Health News Questions Information Answers http://healthnewsqia.com All things about health Sun, 25 Jun 2017 19:24:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Organisms That Make Us Who We Are http://healthnewsqia.com/the-organisms-that-make-us-who-we-are/ http://healthnewsqia.com/the-organisms-that-make-us-who-we-are/#respond Sun, 25 Jun 2017 19:24:14 +0000 http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/organisms-make-us-who-we-are From bacteria to viruses, mites to fungi, our bodies are literally riddled with life. Perhaps to a greater extent than you ever thought imaginable. But are these guests up to mischief; should we throw them out for trashing the house? Or do we welcome them with open arms and beg them not to leave. From […]

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From bacteria to viruses, mites to fungi, our bodies are literally riddled with life. Perhaps to a greater extent than you ever thought imaginable. But are these guests up to mischief; should we throw them out for trashing the house? Or do we welcome them with open arms and beg them not to leave. From assisting your immune system to having sex on your face (wait, what?!), this article is going to explore the organisms that have set up camp on and inside our bodies.

The Human Microbiome

Let’s start with microbes. Microbes are microscopic organisms such as bacteria, archaea, protozoa and fungi, and these microorganisms that reside on or within your body are referred to as the human microbiome. This microbial colonization begins during and shortly after birth. Your body is composed of about 10 trillion human cells, but bacteria outnumber them by at least ten to one. Microbes actually make up around 1 to 3% of your total body mass. These microbes colonize lots of different areas of the body including your skin, gut, mouth, eyes, and genitals.

What’s lurking in your gut

You can find anywhere between 500 to 1,000 different species of bacteria in your gut alone, and they actually make up 60% of the dry mass of your feces- yummy. Common bacterial species found includes E. coli, B. bifidum and E. faecalis. These bacteria are far from just being gate crashers; we have developed a symbiotic relationship with them. We provide these bacterial species with a nice home to live and replicate in, whilst they provide us with a myriad of benefits. For example, they assist in the breakdown of food, and they help to prevent harmful species from colonizing which could adversely affect our health. They also assist in the production of hormones and vitamins, namely vitamins B and K. It is also becoming increasingly apparent that the bacteria present in your gut play a role in modulating and training your immune system to be able to recognize friend from foe. 

Scanning electron micrograph of E. faecalis​, found in the human colon. Wikimedia commons. 

But do these bacteria only do good things? Apparently not. There is an increasing amount of evidence to suggest that certain bacterial species colonizing the gut are actually associated with obesity. These microbes are more commonly found in those living in colder northern areas of the world, compared to warmer southern areas. It seems that certain types of bacteria found in leaner individuals are better at breaking down certain types of food.   

Spotty Skin and Smelly Pits

Your skin also has plenty of microbes, especially your hands- it’s amazing what you can grow in a petri dish if you stick your finger on one. Bacteria present on your skin can sometimes associate with oil glands, playing a role in the development of acne. Your sweat is also naturally odorless; it’s the bacteria found on the skin that make it smell. Interestingly, your unique body odor correlates with the presence of specific microbes, as they break down non-volatile compounds into volatile compounds with characteristic scents. It was discovered that the higher the density of a group of bacteria called coryneforms, the more the underarms smelt. 

The skin microbiome. Wikimedia commons.

Recently the bacterial species living in our navels (belly buttons) was investigated; it was found to be colonized to an extent greater than scientists could have ever predicted. They swabbed 60 bellybuttons and found a whopping 2,368 phylotypes of bacteria, which probably corresponded to an even bigger number of bacterial species. It was thought that 1,458 of these bacterial species could be new to science. Amazingly, one volunteer harbored a species of bacteria that has only ever been isolated in Japanese soil– and he had never been to Japan! Another (who admitted to not washing very much…) had a species of extremophilic (thrives in extreme environments) bacteria that is often found in deep sea hydrothermal vents and ice caps. Intriguing or disgusting, but our bellybuttons are turning out to be a microscopic jungle, and it’s exciting microbiologists a great deal. Just imagine what could be in yours! Or maybe don’t…

Most of the bacterial species found in our bodies don’t do us any harm, and so are referred to as commensals. But they can become opportunistic pathogens, for example if immunity is lowered or natural barriers become compromised, such as the blood brain barrier. This is where they can go rogue and cause problems.

Organisms That Can Alter Your Behavior?

So, we know that organisms can affect your health, in positive and negative ways. But what about your personality? There has been some very interesting research emerging on a protozoan organism called Toxoplasma gondii which is found in 22-84% of the human population (depending on the country). The most intriguing effect of toxoplasmosis is the apparent “fatal attraction syndrome” which occurs in infected rodents. T. gondii can only productively replicate in cats, but it can infect humans and rodents. Amazingly, it has found a way to alter the brain signaling of the rodents to make them more likely to be consumed by the cat. Infected rodents in studies had slower reaction times and displayed no aversion to the scent of cat urine, which rodents usually have an innate fear of.

But what’s perhaps more interesting is what they have found in humans. It was discovered that people with toxoplasmosis had slower reaction times and actually enjoyed the smell of cat urine! No other types of urine (they tested a few), just cat urine, whereas uninfected individuals did not like the smell. Is the organism trying to alter the behavior of the human to make it more likely to be eaten by cats?! It goes on; they studied people involved in road traffic accidents in Prague. They found that those involved in accidents, whether they were a pedestrian or driver, were more likely to be infected when compared with residents not involved in accidents. This suggested that those individuals were perhaps sometimes more reckless. This research has certainly been met with raised eyebrows, and confounding factors are always a possibility. For example, it may not be that toxoplasmosis affects your personality, but perhaps people with a particular personality are more susceptible to toxoplasmosis.

Wikimedia commons. 

Your Face As A Breeding Ground

So what other weird things live on your body? There are some very interesting creepy crawlies alongside these microbes. Mites, or more specifically Demodex, live in places such as your eyelash and eyebrow follicles. They’re the most common ectoparasite (parasite that lives on the surface of the host) on the human skin. Usually these critters will do you no harm, although in some instances they have been found to cause skin disease. They can leave the follicles and walk around the skin at night, meeting others to then mate at the follicle opening. Once they’ve done the dirty deed, they go back to the inside of the hair follicle to lay eggs. You give these mites a comfy bed and what do they do? Have sex on your face. They’re worse than teenagers. Perhaps even more disgustingly, Demodex don’t actually have an anus. This means they have no way of getting rid of their feces, so when they die they explode all of this feces into your pores. Some scientists may believe that this is sufficient to stimulate an immune reaction, and may be the cause of the acne-like skin condition rosacea.

Nobody Loves Me… Think I’ll Go And Eat Worms. 

Although worms are not found in everyone, they’re surprisingly common in the human population. There are 3 main types found in humans; flatworms such as tapeworms, flukes such as blood flukes, and roundworms such as threadworms, pinworms or hookworms. 

The largest of the intestinal worms found in humans is the roundworm Ascaris lumbricoides, which can reach a whopping 35 centimeters. After ingesting the eggs they hatch and bury into the intestinal wall, entering the blood stream. From here, they travel to the lungs where they’re coughed up and swallowed again, returning to the gut once more.

​Wikimedia commons, Ascaris lumbricoides.

Tapeworms are transmitted via infected food, and once inside the body it attaches to the intestine via hooks found on its head. Here, it can survive for up to 25 years! If you’re unlucky enough to become infected with hookworms (Necator americanus), these intestinal parasites actually drink your blood and can cause a type of anemia. 

And finally my favorite, the pinworm. These little guys are only a few millimeters in length, and once again live in the intestines. They mate by traumatic insemination- the male stabs the female with his penis, and then dies. At least they die happy… 

Let’s Not Forget Viruses!

It might surprise you to learn just how many viruses there are in our bodies. It recently emerged that like the human microbiome, humans also have a virome. Our human viromes have been suggested to be even more diverse than our microbiomes, and they also vary considerably between people. In one study investigating twins and their mother, they found between 52-2773 different viruses. We also have a surprising amount of viruses in our bodies that infect bacteria- these are called bacteriophages. For every bacterium in your body, it is estimated that there is a whopping 100 bacteriophages. Going back to poo- there is approximately 10 billion in each gram. Wow. 

Wikimedia commons. 

Just like how it has been suggested that the bacteria in your gut can contribute to obesity, there has been some interesting, if very controversial, research to suggest that perhaps viruses can also play a role. A small number of researchers have been investigating a particular type of adenovirus, and they found that infection correlated nicely with obesity. This was triggered by observations in animal models where this virus was found to dramatically increase the amount of fat found in the body. Not everyone is convinced by this virus, but some people are beginning to take it more seriously. The idea that obesity could be an infectious disease, possibly spread by a simple cough or sneeze, has met some raised eyebrows. 

Just like bacteria, viruses can live harmlessly in the body, but can then go on to cause problems when the person becomes immune suppressed. 

I could go on, but simply there’s just too many things living inside you to talk about them all. You are literally riddled with life, but these organisms play a big part in your life, and most of them are quiet do-gooders that we wouldn’t even know were there. You can thank some of these organisms for helping to shape who you are. 

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/organisms-make-us-who-we-are

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Man Devotes His Life To Adopting Old Dogs Who Can’t Find Forever Homes http://healthnewsqia.com/man-devotes-his-life-to-adopting-old-dogs-who-cant-find-forever-homes/ http://healthnewsqia.com/man-devotes-his-life-to-adopting-old-dogs-who-cant-find-forever-homes/#respond Sat, 24 Jun 2017 19:26:12 +0000 http://www.boredpanda.com/man-adopts-senior-dogs-shelter-steve-greig/ Months kept passing after Steve Greig’s beloved dog died, but he still felt crushed. That’s when he decided he should give another dog a good life. But not just any dog. He went to his local shelter in Denver, Colorado to adopt the “least adoptable” senior dog, as these are the ones too often overlooked. […]

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Months kept passing after Steve Greig’s beloved dog died, but he still felt crushed. That’s when he decided he should give another dog a good life. But not just any dog. He went to his local shelter in Denver, Colorado to adopt the “least adoptable” senior dog, as these are the ones too often overlooked. Now, Greig is a super busy human dad to his 10 elder shelter dogs and his Instagram is overloaded with cuteness approved by 478k followers.

Each day Greig wakes up at 5.a.m in the morning to make breakfast for his big family. Most of the dogs have different diets. His schedule is filled with walks in the park, vet appointments…and lots of love and cuddles. “Whenever I sit or lie down at a dog-friendly level, there are always at least three or four of [dogs] attached,” Greig writes on Instagram.

“They’re just wiser animals,” Greig told The Dodo. “You kind of know what you want out of life once you become a certain age. These dogs know who they are and it’s easy to develop a relationship with a person or pet who knows who they are. It’s just fulfilling knowing that these guys are happy and loved and well-taken care of. It makes my days worthwhile.”

Greig also has a pig named Bikini, as well as two ducks, pigeons, cats and a few chickens. He has no more room for pets at the moment but he intends to adopt more senior dogs in the future. Because after all, love sees no age.

Months kept passing after Steve Greig’s beloved dog died, but he still felt crushed

“A month or two went by and I still felt so horrible about it”

“I decided that the only way I would feel better was if something good happened that probably wouldn’t have happened if he had not died”

“So [I adopted] a 12-year-old Chihuahua with a heart murmur and four bad knees”

“…And that was just the beginning of all the animals”

Now, Greig is a super busy human dad to his 10 elder shelter dogs

“A normal day for me is getting up at 5 a.m. in the morning and making breakfast for all of them”

“Which, you know, there’s 10 [dogs] and most of them have different diets”

He also takes them to grooming appointments and the vet

And administers medication to the ones with health problems

Greig even comes back from work during lunch time to let them outside and give treats

While he’s away, the lovely crowd has time to express themselves…

“I grew up with a lot of pets”

“Both my parents were animal lovers”

“They pretty much always let me have whatever I wanted as long as I could take care of it”

“[Senior dogs] are just wiser animals”

“They just make it feel like home”

“It’s just fulfilling knowing that these guys are happy and loved and well-taken care of”

“It makes my days worthwhile”

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/man-adopts-senior-dogs-shelter-steve-greig/

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Messina: Obama Won On The Small Stuff http://healthnewsqia.com/messina-obama-won-on-the-small-stuff/ http://healthnewsqia.com/messina-obama-won-on-the-small-stuff/#respond Sat, 24 Jun 2017 19:26:12 +0000 http://buzzfeed.com/rubycramer/messina-obama-won-on-the-small-stuff-4xvn View this image › John Gress / Reuters Barack Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, said Friday that the president’s reelection was won “on the micro stuff.” “Politics too much is about analogies and not about whether or not things work,” Messina told BuzzFeed. “You have to test every single thing, to challenge every assumption, and […]

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John Gress / Reuters

Barack Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, said Friday that the president’s reelection was won “on the micro stuff.”

“Politics too much is about analogies and not about whether or not things work,” Messina told BuzzFeed. “You have to test every single thing, to challenge every assumption, and to make sure that everything we do is provable.”

“That’s why I love numbers,” he said. “Because you know good or bad whether what you’re doing is working.”

Messina spoke to BuzzFeed Friday after sharing a panel stage with Romney aide Brian Jones at a conference for the International Association of Political Consultants at the Hilton New York. There, Messina and Jones evoked a contrast between one campaign that had the advantage on macro-messaging, and another that invested millions in analytics and metrics.

“We had to win this on the micro stuff,” Messina said.

Jones, by contrast, said the Romney campaign had been characterized by a basic mistake about the electorate itself.

“Neil Newhouse, our pollster, had always said, ‘Guys, if we can win independents in Ohio, we can win this race.’ But we won independents by seven, and we lost,” Jones said. “We thought the game would be one thing, and it ended up being another.”

Obama for America made what Messina called an “unparalleled” $100 million investment in technology. The reelect, said Messina, would be different than 2008 — a time when the iPhone was in its first iteration, when Facebook was one-tenth of its current size, and when the Obama campaign sent just one tweet on all of Election Day (“We thought it was a stupid technology that would never go anywhere,” said Messina).

Under Messina — the metrics-obsessed brain behind the operation — the campaign once defined by ideals and hope and change, became all about the data.

“We were going to demand data on everything, we were going to measure everything,” he said during the panel. “We were going to put an analytics team inside of us to study us the entire time to make sure we were being smart about things.”

Every night, Obama’s analytics team would run the campaign 66,000 times on a computer simulation. “And every morning,” said Messina, “we would come in and spend our money based on those simulations.”

Their models ultimately predicted Florida results within 0.2%, and Ohio within 0.4%. The only state they got wrong, noted Messina, was Colorado, “where we got one more point than we thought we would.”

The Obama campaign was able to do that, he said, because it turned away from mainstream polling from shops like Gallup, which he called “wrong the entire election” — specifically, in their prediction that fewer minorities and young people would turn out to vote.

“We spent a whole bunch of time figuring out that American polling is broken,” said Messina. “We never did a national poll. We only did local and state polls.”

Jones, for his part, offered a glimpse at what went wrong with “Orca,” the failed Election Day turnout tracking system, pitched by the GOP as “the Republican Party’s newest, unprecedented and most technologically advanced plan to win the 2012 presidential election”; Jones said the project was essentially a version of what “every campaign” has done in years past.

“There were a couple of glitches throughout the day, but it largely worked as intended,” said Jones. “But ultimately it didn’t really matter.”

The software, meant to offer quantitative voter turnout data over the course of Election Day, proved dysfunctional and ultimately crashed by 4 p.m.

(Messina said the Obama campaign tried the same thing in 2008: “Ours crashed too.” They named the project Houdini, but this year called it Gordon. “I said, ‘Why is this thing called Gordon?’ They said, ‘Don’t you know Gordon is the name of the person who killed Houdini?’”)

Jones argued that despite the Orca crash — and clear wins by President Obama on issues like health care and the middle class — Romney “won on the vision for the future, on being a strong leader, on the deficit,” he said.

“Ultimately, though, it just didn’t matter,” Jones added. “These guys just ran an incredibly proficient and strong and well-organized campaign. We had a little bit of the edge on the macro-messaging, but it just didn’t matter.”

Correction: OFA ran the campaign on a computer simulation 66,000 times each night, not 666,000.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/rubycramer/messina-obama-won-on-the-small-stuff-4xvn

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83 New Pieces Of Undeniable Evidence That Cats Are The Best http://healthnewsqia.com/83-new-pieces-of-undeniable-evidence-that-cats-are-the-best/ Fri, 23 Jun 2017 19:24:41 +0000 http://buzzfeed.com/samimain/new-pieces-of-undeniable-evidence-that-cats-are-the-best It’s a known fact that cats are better than dogs. This argument is no longer up for debate. View this image › bunnyfood.tumblr.com 1. Cats show an impressive ability to feel and reciprocate love.2. If they like you enough, cats will pretend to be dogs and fetch a toy you throw for them.3. As a […]

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It’s a known fact that cats are better than dogs. This argument is no longer up for debate. 83 New Pieces Of Undeniable Evidence That Cats Are The Best

View this image ›

bunnyfood.tumblr.com

1. Cats show an impressive ability to feel and reciprocate love.2. If they like you enough, cats will pretend to be dogs and fetch a toy you throw for them.3. As a sign of gratitude, cats enjoy playing in boxes as much as they do the toys you bought for them anyways.4. Cats twitch in their sleep because they’re dreaming of running toward you across an open field.5. A kiss from a cat is considered sacred in many cultures.6. The cats who prefer to eat dry food rather than wet food do so because they like to pretend they’re eating a crunchy snack just like you do.7. Cats knock things off of tables only to express their dominance in the house. They do it so frequently because they forget how long it’s been since the last time they established dominance.8. Ditto with drinking from every water cup you’ve ever put anywhere.9. Cats love humans so much that they put their butts into faces everyday, just to remind people of that. Like, would you put your butt into someone else’s face for no reason at all? Nah.10. Cats’ whiskers help with both their depth perception and their love perception.11. Cats play dumb when it comes to laser pointers to make humans feel better.12. Cats are pretty interested in your cereal’s milk because they assume it contains magical properties seeing as how you try so hard to keep it from them. Also, they just like seeing what you’re up to in the morning.

buzzfeed.com

 

13. Cats were invented in 1746. This is before the birth of our nation, thereby making cats extremely important in the collective American history.14. A cat inspired the first Taco Bell to install a drive-thru.15. Amazingly, Garfield was real.16. The first tuna salad sandwich was sold by a cat.17. Cats’ tails are actually prehensile, but they just choose not to use them that way out of respect.18. Cats have scientifically proven that bingewatching a TV show is good for your health.19. Al Gore got the idea for the internet from just one intelligent cat.20. A cat in Italy invented the colander. This made life easier for literally everybody.21. A group of cats invented the concept of the monologue together.22. Cats actually hate the milkman; conversely, they love the mailman.23. Cats’ all-time favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, because of all the leftovers.24. A cat invented genies in bottles, purely for selfish reasons, but also to help out the world.

View this image ›

theinternetsanimals.com

25. Dogs and cats don’t fight. They’re just disappointed in each other.26. The very last mixtape was made by a cat. It should be in a museum.27. A cat chopped the first chopped salad.28. Cats hate lemonade and iced tea, but they created the first Arnold Palmer.29. Cats invented literal music videos.30. The first classically trained sushi chef was a cat.31. One time, a cat jumped the length of the entire Golden Gate Bridge. This is a crazy world record!32. Every cat’s favorite band is Coldplay.33. Yoga mats are actually cat beds.34. All of Oprah’s favorite things are actually cats. You can’t argue with Oprah. You just can’t.35. Cats collect every sock you’ve ever lost. Time will tell if they’ll give them back.36. Loaves of bread got their shape from cats.

View this image ›

imgur.com

37. Cats keep a database of every time you accidentally like a photo on Instagram.38. The jingle for Meow Mix is actually offensive to cats. Please stop singing it at them.39. If cats could be reincarnated, they’d all choose to come back as pizza. Guaranteed. This is what makes them great.40. Every college has a resident cat professor on payroll.41. Cats communicate telepathically, even with humans.42. Cats are aware of Victoria’s secret, but they won’t disclose that information because they’re classy folk.43. A cat wrote an entire sequel to the “Harry Potter” series, and it’s great.44. Jackson Pollock was actually a cat.45. Martha Stewart’s first lawyer was a cat.46. The only dish a cat can cook successfully is boring, ol’ spaghetti.47. Cats don’t believe in fad diets. Everyone should be more like cats.

83 New Pieces Of Undeniable Evidence That Cats Are The Best

View this image ›

bunnyfood.tumblr.com

48. Cats prefer to make the first move on a date.49. Cats invented movie theater popcorn butter.50. Every cat is born knowing KFC’s 11 herbs and spices. They are burdened with this knowledge, which makes them impressively wise.51. The Eiffel Tower was designed by cats.52. All cats would prefer cash as opposed to real presents.53. Farmers are the people cats respect the most in life.54. Cats don’t approve of Snapchat at all. And for good reason.55. Cats love the carpool lane.56. Zero cats like clowns.57. Cats brought kale to America in 1993.58. No cat can stand on its tippy toes, but they choose not to feel self-conscious about it.59. Each cat has a different theory about life in outer space.

View this image ›

imgur.com

60. Some cats are allergic to themselves, but they’re hoping to solve it soon.61. It’s actually called “tae ‘cat’ do,” and everyone says it wrong. Nobody’s corrected us, though, so it must be cool.62. One day, cats invented the perfect pizza topping: crushed red pepper flakes. They just stepped on a bunch of them, but still. Pretty nifty.63. Cats prefer espresso to coffee.64. Cats never have to wait in line to use the restroom.65. A cat wrote “A Spoonful of Sugar.” Medicine was changed forever!66. An ancient cat was the very first guitar hero.67. Cats invented trail mix just in case they ever felt like going on a long hike. They still have never been on a hike, but they at least have the option to snack during one now.68. Cats decorated a Christmas tree in tinsel but then quickly felt betrayed by it.69. Every cat is actually a witch/wizard. They only use their powers for good, though, so don’t worry.70. The original cast of “I Love Lucy” starred Lucille Ball and a cat.71. Croissants got their shape from cats.

View this image ›

firstwefeast.com

72. Cats miss family game nights because they eventually learned to appreciate the time spent together.73. All cats dream they can juggle. Dreams are important to cats.74. Cats don’t know how to experience fear.75. The true name of the game is “Duck, Duck, Cat.” Don’t invite them to play, though. They’ll refuse.76. All cats hate gazpacho.77. Cats invented high heels just so they can laugh at people. Kind of a dick move, but still pretty funny.78. A cat told Ron Howard to start wearing baseball caps many years ago. Fashion history was made!79. One time, yarn insulted a cat. That’s why they attack it so much these days.80. Every cat wants to be a queen.81. Cats were the first ones to chat around a water cooler about current events.82. Cats invented the first car towing company for their own amusement, but then it became really necessary.83. You can never find any medium-sized shirts because cats bought all of them. They bought all of the shirts that would’ve fit you right before you went shopping. It’s just what happens when cats are this awesome.

instagram.com

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/samimain/new-pieces-of-undeniable-evidence-that-cats-are-the-best

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CHECKING YOUR DOCTOR’S ‘CURE’ RATE | NEXT NEWS DAILY HEALTH TIP WITH RONNIE MCMULLEN http://healthnewsqia.com/checking-your-doctors-cure-rate-next-news-daily-health-tip-with-ronnie-mcmullen/ Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:52:23 +0000 http://healthnewsqia.com/?p=19597 Get the Tea! : | Sub for more: | Ronnie McMullen discusses the importance of checking your doctor's 'CURE' rate. Get healthy – get the Tea! See the report here: Find out more: ———————————————————————————— SUPPORT THE NETWORK WITH THE LINKS BELOW! ———————————————————————————— Patreon $5/mo: Give once: Give BTC: 13Hd1HFqS5CDLCMcFQPWu9wumubo6X2hSM Tip Brian The Editor: T-Shirt Shop: […]

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Get the Tea! : | Sub for more: | Ronnie McMullen discusses the importance of checking your doctor's 'CURE' rate. Get healthy – get the Tea!

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Marijuana to the Glory of God http://healthnewsqia.com/marijuana-to-the-glory-of-god/ Thu, 22 Jun 2017 19:25:10 +0000 http://faithit.com/marijuana-glory-god-jeff-lacine/ How are we to think about recreational cannabis use in the church? By Jeff Lacine I used to smoke marijuana every day. Sixteen years ago, when I was in my late teens, cannabis was a big part of my life. Today it continues to confront me as a pastor in a city where recreational marijuana […]

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How are we to think about recreational cannabis use in the church?

By Jeff Lacine

I used to smoke marijuana every day.

Sixteen years ago, when I was in my late teens, cannabis was a big part of my life. Today it continues to confront me as a pastor in a city where recreational marijuana is legally celebrated. Our church office is directly across the street from a dispensary where I can legally buy a pre-rolled joint for seven dollars.

How are we to think about recreational cannabis use in the church? A growing number of Christians today believe that it is biblically permissible to use cannabis recreationally. Are they right?

Cannabis Versus Alcohol

Quick, pat answers to the question of recreational cannabis use are often unhelpful. Responses without nuance will not best serve the church in the long run. To say that alcohol is permissible and cannabis is not, because Christians drink beer and wine for the taste but people only smoke pot to get stoned, just wont do. Such a simplification distorts the truth.

For one, Christians dont drink beer and wine only for the taste. Even moderate drinking, which is biblically permissible, has lubricating psychoactive effects. From a biblical perspective, this lubricating effect can be acceptable. While drunkenness is clearly prohibited (Ephesians 5:18; Romans 13:13; Galatians 5:1921; 1 Peter 4:3), God has given wine to gladden the heart of man (Psalm 104:1415).

However, evangelical churches sometimes have prohibited the use of alcoholamong members because the Bible forbids drunkenness. This is a mistake. The Bible warns us against such extra-biblical prohibitions (1 Timothy 4:3; Colossians 2:1623). Scripture permits the moderate use of alcohol, when it can be enjoyed in faith, even though it has psychoactive effects.

Does God, then, also permit the recreational use of cannabis? Should we treat cannabis like alcohol in the church? Is it okay to light up around the campfire just like it may be to enjoy wine at a wedding?

Similarities and Dissimilarities

Lets examine this commonly used comparison between alcohol and cannabis. The following are ways that cannabis and alcohol are similar and dissimilar.

Ways that cannabis is like alcohol:

  • Cannabis, like alcohol, is an organic substance.
  • Cannabis, like alcohol, has the potential to intoxicate and distort reality.
  • Cannabis, like alcohol, has different effects on someone who uses it regularly than someone who uses it occasionally. (In other words, tolerances can be built up with regular marijuana use similar to the way tolerances can be built up with regular alcohol use.)
  • Cannabis, like alcohol, can be habit-forming (see 1 Timothy 3:8).

Ways that cannabis is unlike alcohol:

  • Unlike alcohol, you cant blackout or die from an overdose of cannabis.
  • Unlike alcohol, there are many different strains of cannabis. The same amount of cannabis smoked or ingested from two different cannabis plants can have different effects on an individualeven if both plants have the same exact amount of THC (the primary psychoactive chemical in cannabis).
  • Unlike alcohol, marijuana has many different effects on an individual due to its complex chemical makeup. There are at least 113 different chemical compounds (cannabinoids) inside the cannabis plant that combine to cause a variety of effects on an individual when smoked or ingested.
  • Unlike alcohol, cannabis has not been a staple in cultures all around the world for use in celebrations and ceremonies (like John 2:9).
  • Unlike alcohol, regular cannabis use is strongly correlated with mental health disorders such as schizoaffective disorder. While heavy drinking (alcohol abuse) has also been linked to mental health disorders, moderate drinking has not.
  • Unlike alcohol, cannabis has been a cultural symbol of rebellion for a large part of the last century.
  • Unlike alcohol, cannabis was not used by Jesus in his Last Supper, which is to be regularly commemorated by the church (Mark 14:2325).
  • And perhaps most importantly, unlike alcohol, cannabis is not directly addressed in the Bible.

It is unhelpful to make direct correlations between cannabis and alcohol, as if all the Bibles teaching on alcohol applies to cannabis. Not only are cannabis and alcohol vastly different chemical compounds, with vastly different effects, but the Bible gives us clear and direct permission for the moderate use of alcohol while never directly referencing other psychoactive compounds such as marijuana.

The Big Picture

Even though cannabis is never directly mentioned in Scripture, we do have God-revealed principles to guide and direct our thinking about its recreational use. We often get help on specific questions when we keep our eyes on the big picture. What is the endgame for the Christian life? What should we be aiming at in all things?

As Christians, our goal is knowing and experiencing the full and undistorted reality of the glory of God in our resurrected physical bodies (1 Corinthians 15:1249; Philippians 3:2021; 1 Corinthians 13:12). This is our trajectory as Christians. This is our aim.

God is glorious beyond measure, and Christians seek to experience the reality of his glory, for the sake of his glory. Sin has distorted our vision and corrupted our world. Ever since sin first entered the world, all of us have been born spiritually dead, unable to discern the true glory of God (Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 4:4). When we experience the redemptive work of Christ through the Holy Spirit, we are awakened to the reality and beauty of God (2 Corinthians 4:6). But until we see him face to face, we still see his glory as through a glass dimly (1 Corinthians 13:12). As redeemed believers, we are on a journey to knowing him without obstruction. Therefore, we do not want to distort reality; rather, we aim to know him as he really is. We want to see things as they really are.

The Christian use of any kind of psychoactive substance should always align with this gospel goal of looking to see things clearer. We do not want our vision of reality distorted.

Christian Cup of Coffee?

Consider this principle in terms of a psychoactive substance most American adults use every day: caffeine. Why do people drink coffee in the morning? To help them to see things as they really are, rather than through the fog of grogginess. The right and proper use of this God-given substance helps us see things as they really are.

But how does this principle apply to alcohol? At times moderate lubrication in Godward celebrations can be in keeping with the reality. People dont drink wine at funerals, which are a reminder of the curse and consequences of sin. If someone drank wine at a funeral, I would wonder whether they have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

But people do drink wine at weddings, in which we celebrate the profound parable being played out before our eyes: the great Bridegroom is coming for his bride, the church (Revelation 19:7)! And wine (explicitly) will have a God-given role at the final consummating celebration (Mark 14:2325). In this way, the proper and moderate use of alcohol can be a clarifier, not a distorter. It points us to the joy, fellowship and celebration of the great coming feast.

What About Weed?

Is there a proper and moderate use of marijuana that can actually serve to clarify and point to biblical realities like alcohol may in certain circumstances? Or does the recreational use of marijuana always distort?

I believe, both from research and experience, that recreational cannabis distorts reality and numbs people to the ability to experience life as it truly is. Even a relatively small amount of THC puts the infrequent user into a fog. A larger amount can potentially cause paranoia.

What about more regular, high-functioning users who have built up a tolerance and experience a less intense high when they smoke or ingest cannabis? While cannabis wont induce hallucinations or the same intense high for frequent users, we have other troubling factors to consider with persistent use.

There is a reason that marijuana has long been associated with the couch, a bag of chips and a television remote. Put another way, marijuana has never been associated with engaged parenting. Regular marijuana use causes disengagement, dulling individuals into a long-term, slow and subtle numbness. If you ask almost anyone who has formerly used cannabis on a regular basis, he will speak about this phenomena. To confirm this testimony, studies have shown a high correlation between regular cannabis use and the clinical diagnosis of Amotivational Syndrome.

It doesnt surprise me when a regular marijuana user tries to refute the reality of cannabiss reality-numbing effect. When you are in the numbing cloud of regular cannabis use, it is hard to realize that you are in such a cloudeven when it is obvious to close friends and family. Cannabis may distort reality in a more subtle way for the regular user than for the occasional user, but the subtlety of it makes the negative effects all the more insidious and deep.

Counsel and Hope

Though the Bible does not forbid the use of every substance that affects the mind, the recreational use of cannabis seems to violate the Christian value of sobriety (1 Thessalonians 5:68; Titus 2:2, 6; 1 Peter 4:7). As our culture celebrates the casual use of cannabis today, and does so increasing in the coming days, we should be vigilant not to be deceived as a church. We should not idly stand by as we watch brothers and sisters who profess faith in Christ enter into a mind-numbing, reality-distorting cloud of cannabis. We should encourage one another to peer through the dim glass and discern the glory of God with all our might as the Day draws near (Hebrews 10:25).

However, it is worth saying that we should also be careful not to make the same mistakes that churches made by previous generations with regard to alcohol, adding extra prohibitions to Gods revealed word. Because of the many variables involved with marijuana use (for example, its medicinal use), I believe we should be very slow to make a firm prohibition policy for members of the church, such that we would automatically proceed with church discipline upon unrepentant use. However, it should be clear that unrepentant marijuana use could easily lead to church discipline.

We should be quick to engage with individual members who use marijuana, asking them questions and seeking to understand, being ready to exhort and rebuke them if it becomes apparent that they are violating the biblical standards of sobriety and integrity.

The details and nuances well encounter will be complex, but Jesus church, holding fast to his word, led by a team of wise pastors, will be up for the challenge. God will have new mercies for us as we walk together by faith in the age of legal marijuana.

**Marijuana to the Glory of Godwas originally published on Desiring God.

About the Author: is pastor of Sellwood Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon. He graduated from Bethlehem Seminary. He and his wife have four children.

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We’re Close To Completely Eradicating A Human Disease http://healthnewsqia.com/were-close-to-completely-eradicating-a-human-disease/ Wed, 21 Jun 2017 19:25:32 +0000 http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/guinea-worm-track-become-only-second-disease-history-be-globally-eradicated In 1986, Guinea worm was found in 21 countries across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and was thought to affect 3.5 million people annually. As of last month, through the immense efforts of the Carter Center, there were just 22 cases of the disease reported globally in 2015, and it’s now on the edge of becoming […]

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In 1986, Guinea worm was found in 21 countries across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and was thought to affect 3.5 million people annually. As of last month, through the immense efforts of the Carter Center, there were just 22 cases of the disease reported globally in 2015, and it’s now on the edge of becoming only the second humandisease ever to be eradicated, after smallpox.

This astonishing achievement has taken persistent and dogged effort, involving the training of thousands of volunteers, the distribution of water filters, and the education of over 23,700 communities to the threat ofthe horrible parasite. Even more impressive is that this has all been doable without the development of new technologiesand without the need for medicines or vaccines.

Education is the main and most effective way of preventing people from catching Guinea worm.The Carter Center/J.Albertson

The Carter Center was established by former U.S.President Jimmy Carter in 1982, the year after he left office. While the center works on a range of human rights and humanitarian issues, one of its mainfocuses is on neglected tropical diseases. These are illness that predominately affect developing nationsand which, given the right attention, could be eradicated from the world. The Carter Center has the only international taskforce on disease eradication, Carter told IFLScience at a media event in London. We are the ones that house the group that analyzes every human illness constantly, to ascertain which ones might possibly be eliminated or eradicated.

While not lethal, Guinea worm is one of these neglected diseases and is incredibly debilitating. After a person drinks infected water, the larvae hatch inside the body and then begin to grow in the abdomen. The worms then mate and while the male subsequently dies, the female matures.Around a year later, the female worms migrate down the limbs andcreate unbearably painful lesions on the legs and feet as they slowly emerge from the body.

A female Guinea worm being extracted from a persons foot. This process can take a few weeks to several months.The Carter Center/L.Gubb

The wormswhich can reach up to a meter (3.3 feet) in length can take several months to fully come out. During this process, the worms cause a burning sensation at the wound, often leading to the sufferers bathing the emerging worm in water as they try to seek relief from the pain. It is at this point that the female worms release their larvae into the water source, completing the parasites’ cycle. Since these worms are dependent on human hosts, removing them from the environment represented a rare opportunity for complete disease eradication.

The dramatic reduction of Guinea worm hasnt been easy.Over the last 30 years, the program has faced multiple problems, many of which were unforeseen. One of the biggest issues was of conflict, with the civil war between Sudan and South Sudan hindering operations for 15 years. But war wasnt the only unpredictable event. The other problem that we didnt anticipate was the involvement of some dogs that had Guinea worm disease in Chad, said Carter. Wed had this in five other countries previously, and in every case when wed got rid of the problem in humans, it goes away in dogs as well.

Something as simple as filtering water can make all the difference instopping the parasite from infecting people.The Carter Center/E.Staub

The final major hurdle has been one of politics. Sometimes when we get the total eradication and elimination in one country, the ministers of health and presidents of those countries get excessively confident and they go onto other priorities and abandon this, explainedCarter. This is the threat that currently overhangs the present status of Guinea worm. With only a handful of cases reported last year, it is vital the pressure is kept on to ensure the total eradication of the disease.

It is here that the U.K.s Department for International Development comes in, as they are providing 4.5 million ($6.6 million) in new support to finally abolish the last few cases. What were announcing today is a new investment and partnership with the Carter Center as we embark on the last push towards zero cases, said the U.K.s Minister for International Development, Nick Hurd. The funding will pay for health volunteers, water filters and larvicide in the few remaining endemic villages in South Sudan, Ethiopia, Chad and Mali.

President Carter asks a group of children in Ghanawhether they have had Guinea worm.The Carter Center/L.Gubb

With this last push of extra investment, Carter is confident that the disease can finally be eradicated for good, and soon, although it is often the last few cases of the disease that are the hardest to get rid of. We were encouraged last year with an 85 percentoverall reduction of 126 cases down to 22 and so that is a good omen for a fairly quick wrap up, said Carter. We hope this year we wont have any cases.

And what’s next once Guinea worm is finally exiled to the history books? Well the Carter Center is currently working on eight diseases that they think could feasibly be eradicated, with river blindness leading the pack. We began an experimental project in six countries that had river blindness in Latin America, and weve eliminated it in Id say 95.5 percentof people, said Carter. If and when they are given the go-ahead by the World Health Organization, the program will be rolled out right across Africa, so that hopefully we can say goodbye to yet another preventable disease.

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Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/guinea-worm-track-become-only-second-disease-history-be-globally-eradicated

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Brain Region Responsible For The Placebo Effect Has Been Identified http://healthnewsqia.com/brain-region-responsible-for-the-placebo-effect-has-been-identified/ Tue, 20 Jun 2017 19:25:04 +0000 http://www.iflscience.com/brain/brain-region-responsible-for-placebo-effect-identified/ Scientists have discovered that people with high levels of activity in a brain region called the right midfrontal gyrus (r-MFG) are particularly likely to respond to placebos when being treated for chronic pain. Publishing their work in the journal PLOS Biology, the researchers say their findings could enable cliniciansto predict whether or not patients can […]

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Scientists have discovered that people with high levels of activity in a brain region called the right midfrontal gyrus (r-MFG) are particularly likely to respond to placebos when being treated for chronic pain. Publishing their work in the journal PLOS Biology, the researchers say their findings could enable cliniciansto predict whether or not patients can be helped by sugary pills rather than actual medication, in order to devise personalized treatment programs.

The placebo effect is a strange and poorly understood phenomenon that highlights just how peculiar the human brain is. While studies have shown time and again that people often experience an improvement in symptoms when given fake medications, the mechanisms behind this psychosomatic trickery have yet to be illuminated.

In an attempt to figure how the brain regulates the placebo effect, researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan the brains of patients being treated for chronic knee osteoarthritis before administering a two-week course of placebo medication.

Half of these patients claimed they experienced a considerable reduction in pain levels during the trial, while the other half did not. This allowed the researchers to divide the group into placebo responders and non-responders.

Examining the MRI scans taken at the start of the trial, the study authors found that placebo responders all had higher connectivity in their r-MFG than non-responders, suggesting that this may be a reliable predictor of how likely a person is to benefit from a placebo.

Placebos can be effective at treating chronic pain, but only in some patients.wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

The team then conducted a second trial in which patients were once again subjected to a brain scan before being given either a placebo or a genuine painkiller called duloxetine, which they were instructed to take for three months.

At the end of the trial, the study authors were able to predict with a 95 percent accuracy which patients were most likely to have responded to the placebo, just by looking at the connectivity of their r-MFG. They also learned that connectivity levels in another brain region called the right parahippocampal gyrus (r-PHG) could be used to predict how well a patient would respond to duloxetine.

The new technology will allow physicians to see what part of the brain is activated during an individuals pain and choose the specific drug to target this spot, explained study co-author Vania Apkarian in a statement. Essentially, this means that doctors may be able to use brain scans in order to decide whether to administer a placebo or an actual medication to a patient.

Given the enormous societal toll of chronic pain, being able to predict placebo responders in a chronic pain population could both help the design of personalized medicine and enhance the success of clinical trials, adds co-researcher Marwan Baliki.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/brain/brain-region-responsible-for-placebo-effect-identified/

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The Two Kinds Of Republicans http://healthnewsqia.com/the-two-kinds-of-republicans/ Mon, 19 Jun 2017 19:24:25 +0000 http://buzzfeed.com/bensmith/the-two-kinds-of-republicans New words for a new political era. View this image › Justine Zweibel / BuzzFeed When we write about the right these days, we tend to use a set of dated shorthand, overlapping categories drawn from different eras: neocons and tea partyers, libertarians and hawks, the establishment and the grassroots. These terms don’t really fit. […]

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New words for a new political era.

View this image ›

Justine Zweibel / BuzzFeed

When we write about the right these days, we tend to use a set of dated shorthand, overlapping categories drawn from different eras: neocons and tea partyers, libertarians and hawks, the establishment and the grassroots.

These terms don’t really fit. There are multiple strands of anti-government conservatism that predate the tea party movement, and kinds of hawkishness that have little to do with the neoconservative movement. This jargon is a mess.

I propose replacing the messy old terminology with a simple new vocabulary, one that has evolved organically, which has deep and consistent intellectual roots, no pejorative implications, and which political leaders use effortlessly and without reflecting. The division that will define the Republican Party for the next decade is the split between Liberty Conservatives and Freedom Conservatives.

The divide over Liberty and Freedom has a good linguistic pedigree. The former draws on a straight line that runs from the Declaration to modern libertarianism; the latter on one that goes from emancipation to George W. Bush, with a rather inconvenient detour through Roosevelt. They can both claim Lincoln, who spoke in the Gettysburg Address of a nation conceived in liberty, and undergoing a new birth of freedom.

The divide also maps to real, recent policy divides. For example: U.S. intervention in the Middle East; the sequester that capped federal spending; the National Security Agency’s spying on Americans. Freedom Conservatives back the aggressive security measures and, relatedly, oppose the spending cap. Liberty Conservatives are deeply skeptical of bombing and spying, and drove support for limited spending.

Liberty Conservatives look, first of all, to America’s founding documents. They are deeply skeptical not just of the contemporary government but of 20th-century government action — their favorite texts include revisionist histories of Herbert Hoover and arguments that Franklin Roosevelt didn’t do much about the depression. They embrace the civil rights movement, but their intellectual forebears fought it. They are now focused on rolling back elements of the 20th-century welfare state. Their sources of funding are twofold: The old industrial empires (Koch Industries is emblematic, but hardly alone) that are still steaming about getting off the gold standard, and the libertarian radicals of Silicon Valley. They see ambitious liberal anti-poverty policy as deeply dangerous, and they’re also concerned about what they see as the excesses of law-and-order conservatism — like the drug war — and of pro-business conservatism’s alliance with big banks and big business. They have been shaped most of all by their opposition to Obamacare.

Freedom Conservatives are as likely to look to Lincoln as to the founders, and they may admit to having ancestors who voted for Franklin Roosevelt and marched for civil rights. The history Freedom Conservatives want to re-litigate is that of the first decade of the 21st century. They see a role for a strong government abroad, and they are, in some senses, the heirs to George W. Bush: Pragmatic about domestic policy, deeply concerned about America’s place in the world. Their backers include Wall Street financiers and defense contractors. They get credit for freedom fries. They, too, have been shaped by opposition to Barack Obama, but the spark for them isn’t health care, but the notorious notion of “leading from behind,” and the Obama catastrophe they fret most over centers on the Middle East.

Not every issue maps neatly onto this dichotomy, and politics is not about intellectual consistency or purity. The leaders of both groups, for instance, favor compromise on immigration; the Liberty grassroots oppose it. Conservatives of all stripes have, meanwhile, blasted Obama over the current crisis at the Mexican border. And there are differences of emphasis.The Freedom Conservative elites — from Bill Kristol to John Bolton to Sheldon Adelson — care a lot about foreign policy. Many of the Liberty Conservative leaders have less theory in that realm than instinct — that they’re against it. And the two groups are held together, for now, by a powerful centripetal force: loathing for President Barack Obama.

The words themselves, freedom and liberty, are a classic English pairing, like cow and beef — one Germanic root and one Latin one. They have been used, the American historian Eric Foner noted in an email, more or less interchangeably for years, and there is in fact a substantial and hard-to-get-through philosophical literature as to whether they are “twins” or whether they have different meanings. Isaiah Berlin said in his famous essay on liberty that he would use the words “to mean the same”; Hannah Arendt saw a distinction between the negative “liberty from” and the positive “freedom to.”

In American English, however, the words have acquired new valences in recent years.

“Liberty seems to suggest the ‘don’t tread on me, get the government off my back, do your own thing’ outlook, while freedom seems to suggest a more public, civic set of entitlements, often linked to exercising power of some sort,” Foner said.

“Liberty” is, in particular, the language of reaction, and of a radical turn back toward what its constituents see as America’s founding. “Freedom” also conjures what some on the Liberty right — which has a deep, though not uniform, Christian strain — see as pernicious social trends of the last century: drug legalization, sexual liberalization.

“As ‘freedom’ has expanded into areas that formerly belonged to ‘liberty’, ‘liberty’ has become even more strongly associated with the simple absence of political constraints rather than any positive rights or access to democratic process,” said the Berkeley linguist Geoffrey Nunberg.

The political sides have taken note. The Paul family campaign organization is the Campaign for Liberty. Its hawkish opposite number in Washington is the Center for American Freedom. Other tea leaves are subtler. George W. Bush said the issue in Iraq was freedom and liberty”; the Koch brothers campaign to advance “liberty and freedom” in that order. The lines haven’t yet been clearly drawn — FreedomWorks is a Liberty group, and the Liberty List is a Freedom listserv — but they are starting to clarify.

Presidential politics is always where American political identity is shaped, and these two identities are set to mature in 2016. The candidates are lining up on both sides: The Freedom Conservatives are represented by Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Chris Christie; the Liberty Conservatives by Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.

“You’re seeing skirmishes all over the place, people testing each other,” Michael Goldfarb, a Freedom Conservative (and indeed, the guy who coined that phrase), told my colleague Rosie Gray.

The winner in 2016 may be the most politically adept — whoever is able to plausibly keep a foot in both camps, something Cruz has been working hard on lately.

Meanwhile the two sides are also using language to define each other. Liberty Conservatives call their enemies “neocons.” Freedom Conservatives sling the word “isolationists.” Those of us trying to write about them without taking sides need a new vocabulary.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/bensmith/the-two-kinds-of-republicans

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11 Surprising Facts About Eating Protein http://healthnewsqia.com/11-surprising-facts-about-eating-protein/ Sun, 18 Jun 2017 19:24:47 +0000 http://buzzfeed.com/deenashanker/protein-is-everywhere View this image › ThinkStock 1. Good news: You’re probably already getting more than enough protein! View this image › makingitinla.tumblr.com Most Americans’ diets include more protein than they actually need. Protein should make up 10 to 15% of your daily calorie intake, according to the World Health Organization. That comes out to 46 grams […]

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ThinkStock

1. Good news: You’re probably already getting more than enough protein!

Most Americans’ diets include more protein than they actually need. Protein should make up 10 to 15% of your daily calorie intake, according to the World Health Organization. That comes out to 46 grams per day for most adult women, and 56 grams for most adult men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But most people overshoot that target: A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that American men are consuming an average of 101.9 grams a day, and women an average of 70.1 grams. A single skinless chicken breast, with 54 grams of protein, would satisfy your daily quota.

2. And yes, this is true for most vegetarians and vegans — if they’re eating whole foods.

Gold Circle Films

“If you are a vegan or vegetarian and you’re eating a lot of refined or processed products, you may not be getting enough protein,” says RDN Frances Largeman-Roth, author of Eating In Color: Delicious Healthy Recipes For You and Your Family. But if you’re eating a good variety of whole foods, she says, you probably are. “It’s really a misconception that you can’t get enough protein. It’s just that you’re not sitting down having a steak, which might have 30 to 40 grams in one sitting.”

Because vegans aren’t eating any animal products, they have to pay special attention. “If you follow vegan practices, you need to be sure to eat a variety of grains and beans (to get enough protein), to take in enough calories (so you don’t lose weight), and to find an alternative source for vitamin B12 (the one vitamin that is found only in foods from animal sources),” advises Marion Nestle in her book What To Eat. You can find B12 in some kinds of nutritional yeasts, some fortified soy milks, supplements, and some fake meat products. Just check your nutritional labels to be sure.

Looking for some meatless, high-protein recipes? Here are some ideas for vegans and vegetarians both.

3. Athletes need more protein than the rest of us, but how much varies from person to person.

ABC / gifbay.com

Athletes (meaning someone working out at high intensity five times a week) need more protein than the average person, but how much depends on their sex, their level and type of activity, and other variables. An adult male athlete may need 84 to 119 grams per day, and an adult female athlete may need about 66 to 94 grams, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

If you’re a regular person working out a few times a week for an hour or less each time, you probably don’t need to worry about getting additional protein. If you’re more active, talk to a registered dietitian nutritionist to find out what your protein needs are.

4. You can get all the protein you need from plant-based foods.

 

Proteins are made up of amino acids, and our bodies can produce 11 of the 20 amino acids we need all by themselves. The other nine are known as “essential” amino acids, because we need to get them from our diets. Foods that contain all nine of these acids are referred to as “complete proteins.”

Animal-based foods, like beef, poultry, eggs, and cheese, are considered complete proteins. But so are some plant-based foods like quinoa, soy, buckwheat, and chia seeds. And certain combinations of vegetarian foods (rice and beans, peanut butter and whole wheat bread) can also give you your full helping of amino acids.

5. You don’t need to get all of your amino acids from a single food, or even a single meal.

“Research indicates that an assortment of plant foods eaten over the course of a day can provide all essential amino acids,” says the the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. “Thus complimentary proteins do not need to be consumed at the same meal.”

What’s important, says Largeman-Roth, is that you incorporate a variety of whole foods into your diet so you hit all the amino acids at some point throughout the day.

6. Some sources of protein may surprise you.

Lots of vegetables and grains are good protein sources, even though they don’t have all of the amino acids. Peas, for example, have 9 grams of protein per (cooked) cup; spinach has 5 grams of protein per (cooked) cup; a large stalk of broccoli has 7 grams; and one cup of raw, chopped kale has 2 grams. (For more information about which are the healthiest vegetables, click here.)

Half a cup of cooked brown rice has 2.5 grams of protein; an ear of corn has 3 grams; and whole grain breads have a few grams of protein in each slice (check the label for specifics of particular loaves).

Eating a variety of foods throughout the day, therefore, is likely to give you more than enough protein. “The only food category that really has none is fruit,” says Largeman-Roth.

7. Plant-based proteins come with fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants you won’t find in animal-based proteins.

“You’re actually getting a more complete nutritional picture with plant protein,” says Largeman-Roth, “if they’re coming from whole foods.” Beans, nuts, and whole grains are also loaded with fiber and helpful micronutrients. Vegetables come with vitamins, phytochemicals, and other great stuff. But some animal-based proteins, like marbled beef and whole milk, go hand in hand with unhealthy fats. “Processed red meat commonly contains sodium, nitrates, phosphates and other food additives, and smoked and grilled meats also contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, all of which may contribute to the increased heart failure risk,” said the lead scientist of a study published in an American Heart Association journal in June 2014.

Largeman-Roth says chicken and fish are the best choices for animal protein, and when you have a hankering for red meat, steer yourself (see what I did there?) toward leaner cuts. She recommends including a mix of animal and plant-based proteins in your diet.

8. Eating a variety of foods also limits your exposure to contaminants.

Even foods that are “good for you” usually come with some kind of nutritional downsides. “Variety is not just to be sure you’re getting all of the amino acids, it’s also to avoid contaminants,” says Largeman-Roth. For example, in January 2014, Consumer Reports found that 97% of chicken — including some organic samples — harbor bacteria. Certain kinds of fish are high in mercury. Even some vegetables, depending on the variety and how they’re grown, can absorb high levels of pesticides or environmental toxins. The bottom line: Eat lots of different kinds of food, and don’t rely on any single one for your protein.

9. Protein bars and shakes can be a good snack or between-meal supplement, but choose carefully.

You shouldn’t use protein bars to replace a meal, says Largeman-Roth, but some can be a good post-workout or between-meal snack. “What you want to look for first,” she says, “is a real food as the number one ingredient.” And that ingredient shouldn’t be a sugar, even an organic one.

Look for bars with 8 to 10 grams of protein, about 3 grams of fiber, and a “reasonable amount of sugar.” What’s reasonable depends on whether the sugar is processed versus coming from a natural source like dried fruit. A bar with dried fruit listed as the first or second ingredient should have less than 20 grams of sugar, she says, noting that many such products are not intended as protein bars. “For bars that do not include dried fruit as a main ingredient, there should be no more than about 5 to 7 grams of sugar per bar.”

The source of protein is also important. “Most is coming from soy protein isolate, which is a very broken-down form of soy I do not recommend my clients eating,” Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, and founder of Real Nutrition NYC told BuzzFeed. Look instead for bars made with nuts or whole soybeans.

Protein shakes, says Largeman-Roth “are not necessary, but can be useful for athletes who are refueling.” But you need to choose carefully. In July 2010, Consumer Reports tested 15 protein powders and drinks, and found that several had levels of arsenic, cadmium, or lead exceeding levels considered safe. So do your homework before you buy your next powder!

10. Eating tons of protein probably won’t help you build tons of muscle.

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There isn’t a clear consensus about how much protein our bodies can use in a specific amount of time, but downing a lot at once isn’t likely to help you build muscle.

“Because the body can utilize only about 20 to 25 grams of protein at one dose, you won’t build bigger muscles by eating a slab of beef for dinner or by downing a hefty protein shake for breakfast,” writes sports nutritionist and author Nancy Clark.

In addition, nutritionist Monica Reinagel points out in a broadcast for Scientific American that building muscle is only one way our bodies utilize protein, so consuming too much can backfire. “Protein, beyond what your body needs to replenish its amino acid pool or put to use for muscle building, is metabolized into glucose and used for energy,” she writes. “And whenever you have more glucose than you need, the surplus is stored as fat.”

11. Eating too much protein probably isn’t good for you.

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Protein, like all food, has calories. So if you’re eating extra protein but not cutting your carbs or fat, you’re just eating extra calories, and that can translate into weight gain, a 2012 study at Pennington Biomedical Research Center found.

High-protein diets can also exacerbate problems for people with kidney disease, according to a 2004 study. And other studies indicate that if you’re not discriminating in the source of your proteins, and end up eating a lot of red meat, you might be at a greater risk of heart disease. “People who stay on [high-protein] diets very long may not get enough vitamins and minerals and face other potential health risks,” says the American Heart Association. You can read more about these risks here.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/deenashanker/protein-is-everywhere

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