FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


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Is Tea Good for the Heart and Brain?

The research on tea and heart disease is often conflicting and inconsistent. However, as we learn more, some answers emerge.  The following article appears to deal with epidemiological aspects of tea drinking and health benifits. As in previous studies, green tea may win out compared to black tea. Also, adding milk or sugar to tea may destroy some of its beneficial  phytonutrients.

CLICK HERE.

What may be good for the heart may be also good for the brain. For a previous post CLICK HERE.

 

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The Flu : A 100 Year-old Lesson?

A Virus

The influenza season is soon to be over for this year; however, it has been a long and relatively severe one.   Perhaps we can learn a lesson from remembering the 19818 flu pandemic.  We had no flu vaccine 100 years ago and as more of us do not get the flu shot during a given year, we could approach that level of morbidity and mortality again – a frightening thought. Many people do not get a flu shot these days and therefore indirectly and unknowingly contribute to this severity.

Part of the problem involves a phenomenon called “herd immunity” and we’re not talking cattle here.  It implies that if enough people in a population are immunized against certain diseases, then it is very difficult for those diseases to spread. For example, when about 90 percent of the population is vaccinated, the spread of the disease is stopped. In other words, the 10% of the herd is susceptible but there are so many vaccinated people there is less chance that the 10% would be exposed to the disease.

Another example: In 2003, measles outbreaks became more prevalent in the UK. Part of the reason was that many parents were not having their children vaccinated with the MMR vaccine due to its alleged association with autism. Later studies failed to support this association; however due to a lack of herd immunity the increased outbreaks occurred.

So next fall when the next flu vaccine (although not perfect)  becomes available, think about a hundred years ago and get a flu shot for the “herd”.

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Warning About Romaine Lettuce

Just as we have been told by the produce producers that food safety issues from the past have been controlled, another outbreak is occurring across the country.  This time the suspected culprit is romaine lettuce and E.coli 0157:H7 bacteria.  This strain of E. coli 0157:H7  is particularly dangerous due to its association in some cases to a condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) which can be fatal or cause lifelong health problems. It is best to avoid romaine entirely at home and in restaurants  since it is difficult to identify the source of this lettuce (presently thought to have been grown in Arizona)

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The Impossible Burger-Still Going Strong?

 

The sales of meatless burgers continues to rise. The Impossible Burger appears to be popular with those who have tried them. The taste of any  type of these meat substitutes will be the key to their acceptance.  Still, food industry continues  to invest in their production.  For a previous post, CLICK HERE.

CLICK HERE


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Food Additives in Processed Foods

When you read those long lists of ingredients on a processed food label, you may be finding some that do us no favors. Check out the following article about some common ones found in varying amounts that may affect our “friendly” bacteria of the microbiome. Not only are our friendly bacteria affected, but our overall diet may also encourage more harmful species of bacteria to flourish or  contribute to antibiotic resistance, a serious problem.

A previous post HERE discusses the microbiome and its proposed functions that can contribute to our overall health.

CLICK HERE.

 


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Vegetables and Heart Disease?

A good study that went beyond the usual of a typical observational study – they separated vegetables into categories of intake and also measured the thickness by ultrasonography of carotid arteries and plaque in a large sample size of older women. Since it has been shown that not all vegetables have the same effects (more than likely due to their varied content of phytochemicals) – here is where the cruciferous vegetables came out ahead of the pack.

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For the actual study,  CLICK HERE.

 


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From Fact to Fiction: Diet Supplements?

 

So many times when a particular nutrient shows promise with disease prevention, the diet supplement industry goes into  full swing on hyping its benefits in the  form of a pill, aka a  diet supplement. The claims are often exaggerated and when put to the test (if ever) they fail to meet expectations.

What are the actual facts about these supplements?  Do they really meet the claims that are promised? That is why nutrition research becomes important in order to sort out the facts from the fiction.

CLICK HERE.