January 21st, 2011 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
European health officials are now warning that the German dioxin outbreak may be worse than previously thought – extending beyond tainted eggs – and prompting some countries to take harsher action.
The dioxin scare surfaced after 3,000 tonnes (over 6,600 pounds) of an animal feed additive sold in Germany were discovered to contain trace amounts of dioxin, causing officials to ban many farms from selling eggs.
Read More:German Dioxin Scare Spreads: Countries Cracking Down
January 6th, 2011 - Jill Ettinger
In a recently leaked EPA document, the pesticide, Clothianidin, was revealed to be extremely toxic to honeybees causing their drastic and potentially irreversible decline in recent years.
Read More:Toxin Kills Bees and Poisons Food
June 23rd, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Tumors of the hair, nails, sweat glands and mammary glands are rare, but rates appear to be rising in the United States, according to a study published in this month’s Archives of Dermatology.
Caucasian men are more susceptible, reports lead author Patrick W. Blake of the National Cancer Institute, and risk increases with age.
Researchers found a 170% increase in cancer diagnoses involving the sweat glands between 1978–1982 and 2002–2005. Cancers of the eyelid glands increased 217% over the same period.
Blake and his colleagues attribute the increase to improved detection and diagnosis, but also point out that sun exposure and weakened immune systems may play a role.
Any further increases, they say, should “prompt new strategies for cancer screening and early intervention.”
To prevent skin cancers:
- Eat a healthful diet, and make necessary lifestyle changes. We, of course, recommend switching to organic foods, whenever possible.
- Avoid pesticides and other chemicals linked to cancer.
- Wear a sunscreen that protects against UV radiation, and don’t stay out in the sun for long periods.
- Wear long sleeves, long pants, sunglasses and sun hats when outdoors.
- Visit a dermatologist once a year for a head-to-toe body check.
Photo: Bill Branson
Read More:Cancers of Sweat Glands, Skin Structures Increasing
April 25th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
If you eat meat frequently—especially if it’s well done or cooked at high temperatures—you may have a higher risk of developing bladder cancer.
“It’s well known that meat cooked at high temperatures generates heterocyclic amines,” compounds that can cause cancer, says Jie Lin, PhD, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Individuals who ate the most red meat had almost a 150% higher risk of developing bladder cancer. Specifically, consumption of beef steaks, pork chops and bacon raised bladder cancer risk significantly. Even chicken and fish, when fried, significantly raised the odds of developing cancer.
Level of Doneness, Genetics
Meat’s level of doneness had a marked impact on cancer risk. Study participants whose diets included well-done meats were almost twice as likely to develop bladder cancer.
Some participants were also genetically predisposed to bladder cancer, Dr. Lin and her colleagues found.
“Cancer is caused by multiple risk factors—environmental exposure, diet and genetic background—and their interactions,” she says. “The current results highlight the importance of studying gene-diet interactions in cancer risk assessment and have valuable implications in bladder cancer prevention.”
According to the American Cancer Society, almost 71,000 new cases of bladder cancer were diagnosed in the United States last year; 14,000 Americans died of the disease. Men have a much higher risk.
“Reducing red meat consumption and/or avoiding eating meats cooked at very high temperature—like those pan-fried, grilled or barbecued—may reduce one’s risk for developing bladder cancer,” concludes Dr. Lin, who presented her study at the American Association for Cancer Research’s 2010 annual meeting.
For Your Organic Bookshelf: The Compassionate Carnivore: Or, How to Keep Animals Happy, Save Old MacDonald’s Farm, Reduce Your Hoofprint, and Still Eat Meat
Read More:Consumption of Red Meat Linked to Bladder Cancer
March 31st, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Numerous public health groups are praising the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry for unanimously approving a bipartisan bill that establishes federal nutrition standards for foods sold on school campuses.
“Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes, and an additional 57 million—or 1 in 5 Americans—have pre-diabetes,” says Christine T. Tobin, RN, MBA, president of health care and education for the American Diabetes Association. “If current trends continue, one in three children will face a future with diabetes. Sensible nutrition policies like this one, which will provide our students with healthy food choices in their schools, will help us reverse these trends. Starting with strong nutrition standards in our nation’s schools will put us on the path to stop diabetes.”
“Obesity, which results from poor diet and physical inactivity, is a significant and growing American problem that begins in childhood,” says Molly Daniels, interim president of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network.
“American Cancer Society research clearly shows that obesity correlates with and causes cancer,” she adds. “Adoption of national school nutrition standards will be an important tool for obesity prevention for children.”
“Each school day, parents entrust schools to care for their children all across our nation,” says National PTA President Charles J. Saylors. “Ensuring that salty, fatty junk foods and sugary drinks are no longer an option in our schools truly honors that trust and opens students up to healthier options.”
For Your Organic Bookshelf: Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children
Read More:Public Health Groups Applaud School Nutrition Guidelines
January 16th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
In November, we featured a wintry low-fat Pumpkin Latte recipe, which has only 80 calories—less than half of a store-bought frou-frou latte.
The London-based World Cancer Research Fund wants consumers to know that some iced coffee drinks at the popular chains also pose major dietary pitfalls, with some containing up to 25% of a woman’s recommended daily calories.
Regular consumption of high-calorie drinks increases one’s obesity and cancer risks, according to WCRF experts.
“Having these types of drinks as an occasional treat is unlikely to do you any harm,” says Dr. Rachel Thompson, the group’s science program manager. “But if you are having them regularly, then they will increase the chances of you becoming overweight, which in turn increases your risk of developing cancer, as well as other diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.”
There is convincing evidence that excess body fat can cause six types of cancer, the WCRF notes:
- Postmenopausal breast cancer
- Bowel cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Endometrial cancer (uterine lining)
- Kidney cancer
“With even some small [drink] options containing 300 calories, people should check the nutritional content of these drinks, particularly if they are having them regularly,” Dr. Thompson urges. “There are some iced coffees on the market that are low in calories, so it is worth shopping around.”
Opt for an unsweetened organic coffee with nonfat or low-fat milk, and pass on cream or sugary flavoring syrups.
Read More:Whip Iced Coffee Treats into Shape
December 15th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Yesterday, I shared the results of a hot-off-the-press study: Coffee, Tea Linked to Lower Diabetes Risk. Now there’s more news on the java front.
Harvard Medical School researchers have found an association between coffee consumption and a lower risk of lethal and advanced prostate cancers.
“Coffee has effects on insulin and glucose metabolism, as well as sex hormone levels, all of which play a role in prostate cancer,” explains postdoctoral fellow and lead researcher Kathryn M. Wilson, PhD. “It was plausible that there may be an association between coffee and prostate cancer.”
During their investigation, Dr. Wilson and her colleagues found that men who drank the most coffee had a 60% lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer than those who drank no coffee.
As with the diabetes study, caffeine can’t take the credit for reducing risk. Dr. Wilson suspects biologically active compounds like antioxidants and minerals offer a more realistic explanation.
“Very few lifestyle factors have been consistently associated with prostate cancer risk, especially with risk of aggressive disease, so it would be very exciting if this association is confirmed in other studies,” she says. “Our results do suggest there is no reason to stop drinking coffee out of any concern about prostate cancer.”
As we recommended yesterday, always buy organic coffee to reduce your exposure to pesticides and toxic chemicals.
Read More:Coffee May Reduce Prostate Cancer Risks
September 26th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
No worries, I’ll skip all the lame “ancient Chinese secret” jokes.
Green tea, which originated in China, but has spread to all over the world, may help curb stomach cancer in women.
A new study found women drinking 5 or more cups of green tea each day were less likely to develop gastric cancer.
Regularly drinking green tea cut risk by 20% among the women studied.
Writing in the journal Gut, scientists say they aren’t exactly sure why green tea works, but they think green tea may contain compounds that fight bacteria associated with stomach cancer.
Oddly, the study didn’t find a link between increased tea drinking and lower risk of stomach cancer risk in men.
I guess we’re stuck with beer and Pepto-Bismol guys.
Image credit: miss karen
Read More:Green Tea Cuts Stomach Cancer Risk in Women
September 20th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
The American palate has become more adventurous, so spicy curries are no longer outside the culinary mainstream.
Many home cooks and restaurant diners may be surprised to learn that curry powder—a blend of spices like turmeric, ginger and hot peppers—may help prevent cancer:
- Turmeric may delay the growth of colon and prostate cancer.
- Ginger contains gingerol, a phytochemical that has killed ovarian cancer cells in some studies.
- Capsaicin, a compound in hot peppers, may shrink pancreatic tumors.
Today’s recipe pairs the health benefits of cauliflower and curry. Prep time is 20 minutes, and all of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store.
Makes 4 servings
1 tablespoon canola oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup frozen green peas
1 head of cauliflower, chopped and steamed
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- Heat canola oil in large skillet. Add onion and sauté for one minute.
- Add remaining ingredients. Stir until vegetables are coated with the spices.
- Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring often.
Editor’s note: Be sure to check out Friday’s recipe for Cauliflower with Mustard and Minced Dill.
A Flurry of Curry
Recipe courtesy of the CDC
Read More:Curried Cauliflower
August 15th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
OK, get your mind out of the gutter. Let’s get down to business.
Lest you believe I routinely champion the all-American hot dog, let me voice my support for one of the Cancer Project’s important causes: purging hot dogs from school lunch menus.
Adults can make their own dietary choices—the good and the bad, the ugly and the “wurst.” As I wrote Tuesday about the Denny’s excess-sodium lawsuit: “Eating a Denny’s Scramble is a personal decision. Eating a healthy organic diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, is a more sensible one.”
Children, however, are captive audiences. I’ve long decried the insufferable advertising campaigns that fast-food chains have conducted to McBribe them. The Cancer Project also condemns such tactics, and I applaud their lobbying efforts to send school-supplied hot dogs straight to detention.
“As a physician in the Greater Philadelphia area, I have seen unhealthful foods increasingly contribute to Pennsylvania’s epidemic of obesity and other medical problems, especially in our young,” says family practitioner Ana M. Negrón, MD, a member of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). “Sadly, this problem is occurring nationwide. Hot dogs and other processed meats contain artery-clogging fat and cholesterol.”
PCRM petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture in October “to stop offering processed meats for purchase, subsidy and reimbursement under the federal school breakfast and lunch programs,” Dr. Negrón says. “The petition asks the USDA to encourage schools to include alternatives to processed meat products.”
“When parents, schools and doctors come together and demand more fresh fruits, carrots, broccoli and other vegetables; nutritious meatless options, such as rice and beans, oats and other whole grains; and model healthful nutrition, the children will learn to demand it for themselves,” she concludes. “In the meantime, it’s up to the adults to ensure that children are making healthier choices.”
For resources on changing your school district’s menu options, visit Chef Ann Cooper’s website. The “renegade lunch lady,” who sat on the National Organic Standards Board, has issued a National School Food Challenge.
Read More:Pull the Wieners