Natural healing, natural wellness

Archive for March, 2010

Endocrine Disrupters – Deadly Chemicals in Our Midst

Do you buy convenience foods? What about canned foods? Do you store foods and beverages in plastic containers or, worse, heat them up in plastic containers? If your answer to these questions is “yes”, it’s time to change these habits.

Compounds called endocrine disrupters have long been suspected to be behind health disorders such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, brain cancer, diabetes, heart problems, liver disease and even behavioural changes.

An endocrine disrupter which is one of the world’s highest production volume chemicals, bisphenol A (BPA), is estimated to be detectable in the bodies of more than 90% of the population in the US and Europe. More than 2.2 million tonnes of bisphenol A are produced annually, mainly for making plastics such as containers, baby bottles and food packaging. It’s even used to line cans.

In June 2009, the US Endocrine Society presented research showing that this chemical can affect women’s hearts and permanently damage the DNA of mice. Scientists in January 2010 reported that exposure to bisphenol A has been linked to heart disease, confirming earlier findings. The study was led by Dr. David Melzer, professor of epidemiology and public health at the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, England. Dr, Melzer’s team studied data on 1,493 people aged 18 to 74. Their research confirmed that BPA also plays a role in diabetes and some forms of liver disease.

In a previous study, using data from a US government national nutrition survey in 2006, American and British scientists examined the effects of bisphenol A and found that high levels of the chemical in urine samples were associated with heart disease.

Pressure has been mounting to ban the use of the chemical in food packaging and bottles. Food and drug regulators in countries such as the US, Canada and the United Kingdom have been examining the safety of bisphenol A. Canada plans to outlaw plastic bottles made with BPA. The organization Breast Cancer UK in December 2009 urged the British government to do the same because they said there was compelling evidence linking bisphenol A to breast cancer risk.

In 2008, US government toxicologists at the National Institute of Health expressed concerns about BPA’s harmful effects on the development of the prostate and brain, as well as behavioural changes in foetuses, infants and children.

US environmental health advocacy groups are urging a federal ban on bisphenol A. “There’s enough research to take definitive action on this chemical to reduce exposure in people and the environment”, said Dr. Anila Jacob of non-profit organisation the Environmental Working Group.

Governments don’t move as fast as an individual can. What are YOU going to do TODAY to protect yourself and your loved ones from the harmful effects of endocrine disrupters like bisphenol A?

Happy People Live Longer

We’ve heard it said many times, but having a happy spirit really can make a difference in the quality and length of your life. Put another way, a bad disposition can be harmful for health. According to a study just published in Psychological Science, the broader your smile and the deeper the creases around your eyes when you grin, the longer you are likely to live.

A team led by Professor Ernest Abel of Wayne State University in Michigan studied 230 photographs of United States major league baseball players who started playing before 1950 and grouped them by their smiles, as follows:

No Smile
Players who looked deadpan at thee camera

Partial Smile
Only the muscles round the mouth were involved in their grin

Full Smile
Both mouth and eyes were smiling and cheeks were raised

The players’ photographs were taken from the 1952 Baseball Register, a listing of professional baseball players that is packed with statistics such as year of birth, body mass index, marital status and career length, which reflects physical fitness.

As of June 1 2009, of the players who had passed away, those in the “No Smile” category lived for an average of 72.9 years. Those in the “Partial Smile” category died at age 75, while the “Full Smile” players lived up to 79.9 years. The study concluded that:

“To the extent that smile intensity reflects an underlying emotional disposition, the results of this study are congruent with those of other studies demonstrating that emotions have an positive relationship with mental health, physical health and longevity”.

All you sour pusses who go through life with a dark cloud perpetually hanging over you, BE WARNED! Lighten up, give thanks for the blessings in your life, live to be a blessing to others. Laugh and love much. Stop being a grouch. Brush off the chip on your shoulder. Get away from people, places and other elements which have a negative effect on you. Feed your mind, body and spirit with good things which will nourish you, not poison you. Live well, and leave behind happy memories. Decide today to really LIVE!

Estrogen-Sensitive Disorder? Eat Soup

Do you know that when carrots are consumed raw, they release only 3% of beta carotene? On the other hand, cooked carrots which are pulped (like for creamy soup) release 39% of beta carotene. A powerful antioxidant known to fight cancer, beta carotene is metabolised in the body as Vitamin A in the presence of human bile salts. Besides antioxidants, carrots are a good source of minerals and fibre. All these help to build the immune system. Carrots are also a dietary source of phytoestrogens, weak estrogen mimics which can help to fill estrogen receptor sites which would otherwise be occupied by dangerous forms of estrogen which feed cancers such as breast cancer.

This recipe for carrot, celery, orange and coriander soup is a good way to get these carrot benefits into your body. Celery and coriander are also sources of apigenin, a natural aromatase inhibitor, while oranges are a source of naringenin, a natural aromatase inhibitor as well. In addition, oranges are a traditional source of Vitamin C, an antioxidant. If you’re dealing with an estrogen-driven health condition like breast cancer or endometriosis, this is one dish you should try out. Not only does it taste delicious, it can also be eaten chilled and it can even be frozen. How convenient is that?

For added antioxidant and cancer-fighting benefits, try adding turmeric.

Carrot, Celery, Orange & Coriander Soup
(4-6 servings)

Ingredients
1 kg carrots, washed, peeled and cut in chunks
2 stalks / ribs celery, washed and cut in chunks
3 shallots, peeled
1-2 garlic cloves
20 grams coriander, washed; reserve leaves for garnish
Juice and zest of 1 orange (reserve zest for garnish)
1 tsp white or black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 litre water

Method
1. Wash, peel (where needed) and cut all vegetables.
2. Put all vegetables in a large stockpot with the water. Bring to boil then simmer till tender.
3. Add orange juice and stir.
4. Blend soup to your desired consistency. Add more water if needed. Season to taste.
5. Serve warm or chilled, garnished with coriander leavers and orange zest.