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5 Foods That Can Trigger a Stroke

By Melanie Haiken, Caring.com

Few things feel more terrifying and random than a stroke, which can strike without warning. And fear of stroke — when a blood vessel in or leading to the brain bursts or is blocked by a blood clot, starving brain cells of oxygen and nutrients — is well founded. After all, stroke is the number-three killer in the U.S., affecting more than 700,000 people each year. Here are five foods that cause the damage that leads to stroke.

1. Crackers, chips, and store-bought pastries and baked goods

Muffins, doughnuts, chips, crackers, and many other baked goods are high in trans fats, which are hydrogenated oils popular with commercial bakeries because they stay solid at room temperature, so the products don’t require refrigeration. Also listed on labels as “partially hydrogenated” or hydrogenated oils, trans fats are found in all kinds of snack foods, frozen foods, and baked goods, including salad dressings, microwave popcorn, stuffing mixes, frozen tater tots and French fries, cake mixes, and whipped toppings. They’re also what makes margarine stay in a solid cube. The worst offenders are fried fast foods such as onion rings, French fries, and fried chicken.

Why it’s bad

For years scientists have known trans fats are dangerous artery-blockers, upping the concentrations of lipids and bad cholesterol in the blood and lowering good cholesterol. Now we can add stroke to the list of dangers. This year researchers at the University of North Carolina found that women who ate 7 grams of trans fat each day — about the amount in two doughnuts or half a serving of French fries — had 30 percent more strokes (the ischemic type, caused by blocked blood flow to the brain) than women who ate just 1 gram a day. Another recent study, also in women, found that trans fats promoted inflammation and higher levels of C-reactive protein, which have been linked to an increased risk of diabetesheart disease, and stroke.

What to do

Aim to limit trans fats to no more than 1 or 2 grams a day — and preferably none. Avoid fast-food French fries and other fried menu items and study packaged food labels closely. Even better, bake your own cookies, cakes, and other snacks. When you can’t, search out “health-food” alternative snacks, such as Terra brand potato chips and traditional whole grain crackers such as those made by Finn, Wasa, AkMak, Ryvita, and Lavasch.

2. Smoked and processed meats

Whether your weakness is pastrami, sausage, hot dogs, bacon, or a smoked turkey sandwich, the word from the experts is: Watch out.

Why it’s bad

Smoked and processed meats are nasty contributors to stroke risk in two ways: The preserving processes leave them packed with sodium, but even worse are the preservatives used to keep processed meats from going bad. Sodium nitrate and nitrite have been shown by researchers to directly damage blood vessels, causing arteries to harden and narrow. And of course damaged, overly narrow blood vessels are exactly what you don’t want if you fear stroke.

Many studies have linked processed meats to coronary artery disease (CAD); one meta-analysis in the journal Circulation calculated a 42-percent increase in coronary heart disease for those who eat one serving of processed meat a day. Stroke is not the only concern for salami fans; cancer journals have reported numerous studies in the past few years showing that consumption of cured and smoked meats is linked with increased risk of diabetes and higher incidences of numerous types of cancer, including leukemia.

What to do

If a smoked turkey or ham sandwich is your lunch of choice, try to vary your diet, switching to tuna, peanut butter, or other choices several days a week. Or cook turkey and chicken yourself and slice it thin for sandwiches.

3. Diet soda

Although replacing sugary drinks with diet soda seems like a smart solution for keeping weight down — a heart-healthy goal — it turns out diet soda is likely a major bad guy when it comes to stroke.

Why it’s bad

People who drink a diet soda a day may up their stroke risk by 48 percent. A Columbia University study presented at the American Stroke Association’s 2011 International Stroke Conference followed 2,500 people ages 40 and older and found that daily diet soda drinkers had 60 percent more strokes, heart attacks, and coronary artery disease than those who didn’t drink diet soda. Researchers don’t know exactly how diet soda ups stroke risk — and are following up with further studies — but nutritionists are cautioning anyone concerned about stroke to cut out diet soda pop.

What to do

Substitute more water for soda in your daily diet. It’s the healthiest thirst-quencher by far, researchers say. If you don’t like water, try lemonade, iced tea, or juice.

4. Red meat

This winter, when the respected journal Stroke published a study showing that women who consumed a large portion of red meat each day had a 42-percent higher incidence of stroke, it got nutrition experts talking. The information that red meat, with its high saturated fat content, isn’t healthy for those looking to prevent heart disease and stroke wasn’t exactly news. But the percentage increase (almost 50 percent!) was both startling and solid; the researchers arrived at their finding after following 35,000 Swedish women for ten years.

Why it’s bad

Researchers have long known that the saturated fat in red meat raises the risk of stroke and heart disease by gradually clogging arteries with a buildup of protein plaques. Now it turns out that hemoglobin, the ingredient that gives red meat its high iron content, may pose a specific danger when it comes to stroke. Researchers are investigating whether blood becomes thicker and more viscous as a result of the consumption of so-called heme iron, specifically upping the chance of strokes.

What to do

Aim to substitute more poultry — particularly white meat — and fish, which are low in heme iron, for red meat. Also, choose the heart-healthiest sources of protein whenever you can, especially beans, legumes, nuts, tofu, and nonfat dairy.

5. Canned soup and prepared foods

Whether it’s canned soup, canned spaghetti, or healthy-sounding frozen dinners, prepared foods and mixes rely on sodium to increase flavor and make processed foods taste fresher. Canned soup is cited by nutritionists as the worst offender; one can of canned chicken noodle soup contains more than 1,100 mg of sodium, while many other varieties, from clam chowder to simple tomato, have between 450 and 800 mg per serving. Compare that to the American Heart and Stroke Association’s recommendation of less than1,500 mg of sodium daily and you’ll see the problem. In fact, a nutritionist-led campaign, the National Salt Reduction Initiative, calls on food companies to reduce the salt content in canned soup and other products by 20 percent in the next two years.

Why it’s bad

Salt, or sodium as it’s called on food labels, directly affects stroke risk. In one recent study, people who consumed more than 4,000 mg of sodium daily had more than double the risk of stroke compared to those who ate 2,000 mg or less. Yet the Centers for Disease Control estimate that most Americans eat close to 3,500 mg of sodium per day. Studies show that sodium raises blood pressure, the primary causative factor for stroke. And be warned: Sodium wears many tricky disguises, which allow it to hide in all sorts of foods that we don’t necessarily think of as salty. Some common, safe-sounding ingredients that really mean salt:

  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • MSG (monosodium glutamate)
  • Disodium phosphate
  • Sodium alginate
What to do

Make your own homemade soups and entrees, then freeze individual serving-sized portions. Buy low-sodium varieties, but read labels carefully, since not all products marked “low sodium” live up to that promise.

Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

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The 6 Most Horrifying Lies The Food Industry is Feeding You

By: Pauli Poisuo from cracked.com

If there’s one thing in the world the food industry is dead set against, it’s allowing you to actually maintain some level of control over what you eat. See, they have this whole warehouse full of whatever they bought last week when they were drunk that they need to get rid of — and they will do so by feeding it all to you. And it doesn’t matter how many pesky “lists of ingredients” and consumer protections stand between you and them.

#6. The Secret Ingredient: Wood

You know what’s awesome? Newspaper. Or, to be precise, the lack thereof. The Internet and other electric media have all but eaten up classic print media, with the circulations of almost all papers on the wane. Say, do you ever wonder what they do with all that surplus wood pulp?

“But Cracked,” you inquire, “what does this have to do with food ingredients?”

And we look at you squarely in the eye, then slowly bring our gaze upon the half-eaten bagel in your hand.

Oh, shit …

The Horror:

What do they do with all the cellulose wood pulp? They hide it behind a bullshit name and make you eat it, that’s what.

And everybody’s doing it. Aunt Jemima’s pancake syrup? Cellulose. Pillsbury Pastry Puffs? Cellulose. Kraft Bagel-Fuls? Fast-food cheese? Sara Lee’s breakfast bowls? Cellulosecellulose, goddamn cellulose.

It turns out that cellulose can provide texture to processed foods, so food companies have taken to happily using it as a replacement for such unnecessary and inconveniently expensive ingredients as flour and oil. As the 30 percent cheaper cellulose is edible and non-poisonous, the FDA has no interest for restricting its use — or, for that matter, the maximum amount of it that food companies can use in a product. It is pretty much everywhere, and even organic foods are no salvation — after all, cellulose used to be wood and can therefore be called organic, at least to an extent.

But the worst thing about cellulose is not that it’s everywhere. The worst thing is that it is not food at all. Cellulose is, unlike the actual, normal food items you think you’re paying for, completely indigestible by human beings, and it has no nutritional value to speak of. If a product contains enough of it, you can literally get more nutrients from licking the sweet, sweet fingerprints off its wrapper.

#5. Zombie Orange Juice

Quick, name the most healthy drink your nearest store has to offer. You said orange juice, didn’t you? It’s what everybody makes you drink when you get sick. Hell, that shit must be like medicine or something. And the labels are always about health benefits — the cartons scream “100 percent natural!”, “Not from concentrate!” and “No added sugar!”

And why not believe them? When it comes to making the stuff, orange juice isn’t sausage. You take oranges, you squeeze oranges, you put the result in a carton, with or without pulp. End of story, beginning of deliciousness.

But what if we told you that “freshly squeezed” juice of yours can very well be a year old, and has been subjected to stuff that would make the Re-Animator puke?

The Horror:

Ever wonder why every carton of natural, healthy, 100 percent, not-from-concentrate orange juice manages to taste exactly the same, yet ever so slightly different depending on the brand, despite containing no additives or preservatives whatsoever?

The process indeed starts with the oranges being squeezed, but that’s the first and last normal step in the process. The juice is then immediately sealed in giant holding tanks and all the oxygen is removed. That allows the liquid to keep without spoiling for up to a year. That’s why they can distribute it year-round, even when oranges aren’t in season.


Thanks to science, we can enjoy screwdrivers from Christmas to the 4th of July.

There is just one downside to the process (from the manufacturers’ point of view, that is) — it removes all the taste from the liquid. So, now they’re stuck with vats of extremely vintage watery fruit muck that tastes of paper and little else. What’s a poor giant beverage company to do? Why, they re-flavor that shit with a carefully constructed mix of chemicals called a flavor pack, which are manufactured by the same fragrance companies that formulate CK One and other perfumes. Then they bottle the orange scented paper water and sell it to you.

And, thanks to a loophole in regulations, they often don’t even bother mentioning the flavor pack chemicals in the list of ingredients. Hear that low moan from the kitchen? That’s the Minute Maid you bought yesterday. It knows you know.

#4. Ammonia-Infused Hamburger

Any restaurant that serves hamburger goes out of its way to reassure you how pure and natural it is. Restaurant chains like McDonald’s (“All our burgers are made from 100 percent beef, supplied by farms accredited by nationally recognized farm assurance schemes”) and Taco Bell (“Like all U.S. beef, our 100 percent premium beef is USDA inspected, then passes our 20 quality checkpoints”) happily vouch for the authenticity of their animal bits. Their testaments to the healthiness and fullness of their meat read out like they were talking about freaking filet mignon.

And aside from the rare E.coli outbreak, the meat is clean. It’s how they get it clean that’s unsettling.

The Horror:

Ammonia. You know, the harsh chemical they use in fertilizers and oven cleaners? It kills E.coli really well. So, they invented a process where they pass the hamburger through a pipe where it is doused in ammonia gas. And you probably never heard about it, other than those times that batches of meat stink of ammonia so bad that the buyer returns it.


If your Big Mac ever tastes like pee, this is why.

The ammonia process is an invention of a single company called Beef Products Inc., which originally developed it as a way to use the absolute cheapest parts of the animal, instead of that silly “prime cuts” stuff the competitors were offering (and the restaurant chains swear we’re still getting). Consequently, Beef Products Inc. has pretty much cornered the burger patty market in the U.S. to the point that 70 percent of all burger patties out there are made by them. Thanks, ammonia!

#3. Fake Berries

Imagine a blueberry muffin.



Even with your freshly gained knowledge that there may or may not be some cellulose in the cake mix, it’s pretty impossible not to start salivating at the thought. This is largely because of the berries themselves. What’s better — they’re so very, very healthy that it’s almost wrong for them to taste so good.

Everything is better with blueberries — that’s why they put them in so many foods. Now that we think of it, there sure seems to be a lot of blueberries in a lot of products. You’d think we’d see more blueberry fields around …

The Horror:

… not that it would do any good, as the number of blueberries you’ve eaten within the last year that have actually come from such a field is likely pretty close to zero.

Studies of products that supposedly contain blueberries indicate that many of them didn’t originate in nature. All those dangly and chewy and juicy bits of berry are completely artificial, made with different combinations of corn syrup and a little chemist’s set worth of food colorings and other chemicals with a whole bunch of numbers and letters in their names.

They do a damn good job of faking it, too — you need a chemist’s set of your own to be able to call bullshit. You can sort of tell them from the ingredient lists, too, if you know what to look for, although the manufacturers tend to camouflage them under bullshit terms like “blueberry flakes” or “blueberry crunchlets.”


Nothing says “nature” like petrochemical-derived food coloring.

There are a number of major differences between the real thing and the Abomination Blueberry: The fake blueberries have the advantages of a longer shelf life and, of course, being cheaper to produce. But they have absolutely none of the health benefits and nutrients of the real thing. This, of course, doesn’t stop the manufacturers from riding the Blueberry Health Train all the way to the bank, sticking pictures of fresh berries and other bullshit cues all over the product packaging.

Now, here’s some good news: The law does require the manufacturers to put the whole artificial thing out there for the customers. The bad news, however, is that they have gotten around this, too. First up, the Kellogg’s Mini-Wheats way:

This is somewhat recognizable. They just stick a picture of the berries there, while not actually bothering to conceal the fact that the actual cereal looks like it’s made of cardboard and Smurf paste.

A bunch of  Betty Crocker products and Target muffins use the second route, which brings the cheat level even further by actually containing an unspecified amount of real berries. This way they can legally advertise natural flavors while substituting the vast majority of berries with the artificial ones.

Or, you can just take the “we don’t give a fuck anymore” route, as evidenced by General Mills’ Total Blueberry Pomegranate cereal. The whole selling point of the product is that it contains a bucketload of blueberries and pomegranates, and the package boasts all the buzzwords the marketing department has been able to dream up:



In reality, not only are the blueberries fake, but also they’ve forged the freaking pomegranates as well.

#2. “Free Range” Chickens That Are Crammed Into a Giant Room

Buying “free range” eggs is one of the easiest ways to feel good as a consumer — they are at least as readily available as “normal,” mass produced eggs from those horrible giant chicken prisons Big Egg maintains. Hell, they even cost pretty much the same. There’s literally no reason not to buy free range even though, now that we think about it, we’re not actually sure what that means. But the animals must live in pretty good conditions. In fact, let’s buy our meat and poultry free range, too!

Well, according to law, the definition of “free range” is that chickens raised for their meat “have access to the outside.” OK … so that’s not quite as free as we assumed, and it appears to only apply to chickens raised for their meat. But at least they still have some freedom, what with the outside and all that.

The Horror:

Words have power, and “free range” in its original sense means unfenced and unrestrained. That makes it a powerful phrase that, no matter how smart we are, conjures subconscious images of freedom hens, riding tiny little freedom horses out on the plains, wearing hen-sized cowboy hats and leaving a happy little trail of delicious freedom eggs in their wake. There may be mandolin music.

But the reality is there are absolutely no regulations whatsoever for the use of the term “free range” on anything other than chickens raised for their meat. Your Snickers bar could be free range for all the government cares.

The industry knows this full well and happily makes us lap up the free range myth, even though in reality a free range hen lives in pretty much the same prison as a battery cage hen — except its whole life takes place in the prison shower, rather than a cell.


Look, they’re free!

Awareness of the free range myth is slowly increasing, but although a manufacturer that has been pushing his luck a bit too much does get jailed every once in a while, that doesn’t do much to the overall phenomenon. In fact, Europe is set to ban egg production in cage systems come 2012. Guess what the replacement is going to be?

#1. BS Health Claims

Nuts that reduce risk of heart disease. Yogurts that improve digestion and keep you from getting sick. Baby food that saves your kid from atopic dermatitis, whatever the hell that may be. Products like that are everywhere these days, and we do have to admit it’s hard to see any drawbacks to them. We eat yogurt anyway, so why not make it good for our tummy while we’re at it?

It’s just that we can’t keep wondering where all these magic groceries suddenly appeared from. One day your peanuts were peanuts, and then, all of a sudden, it was all coronary disease this and reduce heart attack risks that. Maybe Food Science just had a really, really productive field day a while back?

Or, of course, it could be that we’re being fooled yet again.

The Horror:

The vast majority of product health claims use somewhat older technology than most of us realize: the ancient art of bullshitting. The “health effects” of wonder yogurts and most other products with supposed medical-level health benefits can be debunked completely, thoroughly and easily. So why are they able to keep marketing this stuff?

It all started in 2002, when many ordinary foods found themselves suddenly gaining surprising, hitherto unseen superpowers. This is when the FDA introduced us to a new category of pre-approved product claims. It was called “qualified health claims,” and it was basically just another list of marketing bullshit the company can use if their product meets certain qualifications. This was nothing new. What was new, however, was that the list said no consensus for the scientific evidence for the product’s health claims was needed.

“This brand treats syphilis and diabetes.”

Since “no consensus needed” is law-talk for “pay a dude in a lab coat enough to say your product is magic and we’ll take his word for it no matter what everyone else says,” companies immediately went apeshit. Suddenly, everyone had a respected scientist or six in their corner, and the papers they published enabled basically whatever they wanted to use in their marketing and packaging.

We’re not saying that none of the products boasting health properties work. There are plenty out there, but they’re kind of difficult to find under the constant stream of bullshit supplementary claims. Come on, food industry — just tell us the truth. Don’t you realize that we’ll just eat it anyway? Shit, people still buy cigarettes, don’t they?

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How to Order Healthy Food Choices at Any Restaurant

4 quick tips to ordering in any restaurant

1. Learn to order better.
2. Be careful where you eat. No all-you-can-eat buffets or steakhouses with enormous portions
3. Make friends with the waitperson. She can tell you about any dish.
4. Order Creatively. Soup, salad and an appetizer can stand in for a full meal. Extra vegetables can replace french fries.

6 tips to ordering Chinese

1. Ask for brown rice.
2. Start your meal with wonton, egg drop, or hot-and-sour soup.
3. When it comes to entr�es, order from the ‘health’ menu.
4. Make sure you order plenty of vegetables.
5. Take advantage of the bean curd (tofu).
6. Plan to take home leftovers.

4 tips to ordering Italian

1. Ask the waitperson not to bring the breadbasket.
2. If you want pasta, order a dish from the appetizer section of the menu, or share.
3. If it’s on the menu, order simple grilled chicken, fish, or shellfish.
4. For dessert, ask for fresh berries or fruit ice, if it’s available, or a small plate of cookies to share.

6 tips to ordering Mexican

1. Ask the waitperson to take away the tortilla chips.
2. Order a healthy starter instead.
3. For an entr�e, look to fajitas.
4. Order tacos or burritos without high-fat sour cream.
5. As a side dish, go for rice and beans instead of Mexican rice.
6. Have dessert at home

5 tips to ordering fast food

21. Opt for simple grilled food, if you can find it.
22. A simple hamburger isn’t bad either — if you order the smallest one without cheese or mayonnaise.
23. Order a la carte.
24. Take advantage of the salads but watch out for fried chicken and fatty dressings. Avoid this if possible
25. Have yogurt.

For more healthy food ideas and information please visit our Health Tips Pagehttp://www.celestialhealing.net/healthintro..htm