Since we grow (and forage for) mushrooms on our farm, I did a little research to see what health benefits are provided by these fungi. Depending on the variety, studies have shown that mushrooms give a boost to your immune system, help regulate blood pressure (due to the potassium content), lower cholesterol, fight cancer and diabetes, and assist in weight loss. The cholesterol and cancer facts caught my attention since I recently read about a study that found statin medication more than doubles your risk for cancer. (Disclosure: as is always the case with studies that show problems with popular pharmaceuticals, there were also counter-claims, saying other studies prove that statins lower your risk of cancer. Claims of "scare mongering were made.)
Here's an interesting video that shows how mushrooms are cultivated and processed commercially:
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
The elephant in the room during this month is prevention. While prevention doesn't make anyone any money - and that is the legal purpose of corporations, to make money - it will save lives and misery. Scientists and health care professionals know that some substances and lifestyle choices increase the risk of cancer. Phthalates in cosmetics? BPAs in water bottles? Chemicals (benzene, etc.) from fracking in ground water? Pesticides and herbicides on produce? Unpronounceable ingredients in processed food ? Tobacco products? Avoid them!
Shame on the Susan B. Komen Foundation for taking money from Baker Hughes, a company that fracks. At least Baker Hughes has had the decency to take down the pages about its pink partnership. Go to Breast Cancer Action or Ms. Magazine and then try the link (and to read more about pinkwashing). The link gone from the Baker Hughes web site. (You can also read more at Salon.)
As a side note, the New England Journal of Medicine published a Swiss study that found that mammograms do not prevent or reduce the risk of cancer (detection is not prevention), nor do they prolong life. The study concluded:
It is easy to promote mammography screening if the majority of women believe that it prevents or reduces the risk of getting breast cancer and saves many lives through early detection of aggressive tumors.4 We would be in favor of mammography screening if these beliefs were valid. Unfortunately, they are not, and we believe that women need to be told so. From an ethical perspective, a public health program that does not clearly produce more benefits than harms is hard to justify. Providing clear, unbiased information, promoting appropriate care, and preventing overdiagnosis and overtreatment would be a better choice.If you want to learn more about the pink ribbon culture, I highly recommend watching Pink Ribbons, Inc. Here's a link to the trailer for this documentary.
Want to really help? Stop buying the overpriced, unnecessary, often carcinogenic products that sport the pink ribbon. As Breast Cancer Action points out, these campaigns are a distraction to the real work that needs to be done. And they make a pile of money for the corporation, as evidenced by Kohls' campaign that required customers to spend at least $5 million for the company to "donate" $1 million.
Instead, begin a campaign to educate your family,friends, and neighbors about choices they make that can cause cancer. If you really want to put money towards the cause, take what you would spend on that cute pink product (that you don't really need) and donate it all to Breast Cancer Action, an organization that is all about prevention and cure rather than medicate and accumulate (dollars that is).