There are foods we can eat to reduce risk of heart disease. A study published in the European Health Journal included over 300,000 participants from 8 European countries. Instead of the previously recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, the researchers found participants who ate 8 or more servings were 22% less likely to die from heart disease than those who ate 3 or fewer servings. In fact, each serving above 2 per day reduced risk of heart disease death 4%. That’s good news; however, ketchup and French fries still don’t count as fruits and vegetables.
There are also foods we can eat to reduce risk of cancer. For example, orange juice is high in folate, which helps to prevent DNA mutations. Then there are blackberries and strawberries, which contain ellagic acid, a powerful cancer fighter. Finally, broccoli contains high levels of indole-3 carbinol, which slows the rapid cell growth that fuels tumors. In fact, as of 2011 researchers at the University of California/Berkeley were conducting clinical, human trials to find out if broccoli can stop cancer from spreading. Because this and other studies have shown we are what we eat, we should eat healthy.
Now there’s another reason we shouldn’t eat salt. Salt prevents blood vessels from widening. Eight healthy volunteers were given tomato soup and 8 were given tomato soup with 10 times more salt. The volunteers then put on blood pressure cuffs. When the cuffs were deflating, an ultrasound machine measured how much arteries widened as blood rushed through. The arteries of the high-salt volunteers widened only half as much – a condition that lasted about 2 hours. It seems salt prevents nitric oxide from relaxing artery walls. Eventually, this could cause cholesterol to stick to arteries. Better to “stick it to” salt first.
And there are lots of things pets shouldn’t eat. Household toxins and outdoor toxins – like antifreeze and fertilizers – are obvious problems. However, in 2011 – for the third year running – human medicines topped the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ list of most frequently ingested no-no’s. Other toxins listed included chocolate. An ounce of milk chocolate or an eighth ounce of dark chocolate per pound of dog can be deadly. Grapes and raisins are also toxic to dogs. Chewing marijuana plants will raise the blood pressure of pets, but lilies are deadly to cats. Obviously, protecting pets from toxins takes “pet-icular” attention. BOLA TANGKAS