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Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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25+ Vegan Sources of Calcium

Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati    September 24, 2013

We have all been taught that calcium is an essential nutrient for maintaining bone health (although it has many other uses, including balancing body pH.) There are also a number of other factors that influence bone health, such as an individual’s level of physical activity.

What I want to talk about today though is the myth that animal milks (especially cheeses) are the optimal source of calcium.

As explained by The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM):

“Although many people think of calcium in the diet as good protection for their bones, this is not at all the whole story. In fact, in a 12-year Harvard study of 78,000 women, those who drank milk three times a day actually broke more bones than women who rarely drank milk. Similarly, a 1994 study of elderly men and women in Sydney, Australia, showed that higher dairy product consumption was associated with increased fracture risk. Those with the highest dairy product consumption had approximately double the risk of hip fracture compared to those with the lowest consumption.”

Calcium is an essential nutrient in our diet. But as you can see, not all calcium is equal. Did you know that although animal milks have calcium in them, they also leach calcium from the bones? (This helps explain the outcomes of the studies mentioned above). In fact, all animal proteins leach calcium from our bones!

“Animal protein tends to leach calcium from the bones, leading to its excretion in the urine. Animal proteins are high in sulfur-containing amino acids, especially cystine and methionine. Sulfur is converted to sulfate, which tends to acidify the blood. During the process of neutralizing this acid, bone dissolves into the bloodstream and filters through the kidneys into the urine. Meats and eggs contain two to five times more of these sulfur-containing amino acids than are found in plant foods” – PCRM

Other factors that influence calcium loss and bone health are:

–       Genetics
–       Possibly caffeine
–       Salt
–       Tobacco use
–       Physical inactivity
–       Lack of sun exposure

Another important note to make is about the amount of calcium we actually need on a daily basis:
“The World Health Organization recommends 400-500 milligrams of calcium per day for adults. American standards are higher, at 800 milligrams per day or even more, partly because the meat, salt, tobacco, and physical inactivity of American life leads to rapid calcium loss.” ~ PCRM

So the question remains: How do we get calcium in our diet without leaching calcium from our bones at the same time?
Plants!

There are plenty of calcium-rich plants to get this essential nutrient from. On the next page, I’ve provided a list of plant-based foods to start you off. This list is by no means exhaustive, but provides a good mix of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and grains that are packed with calcium, demonstrating that it’s easy to reach a daily calcium intake anywhere from 400mg to 1000mg (depending on your calcium needs) solely using plant sources.


Whole Food Sources:
Plant (Serving Size, mg of Calcium)

–       Collard greens, cooked (1 cup, 357)
–       Figs, dried (10 medium, 269)*
–       Soybeans, green, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt (1 cup, 261)
–       Turnip greens, cooked (1 cup, 249)
–       Tempeh (1 cup, 184)
–       Kale, cooked (1 cup, 179)
–       Bok choy, cooked (1 cup, 158)
–       Mustard greens, cooked (1 cup, 152)
–       Okra, cooked (1 cup, 135)
–       Navy beans, cooked (1 cup, 126)
–       Almonds, whole (1/4 cup, 94)
–       Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, bengal gram), mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt (1 cup, 80)
–       Oranges, All commercial varieties (1 cup sections, 72)
–       Broccoli, cooked (1 cup, 62)
–       Papayas, raw (1 cup mashed, 46)

Fortified or Packaged:
(Food, Serving Size, mg of Calcium)

–   Tofu, raw, firm, prepared with calcium sulfate. (1/2 cup, 861)
–   Blackstrap molasses (2 Tbsp, 400)
–   Oatmeal, instant (2 packets, 326)
–   Tofu, soft-regular processed with nigari (4 oz, 130-400)
–   Tofu, soft-regular processed with calcium sulfate* (4 oz, 200-420)
–   Soy or rice milk, commercial, calcium-fortified, plain     (8 oz, 200-300)
–   Other plant milks, calcium-fortified (8 oz, 300-500)
–   Calcium-fortified orange juice (8 oz 350)
–   Commercial soy yogurt, plain (6 oz, 300)
–   Tahini (2 Tbsp, 128)
–   Almond butter (2 Tbsp, 111)

Sources:
USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 24, 2011 and manufacturers’ information.
*J.A.T. Pennington, Bowes and Church’s Food Values of Portions Commonly Used. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1994.)
Vegan SocietyHuffington PostNIH – Calcium Quick FactsT Colin Campbell T Colin Campbell

source: care2.com
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Positive outlook in heart disease tied to fewer deaths

By Genevra Pittman    NEW YORK     Fri Sep 20, 2013

(Reuters Health) – People with heart disease who are more upbeat and excited tend to live longer than those who don’t have such a positive outlook, a new study suggests, possibly because they are often more active.

Researchers surveyed people with ischemic heart disease – when the heart doesn’t get enough blood due to narrowed arteries – and found earning a high score on measures of “positive affect” was tied to a greater chance of being a regular exerciser and a lower risk of dying over the next five years.

“It adds to the body of literature suggesting that there may be relationships between positive affect … and all-cause mortality,” Richard Sloan, who studies psychological risk factors and heart disease at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, said.

But, “It’s going to take more than this to be confident that there’s a link in the way we’re confident there’s a link between depression and (a higher risk of) heart disease,” Sloan, who didn’t participate in the new research, told Reuters Health.

The new study included 607 heart patients who were seen at one Danish hospital.

Susanne S. Pedersen from Tilburg University in The Netherlands and her colleagues asked the patients about their quality of life, mood and lifestyle habits including physical activity in 2005. Then they used death and hospital records to track participants through 2010.

On a mood scale ranging from 0 to 40, where higher scores indicate feeling more relaxed, self-confident and excited, half of participants scored a 24 or above. (Negative affect was measured separately – so a person could score high or low on measures of both positive attitude and insecurity or helplessness.)

During the follow-up period, 30 of the high positive affect patients died of any cause, compared to 50 people with a lower positive attitude score.

Some of that association appeared to be driven by exercise habits, the researchers found. People with high mood scores were more likely than other participants to say they exercised at least once a week, and exercisers were half as likely to die as non-exercisers.


There was not a clear difference, however, in how often people were hospitalized for heart-related conditions, based on their positivity. During the study period, about half of all participants were hospitalized for a heart attack, heart failure or chest pain, for example, according to findings published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

The researchers said past studies also found a link between having a positive outlook and better heart health, but it was unclear what explained the association.

“There is some evidence to suggest that even among people who are already ill, who already have heart disease or diabetes or related conditions, that those people who are happier also have better outcomes,” Julia Boehm from Chapman University in Orange, California, who has studied psychological wellbeing and heart health, said.

Health behaviors such as exercise are one possible explanation for that link, she told Reuters Health. Some researchers have also proposed another mechanism, suggesting optimism may affect physiologic processes in the body that would ultimately influence heart health, such as inflammation levels.

Pedersen and her colleagues noted that they did not have information on participants’ type or intensity of exercise. The researcher also said the study can’t say how exercise and positive affect may be linked.

“We do not know what comes first (also known as the ‘chicken and egg’ problem) and thus cannot make any conclusions about the direction of causality – is it exercise that increases positive affect or positive affect that leads to more exercise with an effect on mortality or both?” Pedersen told Reuters Health in an email.

“Irrespectively, it cements what we already know – namely that exercise is good for the heart.”

Boehm, who wasn’t involved in the new research, said there isn’t enough evidence to tell people with heart disease to be happier or more optimistic in order to improve their outcomes. But she agreed with Pedersen that there are data to support recommending exercise to those people for heart health.

“Hopefully you would have the added benefit of feeling more happy (and) optimistic,” she said.

SOURCE: bit.ly/1f1uPMa Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, online September 10, 2013.
 


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The Best Way to Conquer Fear? Sleep on It

By Maia Szalavitz     Sept. 23, 20130    

A new technique makes it possible to sleep away your fears.

The research, which was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, showed for the first time that the power of emotional memories — specifically, fearful ones — can be weakened with sleep-based tactics, which offers hope that something as simple as a good night’s slumber may reduce phobias and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Researchers led by Katherina Hauner, who conducted the study as a postdoctoral student at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, studied 15 participants who were taught to fear images of particular men’s faces by receiving mild but uncomfortable shocks whenever these faces were shown. Each of the target visages was accompanied by a recurrent odor that the participants chose because they didn’t have any prior emotional associations. (Smells are especially linked with memories of feelings.)

The participants then took a nap. While they slept, the researchers repeatedly reintroduced the odors, including the ones linked to the target faces and a shock — but this time, without the shock.

It was obvious that the smells affected the sleepers. Although they weren’t awake, when the fear-linked odors were wafted in their direction, their skin conductance, which measures emotional arousal, rose. But over time, with repeated exposure, that response declined. (The scientists intentionally chose smells that don’t normally activate pain nerves — like strong peppermint — that can wake people up.)

When the participants faced the scary images after their nap, they were less likely to flinch. In other words, their fear response had been reduced while they slept. And the longer they slept and were exposed to the scent, the less afraid they were when they awoke.

“Individual memories related to fearful events can be specifically targeted and changed during sleep,” says Hauner. “To my knowledge, this is the first [experiment] to show that emotional memories can be manipulated during sleep in humans.”


While she cautions that this technique is not yet ready for clinical use, if other scientists repeat and investigate the process more deeply, it could one day be added to exposure therapy, which is the most effective treatment for phobias and is also used for PTSD. Exposure involves having people engage in their feared experiences gradually — while they are awake — until they learn not to overreact. But because they are conscious of having to face their fears, many patients refuse even to try it. If some of this exposure work could be done while they were asleep, more people might benefit from the therapy.

“[Exposure therapy] is extremely stressful, especially at the beginning,” Hauner says. “It’s very effective for specific phobias and not as good for PTSD. It can be a very difficult process, so anything we can do to enhance it would be good.”

Why would sleeping on a fearful experience diminish its power? Researchers believe that one of the main functions of sleep is to consolidate memories so they can be stored to make room for new memories, therefore freeing up more brain capacity. (Dreams, in fact, may be the replaying of those memories during this processing and storage.)

One element of a memory involves emotion, which flags the memories that should be kept and those that are filed away or even deleted. But each time a memory is brought up, recalled and stored again, it can be changed in subtle ways. That’s why an unconscious experience like smelling a scent during sleep can reshape the memory so its emotional poignancy — in this case, fear — is attenuated so the next time it is activated, it’s less emotionally powerful.

Other research also suggests that emotional memories may be processed in different ways than neutral ones, and that sleep tends to reduce emotional intensity. “In general, the idea is that maybe sleep helps to increase our memory but reduce our worries,” says Bjorn Rasch, a professor of cognitive biopsychology at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, who was not associated with the research, noting that this may be why anxiety disorders and depression are often accompanied by sleep problems.

The new study suggests we may be able to hack this mechanism to fight troubling memories — and get closer to one day sleeping them off.

source:  Time


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Coping with depression

By Mayo Clinic staff

Coping with depression can be challenging. Talk to your doctor or therapist about improving your coping skills, and try these tips:


  •     Simplify your life. Cut back on obligations when possible, and set reasonable goals for yourself. Give yourself permission to do less when you feel down.
  •     Consider writing in a journal. Journaling can improve mood by allowing you to express pain, anger, fear or other emotions.
  •     Read reputable self-help books and websites. Your doctor or therapist may be able to recommend books to read.
  •     Join a support group. Connecting with others facing similar challenges can help you cope. Local support groups for depression are available in many communities, and support groups for depression are also offered online.
  •     Don’t become isolated. Try to participate in social activities, and get together with family or friends regularly.
  •     Take care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep.
  •     Learn ways to relax and manage your stress. Examples include meditation, yoga and tai chi.
  •     Structure your time. Plan your day and activities. You may find it helpful to make a list of daily tasks, use sticky notes as reminders or use a planner to stay organized.
  •     Don’t make important decisions when you’re down. Avoid decision making when you’re feeling very depressed, since you may not be thinking clearly.
source: Mayo Clinic


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Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is derived from the peppermint plant – a cross between water mint and spearmint – that thrives in Europe and North America.

Peppermint oil is commonly used as flavoring in foods and beverages and as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetics. Peppermint oil also is used for a variety of health conditions and can be taken orally in dietary supplements or topically as a skin cream or ointment.

Some evidence suggests that peppermint oil may help relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and indigestion. But despite promising research, there is no clear-cut evidence to support its use for other health conditions.

When used as directed, dietary supplements and skin preparations containing peppermint oil are likely safe for most adults.

Peppermint oil may cause side effects such as heartburn and it may interact with certain medications. Talk to your health care provider before using peppermint oil.

Medicinal Uses of Peppermint Oil

In dietary supplements, peppermint oil has been tried for a variety of digestive problems including:

  •     Irritable bowel syndrome
  •     Indigestion
  •     Heartburn

Dietary supplements containing peppermint oil are also used by some people for the following conditions, although there is no clear evidence that they are helpful:

  •     Nausea
  •     Vomiting
  •     Morning sickness
  •     Cramps of the upper gastrointestinal tract and bile ducts
  •     Diarrhea
  •     Bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine
  •     Gas
  •     Colds
  •     Coughs
  •     Inflammation of the mouth and throat
  •     Sinus and respiratory infections
  •     Menstrual problems
  •     Liver and gallbladder problems

Skin preparations containing peppermint oil are used by some people for the following conditions, although, again, there is no clear evidence that they are helpful:

  •     Headache
  •     Muscle pain
  •     Nerve pain
  •     Toothache
  •     Inflammation of the mouth
  •     Joint conditions
  •     Itchiness
  •     Allergic rash
  •     Bacterial and viral infections
  •     Repelling mosquitoes

In addition, peppermint oil vapor is sometimes inhaled to treat symptoms of colds and coughs. Also, some doctors add peppermint oil to a barium solution to relax the colon during barium enemas.


Benefits of Peppermint Oil

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, several studies suggest that enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules – which allow the oil to pass through the stomach so it can dissolve in the intestines – may help relieve common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome such as abdominal pain, bloating, and gas. Non-enteric coated forms of peppermint oil, however, actually may cause or worsen heartburn and nausea.

Preliminary studies also suggest that dietary supplements containing a combination of peppermint oil and caraway oil may help relieve indigestion.

According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, which rates effectiveness of natural remedies based on scientific evidence, peppermint oil is possibly effective for:

  •     Heartburn
  •     Irritable bowel syndrome
  •     Tension headaches
  •     Relaxing the colon during barium enemas or radiologic procedures

The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates peppermint oil as possibly ineffective for nausea following surgery, and concludes there is insufficient evidence to rate its effectiveness for conditions such as:

  •     Shingles
  •     Dental plaque
  •     Itchy skin
  •     Urinary tract infections
  •     Morning sickness
  •     Nausea and vomiting
  •     Painful menstrual periods
  •     Bacteria overgrowth in the intestines
  •     Lung infections
  •     Spasms of the stomach and gallbladder
  •     Cough and symptoms of cold
  •     Inflammation of mouth and respiratory tract lining
  •     Muscle or nerve pain


Side Effects of Peppermint Oil

In most adults, the small doses of peppermint oil contained in dietary supplements and skin preparations appear to be safe. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, however, should avoid such products because little is known about their safety during pregnancy and lactation.

Possible side effects of peppermint oil include:

  •     Heartburn
  •     Allergic reactions such as flushing, headache, and mouth sores
  •     Anal burning during bouts of diarrhea

Although enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules may reduce the risk of heartburn, their protective coating can break down more quickly and increase the risk of heartburn when taken at the same time as prescription and over-the-counter medications that decrease stomach acid and which are often used for heartburn or acid reflux. It’s best to take such drugs at least two hours after taking enteric-coated peppermint oil products. A stomach condition called achlorhydria, in which the stomach doesn’t produce hydrochloric acid, also may hasten the coating’s breakdown. So people with the condition are advised against using peppermint oil.

Possible Drug Interactions With Peppermint Oil

Before taking peppermint oil, discuss the risks and benefits with your health care provider. Some supplements can interact with medicine. Interactions can be harmful or make medications not work as they should.

Be cautious about combining peppermint oil with certain drugs because it may inhibit the body’s ability to metabolize the drugs and increase the risk of side effects. According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, there is a moderate risk in combining peppermint oil with the immunosuppressant drug cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) and many different medications that are changed and broken down by the liver.

source:  webmd.com


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10 Magical Effects Music Has On the Mind

Music can improve verbal IQ, aid in heart disease treatment, evoke colours in the mind and even help you see happy faces all around.
Every fan of music knows the tremendous power it can have over both thoughts and emotions.

Great music can transform an ordinary day into something magical, even spiritual. It can provide solace, release, strong sensations and more.

But music’s influence spreads further still: right up from our genetic code, through our thoughts and bodies and out into how we relate in groups.

1. Improve verbal IQ

Practising the piano won’t just improve your musical abilities, it can also improve your visual and verbal skills.

A study of 8 to 11-year-olds found that, those who had extra-curricular music classes, developed higher verbal IQ, and visual abilities, in comparison to those with no musical training (Forgeard et al., 2008).

This shows the benefits of learning an instrument are not purely musical, but extend into cognition and visual perception.

2. Feeling the chills

Have you ever felt chills down your spine while listening to music? According to a study by Nusbaum and Silvia (2010), over 90% of us have.

How much you feel, though, depends on your personality. People who are high in one of the five personality dimensions called ‘openness to experience’, are likely to feel the most chills while listening to music.

In the study, people high in openness to experience were more likely to play a musical instrument, and more likely to rate music as important to them.

3. Active listening amps up happiness

If you’re not feeling the chills, perhaps you should try a little harder.

A recent study contradicts the old advice that actively trying to feel happier is useless.

In research by Ferguson and Sheldon (2013), participants who listened to upbeat classical compositions by Aaron Copland, while actively trying to feel happier, felt their moods lift more than those who passively listened to the music.

This suggests that engaging with music, rather than allowing it to wash over us, gives the experience extra emotional power.

4. Singing together brings us together

Since music is often a social activity, making it together can help bring us together.

A study of almost one thousand Finnish pupils who took part in extended music classes, found they reported higher satisfaction at school in almost every area, even those not related to the music classes themselves (Eerola & Eerola, 2013)

Explaining the results, the lead researcher Päivi-Sisko Eerola, said:

“Singing in a choir and ensemble performance are popular activities at extended music classes. Other studies have established that people find it very satisfying to synchronize with one another. That increases affiliation within the group and may even make people like each other more than before.”


5. Music treats heart disease

…or at least it can help with the stress and anxiety associated with having treatment for coronary heart disease.

A review of 23 studies covering almost 1,500 patients found that listening to music reduced heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety in heart disease patients (Bradt & Dileo, 2009).

6. Why sad music lifts you up

‘Mood management’ is the number one reason people love music.

And, all music fans know that music can have a cathartic effect. But, it’s still odd that, for some people, sad music can, under the right circumstances, improve their mood. Why?

According to a study by Kawakami et al. (2013), sad music is enjoyable because it creates an interesting mix of emotions; some negative, some positive.

Crucially, we perceive the negative emotions in the music, but don’t feel them strongly.

7. Seeing happy faces

Music may make you feel different, but as little as 15 seconds of music can change the way you judge the emotions on other people’s faces as well.

A study by Logeswaran et al. (2009) found that a quick blast of happy music made participants perceive other’s faces as happier. The same was true for a snatch of sad music. The biggest effect was seen when people looked at faces with a neutral expression.

In other words: people projected the mood of the music they were listening to onto other people’s faces.

8. The colour of music

Music naturally makes people think of certain colours. Across different cultures, people pair particular types of music with particular colours.

In a study by Palmer et al. (2013), people from both Mexico and the US showed remarkable similarities in connecting duller, darker colours with sadder pieces of music and lighter, more vivid colours with happier music.

A follow-up study showed that these music-to-colour associations were seen because of the emotional content of the music.

9. Could music bring back your vision?

In 60% of people who have a stroke, the visual areas of the brain are affected.

This leads to ‘visual neglect’: the patient loses awareness of objects on the opposite side to where the brain has been damaged.

But, studies have found, when patients listen to their favourite music, some of their visual attention is restored (Tsai et al., 2013).

So, music can be an important tool in rehabilitation for stroke patients.

10. Babies are born to dance!

Infants as young as five-months-old respond rhythmically to music and seem to find it more interesting than speech.

In a study by Zentner and Eerola (2010), the babies spontaneously danced to all different types of music, and those that were most in time also smiled the most.

Maybe music really is in our genes!

source: PSYBLOG


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Top 10 Genetically Modified Food Products

By Diana Bocco

Like humans, all organisms have genetic material. When scientists alter genetic material, or DNA, it’s called genetic modification (GM). Genetically modifying foods or food crops can enhance taste and quality, increase nutrients or improve resistance to pests and disease. In some cases, GM foods help conserve natural resources, because the altered version might require less water or energy for processing.

The first genetically modified food to reach our tables was the Flavr Savr tomato. Grown in California, the Flavr Savr tomato received Food and Drug Administration approval in 1994, after two years of testing and assessment. Mounting costs made the crop unprofitable, however, and production ceased in 1997. Creation of the Flavr Savr opened the doors for other GM foods to make their way into our kitchens.

In the U.S., genetic modification has expanded into almost every area of food production. Scientists can introduce some sort of modification into the genes of crops, dairy products and animals. For example, ranchers and dairy farmers normally feed cattle a GM diet, which is in turn passed on to you when you drink milk or eat beef. Do you need to worry about what’s on your family’s dinner table? And are there some surprising benefits to GM foods? As you’ll see, this subject is one hot potato.

10. Sugar Beets
The sugar beet is one of the newest GM foods and one under severe scrutiny. Researchers produced an herbicide-resistant crop of GM sugar beets that was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2008 but banned in August 2010. The genetic modification was meant to improve production because beets grow slowly and tend to battle for light and nutrients with nearby weeds. In 2010, however, federal judge Jeffrey S. White revoked the USDA approval of genetically-modified sugar beets based on the USDA’s failure to present an Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”). Until an EIS is conducted, planting, harvesting and processing of GM sugar beets has been halted .

Safety and Labeling of GM Foods
Regulation of GM foods varies from country to country. As of 2010, 35 nations around the world (including most of Europe) require labeling of GM foods if the food contains more than 0.9 percent of GMOs. In the U.S. and Canada, labeling is not mandatory. This makes identifying GMs much more difficult. The two easiest ways to avoid GM foods are: Look for packaging that has a clear non-GM label on the front or buy organic.

9. Potatoes
In 1991, the World Health Organization challenged scientists to look for a way to make vaccines accessible to everyone. This would mean that children in impoverished areas of the world wouldn’t have to travel for hours to a nearby village to get a shot. The scientists succeeded faster than expected, creating a cholera vaccine-like component by injecting a series of genes into a potato. These genes prompt the human immune system to produce its own cholera antibodies or “vaccine.” . The “anti-cholera potatoes” have not made it to the market yet; scientists need to figure out how to package the potatoes to easily distribute and market them.

Protecting potato crops is important too. Researchers are working on a way to produce potatoes that are resistant to disease caused by Phytophthora infestans. Phytophthora infestans can kill entire crops rapidly and was the cause of the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s.

People eat only 25 percent of the potatoes grown around the world today. The rest are used to feed livestock and in the starch industry. Scientists also are trying to find ways to make the potato easier to process so it can be of more use in the production of glue and lubricants. These potatoes would not be available for human consumption.

8. Corn
Bt-corn (named after the Bacillus thruringiensis bacterium) is a form of sweet corn that has been genetically modified to include an insect-killing gene. This means the farmer doesn’t have to spray with pesticides, because the insects die from eating the corn. No spraying means less harm to the environment and the workers handling the toxic spray . The move has caused debate, however. The same gene that attacks corn predators also appears to kill the Monarch butterfly.

According to the USDA, farmers in every state in the U.S. are growing at least some GM corn at any given time. The numbers are higher in the Southern and Midwestern regions, but South Dakota leads the pack, lending 47 percent of its corn crops to GM varieties. Because the U.S. is the largest producer of corn in the world, these numbers have a significant impact beyond the American borders.

7. Tomatoes
Although tomatoes were the first genetically modified food to reach the market, they have since been altered for only one reason: to make them last longer. GM tomatoes don’t rot as quickly as regular tomatoes, so they can tolerate longer periods of transportation. GM tomatoes also can be left to mature on the plants, rather than being picked green. This results in a more tasty tomato that doesn’t need to be stored until ripening.

The original GM tomatoes were resistant to antibiotics. This raised concerns that the gene might be passed on to humans, making us more resistant to antibiotics and in turn less capable of fighting infectious diseases. New forms of GM tomatoes don’t contain these genes, however.

Lematos
A team of Israeli scientists successfully combined a tomato and a lemon (actually, the gene known as ocimum basilicum geraniol synthase, which gives lemons their smell and taste) in 2007, creating what they called a lemato. The lemato is slightly red and has a mild, fruity smell. A panel of 82 testers identified the smell as “lemongrass” or “rose-like perfume.” The lemato has a longer shelf life than tomatoes and is more resistant to pests. However, the lemato doesn’t have the same high content of antioxidant lycopene that a tomato has. The lemato is not planned for production anytime soon. The team simply wanted to see if it was possible to change the aroma of a vegetable or fruit to make it more appealing.


6. Squash
Squash is more prone than some crops to viral diseases, which is why it was genetically modified to ensure crop survival. The original purpose was achieved, but the modification backfired in an unexpected way. It seems cucumber beetles that carry bacterial wilt disease like to feed on healthy plants, like the GM squash. After visiting unhealthy plants, they land on the nice, healthy GM squash plant and pig out, wounding the leaves and leaving open holes on them. When the beetles’ feces fall on the leaves, they’re absorbed into the stem and cause bacterial wilt disease.

Experts also believe that the GM squash may have already found its way into the wild by accident. GM foods are meant to be grown under controlled environments, in well-tended fields. If they’re introduced and mixed with wild varieties of the same species, a number of unpredictable environmental issues could occur, such as gene transfer or the plants becoming more vulnerable to bacterial diseases.

5. Golden Rice
Golden rice was first created to fight vitamin A deficiency, which affects 250 million people around the world and can cause blindness and even death. Rice is one of the most common foods on Earth. In fact, almost half of the world’s population survives on a single daily bowl of rice. Because getting vitamin supplements to every single person on the planet would be impossible, scientists believed that the answer was to create a grain of rice that already had vitamin A in it. And so golden rice was born. Its name came from the bright golden glow added beta-carotene causes. The body converts beta carotene into vitamin A .

Scientists now are working on a new GM rice. This new variety would have an iron gene, causing the grain of rice to become an important source of iron. Iron-deficiency causes low-birth-weight babies and anemia, both of which can be fatal. It hasn’t been possible to combine both vitamin A and iron in the same grain, but scientists are hopeful that this will be possible at some point in the future.

4. Soybean
As of 2004, 85 percent of the soybeans grown on U.S. soil have been genetically modified Because soy is widely used in the production of other items (including cereal, baked products, chocolate and even ice cream), chances are everybody in the U.S. is eating GM soy. It might be worth noting, however, that tofu and soy sauce are usually made from non-GM soybeans, a variation from most other soy products, which likely are GM-based. The bulk of the soybean crop is not destined to human consumption but instead used for livestock feed. For those who aren’t vegetarians, this becomes another source of GM foods, as the gene is passed on through the meat.

3. Oils
We don’t normally think of oils as part of our food list, but the truth is that they’re not only for cooking and flavoring, but show up as an ingredient in a large number of prepackaged foods we eat on a regular basis.

The U.S., India and China are the world’s largest producers of GM cottonseed oil. As a result, it’s hard to avoid this GM food, even if you don’t buy it bottled. In the U.S., GM-modified oils are sold as cooking oils, but also commonly used for frying snacks such as potato chips and also used in the production of margarine . Canola or rapeseed oil became an important crop only after being genetically modified. Before that, the oil was too bitter to be used in foods. The modification did away with the bitterness and also increased rapeseed’s resistance to herbicides. This allows crops to be sprayed with weed-control products without running the risk of affecting the actual crops.

2. Animal feed
A large percentage of animal feed is made up of crops such as soybeans. The world’s three largest producers and exporters of soybeans, the U.S., Argentina and Brazil, all grow mostly GM soybeans. This means the chances of livestock eating GM feed is very high, no matter where in the world you live. While not all corn is genetically modified, it is simply cheaper and more efficient to feed livestock the crops that are GM. The same is true of GM rapeseed oil used in the production and processing of animal feed.

A large part of the GM presence in animal feed does not come from foodstuff but instead from additives aimed at making food more nutritious. Animal feed is commonly enhanced with vitamins, amino acids, enzymes and even coloring. These additives are passed on to the animal’s system and eventually make their way into your body when you consume meat, eggs or dairy products. Traces of GM cannot, however, be detected in animal by-products, so it’s impossible to know if an animal was raised on GM-enhanced feed. Unless you buy organic meat and dairy products, it might be impossible to determine what you’re eating.

Coming Soon to Your Table – Whether You Want It or Not
Genetic modification of animals is not as simple and clear-cut as you might imagine. In 2002, a number of female pigs were injected with cow genes to increase their milk production and improve milk digestion, causing their piglets to grow faster. The piglets that were supposed to be destroyed were instead sold to livestock brokers and processed for meat. There was no control or follow-up on those specific animals, so although they ended up in grocery stores fried up as bacon, it’s impossible to know who ate them and where.

1. Salmon
Genetically engineered food from animals might not be on the market yet, but a few already have been approved. GM salmon is, as we speak, on its way to our dinner table. Wild salmon matures slowly, taking up to three years to reach its full size. GM salmon, on the other hand, not only will grow faster but also should reach about twice the size of its wild cousin. The creators of the GM salmon, a private company called AquaBounty, promises to harvest the salmon before it reaches its full size, thus preventing “giant” versions . The GM salmon, known as AquAdvantage, is meant to be grown in fish farms. According to proponents of the modification, this would reduce fishing of wild salmon, in turn protecting both the wild population of fish and the environment from human intrusion.

Ironically, the major concern in the production of GM salmon is its impact on the environment. Although the genetically engineered fish is supposed to be sterile, experts believe there’s no way this can be ensured, because DNA tends to mutate over time .

source: discovery.com