Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday's health links

  1. Back to school for all of us! Health Canada has teamed up with major food manufacturers to teach us how to interpret nutritional labelling. The campaign is intended to teach consumers how to read labels to identify which nutrients they may want more of, and which they may want less of. It does this by redirecting our eyes to the per cent daily value column so we can focus on how much of the recommended daily intake of certain vitamins and nutrients that one serving of the food contains. The immediate takeaway information - if something has less than 5% of your daily nutritional requirement, that is considered "a little", more than 15% is "a lot." So, you should pick those foods that have "a lot" of the stuff you need and "a little" of the stuff you don't! Sounds obvious, but I think we are overdue for this reminder. Health Canada has a new section on their website to help us out.
  2. Canadian researchers say that women are more likely to report histories of breast and ovarian cancers on their mothers' sides. And women with a maternal history of cancer were five times more likely to be referred for further testing. All this when it is equally likely that the genetic inheritance of breast and ovarian cancers comes from our fathers as our mothers. My dad's mom had a bilateral mastectomy as a relatively young woman. In all of this past year, not once did any of my health care providers talk about the possible link. In fact, I thought paternal history was much less important than maternal. To read more, click here
  3. Increasing the effectiveness of broccoli's cancer-fighting power. Scientists from the University of Illinois say that sulforaphae, broccoli's cancer-fighting agent, can be released from its parent compound by bacteria found in the colon. They say this raises the possibility that we may someday be able to increase broccoli's cancer-fighting ability by boosting the activity of these bacteria. Also noted, less than one serving a day of broccoli is enough to see an anti-cancer benefit - a much lower amount than many of the other foods lauded for cancer prevention.
  4. More on broccoli, from June of this year. A substance produced when you eat broccoli and brussels sprouts, I3C, may block the growth of cancer cells.

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