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Vegetables Watered With Wastewater May Spread Chronic Diseases

Vegetables and plants grown with wastewater are dangerous to health

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African vegetables and plants
Vegetables and plants. Photo Credit: Pexels/Pixabay

An international team of researchers from Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Germany found that wastewater used to grow vegetables could spread diseases in Africa. Led by scientists from the University of Birmingham, the researchers found virulent human pathogens in sewer water samples taken from canals in Ouagadougou, the 2.2 million peopled capital of Burkina Faso.

The study was published in the journal Environmental Research.

Access to Clean Water Will Stop the Spread of Bacteria from the Environment to People

Scarcity of natural water makes many urban farmers in Africa to grow vegetables using sewer water –water mixed with waste matter. This causes powerful germs to invade and grow in the plants, causing diarrhea, chronic gastritis and gastroenteritis among other diseases that cause death in low and middle-income countries.

Having found various antibiotic resistance genes in water from the canals, the researchers noted that bacteria and antimicrobial resistance could become commonplace among animals and humans. Using wastewater for urban agriculture, they found, is dangerous for human and animal health.

Professor Laura Piddock, of the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Microbiology and Infection, revealed wastewater must not be used anymore to irrigate vegetable farms. This is to prevent exposure to fecal pathogens and other associated risks. She noted that antibiotic resistant bacteria appear to breed and thrive in African wastewater.

“There is also an urgent need to improve global access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene in low and middle-income countries to help prevent bacterial resistance spreading from the environment to people,” Piddock said.

A UN study reveals that up to 90% of vegetables consumed by city dwellers are grown by about 200 million urban agriculturists globally. Dr. Blaise Bougnon of the University of Yaounde in Cameroon said that about 80% of city vegetable growers rely on untreated sewer water to irrigate plant farms.

Scarcity of Water and Poor Hygiene Cause Thousands to Die Annually From Preventable Diseases

This development has caused an increase in antibiotic multi-resistant bacteria. These bacteria are not treatable with most antibiotics and therapies we have in the market today. Only very rare and expensive drugs can combat these resistant bacteria. And since most people cannot afford these expensive drugs, morbidity and mortality result.

Research proved that humans and animals excrete between 50% and 90% of administered antiobics back into the environment. This causes the excreted drugs to remain in the soil and water for many years where plants and fish could absorb them.

According to the World Health Organization, up to 850,000 people die every year from diarrhea infections in poor countries. This is largely due to insufficent water, poor hygiene and unchecked sanitation.

 

Leila and her parents migrated to the United States in 1990. She grew up in Brooklyn but eventually attended U of C, Davis where she studied Health Sciences. She has written for several local newspapers but currently contributes to HNO. She juggles this with working as a personal trainer and physical therapist.

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Why Chilli Peppers Make Food Spicy and Why You Have Runny Nose Eating Them

Chilli peppers contain capsaicin – a spicy compound with immense health benefits

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capsaicin in chilli peppers for spicy foods
The capsaicin in chilli peppers make foods hot and spicy. Photo Credit: englishlikeanative/Pixabay

Almost everyone have their nose running and their stomach churning when they consume hot, spicy foods. Foods that cause an instant burning sensation in the mouth are prepared with chilli peppers among other spicy ingredients. Peppers have a piquant burning taste because they contain capsaicin – a compound that creates the burning sensation in the mouth and excites the mucus glands in the nose.

Scientists say it is good that that your eyes get teary and your nose runs when consuming spicy, peppery foods. In fact, the stomach also secretes excess fluid in response to chilly pepper in foods. And then, some people stool a number of times because their gastrointestinal tract secrete extra mucus to deal with the capsaicin-induced hotness in the meal they just consumed.

How the Body Responds To the Capsaicin Compound in Chilli Peppers

Dr. Brett Comer, a ear, nose, and throat specialist at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine said the nose begins to run immediately and sneezing may occur when people eat chilli pepper in spicy foods because the body naturally produces liquid to flush out offensive substances.

“When your mouth or throat encounters any foreign object that’s noxious, the thinking is that liquid helps to move that out,” Comer explains.

Researchers said chilli peppers make the body hot because capsaicin binds with a particular pain receptor to make itself felt. The effect of the compound in the mouth creates a feeling of hotness and even makes the portion of the skin where it is applied red with dilated blood.

Anthony Dickenson, a professor of neuropharmacology at University College London, wrote at the conclusion of a study that capsaicin in chilli peppers have physiological and therapeutic effects on the body.

“This excitation leads to the feeling of heat or burning pain, blood vessel dilatation, reddening of the skin and body temperature elevation,” Dickenson said.

Health Benefits of Chilli Peppers and Why People Like the Pains Associated With Capsaicin

Some medication creams recommended for arthritis contain capsaicin, and this triggers a hot sensation on the part of the body where it is applied. When the compound excites this part of the body, the hotness numbs the pain receptors and reduce arthritis pains.

While capsaicin has been demonstrated to combat pain, it has also been proven to improve heart and metabolic functions. Some studies found that capsaicin also makes cells to die slowly in a way that prevent cell mutations that cause cancers. A few other studies found that capsaicin in pepper prevents the accumulation of fat in the waistline and around internal organs of the body – thereby reducing the chances of obesity.

Theorists have often wondered why people cannot do without eating peppers in their food despite the fact that spicy capsaicin makes their noses run and their bodies hot. Paul Rozin, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, said this could be because people like to push the limits of what they can take – they like the hot spiciness in peppers since it enables them to test the limit of pains they can put up with.

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You Increase Your Chances of Dying Early When You Eat Red and Processed Meats

Eating small amounts of red and processed may negatively impact your health and lifespan

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Red and processed meat bad for health. Photo Credit: Pxhere

A new research reveals that eating red and processed meats increases the chances of dying early. The study shows that eating even small amounts of red or processed meat has the same risks. The highest risk of early death comes from cardiovascular disease, although there is the risk of death from all medical causes.

The study was published by researchers from the Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center in the journal in Nutrients as part of the Special Issue, Dietary Assessment in Nutritional Epidemiology: Public Health Implications for Promoting Lifelong Health.

The Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2) is titled “Red and Processed Meat and Mortality in a Low Meat Intake Population.” The AHS-2 is a potential age bracket study aimed at 96,000 Seventh Day Adventist members in the U.S. and Canada. AHS-2 is led by Gary E. Fraser, professor of medicine and epidemiology at Loma Linda University of Health.

Half the population of Seventh Day Adventists eats only vegetables and no meat. And those who do eat only small amounts – about two ounces or less per day. This practice encouraged researchers to investigate the health effects of consuming low amounts of red and processed meat as against total abstinence from meat.

Processed meat is a meat prepared to improve its flavor, taste and texture through curing, salting, drying, smoking and other chemical means.

The research examined the deaths of 7,900 people over 11 years. Out of these, 2,600 died from cardiovascular disease and more than 1,800 died from cancer.

The study found that eating processed meat alone does not raise the dangers of mortality. But a lifestyle intake of both red and processed meat is linked to death from various health factors, including cardiovascular disease.

“We wanted to take a closer look at the association of low intakes of red and processed meat with all-cause, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer mortality compared to those who didn’t eat meat at all,” said Saeed Mastour Alshahrani.

Alshahrani is the lead author of the study and a doctoral student at Loma Linda University School of Public Health.

Co-authors of the study said their findings further lend credence to existing proofs that eating red and processed meat may impact longevity of life and quality of health in a negative way.

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Scott Gottlieb Steps Down As FDA Chief; Ned Sharpless Steps Up As Acting Commissioner

Scott Gottlieb steps down as FDA chief, with Ned Sharpless announced as new acting commissioner

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Ned Sharpless, new acting commissioner for the FDA
Norman “Ned”Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute, is named acting FDA commissioner. (H. Darr Beiser/National Cancer Institute)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief Scott Gottlieb is stepping down. Gottlieb will be leaving FDA in April after nearly two years at the health regulation agency. The head of the National Cancer Institute (NIS), Dr. Norman “Ned” Sharpless, has been tipped to take his place as acting commissioner.

Sharpless is the current head of the cancer division at NIS, and might permanent head the FDA following his confirmation. Sharpless obtained a medical degree from the University of North Carolina in 1993. He worked at the university for many years as a professor and administrator before being called to NIS. He had been heading the National Cancer Institute since October 2017.

Although the Health and Human Services announced Sharpless as the new acting commissioner for the FDA, President Donald Trump may nominate him for the job. Health legislators will have to quiz him rigorously before his final confirmation by the Senate.

Announcing his retirement, Gottlieb said he plans to spend more time with his family and possibly undertake some private business.

Health experts and industry stakeholders consider him one of the best brains to have managed the FDA. Under the Trump administration, he effectively managed rising drug costs, reduced teenagers’ use of e-cigarettes and put a foot down on opioid scourge. He fought to cut nicotine levels in cigarettes so that smokers will find them less attractive, among other ambitious public health initiatives.

Sharpless had always been in support to help the FDA reduce teenage vaping and the overall use of tobacco products. Gottlieb in a tweet commended Sharpless and expressed hopes that he is the most suitable man to wear his shoes at the FDA.

“Ned is a friend to FDA, a great public health champion, a dedicated physician, and will be warmly welcomed into his new role,” Gottlieb tweeted. “FDA will benefit greatly from his leadership.”

The FDA is tasked with regulating food, drugs, tobacco and medical device use in the United States. The agency also monitors public health threats such as epidemics and rare disease outbreaks such as Ebola.

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