Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Milk acts like a painkiller

Scientists have revealed that a glass of milk contains a cocktail of up to 20 painkillers, antibiotics and growth hormones.
Using a highly sensitive test, they found a host of chemicals used to treat illnesses in animals and people in samples of cow, goat and human breast milk, reports the Daily Mail.
The doses of drugs were far too small to have an effect on anyone drinking them, but the results highlight how man-made chemicals are now found throughout the food chain.
The Spanish-Moroccan team analysed 20 samples of cow's milk bought in Spain and Morocco, along with samples of goat and breast milk.
Their breakdown revealed that cow's milk contained traces of anti-inflammatory drugs niflumic acid, mefenamic acid and ketoprofen - commonly used as painkillers in animals and people.
It also contained the hormone 17-beta-estradiol, a form of the sex hormone oestrogen.
The tests also found niflumic acid in goat's milk, while breast milk contained traces of painkillers ibuprofen and naproxen, along with the antibiotic triclosan and some hormones.
The researchers, led by Dr Evaristo Ballesteros from the University of Jaen in Spain, say their new 30-minute test is the most sensitive of its kind and could be used to check the safety of other types of food.
The study is detailed in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Lower your BP

Want to lower your blood pressure? Add more soy or low-fat dairy to your diet.

Partly replacing refined carbohydrates with foods or drinks high in soy or milk protein may help prevent and treat high blood pressure, according to a new study.

Study participants who took a milk protein supplement had 2.3 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) lower systolic blood pressure, compared to when they took a refined carbohydrate supplement.

Participants who took a soy protein supplement had a 2.0 mmHg lower systolic blood pressure when compared to the refined carbohydrate supplement.

The 352 adults in the study were at increased risk of high blood pressure or had mild cases of the condition.

"The systolic blood pressure differences we found are small for the individual, but they are important at the population level," said Jiang He, M.D., Ph.D., lead researcher of the study.

The study has been published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Lack of Sleep...Increased B.P.

Not getting a proper night's sleep increases the risk of high blood pressure in older men by 80 pc compared to those who got longer, less interrupted sleep, according to a new research.

Slow wave sleep (SWS), one of the deeper stages of sleep, is characterized by non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) from which it's difficult to awaken. It's represented by relatively slow, synchronized brain waves called delta activity on an electroencephalogram.

Researchers from the Outcomes of Sleep Disorders in Older Men Study (MrOs Sleep Study) found that people with the lowest level of SWS had an 80 per cent increased risk of developing high blood pressure.

"Our study shows for the first time that poor quality sleep, reflected by reduced slow wave sleep, puts individuals at significantly increased risk of developing high blood pressure, and that this effect appears to be independent of the influence of breathing pauses during sleep," said Susan Redline, M.D., the study's co-author and Peter C. Farrell Professor of Sleep Medicine in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass.

The researchers measured how long 784 men with an average age of 75 spent in SWS.

Those for whom SWS took up less than 4 per cent of sleep time were significantly more likely to develop high blood pressure during the 3.4 years of the study.

Men with reduced SWS had generally poorer sleep quality as measured by shorter sleep duration and more awakenings at night and had more severe sleep apnea than men with higher levels of SWS.

However, of all measures of sleep quality decreased SWS were the most strongly associated with the development of high blood pressure. This relationship was observed even after considering other aspects of sleep quality.

The findings remained consistent even after the researchers took weight, race and age into account.

The study has been detailed in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Six kitchen drop-outs...

You might be following the dos and don'ts of a healthy lifestyle - avoiding fried, unhealthy stuff, watching what you eat and exercising well. 

However, small things you miss tend to have a huge impact. Fact is, food is bombarded with chemicals in some way or the other and you invariably end up making the mistakes you were desperately trying to avoid. The solution - be informed and aware. Here are six easy dietary tips that can save you from life-threatening diseases.

How to use salt 
The common table salt you buy from your grocery is bleached and leached of all its minerals. This 'refined' or 'iodised' salt also includes additives including aluminium silicate (to make it free flowing), dextrose, bleaching elements and chemicals. Salt is vital to your body, but it's important to have the right type.
Solution: Switch to unrefined crystal rock salt (sendha namak). it contains 84 of the 92 trace minerals and that too in the same proportions as the human body does. It also has calcium and magnesium.

Avoid tea bags 
Switching to green or herbal tea is a good choice, but tea bags can negate all the good effects. They are manufactured using a compound called epichlorohydrin, which is also used as an insecticide and to manufacture plastics. The bags are bleached to look white, and the edges are heat-sealed using chemicals. Drop by drop we absorb these chemicals into our bodies and weaken our immune system.
Solution: Use natural tea leaves

Food labels 
If you don't recognise - or can't pronounce - the words on a food label, don't buy it. First, check for expiry date. Any product with a shelf life of two to three years is bad. While purchasing oil, check the chemicals mentioned.
Solution: Here's a quick guide:
- Avoid products containing nitrates and nitrites, sulphur dioxide, sodium benzoate, colouring, BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), MSG (ajinomoto), refined or bleached flour.
- Avoid products containing sugar substitutes such as saccharine or aspartame.
- Avoid food that has been genetically modified or engineered. Nearly all processed food contains GMOs.
- Avoid products made with ingredients described as 'natural flavouring' or 'natural colouring'.
- Avoid products with added sugar - watch for words ending in "ose", e.g. glucose.

Water before and after meals 
Naturopathy believes water is unhealthy for the body 30 minutes before and one hour after any cooked meal. If you have water before meals, it settles in your system before you've started eating. The enzymes released to aid digestion get diluted and they can't be as effective. Similarly when you have a meal it roughly takes 40 minutes to an hour to digest, and this process gets affected if you have water during or immediately after eating.
Solution: Chew food really well; the body generates its own fluid through saliva to aid digestion. And if you have something too spicy and have a lime shot instead of water.

Oily truths 
Don't fall for oils that make tall claims. Through a refining process, crude oils are standardised, using water, salts, acids, alkali, clay, pressurised hydrogen and catalyst metals. Oil is further processed, filtered, deodorised and bleached, stripping it of its vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
Solution: Use unrefined sesame or mustard oil. Don't use extra virgin olive oil for cooking as it has a low burn point. Cold pressed, unrefined oils are best used in their natural state.

Know your plastic 
Adopt these two measures: No plastic containers or wraps in the microwave. No plastic water bottles. For dioxin, a chemical that's highly poisonous to cells and causes cancer, is present in plastic and freezing water-filled plastic bottles releases it. Similarly, the combination of fat, high heat and plastics releases dioxin so don't heat fatty food in plastic containers in the microwave.
Solution: Use glass or ceramic containers for heating food and glass jars or bottles for storing water. While having instant noodles or soups, remove the contents from the packet or container and heat them in something else.