Colon Cancer Risk Tied to Fast Food

42711932_63275a104aEat junk food? If you have a genetic susceptibility to colon cancer you may have an even greater risk than previously thought.

In a first of its kind study, researchers were able to find a link between certain foods and a higher colon cancer risk in people that were already more susceptible to getting it.

All of the people in the study had Lynch syndrome, a genetic disorder that predisposes people to cancer at younger ages and that affects up to one in 660 people. In the US, most people who get colorectal cancer have this syndrome.

Researchers studied people who ate various food groups including one that was dominated by fruits, vegetables and whole grains; another that was high in meat and coffee; a third dietary group that resembled a Mediterranean diet – fish, leafy greens, pasta, sauces and wine; and a fourth group that was heavy on fried snacks, fast food and diet soda.

The result? Researchers determined that those in the high junk food group were twice as likely to develop colon tumors.

According to the CDC – Of cancers affecting both men and women, colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum) is the second leading cancer killer in the United States.


Photo via Flickr: by ebruli

Red Wine – The Secret to Cavity Free Teeth

5057195941_8a9d30c4e8_nWe usually opt for white versus red wine if we are worried about our teeth — red chompers never look good — but this new study just may change what we reach for this weekend.

Italian researchers have discovered that the bacteria that feeds on sugars in food — and then clings to teeth and your saliva causing cavities — couldn’t do its clinging when red wine was present.

The study author hopes that the compounds in red wine can be separated from the liquid and used in overall oral health (but until then…cheers!)

Canadian researchers also found that  inflammatory gum disease could be prevented and treated by red wine polyphenols…so go ahead, have another glass – your dentist will thank you.


Photo via Flickr: by isante_magazine


As If You Needed It: Another Reason Not to Smoke

4969448944_af5152bd66We are shocked that there are still people who smoke. In fact, out of our entire Facebook friend list (obviously a true scientific study, here) we couldn’t even name one person who did…but there are a few people (who will remain nameless) that like to have the occasional cigarette while drinking one-to-many cocktails. This study is for them.

Researchers from Brown University may change your bad habit—in a recent study which looked at college students and hangovers, it was found that those who were more likely to report hangover symptoms were those that combined both heavy drinking with smoking compared to those who just did the heavy drinking. Here’s the tricky part: it didn’t matter when they smoked as long as it was done at some point during the same day as their drinking session.

“At the same number of drinks, people who smoke more that day are more likely to have a hangover and have more intense hangovers,” says researcher Dr. Damaris J. Rohsenow, of the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University.

Don’t smoke? Here’s a little nugget from the study that might surprise you: about one-quarter of people who drink enough to where they should get a hangover never do, it seems they are hangover-resistant. Think about it, 25 percent of people in the world don’t get hangovers. Yep, we’ll let that sit with you this weekend.

Can’t get rid of your smoke-with-a-cocktail habit? Try those fancy electronic cigarettes here.

The study, announced Wednesday, appears in the January 2013 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Photo courtesy of Flickr via: alexbrn

Is Your Peanut Butter Making You Sick?

Buy your peanut butter from Trader Joe’s? Time to check the label. The FDA has recently shut down Sunland Inc.’s New Mexico plant after 41 people in 20 states were sickened by peanut butter from there.

The company, which is the largest peanut butter processor in the country, had a massive peanut butter recall in late September and the FDA has announced it found samples of salmonella in 28 locations in the plant, in 13 nut butter samples and in one sample of raw peanuts. According to the AP, “inspectors also found improper product handling, unclean equipment and uncovered trailers of peanuts outside of the plant that were exposed to rain and birds.”

The folks at WebMD say salmonella is a type of food poisoning and its symptoms are diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. It develops about 12-72 hours after infection and the symptoms last for 4-7 days. Additionally, a small number of people who are infected develop Reiter’s syndrome, a disease that can last for months or years and can lead to chronic arthritis.


Photo via Flickr:  by mrsdkrebs

The Saltiest Foods in America Will Shock You

You know that moment — when you wake up in the middle of the night feeling like you’ve spent the last four hours in the Sahara only to guzzle down glass after glass of water? Or when your fingers are so bloated you can hardly get your wedding ring on? The culprit could be these sneaky salty foods the American Heart Association has singled out. Plus, salt overload isn’t just bad for your appearance, it can also increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.


“Excess sodium in our diets has less to do with what we’re adding to our food and more to do with what’s already in the food,” Linda Van Horn, a research nutritionist at Northwestern University and an AHA volunteer, said in a press release. “The average individual is getting more than double the amount of sodium that they need.” The average American actually gets 3,400 milligrams of salt per day, about twice the 1,500 milligrams that is recommended.

1. Bread: One piece can contain about 15% of the daily recommended amount. Eat a sandwich and you’re up to 30%.

2. Cold cuts and cured meats: Deli or pre-packaged turkey can contain as much as 1,050 milligrams of sodium.

3. Pizza: One slice can contain up to 760 milligrams of sodium, so two can send you over the top.

4. Poultry: Chicken nuggets are the worst — only 3 ounces of nuggets contain nearly 600 milligrams of sodium.

5. Soup: One cup of canned chicken noodle soup can have up to 940 milligrams of sodium.


Photo via Flickr: by SoraZG

Dark Chocolate Improves HDL or “Good Cholesterol”

Now this is a study we wouldn’t mind being happy participants in — researchers at San Diego State University studied the health benefits of dark chocolate (70% cocoa) and found some tasty health benefits.

The study included 31 men and women, who ate about 1.7 ounces (a standard-size chocolate bar is about 1.5 ounces) of dark chocolate or white chocolate every day for 15 days.

Compared to those who ate white chocolate, those eating dark chocolate had lower blood sugar levels and increased their HDL or good cholesterol by about 20 percent.

As for why the dark chocolate may help blood sugar levels, researchers say its antioxidants may help the body use its insulin more efficiently to control blood sugar, which would help to lower blood sugar levels naturally.

Ready for your own chocolate study? The first MISS University on November 13, 2012 will feature guest speaker Chef Phoebe of San Francisco’s Studio of Good Living — who will give a dark chocolate truffle making demonstration and talk more about the healthy benefits of indulging in dark chocolate. Only a few tickets left — check out the invitation here.



Photo via Flickr: by EuroMagic

Frozen Fruits – Cost Saver Huge Flavor!

D Sharon Pruitt

As we say so long to summer and bask in the glory of fall, we also bid adieu to many of the brightly colored, highly nutritious organic fresh fruits. Hence we did a bit of research on how  to freeze that last batch of summer fruit.

Thanks to for their tips of freezing fruit.

Wash fruits and sort for damaged fruit before freezing. Some fruits do best with a sugar or sugar-syrup preparation. Blueberries, currants, and cranberries do fine without sugar.

Here’s a trick for freezing delicate berries like strawberries or raspberries: Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a plastic freezer bag or container. You can also prepare delicate berries with sugar or sugar syrup.

For fruits that tend to brown, like apples, peaches, nectarines and apricots, treat with ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). Look for the powdered form in health food stores, drugstores, and some grocery stores in the vitamin aisle. To make an ascorbic acid wash: Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder (or finely crushed vitamin C tablets) in 3 tablespoons water. Sprinkle this mixture over the cut fruit. An acceptable substitute: Slice the fruit and dip the slices  in an acidulated water bath — about one quart water plus a tablespoon of lemon juice — before drying and freezing.

For the elusive frozen bananas (ours seem to collect ice crystals and turn brown ;( ) We’ve gone to for their advice. For preparation for smoothies they suggest peeling, cutting into 1/2 slices and putting on wax or parchment paper and place the banana slices onto it in a single layer and then placing the bananas in the freezer in a level spot for 30 minutes to an hour to solidify Otherwise, peel the bananas. (peeled frozen bananas can last up to four months, while those frozen with the peel last only two months) And place your bananas into a zipper freezer bag. Push as much air as you can out of the bag before sealing it shut. Don’t crowd or squish the bananas because it will make them harder to separate when you want to use them.

Get Rid of Acne with a Virus?

Dealing with the annoyances of adult acne? A new study may provide relief. Apparently, a group of benign viruses that actually live right alongside the bacteria that causes zits actually has the power to stop pimples before they even start.

What usually causes acne is the bacterium Propionibacterium acnes, which lives inside your pores. An increase in hormones increases that bacterium and boom—you’ve got acne. Because the problem is caused by a bacterium, treatments often use antibiotics but some strains have grown resistant.

Enter the virus.

In the new UCLA/University of Pittsburgh study, researchers found that the bacteriophages’ DNA lacked genetic diversity.

This is very important because it simplified the researchers’ task of figuring out how to kill the bacteria. The research authors concluded in their paper that purified endolysin applied directly to the skin might be our best shot at getting rid of acne once and for all. Now we wait for our derm’s office to start offering some endolysin treatments!


Photo courtesy of: Echo Valley Ranch

EZ Total Body Circuit Training

D Sharon Pruitt

Need a doable (and quick) exercise routine? Us too – so we found this quick work out circuit from Fitness Magazine to add to our fall exercise regime. According to researchers at the American College of Sports Medicine: For minimum health gains, do moderately intense cardio (hard enough to break a sweat) for at least 30 minutes (step it up to an hour if you wanted to loose weight), five days a week, plus total-body strength training twice weekly. The cardio is easy – getting motivated for the strength training (unless you have a P90x video) can be daunting.

Good news: Here’s a simple (we tried it, and it is) total-body circuit-training routine from Joe Dowdell, co-owner of Peak Performance NYC, is perfect for days when you feel pressed for time. Do each exercise for about one minute; complete the circuit two or three times.

  • Squat (15 to 20 reps)
  • Lunge (15 reps per side)
  • Push-up (10 to 15 reps)
  • Bridge (15 to 20 reps)
  • Plank pose (hold 30 to 60 seconds)

Study Shows Smoking Pot Lowers IQ

Potheads aren’t known for being the most articulate or the group that got straight A’s in high school, but a new study is explaining why.

The study found that those who frequently used marijuana before the age of 18 had an eight-point decline in their IQ — what’s interesting, is the decline wasn’t seen in those who started smoking in early adulthood or later in life.

The findings suggest that long-term marijuana use can cause long-term harm to some thinking abilities, such as intelligence, memory, and attention span, and that teens are uniquely vulnerable, researchers say.  “Many people today, especially young people, believe that marijuana is risk free, but this research tells us that this is not the case,” says Temple University professor of psychology Laurence Steinberg, PhD, who was not involved with the study.

For the study, Duke University postdoctoral researcher Madeline H. Meier, PhD, and colleagues compared IQ scores before the participants had ever tried marijuana (age 13) and those at age 38, when many had experience with the drug. Study participants who used marijuana in their teens and continued to use the drug for many years had an average decline in IQ of eight points by the time they reached 38 years old.

Meier tells WebMD that marijuana use may be particularly neurotoxic to teens because adolescence is a time when the brain is developing.

photo via warrentedarrest