Infographic: How Heavy Metals End Up in Your Food

See large image . . . . .

Source: Natural News

Quick Almond Cake


2 cups almond meal
8 eggs, separated; 4 yolks removed for other uses
16 packets monk fruit extract
olive oil cooking spray
4 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 tablespoons raw coconut nectar
4 cup mixed berries


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Place the almond meal on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until toasted and aromatic, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer the toasted meal to a cool baking sheet.
  3. Put the egg whites and monk fruit extract in a mixing bowl and whisk until the egg whites form stiff peaks.
  4. Spray a 10-inch non-stick can pan with cooking spray.
  5. Pour the cooled almond meal into a clean mixing bowl and add the egg yolk, vanilla, salt, and coconut nectar.
  6. Fold the egg whites into the almond mixture and pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake at 350°F until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
  8. Turn the oven down to 300°F and bake until fully cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
  9. Cool on a wire rake and serve, sliced, with the berries.

Makes 16 servings.

Source: The Negative Calorie Diet

Should You Really Be Worried About Heavy Metals in Foods?

Reina Podell wrote . . . . . . .

Unfortunately, yes. Heavy metal toxicity can result in damage to many of your body’s biological systems as well as lead to degenerative diseases and some cancers. We humans can encounter heavy metals in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. As is usually the case with either deficiencies or toxicities, children, infants, and fetuses are particularly vulnerable to the effects of heavy metals. This is because their bodies are undergoing such rapid development and because they often consume more food in comparison to their body weight than adults do.

The three heavy metals humans are most commonly exposed to are lead, mercury, and cadmium. We’ll also consider the chemical element arsenic, though it is technically considered a heavy metalloid (how fancy!).

As for lead, the most common food sources (these heavy metals can appear elsewhere in our environment both naturally and due to pollution) for lead exposure are foods grown in a lead-rich soil. Mercury most often shows up in fish and shellfish that come from mercury-contaminated water (cue small sigh of relief from those who do not eat aquatic animals). The foods that contain the highest amounts of cadmium are grains, legumes, leafy vegetables, and aquatic animals. Arsenic can be found in insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides, some aquatic animals and seaweeds, and rice and fruit juices. You might be thinking that buying organic can keep you safe from arsenic, but unfortunately, because it occurs naturally in soil and water, it can also be present in organic foods.

Because heavy metals occur in the environment both naturally and due to human activity, it is impossible to avoid them completely. The good news is that there are steps you can take to encourage your body to rid itself of heavy metals or to prevent them from even entering your cells in the first place.

The way these heavy metals interact with our bodies offers us a strategy for preventing their accumulation. Many heavy metals behave very similarly to nutritionally essential metals (good-for-you metals!). As such, the good metals and the dangerous ones both compete for the same transport mechanisms to pass through our intestinal walls and eventually into our cells. To give some examples, if your body is running low on either zinc or iron, your capacity to absorb cadmium may increase. Calcium, iron, and zinc can block out lead, and selenium can serve to prevent the absorption of both mercury and lead. Additionally, selenium helps us actually excrete toxic metals, in particular, mercury and arsenic! A good strategy for dealing with these pesky little buggers is to consume adequate quantities of vitamins such as calcium, zinc, iron, and folate; antioxidants such as Vitamin C (citrus fruits), Vitamin E (sprouted nuts and seeds), and beta-carotene (carrots, sweet potatoes, peaches, and apricots); and foods like garlic and cilantro, which help with the excretion of heavy metals.

Making sure that we consume adequate quantities of essential nutrients might help us prevent toxic metals from entering our systems and can give what’s already in there the boot. This offers a lot of hope! Rather than asking yourself whether you should worry, ask yourself what you can do about it!

Source: One Green Planet

More Food Could Fail Hong Kong Metal Contamination Tests Under New Rules

Elizabeth Cheung wrote . . . . . .

More seafood could be found with excessive levels of metals under a government proposal to strengthen food contamination standards.

The government is seeking views in a three-month public consultation launched on Tuesday on a plan to boost the number of categories for metallic contaminant food testing from 19 to 145.

The last review on metallic contamination in food was conducted in 1983.

Ninety of the maximum levels would become more stringent and six would be less stringent.

Levels for cadmium would be capped for more types of seafood, including lobsters, cuttle fish and squid.

A government source said they expected more seafood to fail food safety checks in future if the proposal is adopted.

“We have set cadmium standards for different types of seafood, but the Codex Alimentarius Commission doesn’t have such [detailed regulation],” the source said.

The international food code has set cadmium standards only for cephalopods such as cuttle fish and squid and some bivalve molluscs such as clams.

But the government hopes to go beyond the international standard by also capping cadmium levels in crustaceans like lobsters.

The source could not estimate how much more seafood would be found unsatisfactory in the future. According to official statistics, the percentage of food found with excessive levels of metallic contaminants ranged from 0.01 to 0.03 per cent of all tested samples from 2014 to last year.

The new proposal might also see more rice from mainland China coming to the city as the level of cadmium allowed in polished rice, including the white rice normally consumed in the city, would be increased from the current standard of 0.1 milligrams per kilogram to 0.2 mg/kg – the standard adopted by the mainland, Korea, Europe and Singapore.

But the proposed level would still be more stringent than the Codex standard, which is set at 0.4 mg/kg.

“If our standard is too tight, we would need to justify it … and other members of the World Trade Organisation could challenge us,” the source said.

Seven extra metals, including copper and nickel, would be added for surveillance of natural mineral and bottled water, which are currently tested for another seven types of metal contaminant.

Source: SCMP

Even Moderate Drinking May Dull the Aging Brain

Amy Norton wrote . . . . . . .

People who drink at even moderate levels may see some of their mental skills slip faster as they age, a new study suggests.

The researchers found that those who regularly drank alcohol showed greater brain shrinkage than non-drinkers by old age. They also lost more of their language “fluency” — a measure of memory and thinking skills.

And, the effects were seen even among people who drank “moderately” — roughly four to seven drinks a week, the researchers found.

The findings do not prove that alcohol was to blame.

But experts said they add to evidence that moderate drinking is not as healthful as many like to believe.

“People should be skeptical of the idea that it’s actually healthy, and treat alcohol with respect,” said Tim Stockwell, director of the Center for Addictions Research at the University of Victoria, in British Columbia, Canada.

Stockwell, who was not involved in this latest study, has done work examining a popular notion — that drinking, in moderation, is good for the heart.

Many studies have found that moderate drinkers tend to have lower heart disease rates than heavy drinkers and non-drinkers alike.

But, in his own research analyzing those studies, Stockwell and his colleagues have found critical flaws. For one, the definition of “non-drinker” often creates problems. In many studies, it includes former drinkers who likely quit for health reasons — whereas people who continued to drink as they aged were probably healthier to begin with.

And while the latest study cannot pin the blame on alcohol, it avoided some of the pitfalls of other research, Stockwell said.

“It measured the cumulative effects of alcohol across the lifespan, with six measures of drinking over 30 years,” he said. “This largely avoids the kinds of bias we highlight in our research.”

The findings were published June 6 in the BMJ. They’re based on 550 British adults who were 43 years old, on average, at the outset. Over the next 30 years, they reported on their health and lifestyle habits every five years or so. They also took standard tests of memory and other mental skills.

Toward the end of the study, they underwent MRI brain scans.

Overall, the study found, people who regularly drank showed more atrophy in a brain region called the hippocampus, versus those who’d consistently been occasional drinkers or abstainers.

Hippocampus size is linked to memory, explained lead researcher Dr. Anya Topiwala. Atrophy in that brain region, she said, is one of the early changes seen in Alzheimer’s disease.

“However, there can be other causes of hippocampal atrophy,” stressed Topiwala, a clinical lecturer in psychiatry at Oxford University, in England.

So these findings cannot actually show whether drinkers face any greater risk of dementia, she said.

Overall, the study found, moderate drinkers were more than three times as likely as abstainers to show abnormal levels of atrophy in the right hippocampus.

That included people who averaged 14 to 21 “units” of alcohol each week. That is roughly equivalent to four to six pints of beer, or five to seven glasses of wine, a week, according to Topiwala’s team.

Similarly, both moderate and heavier drinkers showed a faster decline in language fluency over 30 years — a 14 percent to 17 percent greater reduction, versus abstainers.

Language fluency was measured by a test that asks people to name as many words starting with a specific letter as they can in one minute.

There was no evidence, Topiwala said, that lighter amounts of drinking “protected” the brain, compared with abstinence.

On the other hand, the study found, people’s drinking habits were not tied to their performance on other tests of mental acuity, including short-term memory.

Topiwala said that was surprising, given the findings on hippocampus size.

One possibility, she said, is that the hippocampus may shrink before problems with short-term memory and other mental functions make themselves known.

Last year, the U.K. changed its guidelines on “safe” drinking limits, based on evidence tying moderate drinking to certain cancers. Now, the government advises men and women to drink no more than 14 units per week (five glasses of wine, for example).

U.S. guidelines remain more liberal. Women are advised to have no more than one “standard” drink a day, while men can have up to two a day.

A standard drink includes a 12-ounce beer, for example, or a 5-ounce glass of wine.

“We found harmful associations with multiple brain measures in those drinking at levels within U.S. guidelines,” Topiwala said.

“My personal view,” she added, “is that people should be less confident that drinking at the upper end of U.S. guidelines is ‘safe,’ and it would be prudent to reduce their intake.”

Source: HealthDay

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