1. Azodicarbonamide in bread

    Are you eating yoga mats?

    It really doesn't take much to bake a loaf of bread. All you need is flour, water, a little bit of yeast and azodicarbonamide.

    That's been the recipe going back to the Old Testament days -- and in Exodus, the bread was even made without yeast.

    But look at the ingredients on a package of bread these days, and you'll find a whole list of junk that didn't even exist until modern times -- unpronounceable names such as azodicarbonamide, or ADA.

    This chemical isn't food. It's a foaming agent commonly used to add some fluff to plastics, like what you'll find in yoga mats and flip-flops.

    Since it also helps make dough rise faster, it's been dumped into commercial breads despite no real studies showing what eating yoga mats and flip-flops will do to humans.

    And the studies we do have -- on the people who work with the chemical -- show ADA can cause respiratory problems and skin irritation.

    Azodicarbonamide  made headlines recently when the Subway sandwich chain bowed to public pressure and promised to remove it from its bread (not that it'll make a sandwich loaded with processed meats much healthier).

    But it's still in hundreds of other commercial foods, including more than a few you'll probably find in your own home right now. It's in breads, bagels, pizzas, tortillas and more.

    If the item contains some kind of bread-like ingredient, even if it's just a crust, than there's at least a chance it has ADA. In fact, a recent report from the Environmental Working Group finds some 500 common products, from names you know, that contain this chemical.

    Call it another reason to pay close attention to what you eat and to get back to basics when it comes to your diet.

    Instead of yoga mats and flip-flops, eat only fresh foods you can make yourself. And when you do buy packaged foods (we all do), at least stick to natural and organic foods where you can read and understand every item on the ingredients panel.

    And if there's a multisyllabic item on the label you can't even pronounce, put it back on the shelf.

  2. Calcium channel blockers boost breast cancer risk

    BP meds in new cancer link

    Ladies, I've got some very bad news about some very common drugs -- medications used so frequently that they're among the top 10 most widely used drugs in the nation.

    They're so common that you almost certainly know someone who's taking them.

    You might even be using them yourself.

    They're the calcium channel blockers often given to patients with high blood pressure -- and they're popular for a reason: They deliver.

    They're very effective at bringing BP levels down.

    But safety is another story, especially for women -- because new research finds calcium channel blockers can increase your risk of breast cancer, especially if you take them over the long term.

    Use them for 10 years or more, and your risk of ductal breast cancer can shoot up by 2.4 times, while your risk of lobular breast cancer can jump by 2.6 times.

    It doesn't matter if you take the long-acting drugs or the short-acting versions. Either way, the risks are the same, according to the study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    Other calcium channel blockers don't seem to increase the risk, according to the study, and that might make it tempting to switch from one drug to another.

    But why bother?

    They all come with risks -- different risks, but risks just the same, and the real answer here isn't to trade one set of those risks for another.

    It's to find a way off the meds completely. And when it comes to blood pressure meds, I'm here to tell you that there's a real way off.

    I know there is, because I help my own patients with natural BP control all the time.

    And today, I'm going to help you.

    Start with the basic lifestyle changes you know you should be making anyway. Eat better, lose some weight and be more active. In most cases, those three steps alone will bring your BP levels down.

    But if your levels don't fall -- or if they don't fall far enough -- you still have options, including natural remedies such as magnesium, fish oil and coenzyme Q10.

    A holistic physician can help find the approach that'll work best for you.

  3. Belly fat leads to heart disease and cancer

    Just a little extra fat in the belly can increase the risk of cancer and heart disease.
  4. Symptoms of insomnia triple heart risk

    Insomnia can strain your heart -- which is why the nightly loss of sleep can triple your risk of heart failure, according to one new study.
  5. Lack of sleep leads to DNA damage

    Poor sleep can damage you on a genetic level -- and the DNA dangers can start to appear in as little as five nights.
  6. Gut bacteria may play a big role in diabetes

    Diabetes isn’t always caused by what you eat – it could be caused by what’s already in your stomach, including harmful gut bacteria.
  7. Fingers pointed at breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure

    One of the Komen foundation's key claims about mammograms has been exposed as a wild exaggeration. The real numbers show screenings save few lives.
  8. Steroids for back pain fall short

    It's one of the most common conditions in the country -- but no matter how many times your doctor has seen it, he still doesn't know the first thing about treating it. I'm talking about back pain.
  9. A bad idea for migraines

    Botox, the infamous poison used by aging celebrities to freeze their smiles into place, is getting a second life -- this time as a migraine treatment.
  10. New warning over diabetes med

    If you're taking diabetes meds, there's an urgent new warning out there that you just have to see.
  11. New erection pill packs the same old risks

    The last thing we need is yet another erection pill with the same risks as the old ones -- but that's just what the FDA is giving us.
  12. Too much of this mineral can be bad for the brain

    Most nutrients are not only safe in high amounts, they're necessary -- because too many people simply don't get nearly enough of the essentials from diet alone.
  13. The risks of 'dental health'

    For too many dentists, the X-ray machine is more like a cash machine. They don't use it when they absolutely need images to diagnose a problem in your mouth. They use it the moment your insurance company will allow them to make a new set of images.
  14. Foods that will ruin your mood

    When I get a patient facing depression, one of the first things I do -- before I run a single test -- is ask what they've been eating. And most of the time, the answer to that question tells me everything I need to know -- because people who eat garbage usually end up with a mood down in the dumps.
  15. Broccoli beats breast cancer

    I recommend cruciferous vegetables for detoxification so often that I'm sure some of my patients think I own stock in a broccoli farm.
  16. Take two chickens and call me in the morning

    It's the Buy-One-Get-One-Free special stores don't advertise: Buy some chicken, get some meds for free. And just to make it more convenient for everyone, the drugs aren't in their own package -- they're already inside the chicken.
  17. The darkest shade of green

    Imagine a drug that failed to meet basic targets set by the FDA, came with a higher risk of side effects than its predecessors, and was found to be so unimpressive and even dangerous that the agency's own experts advised against approving it. Now, stop imagining -- and just take a look at Aricept 23.
  18. Power your brain with videogames

    Here's a new way to bond with your grandson: Instead of telling him to turn off the videogames and get outside, tell him to move over so you can join him.
  19. The secret to avoiding skin cancer

    I’m sure you’ve heard it said about a million times by now: The best way to avoid skin cancer is to stay out of the sun -- and don’t forget to slather on the sunscreen when you do dare to step outside. But no matter how many times you hear it, it’s still not true.
  20. The earl's cure for cholesterol

    If Earl Grey tea is known for anything other than its noble name, it's the distinct smell of bergamot.

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