Many common cooking spices may contain bug parts, rodent hairs

 Hiding inside your pepper grinder and cumin shaker could be things like rodent hairs, bug parts and even salmonella, claims a new report recently put out by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Entitled “Pathogens and Filth in Spices,” the report alleges that up to 12 percent of all U.S. spice imports may contain hidden insect filth, while up to 7 percent may contain bacterial contaminants, an obvious push by the agency to further legitimize irradiating cooking spices.

According to CNN, the agency decided to launch an investigation into the contents of imported cooking spices as part of a general assessment of their safety risks. The agency itself says the endeavor was hatched in response to growing concerns about the effectiveness of current safety control measures for spices. But based on the findings of the report, spices are generally safe and pose a minimal risk to human health.

Nevertheless, the FDA is convinced that spices may be dangerous, categorizing them as a “systemic challenge” due to the fact that they generally contain about twice as much “filth” as other kinds of imported food. And yet, based on

What are the healthiest cooking oils?

 The average consumer today is spoiled for choice when it comes to cooking oils. Most stores (including health food stores) in the West tend to be packed with oils of various colors, tastes and origins, and it can be difficult to distinguish the healthy ones from the unhealthy ones.

The most important factor to bear in mind when choosing oils is not just whether an oil is safe and nutritious in its unprocessed state, but also whether it remains safe and nutritious after exposure to high temperatures. Unfortunately, many oils — including otherwise healthy oils, such as fish oil and flax oil — are high in polyunsaturated fats, which have a limited resistance to oxidation and rancidification, and can produce cancer-causing free radicals when heated.

However, oils that are high in saturated and monounsaturated fats tend to be both nutritious and highly resistant to heating, making them excellent choices for cooking. The best of these healthy oils are listed below.

Coconut oil

There are many reasons why natural health experts consider coconut oil the king of cooking oils. Aside from being one of the stablest oils at

Cook these six vegetables for even greater health benefits

 A Study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that people who followed a strictly raw food diet had normal levels of vitamin A and beta-carotene, but low levels of the antioxidant lycopene. As reported by Scientific American, high lycopene levels have been associated with a lower risk of cancer and heart attacks. According to Rui Hai Liu, an associate professor of food science at Cornell University, lycopene may be an even more potent antioxidant than vitamin C.

It seems that some vegetables need a little heat to release their plant goodness. Most plants have a tough cellular structure. Lightly cooking these food makes it easier for the body to break down the plant’s thick cell walls, making nutrients more available for absorption.

Read on to discover six foods that are healthier cooked.

1. Asparagus

Lightly cooking asparagus spears makes it easier for the body to absorb cancer-fighting vitamins such as vitamin A, C and E, as well as folate. Furthermore, higher levels of antioxidants, ferulic acid in particular, have been reported when this vegetable is cooked.

5 Best Jain Vegetarian Recipes

Jains all over the world are celebrating Mahavir Jayanti today. Mahavir Jayanti marks the birth of Prince Vardhaman, who later adopted the life of an ascetic and founded the religion of Jainism in 6th century BC. India and vegetarianism has had a long historical association, and is incomplete without a mention of Jain vegetarianism. A typical Jain diet has food habits that are linked with their religious and spiritual path of not harming any animal, including minute living entity. Yes, not only do they steer clear of Non Vegetarian food, through their diet practices they also try not to consume any micro-organisms.

Following the principle of ahimsa or non-violence, they try to adhere to a specific set of rules laid down by their spiritual leaders over the years. The Jain community doesn’t consume meal after the sun sets down, to not harm those creatures and organisms that come out in the dark. The food they consume must be fresh; to consume stored food is not promoted. Some Jainism followers also follow a vegan, or a lacto-vegetarian diet, as milk and dairy products are considered as cruelty against cow or cattle.

Some Jains stay away from consuming

What Makes Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Healthier Than the Regular One?

Olive oil is being touted as new superfood because of type of health fat it contains called monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) that are known to be really good for your heart. But there’s a growing debate about the kind of olive oil you should be using. There are several types available such as refined olive oil, pomace olive oil, virgin olive oil and of course the extra virgin olive oil. All olive oils are not created equal. These can be differentiated from each other on the basis of their nutritional value, taste and method of processing. Here, we’d like to specifically talk about the extra virgin sort which is considered to be top quality.

Extra-virgin olive oil is a type of oil that is extracted by simply crushing the olives. In other cases, the oil may be subjected to processing with the use of chemicals. You can differentiate between the two just by looking at them.  Extra-virgin olive oil has a darker color, while the regular olive oil is lighter and brighter. So, what makes extra-virgin olive oil healthier than the regular one? It has fewer chemicals and free radicals and is higher in antioxidants than olive oil.

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Incredible Benefits of Buttermilk for Hair and Skin

It’s a shame that buttermilk doesn’t get much attention in most other culinary traditions. However, we in India, have devised innumerable ways to make this cooling beverage a dedicated part of our diet. One of the most loved summer drinks of India, buttermilk is an outcome of the separation of butter from milk. It is extremely nutritious, light on the stomach and palate appeasing. While many like savouring a tall glass of chaas on a hot summer afternoon, others don’t budge from experimenting and adding a dash ofbuttermilk into a range of curries and other delicacies. It is easy to use and so versatile, and its cooling properties are not only good for you from within, you can also try applying it externally to benefit from its healing properties.

Buttermilk for Skin

1. Buttermilk is excellent as a bleaching agent.

2. It is enriched with lactic acid, ideal for solving a host of skin-related issues.

3. It can help solve skin woes like discolouration, spots, blemishes, etc.

4. It can also help lighten age spots and tighten skin.

5. It helps check sun damage, tanning and sunburn.

6. It is great

Frying red meat boosts risk of prostate cancer

Prior research studies have implicated overcooking meats, especially red meat, due to the formation of carbon-based amines that greatly increase the risk of digestive cancers over many years of consumption. These studies have suggested eating meats that have been stewed or roasted in favor of char grilled or well done to avoid the charred ‘bark’ that forms as a result of barbequing or grilling over open flames.

A research team publishing in the journalCarcinogenesis from the University of Southern California and Cancer Prevention Institute of California found that cooking red meats at high temperatures, especially pan-fried red meats, may increase the risk of advanced prostate cancer by as much as 40 percent. This new study provides startling new evidence on how red meat is cooked not only increases digestive cancer incidence, but may also increase the risk for prostate cancer.

Consuming grilled, well done and barbecued meat produces cancer causing heterocyclic amines

Researchers gathered data from nearly 2,000 individuals participating in the California Collaborative Prostate Cancer Study. Each participant completed a comprehensive questionnaire that evaluated the amount and type of meat intake, including poultry and processed red meat. Additional information gathered included the cooking method:

Why a Microwave Oven Is Bad for Your Health

First, let me state that I don’t walk around with aluminum foil wrapped around my head in an effort to shield my thoughts from the aliens. And I’m not trying to spread fear or perpetuate a hoax. What I want to do here is present scientific facts explaining exactly why cooking in the microwave is worse than cooking over the traditional cave-man fire, or your GE stove at home.

I was instantly skeptical the first time I heard that microwaving your food was bad. I read about a study that measured nutrients in cooked broccoli [1], comparing it cooked on the stove vs. in the microwave oven. I figured there was something biased about the study, like only cooking on high. Or maybe they were using the same cook time for both the stove and the microwave oven. Or maybe the microwave oven was heating the food hotter than the stove. I was in disbelief. After all, a microwave oven shortens cooking times, and that’s good, right?

I thought that all a microwave oven did was heat the food by moving the molecules faster. I was ignoring one very important characteristic of radio waves. Eventually, I

Raw Broccoli, Cabbage Slash Bladder Cancer Risk by 40 Percent

Eating as little as three small servings of raw cruciferous vegetables per month, such as broccoli and cabbage, has been found to decrease the risk of developing bladder cancer by an astonishing 40 percent. This was discovered by researchers from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. The study is only one of several that have recently added to the evidence that raw fruits and vegetables dramatically lower cancer risk.

In this study, researchers conducted a survey on the dietary habits of 1,100 people, 275 of whom had bladder cancer. They found that among both smokers and non-smokers, those who ate three or more servings of raw cruciferous vegetables each month had a 40 percent lower risk of developing bladder cancer. Compared with smokers who did not eat that amount, non-smokers who ate three or more servings of raw cruciferous vegetables per month had a 73 percent lower chance of developing bladder cancer.

Keep in mind that this research only involved three small servings a month! That’s a ridiculously small amount of vegetable matter, and yet it had a profound anti-cancer effect.

Given that these cruciferous anti-cancer nutrients only stay in the body for about

Cooking Broccoli Destroys 90+ Percent of Anti-Cancer

Levels of the beneficial, cancer-fighting compound sulforaphane in broccoli are reduced by 90 percent when the vegetable is cooked, according to a study conducted by researchers from TNO Quality of Life in the Netherlands, and published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

“Consumption of raw broccoli resulted in faster absorption, higher bioavailability, and higher peak plasma amounts of sulforaphane, compared to cooked broccoli,” the researchers wrote.

Eight male participants were fed 200 grams of crushed raw or crushed cooked broccoli as part of a warm meal; researchers then measured the men’s blood and urine levels of sulforaphane. Based on these measurements, the researchers calculated that while the sulforaphane in raw broccoli had a bioavailability of 37 percent, this dropped to only 3.4 percent when the vegetable was cooked.

Furthermore, it took longer for the sulforaphane from cooked broccoli to be absorbed by the body. Optimal levels of sulforaphane were observed in the blood and urine of participants 1.6 hours after eating raw broccoli, but these levels were not reached among consumers of cooked broccoli for six hours.

The cruciferous vegetables, also known as Brassicaceae, include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, arugula, Brussels sprouts, collard

Don’t Chop Your Carrots Until After Cooking

Carrots may contain 25 percent more cancer-fighting power when they are cooked whole and then chopped, rather than being chopped up before cooking, according to a study conducted by researchers from Newcastle University.

Carrots are known to contain a number of important nutrients, including fiber, beta-carotene and other vitamins. Previous studies have also shown that they contain high levels of a chemical known as falcarinol, which has been shown to significantly decrease the risk of tumor developments in rats. As with many nutrients, however, the falcarinol content of carrots appears to decrease with cooking.

In the current study, researchers compared the falcarinol content of carrots that were cut up and then boiled with carrots that were boiled and then cut up. They found that the carrots that have been cooked whole contained 25 percent higher levels of falcarinol.

The researchers then had nearly 100 participants perform taste test on the two batches of carrots. Nearly 80 percent preferred to taste of the carrots had been cooked whole.

Researchers believe that like falcarinol, the naturally occurring sugars in carrots pass more readily through cell membranes that have been weakened by heat. Both the anti-cancer chemical

Simple Way to Prevent Cancer Risk

Many love fried, baked, and barbecued foods. But there may be a less tasty side to these culinary delights: high temperature cooking methods may produce large amounts of cancer-producing compounds, aka carcinogens.

A Swedish report found that when starchy foods such as flour and potatoes are baked or fried at high temperatures, they produce the carcinogenic (i.e. cancer causing) chemical acrylamide 1. Prolonged exposure to acrylamide has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals and may do the same in humans 1.

The generation of carcinogens from frying is not limited to only starchy foods. During the process of frying protein-rich foods, such as meat and fish, various kinds of carcinogenic heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are produced, particularly when cooking temperature is very high (above 400oF )2. Heterocyclic amines have been shown to cause malignant tumors in the colon and breast of mice and rats, and they are possible or probable carcinogens for humans 2.

Temperature is the most important factor in the formation of HCAs3. Frying, broiling, and barbecuing produce the largest amounts of HCAs because the meats are cooked at very high temperatures. The higher the temperature, the higher the number of carcinogenic

Why and how microwave cooking causes cancer

The fact that modern mainstream medicine can`t fathom a connection with microwaved foods to cancer is simple: Orthodox medicine thinks nutrition and diet have nothing to do with disease. It`s focused on germs and genes. Their intervention is based on man made drugs or surgical procedures. Check out hospital food as a partial confirmation of this philosophy.

Mainstream MDs may agree that direct contact with microwave radiation causes health problems. But they can`t make the cancer causing connection to the food from microwave ovens. Hans Hertel, the heroic Swiss researcher featured in this author`s Natural News article linking cancer to microwave cooking, clears the scientific fog formed by medical science`s half-witted declarations.

Agitated Molecules

Normally cooked food is heated from the outside in. This is the normal function of thermal dynamics: heat transfers to cold. Although raw food advocates will rightfully point out the heat destroying nutrients, especially enzymes, normal cooking doesn`t create nearly as much damage as microwave cooking.
You probably know that microwave radiation heats from the inside out. How is this accomplished?

Hertel explains, “Technically produced microwaves are based on the principle of alternating current. Atoms, molecules and cells hit by

Choosing the best oils for your health

Contrary to popular belief, not all fat is bad for your health. Many fats, in fact, actually promote healthy weight maintenance and a well-functioning cardiovascular and nervous system, among many other benefits. But with so much misinformation out there about the nature of fats and oils, it can be difficult for many people to make sense of the issue, to the detriment of their own health.

To help simplify the matter, here are some helpful tips for choosing the best edible oils for your health:

Coconut oil. Perhaps the most misunderstood — and also one of the healthiest — oils you can consume, coconut oil is an amazingly-versatile, nutrient-dense superfood that is the richest known source of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which aid in the proper digestion and assimilation of fats, as well as boost energy levels. Coconut oil is also rich in healthy saturated fats and antioxidants, and has been found to promote brain health, boost immunity, and strengthen thyroid function.

Since it has a high smoke point and is incredibly shelf stable, coconut oil is great for both cooking and eating raw. Many people regularly eat unrefined, extra virgin coconut oil by the

Tips to use the healthiest cooking methods

Choosing better foods to eat is only half the battle when you’re goal is to improve your overall wellness. The road to a better diet is also paved with better preparation methods, not just better foods.

“While most people know to ditch the fryer when cooking up healthy meals many don’t think about how their cooking method affects the nutritional make-up of their entree,” write Lindsay Joe and Elizabeth Jarrard ofGreatist.com, a fast-growing fitness, health and happiness start-up.

For instance, they note, vegetables can lose up to 15-20 percent of some essential vitamins because of heat, including vitamin C, folate, and potassium. They add that some cooking methods are worse than others, which “is why raw foodists cut out cooking altogether, claiming that uncooked food maintains all of its nutritional value and supports optimal health.”

That said, some recent studies have noted that certain foods can benefit from cooking. Heat can help release antioxidants from tomatoes, spinach and carrots, just to name a few, by breaking down cell walls and providing easier passage of healthy components into the body.

Let’s examine a few of the healthiest cooking methods and what effectively makes them better

The chemistry of healthy cooking oils

The use of plant oils rather than lard, butter and other animal-based fats universally eliminates the saturated fat that we would otherwise consume. The way that the human body processes saturated fats ends up forcing the body to build its own low-density cholesterol, so avoiding these types of fats is an exceptionally good idea. With this in mind, not all plants are created equal. Neither are the various oils made by pressing these plants.

Vegetable and plant oils are liquid at room temperature, because unsaturated fats have a lower melting point than saturated fats. The reason for this is chemical. Saturated fat is called saturated, because every carbon-carbon double bond along the spine of the fat molecule has had all of its double bonds removed and a number of hydrogen atoms added. Simply enough, it’s totally saturated with hydrogen. Though normally perfectly safe to consume, vegetable oils can be chemically converted to saturated fats through a process known as hydrogenation, literally the addition of hydrogen to the fat. If this process is done part way so that only some of the double bonds have been saturated, we end up with partially hydrogenated oils, also known as trans

Cooking blueberries decreases their polyphenol content

Polyphenols, the plant compounds that exhibit various cell-protective, antioxidant properties, can be found throughout nature, including in foods such as honey, broccoli and blueberries, to name a few.

Polyphenols comprise over 4,000 distinct species and can have a positive impact on cell-to-cell signaling, enzyme activity, receptor sensitivity and gene regulation. Scientifically, polyphenols are compounds that contain more than one phenolic hydroxyl group. This chemical structure equips them with free radical scavenging properties and the ability to upregulate certain metal-chelating reactions. Yes, some polyphenols help the body naturally detoxify from certain heavy metals.

Polyphenols, which give a boost to men and women’s cellular health, are naturally weaved into the environment. A new study from the American Chemical Society shows how essential polyphenol content is significantly reduced in natural foods like blueberries when they are cooked. This is important, because many people may think that they are eating a healthy snack, but they may not be getting the whole plethora of antioxidant benefits. Blueberry juice, baked blueberry pie or blueberry muffins can have drastically reduced antioxidant properties when compared to freshly picked, uncooked, wild blueberries.

Blueberry’s superfood powers reduced when cooked

Blueberries are high in polyphenols,

New hemp plants bred to have increased oleic acid

Scientists have found a way to make hemp produce 70 percent more oleic acid, making the crop more viable as a source for cooking oil and other industrial purposes.

Scientists breed hemp to increase its monounsaturated oleic acid content

The scientists, from the University of York, used fast-track molecular plant breeding, selected hemp plants that lacked the active enzyme responsible for creating polyunsaturated fatty acids. Instead, they used varieties that accumulate higher levels of monounsaturated oleic acid. The plant-breeding research is published in the journal Plant Biotechnology and outlines techniques to develop hemp plant breeds deemed “High oleic Hemp,” which could be introduced commercially as an attractive break crop for cereal farmers.

This new cooking oil could possess a longer shelf life with greater heat tolerance and be similar to olive oil in oleic acid content, making it suitable for many more industrial applications.

The new “High oleic Hemp” is 80 percent oleic acid, which trumps regular hemp oils containing just 10 percent. This will give the oil more thermal stability that is five times greater than normal, natural hemp oil. The new hemp oil could be more useful in high-temperature industrial processes.

Tips to avoid inadvertently poisoning your food

When it comes to cooking at home, most health-conscious folks would probably say that their aim is to prepare wholesome, savory meals in the cleanest way possible for their families. However, unless these foods are cooked properly at the right temperatures and for the appropriate lengths of time, they could still be harmful to your health even if they are organic.

In addition to the more obvious precautions such as choosing only chemical-free produce and pasture-raised meats and cooking with only healthy saturated fats at higher heat, home cooks also need to pay attention to the ways in which they cook these foods. Certain foods — carbohydrates in particular — can release toxins when they are cooked at too high of a temperature or for too long.

When cooked improperly, potatoes are one such food that can generate a poisonous substance known as acrylamide that animal studies have shown can cause cancer. This white, odorless, water-soluble chemical is generated when starchy foods are cooked at temperatures higher than 250 degrees Fahrenheit or 121 degrees Celsius. Potatoes (including sweet potatoes), grains, and even coffee all generate acrylamide during cooking and/or roasting.

Temperature is not the only

Rice Recommends hours-long cooking process

Scientists from the College of Chemical Sciences in Sri Lanka have a new recommendation for how to lose weight, according to a report released by ABC Newslate last March. No, it’s not eating more fruits and veggies, and no, it’s not adding more exercise to your daily routine. It’s not “drink more water” either.

Sudhair James, a graduate student from Sri Lanka who performed the study, advises using a “simple” three-step process when cooking rice so that its caloric content is reduced.

That’s it! No more running, no more forcing down that steamed broccoli you hate so much. Just boil your rice, cool it down in the refrigerator and then nuke it in the microwave to help shed those extra pounds.

Sounds ridiculous, right? Well, it is. Not only is it a silly suggestion for how to slim down, but this “simple method” destroys all of the rice’s nutrition, stripping it of any potential it had of providing your body with essential nutrients.

Scientists recommend turning starch into “indigestible form of starch” to reduce rice’s calorie count

James, whose study was supervised by Dr. Pushparajah Thavarajva, recommends boiling rice with a small amount