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Showing posts from July, 2013

How Fracking Affects Your Farmer's Market

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by guest blogger Harriet Shugarman, executive director and founder of ClimateMama and a mentor and climate leader for the Climate Reality Project As we become more careful about what we put into our bodies, options and opportunities to be more health conscious abound: organic, non-GMO, gluten free...the list goes on. Will we soon be adding frack-free to this growing list? And even if we wanted to, would we have enough information to be able to?
As a quick reminder, fracking is a drilling technique that involves the fracturing of rock through the use of high-pressure, chemical-laced water that is pumped deep underground, releasing natural gas and oil that has been trapped in the rock for millennia. Some of the "treated" water stays underground, and some of it flows back and then needs to be "stored" or "cleaned." Currently there is no safe way to put this wastewater back into the water cycle.
And it's posing a highly underreported threat to our food suppl…

Another Plus for Natural Birth

A team of researchers at the Yale School of Medicine, in New Haven, Connecticut, has found that vaginal birth triggers the expression of a protein, UCP2 (mitochondrial uncoupling protein 2), in the brains of newborns that improves brain development and function in adulthood. It influences neurons and circuits in the hippocampus, the area responsible for memory. The protein is also involved in the cellular metabolism of fat, a key component of breast milk, suggesting that induction of UCP2 by natural birth may aid the transition to breastfeeding. The researchers also found that this protein expression is impaired in the brains of babies delivered by Caesarean section. These results suggest, “The increasing prevalence of C-sections, driven by convenience rather than medical necessity, may have a previously unsuspected lasting effect on brain development and function in humans,” observes Tamas Horvath, chair of Yale’s Department of Comparative Medicine.

Coffee and Vision Loss Linked

Easing up on java consumption or switching to decaf may be a wise move for coffee lovers, according to a scientific paper published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. The study links heavy consumption of the caffeinated beverage to an increased risk of developing exfoliation glaucoma, a condition in which fluid builds up inside the eye and puts pressure on the optic nerve. This leads to some vision loss and in serious cases, total blindness.
Researchers obtained data from 78,977 women from the Nurses’ Health Study and 41,202 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study that focused on caffeinated coffee, tea and cola servings. They found that drinking three or more cups of caffeinated coffee daily was linked with an increased risk of developing the eye condition, especially for women with a family history of glaucoma. However, the researchers did not find associations with consumption of decaffeinated tea, chocolate or coffee.
“Because this is the first [such] …

Nature’s Own Sports Drink

If Mother Nature chose an ideal sports drink for light-to-medium exercise, it might be coconut water, the clear liquid found most abundantly inside young, green coconuts. That’s the conclusion reached by Indiana University Southeast lecturer Chhandashri Bhattacharya, Ph.D., in presenting his research to the American Chemical Society.
“Coconut water is a natural drink that has everything your average sports drink has and more,” says Bhattacharya. “It has five times more potassium than Gatorade or Powerade. Whenever you get cramps in your muscles, potassium will help you get rid of them.” A 12-ounce serving of coconut water may also help balance the typical American diet, which is too low in potassium and too high in sodium derived from excess salt; individuals consuming such diets tend to have twice the risk of death from heart disease and a 50 percent higher risk of death from all disease-related causes. Coconut water is also high in healthful antioxidants.