruits and vegetables are carefully washed clean with water and patted dry with a paper towel.

These are just some tips to keep you and your family safe from all of the different types of food borne illness that exist. Eating should be a pleasurable experience, not something that has you running to the bathroom every ten minutes. Pay closer attention to the way food is handled, stored, and prepared and be aware of how easily these bacteria and bugs are spread. Eating is a big part of staying healthy so it is important that what we are putting into our bodies is as free of all these things as possible. Don’t let careless mistakes take your family down–be aware and be safe!

Written by Angela Sangster, Copyright 2012 HonestInformation.com

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Health

Different Types and Causes of Food Poisoning

Food Poisoning: Types and Causes

Ugh – that horrible feeling when a stomach ‘bug’ hits you can be overwhelming. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, and just plain miserable is something no one wants to go through and at the time it is happening, it can literally feel like you are going to die. At some point, it would almost be a welcome relief! Generally after a day or so, the symptoms subside and you go back to your normal routine. Just another flu, right?

Very likely – wrong.

Most stomach ailments do not come from the flu but rather one of the several food-borne illnesses that occur throughout the world daily.

Some cases are mild and merely cause discomfort for a day or so with running to the bathroom every fifteen minutes. Dehydration of course is always something to watch out for, but for the most part these cases clear up fairly quickly. There are others however such as botulism, that can be fatal at any age, and E.coli which is particularly harmful to senior citizens and very young children.

Many different things can cause bacteria to form in food that will be passed on to anyone who eats it.

Food borne illnesses are preventable, however many times people don’t even realize that the practices they are doing to store and handle food are putting them at risk.

Our kitchens are breeding grounds for bacteria to thrive if we are not conscientious of how we handle and prepare food as well as care of cooking utensils and keeping things clean.

Hand washing is of course essential as well as keeping leftover food properly stored in the refrigerator rather than left to sit out. These few simple things would go a long way in preventing food illnesses and infections.

Different Types and Causes of Food Poisoning

Food-borne illness, which is more often referred to as ‘food poisoning’ is caused by bacterial or parasitic contamination of food or food storage. There are several different bacteria that cause people to become sick if ingested including E. Coli, botulism, and salmonella to name just a few.

The two most reported types of food poisoning are Escherichia Coli and Staphylococcus and while most cases are certainly not fatal, it can be extremely dangerous if it doesn’t clear up within a day or so. These are only two among many that are found in cases of food-borne illnesses across the world, and it’s important to know what they are and what risk factors need to be taken into consideration.

Staphylococcus aureus:

This particular bacteria is most often transmitted by humans especially food workers that are in contact with contaminated dairy products. The risk for the contamination to spread is increased, especially if strict food-handling protocol is not enforced. The toxins produced from Staphylococcus aureus are not affected by heat and are resistant to purifying agents (such as salt). In other words, if the food has this bacteria multiplying and you consume it – you are very likely going to get sick regardless if it is cooked or not.

Sandwiches, especially those including sliced meats, are a prime target if not handled properly from the beginning. Symptoms include the usual gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea, but generally clears up within a couple of days.

Time of ingestion until time the illness attacks can be anywhere from thirty minutes to six hours.

Botulism:

This type of food poisoning is nowhere near as common as some, but makes up for it by being much more dangerous. This type of illness is caused by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum and can be caused by an open wound or in the case of food, improper preserving methods and contaminated canned products. The bacteria starts in water and soil that has not been treated and the spores multiply quickly. Improper canning procedures as well as smoked or raw meats will often bring about a case of botulism if consumed. Infants are especially vulnerable to the bacteria, and are particularly at risk if they eat honey or corn syrup, where the bacteria can be easily formed.

Symptoms of Botulism range from nausea, respiratory difficulties, dry mouth, seeing double and in more serious cases, paralysis and even death. Infants will have weakness, constipation, poor feeding and difficulty crying.

With this type of food poisoning, there is no question – get to the hospital as quickly as possible where you will be treated with an antitoxin and if in respiratory distress, admitted and monitored. Time is of the essence with botulism, so don’t waste time getting medical treatment if you suspect you have been infected.

Salmonella (Salmonella enterocolitis):

Salmonella

One of the most common types of bacterial borne food illnesses, salmonella is most often spread through the unsanitary preparation and storage of food.

Salmonella is most often found in cases of undercooked poultry such as chicken or turkey but it is certainly not limited to those foods.

Over 40,000 people are afflicted with salmonella poisoning each year and it occurs most often in younger people (under the age of twenty).

Symptoms of salmonella include the usual aches, pains, nausea and gastrointestinal distress, and in the elderly and infants can be potentially dangerous, as any type of illness that leaves a person dehydrated.

Shigellosis:

The shigella bacteria attacks the intestinal lining and causes sudden and intense abdominal cramping. Commonly known as one of the types of “traveler’s diarrhea”, it is often contracted when exposed to even a small amount of contaminated food or water. The symptoms can last anywhere from a couple of days to a week and dehydration is the biggest concern.

The three types of shigellosis are:

  • Shigella sonnei (most common in US)
  • Shigella flexneri
  • And the rarer (but potentially deadly) shigella dysenteriae type 1.

The last type is not commonly found in the US but has shown up in third world countries.

Campylobacter jejuni enteritis:

This is also another type of traveler’s diarrhea, and the symptoms of this particular food borne illness do not show up for several days. However, once it hits, it is the usual bouts of diarrhea and cramping that occur with many of the other types of food poisoning.

What can be concerning is blood in the stool which should be addressed with a medical professional. Otherwise it generally clears up on its own, although it is extremely uncomfortable. Be sure and hydrate with electrolyte based fluids regularly.

Diphyllobothrium latum (fish poisoning):

The tapeworm that affects thousands of people every year is found most frequently in undercooked fish or seafood.

Sashimi, which is fish that is eaten raw, must have extremely strict handling and preparation guidelines that are followed or otherwise, a trip to the sushi restaurant will likely lead to a bout of severe food poisoning.

This particular type is slow acting, with larvae growing in the intestinal tract for up to six weeks. Megaloblastic anemia and deficiencies of vitamin B12 are very often end results of this illness.

The scariest thing about this type is that there are rarely symptoms. One might feel occasionally weak or crampy, but may write it off as something else until more serious conditions occur. Medicines such as Praziquantal are used for treatment, usually given in one dose.

E.Coli enteritis:

This is the most common type of bacteria to cause traveler’s diarrhea. It is often in the intestinal tracts without causing any major issues, however there are some strains that cause food-borne illness to happen.

One of the most dangerous is E. coli O157:H7 which can be fatal, especially with infants and the elderly. It is often spread through human contamination (especially if hands are not washed during food preparation). This is also the type that has shown up in raw fruits and vegetables from mishandling. It causes fever, cramping and diarrhea that can include blood in the stool. Rehydration and small meals are recommended until the bacteria has passed.

Listeria:

This is by far one of the most deadly of the food borne illnesses. It is the third leading cause of infant meningitis and nearly 30% of the cases result in death. It is rarer than some of the others, but is certainly a concern with over 2,000 reported cases each year and 500 that end in death (numbers approximate).

Pregnant women are cautioned against eating soft cheeses which may contain the bacteria which causes this illness.

Symptoms range from high fever, a bit of nausea and possibly vomiting, but generally clears up in a week only to come back with a vengeance. Once it enters the brain, the symptoms of meningitis start to appear including stiff neck, altered mental state, problems keeping balance and seizures. It can be contracted through the bacteria contaminating food, water, and food utensils.

There are other types of food poisoning such as cholera that are not as widely spread as they once were due to better sanitation practices. However, even as advanced as we have become in how to keep water and food preparation more sanitary, there are common mistakes that are made every day that lead to any of the above mentioned illnesses. Read Common Causes of Food Poisoning

Written by Angela Sangster, Copyright 2012 HonestInformation.com

Categories
Health

Dangers of Processed Food

There was a time when if you wanted something to eat, you had to get the ingredients to make it yourself.

Today’s modern conveniences of packaged pre-cooked dinners and drive-thru’s have meals ready to eat in minutes, however it comes with a price that has nothing to do with money. These foods contain chemical preservatives that were never intended to be ingested by people, and yet we are spending millions of dollars each year on TV dinners, canned meals, and fast food.

It’s no wonder that Americans suffer from a myriad of health problems if this is what we are continually putting into our bodies.

Mashed chicken bone and chemicals deep fried in oil

One recent case in Great Britain has hit the news and it shows a very vivid, if not typical, example of the damage processed foods can do. Stacey Irvine, a seventeen year old factory employee collapsed on the job and was unable to catch her breath. When she went to the hospital for examination, it was discovered that since the age of two, she had eaten an almost steady diet of Chicken McNuggets from the grand poobah of fast food chains – McDonalds.

That’s fifteen years of no fruits, no vegetables, and very little else other than nuggets of mashed chicken bone and chemicals deep fried in some oil!

Now of course we are all exclaiming over the choice of this girl’s mother to allow her daughter to eat this type of food constantly. But before we get our judgmental knickers in a knot, let’s take a look at some of the foods that are every bit as bad – and are consumed by us on a daily basis.

Think about how many times a week you open a can of spaghetti rather than taking the time to fry the hamburger, prepare the sauce and boil the pasta. Rather than make a call on someone else’s choice, we need to truly examine our own.

Chemicals In Processed Food

There are literally thousands of chemicals used in processed food!

The reasons that are put forth are that the food has a longer shelf life, has brighter colors, and more enhanced flavors and textures. All of it is put together in brightly colored packages that are put out prominently in the store or advertised at your local fast food restaurant. Many of these chemicals have uses that seem far from anything we would be putting into our bodies, and yet we do so daily even though they are printed on the label for us to see. That’s not to mention harmful chemicals such as acrylamides that are formed during the processing of these foods – and are NOT required to be mentioned on the labels.

Take a look at the names of some of these chemicals that go into our “convenience” foods – you will do good to pronounce them, let alone understand what they mean. However, simply looking up the names found on the food labels can yield much information about what is actually in there.

Here are some commonly found in food and drink products, along with their other uses.

methyl naphthyl ketone (used in perfumes and essential oils)

ethyl propionate (sometimes better known as propionic ether)

ethyl methylphenylglycidate (main ingredient in strawberry soaps, shampoos, and perfumes)

Amyl acetate (used to prepare penicillin as well as a paint solvent)

dipropyl ketone (also used as a solvent)

…and you have just read but a small portion of the ingredients for – a processed strawberry milkshake. Makes you want to go out and get one, doesn’t it? And that is only the tip of a very large iceberg of processed chemicals we allow ourselves and our children to eat each day.

Processed Food Worst Offenders

So much of what we see in the grocery stores is processed, that it is hard to zero in on just a few that are particularly bad. To sum it up, if it comes in a can, is frozen, or is in a box, it is processed and likely has a list of ingredients a mile long with names that it takes a bachelors in science to pronounce and understand. Fast food restaurants are filled with processed food choices, many of which are geared toward children. We will look at some of the worst offenders of the processed nightmare that has become American’s food choices.

Lunch kits (Lunchables, etc.): These plastic boxes contain crackers, processed cheese, processed lunchmeat, along with a packaged drink and either a candy bar or a cookie for dessert. There are other ones that even contain chicken nuggets and pizza which don’t require cooking. Very easy and convenient to pull out for the kids lunch, and one might even fool themselves into thinking that it’s halfway nutritious. However, the sodium and fat content for these lunches are more than what an adult needs let alone a child.

Mornings are often hectic,and grabbing a box of doughnuts or throwing some Pop-Tarts in the toaster sounds like an easy way to slide through the morning breakfast. However, a look at the fat, sugar, and preservative content shows that these foods are horrible ways to start the day.

Even worse are McDonald’s “Big Breakfast” meals with a whopping 1,920 mg of sodium. Keep in mind, the RDA of sodium is no higher than 2000 mg a day, and even that is higher than we need – but for one meal to contain nearly an entire days worth is as unhealthy as it gets.

Foods such as packaged bacon have a sodium content per serving of well over 2000 mg, and that is just for part of a meal.

What You Can Do

The first and most important thing you, as the consumer can do is to stop buying foods that have more ingredients you can’t pronounce than ones you can. This is easier said than done, but it is not as difficult as we have talked ourselves into thinking.

Buying food in the state that it was meant to be purchased in will not only make you healthier, it will actually taste better. These processed foods have salt and flavor enhancers to give the illusion of tasting better than they do. Try a vine ripened tomato or meat that has been prepared at home after being cut by hand by the butcher. Compare that to a processed can of spaghetti and meatballs and see what you think.

Taking the time to prepare meals in advance can save time throughout the week if the family has a busy schedule. There are containers and freezer bags available to where a large meal can be made on a day that is free and can be portioned into meals for the week. Make the snack foods that are healthy more readily available – because when it comes to kids they truly will eat what is there if they are hungry enough.

Don’t make the mistake of the mother whose daughter collapsed at work because of a steady diet of McNuggets. Kids learn very early how to get what they want and it is up to parents to be sure that they get what they need. Any minor battles about it in the beginning will wear down and your family’s health is worth it.

Many people have started growing their own food or frequenting farmer’s markets to have more control over what they are consuming. Whatever action you take, it is important to take that action now. These food companies and fast food corporations couldn’t care less about your health.

Start writing down the ingredients in these canned and boxed foods and then look up what they mean and what other uses they have. You may be alarmed, you may be shocked – but if you see it in black and white, you just may take action.

Written by Angela Sangster, Copyright 2012 HonestInformation.com

Categories
Health

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Things You Should Know

Some History of ADHD Diagnosis

Many parents in this day and age are told that their child exhibits symptoms of ADHD or ‘attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder’. The term itself has only been coined within the last few decades, but there have been different names for children exhibiting an extreme difficulty in sitting still or paying attention for many years. Certainly in the 19th century, these symptoms likely showed themselves and were simply referred to as the ‘jitters’. However, as time went on, there became a popular belief that the condition was beyond a person’s control and was an actual medical issue.

As names such as “Post-Encephalitic Behavior Disorder.” began to make their appearance as early as 1922, there seemed to be the problem of what to do or how to treat this condition. These children, while usually very bright, were unable to get work done in a conventional environment. Their behaviors were disruptive, and the possibility that this was not something that could be helped urged the medical profession to find answers. In 1937, the first use of stimulants for treatment of these attention disorders was advocated by Dr. Charles Bradley. This was continued in 1956, when Ritalin became the drug of choice for treating this problem.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

It would be 1980 before the medical profession would coin the phrase Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder after observations indicated other symptoms that went along with difficulty in sitting still.

The inability to focus for any period of time or concentrate on studies and schoolwork has made Ritalin and Adderal two of the most prescribed drugs on the market today.

The controversies surrounding over-diagnosis and the unpleasant side effects of these stimulants on the body has many parents questioning exactly what ADHD is and if the medicines given are even doing any good.

Types And Possible Causes of ADHD

Not all cases of ADHD are the same, as each individual child will have symptoms that act out in different ways. However, there are three main types of Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder that most of those diagnosed fall into. These are:

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

1.Predominantly inattentive
2.Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive
3.Predominantly inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive combined

Some are able to sit still but have a very short attention span, while others will veer towards impulsive and hyperactive behavior. The combined type, as its name suggests has aspects of both tendencies. These behaviors are not only disruptive in class, they can be a hindrance in education. Often these children are very smart, but with the behavior challenges, it becomes very difficult to focus long enough to learn.

Even though much research is being done into how this disorder happens in the first place, the actual causes are unknown.

Certain links have been found to such things as low birth weight, premature birth, the use of certain things during pregnancy such as alcohol, excessive caffeine, or cigarettes, and the very real possibility of certain environmental exposures.

Children exposed to lead are at a very high risk for behavior disorders because of its effects on the brain. For this reason, lead testing is routinely done with children under age 6.

Sugar snacks are likely to accelerate the hyperactivity, but there is not enough data to support this being an actual cause. However that is not to say that food isn’t something to be concerned about.

Certain Food Additives May Worsen Symptoms of ADHD

Several studies have been done since the 1970’s about the potential of certain food additives making symptoms of ADHD worse.

Food dyes such as Blue #1 and 2, Green #3, and Red # 3, and the preservative sodium benzoate are found in many of the popular snack and convenience foods that are marketed specifically for children and busy families.

If your child has been diagnosed with any type of ADHD, it is advised that an inventory of foods be taken and as many of these additives as possible eliminated from the diet.

ADHD and Food Additives The Honest Information

Treatments for ADHD

The use of stimulants to treat ADHD has much controversy, and many parents resist giving these drugs to their children. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of such stimulants as Ritalin and Adderall for ages 3 and over. While the numbers do show that there is an improvement in a child with ADHD and their behavior when taking these medications, there are also unpleasant side effects. These can include extreme difficulty in falling asleep, very vivid nightmares, and a significant decrease in appetite. These side effects usually subside, but it often requires several trips to the doctor to adjust dosages. Getting a child on a regiment of medication is a step that some parents would prefer to avoid and in turn, they will look for alternative treatments.

Medicine or Diet?

Dr. Ben Feingold (1899-1982), a California pediatric allergist, strongly believed there was a correlation with food additives and hyperactivity. In the seventies, he devised a plan to eliminate certain foods that contained salicylates (a food preservative) and anything else artificial. The diet has been argued by scientific study, which says there is no evidence proving it works. However, for parents and medical practitioners who deal with this on a daily basis, the Feingold diet has met with a lot of positive feedback.

Whether a parent chooses to go the route of medicine or changing diet (or a combination of both), the important thing to realize is that each child is different – and each case of ADHD is different. What is effective for one may not work with another. There doesn’t seem to be any absolutes when it comes to these behavior disorders, and when it comes down to it – a parent knows what works for their child.

“…Many parents have reported that certain foods seem to make the behavior and impulse control worse. There have been extensive studies done as to the effects of certain foods and especially food additives that may cause a child who is ADHD to have even more trouble paying attention and sitting still…”

From ADHD and Food Additives The Honest Information

Managing ADHD And The Family

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is something that affects the whole family. The impulsive behaviors and excessive energy are a challenge, and the whole situation can feel extremely unfair, especially to other siblings. Brothers and sisters of these children often have to take a back seat to dealing with the symptoms and feel they are expected to ‘help’. There is also guilt when the child acts up under their watch. It is very easy for a family to feel overwhelmed and frustrated unless action is taken to manage ADHD.

First and most important, take care of yourself. The only way a parent is going to be any good for their family is to put their health as a priority. Getting enough rest, making sure you eat right and keep up with your own medical care, and taking time to refocus energy are all crucial and in many cases, not always feasible. Check the local programs in the community, such as Easter Seals. They often have respite programs that allow for a “Parent’s Night Out” where there is child care and appropriate activities for both children with disabilities as well as their siblings. If these are not available, plan shifts for family to take turns so each one has some time to themselves as well. A little organization can go a long way in making life easier for everyone involved.

The most important thing to remember when managing ADHD is to acknowledge the child’s limitations in scheduling and completing projects. Until the child is able to develop these skills on his own, it must be done by the parent or caregiver. Consistent structure in the child’s day and keeping active at appropriate times will promote better sleep at night and the basis to develop these habits on their own.

There are many good resources on the web to check for advise or support groups. There are thousands of parents dealing with this issue, and many have found that comparing notes and offering an understanding point of view has helped more than any treatment. You, as well as your child are not alone.

Written by Angela Sangster, Copyright 2012 HonestInformation.com

Categories
Health

Learn How to Read Food Labels

Reading and understanding food labels is essential if you want to maintain good health for you and your family. Most people look at food labels, and instead of making informed, reliable choices, they scratch their heads in befuddlement or consternation.

Placement of Nutrition Facts food labels on most food packaging has been legally mandated by the FDA since 1994. The Nutrition Facts are placed in close proximity to the ingredients list. People should look at packages and expect vertical, horizontal, or abbreviated orientations of the Nutrition Facts.

Master one section of the Nutrition Facts at a time, and it’s not so daunting. Then you’ll know precisely how to read food labels. Here’s a concise overview.

Serving Information

The serving information, positioned at the top of the label, is the precursor to understanding the nutrition facts underneath. What you’ll see are the serving size and the number of servings. The serving size is given in a common, familiar unit of measurement like a cup, tablespoon, or piece, followed by the equivalent metric quantity, i.e., 1 cup (228 grams)

The important thing to keep in mind is that the Nutrition Facts on a package are for a single serving of the food. It’s quite misleading because a person may think that the Nutrition Facts apply to the contents of the whole bag, when, in reality, it applies to only a serving of the food. That’s why it’s imperative to look at what constitutes a serving before looking into the Nutrition facts underneath. A good rule of thumb is to multiply the calories by the number of servings, and that is how much you’ll be getting.

Typical Food Label

Calories

Next, let’s peer into the strange, sometimes ominous, world of calories. Science has shown that too much caloric intake has been linked to weight gain and obesity. But how many calories do we really need? Calories are a measure of how much energy we get from food. Thus, nutritionists and weight loss experts have commended us to reduce energy intake (food) and expend more energy (exercise). Some foods actually cost more calories to digest than they give back to the body, i.e., apples and asparagus have negative calories. You can lose weight without doing anything. How many calories you need per day is dependent on your gender, height, energy expended per day, current weight, ideal weight, temperature and a host of other factors.

Online tools can help you reach an ideal weight by asking you these questions and then spitting out the answer of how many calories a day you should eat. If you’re using food labels to manage your weight loss program, avoid the empty calories present in sweets, soft drinks, white rice, margarine, shortening, pizza, tater tots, french fries, and other foods with plenty of energy potential but little or no body-building, cell-supporting nutrients.

Fat Free?

Furthermore, the recent fat-free food trend over the last 10 years has resulted in Americans becoming 33% fatter. Excess sugar is converted to fat, especially in people already overweight. So, in closing, multiply calories by the number of servings and gauge how much sugar there is.

A good answer to the dietary debacles of the modern age is to go back to a diet that made Americans the healthiest in world around the turn of the century. Various forms of this diet are out there, e.g., The Maker’s Diet, Nourishing Traditions, Weston A. Price, etc. and the best online learning library for intelligent nutritional information is at the Weston A Price Foundation website. You’ll never have to read food labels again!

Calories From Fat

So, you may be asking, what are calories from fat? Well, it’s no different from a protein calorie or carbohydrate calorie. They’re just units of energy. However, it’s important to know where calories originate because an excess of bad fats can have serious consequences in body. Most dietitians recommend that no more than 30% of your calories come from fat. That would mean that a 2,000 calorie diet would get 600 calories from fat per day. However, the Inuit of Alaska and Greenland have startlingly low levels of diabetes and heart disease despite a high-fat, high cholesterol diet. The paradox is explained in Sally Fallon’s ground-breaking nutrition treatise and cookbook, Nourishing Traditions.

Suggested Daily Requirements

Moving on, you’ll notice the measurements and recommended daily amounts (represented as a percentage) of fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Wise consumers avoid trans fats because of their devastating consequences for all bodily systems, and several political movements have erupted just to stop their use. Heart disease, cancers, high blood pressure, and stroke have been linked to over-consumption of the wrong fats, so, along with Sodium, these problem elements are prominently displayed. Sodium is not listed along with the other minerals below because most Americans eat way too much of it, and it exacerbates certain health problems.

As opposed to these nutrients you should limit and avoid, especially processed vegetable oil, you should look at the good nutrients on the label like dietary fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Iron.

Dietary Fiber

Dietary fiber slows the movement of sugar into the bloodstream and gives regular bowel movements.

Vitamins are organic micro-nutrients, or vital amines, that are essential in small quantities for the normal and healthy metabolism, growth, and repair of us humans!

Be sure to pay close attention to those food labels and what you eat and make sure you take in plenty enough fiber.

Artificial Vitamins and Minerals and a Connection to Cancer?

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration

Artificial vitamins and minerals have actually been shown to cause cancer in recent research so I recommend a completely food-based source of vitamins and minerals called PhytoMatrix. All of these nutrients are bioavailable because they’re in a form that we normally find in food.

This article is too succinct to describe the many benefits of individual vitamins, but a very important book on the subject is Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, a fascinating book that chronicles the life of a dentist as he traveled to isolated tribes all over the world and analyzed their eating habits and diet compared to the incidences of cavities (he was a dentist), diseases, and facial structure. Although the diets were different and a result of region, culture, and scarcity, they all had the same amounts of fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins, and they were all in excess of a modern European or American diet.

The suggested daily requirements at the bottom of the food label are a good indication of what a person needs with a 2,000 and 2,500 calorie diet.

I hope this information has stimulated you to take control of your health, write your congressman, make websites, and spread the word about the insufficiency of food labels for determining proper nutrition!

Copyright 2007-2012 HonestInformation.com all rights reserved

Categories
Health

Dangers of Over The Counter Medicines

Many of us have gone to the drugstore to pick up a pain reliever/fever reducer or cold medicine. After all, there’s no need to make a trip to the doctor if it’s just a common cold or headache, right?

For the most part, if properly used and not over-used, OTC’s can do the trick in a pinch, but it is important to note that it should never substitute for finding out what the problem is if symptoms continue. There are also concerns to be aware of with over the counter medication in regards to overdose and adverse effects.

One of the first legal decisions made about medicines happened in 1704 by the House Of Lords in Great Britain. This was in response to the College of Physicians having a monopoly on the medications that were dispensed, and the decision gave apothecaries (pharmacies) the right to sell medicine without the prescription of a doctor. This covered many medicines until 1860 when it was decided that the medicines which had the highest potential for addiction and harm would be regulated through medical doctors. However, this still left many medicines available over the counter.

Regulation of OTC’s in the United States is done by the FDA (Food and Drug administration) and it is required that all information about the drug including active and inactive ingredients as well as clearly marked age-appropriate doses. Drug warnings are also required to be listed. However, many people still mistake the term “over the counter” for being safe to take in higher doses, which could not be farther from the truth. There are also interactions with other drugs as well as certain foods that may be harmful. While it is not necessary to completely eliminate the use of non-prescription medicine, it is essential to be aware of potential dangers.

Adverse Effects With Over The Counter Medicines

Anything that is done in excess can cause a harmful reaction in the human body. This is especially true with medications.

Adverse effects that are associated with OTC’s are:

Over The Counter Medicines and Harmful Side Effects

Side effects happen with certain people and can keep the medication from achieving its desired effect.common side effect of allergy medication is drowsiness. Some are more inconvenient than harmful, but all should be taken seriously especially if the discomfort from the side effect outweighs the original illness.

Over The Counter Medicines and Interactions With Other Drugs

Drug to drug interactions are generally classified into three different types: alteration, duplication, and opposition. Alteration means that one drug affects the way another drug is absorbed into the bloodstream. An example of this would be antacids that affect the way certain antibiotics are absorbed. Duplication is especially a concern when combining cold medicines and pain relievers, as many have the same or similar ingredients, making a bigger risk for overdose.

Over The Counter Medicines and Interactions With Certain Foods

There is no real evidence of OTC’s interacting negatively with food, however it is important to follow the directions on the medicine label in regards to whether it should be taken on an empty stomach or directly after eating. Drugs differ in their absorption ability, and some work better when taken with food than others.

Over The Counter Medicines and Allergic Reactions

Something that is less common but still a great concern is the risk of an allergic reaction. This is another reason that the FDA requires that medicines have all active and inactive ingredients listed on the label to make sure the potential for allergic reaction is reduced. There are people who are at higher risk for adverse or allergic reactions, which will be
discussed next.

People At Higher Risk

So which groups have a potential for harmful adverse reactions? Obviously not everyone is in danger from OTC’s or no one would be buying them. While healthy people can have a bad reaction to something now and again, there are certain ages and conditions where there is a greater risk. This includes infants and young children, adults over the age of sixty, and people who are already taking prescription medicines. There are also conditions andchronic illnesses that can put a person in greater danger of adverse effects.

Some of the conditions that can put a person at a higher risk for a bad reaction to over the counter medicines include any type of bleeding disorder, which includes disorders that cause problems with blood clotting. Liver, kidney, and heart conditions can also cause adverse effects. People with asthma and other breathing difficulties should also be wary, especially if other medication is being taken. Anyone with an immune system disorder or central nervous system issues needs to take caution when using OTC’s.

Other diseases or disorders that should consult the doctor before even purchasing OTC’s are Parkinson’s, glaucoma, epilepsy, diabetes, thyroid issues and psychiatric problems. This is not to say that people with these conditions are prohibited altogether from taking over the counter medication. It does however mean that there are potential interactions and side effects that will have to be considered before taking them. Anyone that has a history of allergies or allergic reactions should always refer to a doctor first.

These are just some of the issues that can cause problems and adverse reactions with taking OTC’s. Even if there are no present problems, healthy people with no apparent medical concerns can still have bad side effects, and its important to be aware of them – and how to solve the problem if it happens.

What To Do

Two of the most common over the counter medications used today are antihistamines (for allergy/cold symptoms) and acetaminophen (pain reliever/fever reducer). These are also the ones that have the most potential for overdose. Acetaminophen side effects are usually attributed to taking more than the recommended dosage or continuing the dosages for a long period of time. The effects can range from mild discomfort (usually abdominal) to serious toxicity of the liver and kidneys. Nausea, vomiting, yellowing of the skin and abdominal pain are some signs to cause concern and worst cases can lead to heart failure and death.

There are many types of antihistamines available over the counter, two of the most common being brompheniramine and diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Most side effects are expected and can be dealt with such as sleepiness, blurred vision and dryness of the mouth. However, these types of drugs are especially harmful to those who are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors such as Niamid or Drazine and should be avoided. Of course, as with any medicine, if the recommended dosage is exceeded, the chances of side effects increases.

The smartest thing to do when it comes to OTC’s is to use common sense and caution. People sometimes mistakenly believe that because a medicine can be purchased without a prescription that it is safe in any amount. This could not be further from the truth as a lot of harmful side effects are a direct result of overdose. Many cold medicines have acetaminophen in them as well, and taking Tylenol along with one of these can cause an overdose. Other things to consider are alcohol consumption, which affects the body’s ability to utilize the medication and will often increase the side effects of drowsiness or upset stomach.

Most important – always consult a doctor about all medications, including OTC’s. Your health may depend on it.

Written by Angela Sangster, Copyright 2011 HonestInformation.com