Yes, it's that time of the year again, when 99% of Irish politicians have gladly dispatched themselves onto the four corners of the world to peddle our moribund economy, it's up to us to hold the fort and report on the real news (food safety), among other things, with the good and the bad.
Let me start with the very bad. In my last diary about brain foods, I posted a small paragraph on salt. The same night I watched NBC News doing a report on the dangers of sodium. Doing a bit of research I found this extraordinary claim:
Moderate salt cuts could save billions in healthcare costs. Led by scientists from the University of California, San Francisco, the new study reported that a three gram reduction in daily salt intake in the US, described as “hardly detectable” to the palate, would prevent nearly 100,000 heart attacks and 92,000 deaths each year.Draw your own conclusion. And alert your Representative.
The not so secret of optimal health is to cut out processed and packaged foods which abound in sodium, sugar, fat, empty calories and God knows what else. I know I say this each time I post one of these food diaries but always read the labels first before purchase because it will tell you if the food contains an additive that you may want to avoid as well as the nutrient contents. Some posters in the past have complained that the print is too small to decipher and/or it's filled with unknown chemical descriptions. It is your right to ask if you don't know for sure. Another solution is to download this pdf from the American Heart Foundation on how to read those damn labels or read this from About.com!
First horse off the stable (and this is good news for your collective hearts): Demand for spuds drops as Americans eat fewer fries:
Apparently, you don’t want fries with that. No, Siree! People have caught up with transfats, finally.
McCain’s Foods Inc., which produces one-third of the world’s frozen French fries, has told potato farmers in New Brunswick and P.E.I. that they’re cutting orders by 20 to 30 per cent this year. Source
Who would have thought of beef hanging around with green tea?
Marinating beef in green tea-containing product may reduce the levels of potentially cancer-promoting compounds, according to a study from Portugal. According to researchers from the University of Porto, the green tea-based marinade reduced levels of heterocyclic amines by up to 75 per cent. Heterocyclic amines, formed during the frying or grilling of fish and meat, are reported to promote carcinogenesis in humans. So, soak a few steaks with iced tea! Source
An apple a day? Study shows soluble fiber boosts immune system:
A new University of Illinois study touts the benefits of soluble fiber—found in oats, apples, and nuts, for starters—saying that it reduces the inflammation associated with obesity-related diseases and strengthens the immune system. Read the whole article, it is an eye-opener! Source
Health Nuts and Celebrities Are Embracing Benefits and Big Business of Coconut Water:
What was once thought of as a tropical vacation indulgence has now become part of a multimillion dollar industry: coconut water. It's low in calories, fat-free, natural and serves a purpose: hydration. Source
Berries may reduce risk factors for metabolic disorders:
A diet rich in berries may reduce levels of inflammatory markers associated with liver health and metabolic syndrome, says a new study from Finland. Daily consumption of a range of berries, including lingonberry, sea buckthorn, bilberry, and black currant produced a 23 per cent reduction in levels of an enzyme called alanine aminotransferase (ALAT), a well-established marker of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to findings published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Source (Sorry, subscription only, for those interested)
Spider and snake enzymes could deliver healthy food:
Who knew! Danisco is starting a new four-year research project to investigate potential uses of enzymes produced by spiders, snakes and carnivorous plants as processing aids for food and other industrial uses.
Foodborne Illness By The Numbers:
This is staggering though may be off the mark, according to Alex Ferguson: Employing the same methods used by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) economists, Scharff estimates that the total cost of foodborne illness in the United States is a staggering $152 billion per year. Source
Make pancreatic cancer the scariest disease you never got by eating more of this bumpy green veggie, broccoli:
Seems that 1) Bush the Elder was wrong, 2) flavonol-rich diets could reduce your risk of pancreatic cancer by up to 23 percent, according to a recent study. And broccoli's got heaps of the compound. Source
Ho hum smell dept:
Some Girl Scout Lemon Chalet Creme cookies have been recalled by the baker for having a weird taste, Consumerist reported. The cookies in question, made by Little Brownie Bakers, "contain oils that may be breaking down which can result in an off taste and smell," the baker said in a statement. Source
And in the Weird Category Dept:
Dog detects drugs in cheeseburger! Police say an alert drug-sniffing dog was not interested in the double cheeseburger but in the crack cocaine it concealed, leading to the arrest of three people Thursday night on Mount Hermon Road. Source