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I Wish I Knew Chicken Could Cause Cancer Earlier

I Wish I Knew Chicken Could Cause Cancer Earlier

There are times when I see a subject that I just have to write about. Sometimes this compulsion is spurred on by my interest in the topic. Other times, it’s based on the amount of anger I feel when reading the title. In this case, it’s the latter that caused me to choose to write this article. I mean, how could one not feel angry after learning that there’s a connection between chicken and cancer?

Lend me your hand and I’ll guide you through some of the troubling details I learned upon conducting research. Don’t worry, this isn’t complicated stuff. You won’t need a science degree to understand this article. What follows is a cautionary tale. Watch your step.

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1. Arsenic? What’s that?

It doesn’t take a chemistry major to know that humans and arsenic don’t exactly mix well. Yet many farmers feed dangerous arsenic laced food to their chickens, which end up in trace amounts in the food you serve your family. Indeed, the “FDA says its own research shows that the arsenic added to…chicken feed ends up in the chicken meat where it is consumed by humans.” Before the FDA was really pressed about all of this, most people gobbled up the propaganda spewed by some farmers that arsenic in chicken feed never made it into the final product. They insisted it was expelled in the animal’s waste. Of course, it turns that this wasn’t and isn’t the case. I imagine you’d probably like to know where this all began. First, we turn to the pharmaceutical company, Pfizer…

2. How did arsenic make its way into your chicken?

Well, I suppose it isn’t Pfizer, per se, that laces chicken feed with harmful poison, it’s one of its subsidiaries: Alpharma LLC. After finally being caught red-handed (or whatever color arsenic happens to be), they agreed to stop distributing their carcinogenic chicken feed (known as Roxarsone) in the United States. That said, Alpharma made no promises of halting the use of this dangerous substance in foreign countries, unless explicitly told to do so by their regulatory agencies. A neat little legal workaround isn’t it? So, to review, how did this process work?

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3. Let’s review.

  • Pfizer, a company known for its prescription drugs and vaccines, gets into the food industry.

  • Their subsidiary, Alpharma LLC, produces an arsenic laced chicken feed known as Roxarsone. They are protected by the National Chicken Council.

  • Roxarsone is shipped to farmers, who feed it to their chickens.

  • The chickens are exposed to the carcinogen arsenic, and it never leaves their systems. You might remember how this poison used to kill many people in the past, including Napoleon.

  • Chickens are slaughtered, shipped, bought, and eaten by you and me.

  • Arsenic-fed chickens are being taken off of the shelves, but they still might be present in some locations (especially outside of the United States).

  • The FDA refuses to acknowledge that there is (or ever was) a problem.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this story helps illuminate the extent to which big business and corporations control the health of the general population. Pfizer, under the protection of the FDA and the National Chicken Council (lobbyists), was able to serve contaminated food products to us for decades with no consequences. I’m not trying to imply that the system is completely broken. I’m trying to caution you. This company was able to get away with this for sixty years, before finally being forced to stop.

The relationship between big business and cancer doesn’t end there. Susan G. Komen recently made a bit of a strange deal with oil companies in order to spread the word about breast cancer. To make a long story short, she’s essentially trying to fight cancer by working with an industry whose main product is chock full of carcinogenic chemicals. Oh, the irony. By giving these companies good press and associating them with cancer research, Komen might be perpetuating society’s acceptance for burning fossil fuels; which, in the end, also hurts the fight against cancer.

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Unfortunately, chicken is merely the tip of the iceberg. The more research conducted, the more we find that companies like Pfizer would rather cover up the use of questionable ingredients, than make a change for the better. Indeed, KFC and a handful of other fast food restaurants demonstrated this in relation to the presence of the carcinogen acrylamide in their potato products, refusing to list warnings to their customers in states not requiring them to do so. The argument made by their public relations departments was that acrylamide is present within many products. Therefore, the fast food industry shouldn’t be punished by having to be the only ones forced to advertise the presence of this carcinogen to their customers. A weak argument at best, but currently it’s enough to keep federal regulators at bay. It also makes you wonder: if acrylamide is so ubiquitous, and every industry is fighting against having to be the first ones to disclose its presence in their products, wouldn’t that mean we’re essentially being exposed to far more carcinogens than we should be? And all for the sake of a legal argument?

These last two example are meant to demonstrate that, while we’ve finally forced Pfizer to stop putting arsenic in our chicken, we’ve really only just begun the fight to ensure the safety of our food. To me, this sounds like The Jungle of the 21st century. Who will be our Upton Sinclair?

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Featured photo credit: Fried Chicken/ stu_spivack via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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