IT’s OFFICIAL: Processed Red Meats Cause Cancer

This article appeared on NPR this morning.   It is an empirical finding by the World Health Organization.

The World Health Organization has put bacon, hot dogs and sausages in the same category of cancer risk as tobacco smoking.

The World Health Organization has put bacon, hot dogs and sausages in the same category of cancer risk as tobacco smoking.

The World Health Organization has deemed that processed meats — such as bacon, sausages and hot dogs — cause cancer.

In addition, the WHO says red meats including beef, pork, veal and lamb are “probably carcinogenic” to people.

A group of 22 scientists reviewed the evidence linking red meat and processed meat consumption to cancer, and concluded that eating processed meats regularly increases the risk of colorectal cancer. Their evidence review is explained in an article published in The Lancet.

The conclusion puts processed meats in the same category of cancer risk as tobacco smoking and asbestos. This does not mean that they are equally dangerous, says the International Agency for Research on Cancer — the agency within the WHO that sets the classifications. And it’s important to note that even things such as aloe vera are on the list of possible carcinogens.

In a Q & A released by the IARC, the agency says that “eating meat has known health benefits,” but it also points out that the cancer risk increases with the amount of meat consumed. As we’ve reported, studies show that the heaviest meat eaters tend to have the highest risk.

The IARC says high-temperature cooking methods (such as cooking meat in direct contact with a flame) produce more carcinogenic compounds. However, the group says there were not enough data “to reach a conclusion about whether the way meat is cooked affects the risk of cancer.”

Susan Gapstur of the American Cancer Society says the society recommends “consuming a healthy diet with an emphasis on plant foods and limiting consumption of processed meat and red meat,” she told us in a written statement.

The recommendation, Gapstur tells The Salt, is based on research. For instance, a systematic literature review on colorectal cancer published in 2011 by the World Cancer Research Fund found a statistically significant, 16 percent increased risk of colorectal cancer associated with each 100 grams of red and processed meat consumed. As the ACS points out, this is an amount of meat roughly equivalent in size to a deck of cards.

The Lancet paper points out that red meat also contains “high biological-value proteins and important micronutrients such as B vitamins, iron and zinc.” And the North American Meat Institute says lots of research points to the benefits of red meat consumption.

“Scientific evidence shows cancer is a complex disease not caused by single foods and that a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle choices are essential to good health,” writes Barry Carpenter, president of the North American Meat Institute, in a statement on the new WHO classification.

Carpenter says it’s important to put this new classification in context. “IARC’s panel was given the basic task of looking at hazards that meat could pose at some level, under circumstance, but was not asked to consider any off-setting benefits, like the nutrition that meat delivers or the implications of drastically reducing or removing meat from the diet altogether,” the statement concludes.

Are you Depressed?

In my opinion,  psychiatrists should first test their patients for nutritional deficiencies before writing prescriptions for Zoloftor for  antipsychotics, like Zyprexa.  Conscientious doctors send patients to get lab work done prior to prescribing drugs or increasing dosages.  There are times when people do need antidepressants.   However,  other times  spinach would go far to eliminate the symptoms of depression.   Think Popeye.

If you haven’t ever tested your nutrition levels, you might inquire with either your psychiatrist or primary-care physician. Supplements can be expensive, but you can make it back  by not having to see your psychiatrist as often. You should talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you’re on prescription drugs.

 

Vitamin D

According to my doctor, Vitamin D deficiency is a major epidemic that doctors and public health officials are just beginning to realize. This deficiency has been linked to depression, dementia, and autism. Most of our levels drop off during the fall and winter months, since sunlight is the richest source.   My doctor believes that we should be getting from 5,000 to 10,000 IU  a day.  However, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends most healthy adults get only about 600 IUs daily.  Hence, the widespread deficiency and increases in depression.

Magnesium

I am forever extolling the virtues of Magnesium, because this, like Vitamin D, is deficient in most American adults, according to my doctor, and the symptoms are not pretty.  They can, in fact, set off a chain reaction of unpleasant symptoms. Our lifestyles decrease our levels of Magnesium.  Some of the things that contribute are excess alcohol, salt, coffee, sugar, phosphoric acid (in soda), chronic stress, antibiotics, and diuretics (water pills). Magnesium is sometimes referred to as the stress antidote, the “most powerful relaxation mineral that exists,” according to Hyman. It is found in seaweed, greens, and beans. The NIH recommends a daily intake of about 400 to 420 milligrams (mg) of magnesium for adult men and 310 to 320 mg for adult women.  Magnesium Citrate can also act as a laxative, so buy your Magnesium accordingly….and time it well.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

I was surprised when my results showed an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency because I eat plenty of salmon and take fish oil supplements every day. That shows you just how much fish — salmon, tuna, halibut — or flaxseeds and walnuts we need to consume to be at an optimal level. These essential minerals reduce inflammation and play a critical role in brain function, especially memory and mood. The body can’t make them, so you need to either eat them or take supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are just one of the supplements I take every day for depression

Vitamin B Complex

B vitamins like vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12 can provide some incredible health benefits, including reduced stroke risk and healthy skin and nails. On the other hand, a vitamin B deficiency may impact your mental health. More than a quarter of severely depressed older women were deficient in B-12, according to one 2009 study.

The best sources of vitamin B-6 are poultry, seafood, bananas, and leafy green vegetables. For vitamin B-6, the NIH recommends a daily intake of 1.7 mg for adult men, and 1.5 mg for adult women. Vitamin B-12 is found in animal foods (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk) and shellfish, such as clams, mussels, and crab. Most adults should need to consume 2.4 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B-12 daily, according to the NIH.

Folate

People with a low folate level have only a 7 percent response to treatment with antidepressants. Those with high folate levels have a response of 44 percent, according to Hyman. That is why many psychiatrists are now prescribing a folate called Deplin to treat depression and improve the effectiveness of an antidepressant. I tried it and it didn’t seem to make that much of a difference; however, I have several friends who have had very positive responses to Deplin. You need not try the prescription form of Deplin. You could just start taking a folate supplement and see if you get any results. Your daily recommended folate intake depends on your gender, whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, and age. However, most adults need at least 400 mcg daily. You can also get your daily folate requirements by consuming foods high in folate, including dark leafy greens, beans and legumes, and citrus fruits and juices.

 Amino Acids

Amino acids — the building blocks of protein — help your brain properly function. A deficiency in amino acids may cause you to feel sluggish, foggy, unfocused, and depressed. Good sources of amino acids include beef, eggs, fish, beans, seeds, and nuts.

 Iron

Iron deficiency is pretty common in women. About 20 percent of women, and 50 percent of pregnant women, are in the club. Only three percent of men are iron deficient. The most common form of anemia — an insufficient number of red blood cells — is caused by iron deficiency. Its symptoms are similar to depression: fatigue, irritability, brain fog. Most adults should consume 8 to 18 mg of iron daily, depending on age, gender, and diet, according to the NIH. Good sources of iron include red meat, fish, and poultry. If you really want to get more red blood cells, eat liver. Yuck.

 Zinc

This one is SO important!  Zinc is used by more enzymes (and we have over 300) than any other mineral. It is crucial to many of our systems. It activates our digestive enzymes so that we can break down our food, and works to prevent food allergies (which, in turn, averts depression in some people, since some of our mood disruptions are triggered by food allergies). It also helps our DNA to repair and produce proteins. Finally, zinc helps control inflammation and boosts our immune system. The NIH recommends a daily intake of 11 mg of zinc for adult men and 8 mg for adult women.

 Selenium

Like iodine, selenium is important for good thyroid function. It assists the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone T4 to the active thyroid hormone, T3. It also helps one of our important antioxidants (glutathione peroxidase) keep polyunsaturated acids in our cell membranes from getting oxidized (rancid). Most adults need about 55 mcg of selenium daily. The best food source of selenium is Brazil nuts, which contains about 544 mcg of selenium per ounce.

Iodine

Iodine deficiency can be a big problem because iodine is critical for the thyroid to work as it should, and the thyroid affects more than you think: your energy, metabolism, body temperature, growth, immune function, and brain performance (concentration, memory, and more). When it’s not functioning properly, you can feel very depressed, among other things. You can get iodine by using an iodine-enriched salt, or by eating dried seaweed, shrimp, or cod. I take a kelp supplement every morning because I have hypothyroidism. The daily recommend amount of iodine for most adults is about 150 mcg.

Naan and Kabob, ETC, Reno

Located at 2740 South Virginia St in Reno, Naan & Kabob, etc. came highly recommended by my best friend.  I don’t think we would have tried it, if not for the recommendation, but both of us were happy that we did.  The chef, Maurice Afraimi, was a colorful character who strolled from table to table telling tales of being the former neighbor of Steve Jobs in Palo Alto, and about how he prepares his delicious cuisine.   When he stopped at our table, he told us about his former restaurant, Bourbon Street, that was for many years, located in Palo Alto, California.  After we tried his delicious food, we begged him to open another in Portland.  He said he would consider it.

chef maurice

Chef Maurice Afraimi

The prices were low and the food was outstanding.  Chef Maurice accommodated our vegetarian preferences perfectly!  We started off with pita bread and a freshly made red sauce, which is presented to each table with the chef’s compliments.  Additionally, we ordered the Tzatziki, which is a delicious blend of yoghurt, lemon juice, dill and garlic.  I serve this dish at home a lot, and is one of my favorite summertime snacks.  It was cool and refreshing served with cucumber slices and Kalamata olives.

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For my entree, I had Maurice’s Vegetable Pasta Barcelona, which was a dish consisting of penne pasta tossed gently in a creamy saffron/garlic sauce with delicious fire roasted vegetables.  It was garnished with mild, crunchy, raw onions and chopped parsley, which  gave it that certain je ne sais quoi.  This dish was delightful.

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I felt it fitting to include a glass of Greek wine with my meal, and enjoyed a glass of light, dry Boutari Moschofilero for the first time.  It was the perfect compliment to the pasta.

John was not feeling as adventurous as I, so he ordered the very safe and typical vegetable combination of falafel, dolmads, tahini and hummus.  It seems like he always orders the same thing, when we go to Greek restaurants.  sigh….but he did comment that this particular food was delicious.

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We split a baklava, which was atypical to most baklava, as you can see in the picture.  This pastry was huge and absolutely wonderful!  It was filled with pistachios and honey in a light, flaky crust….but it looked more like an egg role than a piece of baklava!  Who’s complaining, though?  We loved it!

The chef gave us cards that we can redeem the next time we’re in Reno, for yet another dessert.  Both of us really enjoyed this little restaurant with its quaint atmosphere and friendly service.  We shall definitely return!  Thanks to my sweetheart friend for the recommendation!

Salt and Straw….oh, my!

Strawberry with Cilantro Lime Cheesecake…..Raspberry Lemon Basil Sorbet… or the flavor I had today…the Goat Cheese Marionberry Habanero….oh, my!

Salt and Straw is the awesome new ice cream store located dangerously close to our house.

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This is serious ice cream, folks, and is not for sissies!

This summer, Salt and Straw got thousands of pounds of strawberries from deep Roots Farm located in nearby Albany, OR.  The strawberries that go into their ice cream are picked and delivered the same day they use them.  All of their ice cream is as fresh as it is delicious!

My husband’s birthday was last week.  We took him to Salt and Straw and he chose the Birthday Cake and Blackberries flavor….frosting flavored ice cream with ribbons of cake and blackberry jam.  mmmmm…  The blackberry jam is extra special because it uses Evergreen Blackberries from the Willamette Valley.  These berries are pitch black in color and wonderfully sweet.  With this combo, it might as well be everyone’s birthday every day!

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How about a cup of Pear with Blue Cheese made from  delicate, sweet Oregon Trail Northwest Bartlett pears from Salem with crumbles of Rogue Creamery’s Crater Lake Blue Cheese (recently named the best in the world at a fancy competition in France) mixed throughout?   or the Freckled Woodblock Chocolate?  Woodblock is the fist bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Portland.  Salt and Straw adds in a bit of Jacobson seal salt, and then uses an old school ice cream making technique called “freckling” to suspend the chocolate in an untempered state.  Or how about the Coffee & Bourbon flavor?  This one uses Stumptown’s single-origin Sumatra coffee mixed with a little of Portland’s Holy Kakow chocolate and a lot of Burnside Bourbon from our own local Eastside Distillery.  Uh huh….It is every bit as good as it sounds.

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Yes, folks, these people take their ice cream seriously.  They even have an Arbequina Olive Oil flavor!  That’s right!  This is one of Oprah’s favorite things!  After tasting more than 50 ice creams from all over the US, the folks at Opera Magazine were absolutely blown away by this flavor.  Red Ridge Farms from here in Oregon provide a rich and spicy Arbequina Olive Oil for its unique flavor.

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Ingrid’s favorite flavor is Cinnamon snickerdoodle made of Red Ape Cinnamon from Eugene who donates part of the proceed to save the orangutans in Sumatra where the cinnamon is harvested.  Mine is the Strawberry Honey Balsamic Vinegar with Cracked Black Pepper….made with strawberries, jam and syrup from Oregon Hill Farms, Balsamic from a 5th generation bee keeper at Honeyridge Farms, and a pinch of black pepper…a little trick to bring out the fruit flavor.

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Oh, and they have merchandise, too…tee shirts…local honey…chocolate…cookies….You name it.

Salt and Straw at 3345 SE Division Street is one of 3 locales in Portland.  This ice cream is HOT!