Health updates: Canned soups and antioxidants

The following is new information regarding canned soups and antioxidants, a key to preventing flu.

Canned soups can be dangerous to your health

The food processing world is reeling from a shocking new series of tests released by Consumer Reports, revealing that many leading brands of canned foods contain Bisphenol A (BPA) — a toxic chemical linked to health risks, including reproductive abnormalities, neurological effects, heightened risk of breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, heart disease and other serious health problems. BPA is used in the lining of cans, and the toxin leaches from the lining into the food. According to Consumer Reports, just a couple servings of canned food can exceed scientific limits on daily exposure for children. The federal government is currently studying the dangers of BPA, and advocates are calling on the FDA to ban the use of BPA in food and beverage packaging by the end of the year. Wal-Mart, Target, Nalgene [water bottles] and Babies R Us have already made commitments to stop using BPA.

Scientists find flu’s Achilles’ heel: antioxidants

As the nation copes with a shortage of vaccines for H1N1 influenza, a team of Alabama researchers has raised hopes that they have found a potential Achilles’ heel for all strains of the flu — antioxidants. In an article appearing in the November 2009 print issue of The FASEB Journal, they show that antioxidants — the same substances found in plant-based foods — might hold the key to preventing the flu virus from wreaking havoc on our lungs. “The recent outbreak of H1N1 influenza and the rapid spread of this strain across the world highlights the need to better understand how this virus damages the lungs and to find new treatments,” said Sadis Matalon, Ph.D., co-author of the study. “Additionally, our research shows that antioxidants may prove beneficial in the treatment of flu.” Gerald Weissmann, M.D., The FASEB Journal editor-in-chief, says, “Although vaccines will remain the first line of intervention against the flu for a long time, this study opens the door for entirely new treatments geared toward stopping the virus after you’re sick…”

Resources: November 4, 2009, December 2009, Food Politics November 3, 2009, Science Daily October 30, 2009, The FASEB Journal October 30, 2009 and

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 28, Number 6, Dec 2009/Jan 2010.

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