Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Many Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding a baby has a ton of positive benefits.  People can disagree, but the research speaks for itself.  It has been shown through empirical evidence that breastfeeding decreases the incidence of ear infection, Chron’s, respiratory tract infection, urinary tract infections, obesity, lymphoma, Type I Diabetes, autism, allergic reactions, and wheezing illnesses.  Studies have also shown that breastfeed babies are on average 6 IQ points higher than their non-breastfeed counterparts.  Breastfeeding also encourages maternal-infant bonding.

Science has never been able to replicate real breast milk.  Formula is basically a cheap imitation of breast milk, and not a very good imitation at that.  They can’t always replicate in a lab what the human body naturally makes.   The mother’s body makes exactly what the baby needs.  Human milk is rich in immunoglobulins, leukocytes, macrophages, and T and B lymphocytes, all things that boost up a baby’s immune system and prevent him or her from getting sick.  These really important components of breast milk are not in formula.

Why in the world would women not breastfeed if they are physically able to?  There is a trend in the United States for less women to breastfeed less then in previous generations.  It’s also becoming more common for babies to be breastfed for a shorter period of time than before.  We can owe this trend to more working mothers, less social support among women, challenges of breastfeeding for a working mother, and countless other reasons.  It’s a trend that is not good for the infant.

Doctors recommend that babies are exclusively breastfeed until 6 months of age.  At 6 months, you can start giving the baby solid foods, but it’s for recreational eating, not to meet their daily requirements.  Along with their new intake of some solid foods, babies should still continue to be breastfed until they are at least 12 months old.    

Before any mother decides to forgo breastfeeding their infant, they should really be educated about the benefits of breast milk.   Breast milk from the mother is a clean, nutritional, healthy and free way to feed the baby.  It’s really the best choice for the baby.

Monday, September 26, 2011

What Type of Pans to Cook With?

The best type of pan to use for cooking is stainless steel.  Iron pans are also ok.  Never use aluminum pans to cook in.  Aluminum cookware is bad for your health.  People who cook with aluminum cookware have a higher level of aluminum in their bodies.  What happens is the aluminum of the pan tends to react with acidic foods like tomatoes.  This causes some of the aluminum to leech into the food that is then consumed.   Families that cook with aluminum pans have blood work and lab results that show elevated levels of aluminum.  If you cook with aluminum pots and pans over time, the amount of aluminum in your body begins to build up.  Our bodies were not made to have a daily intake of aluminum.  It really doesn’t do our health any good.

Cookware with a nonstick surface, sometimes called Teflon, is also not a good choice.  That non-stick surface also allows a chemical to leech into food being prepared that has been linked to cancer in animal studies.   Elevated temperatures cause the Teflon to start breaking up and letting off chemicals.   When the Teflon starts to wear off the bottom of a pan or gets scratches in it is when it becomes really hazardous.

 Some people still claim aluminum and non-stick cookware pose no health risk.  As we learn more, this really isn’t the case.  It’s in everyone’s best interest to clean their kitchens of any and all aluminum and non-stick pans.  Really the best pans to cook with over time are stainless steel.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Why Do We Drink Soda?

What nutritional value does soda give us?  The answer is none.  It’s basically a can or bottle filled with sugar, preservatives, and carbonation.  Look at the back of a pop can and you’ll see it contains no calcium, vitamin A, fiber, protein, vitamin C, or iron.  What it often does contain is a little sodium and a lot of sugar and caffeine.  The caffeine from soda can cause calcium to leech from our bones. 

It still surprises me that soda machines have found their way into so many schools.  Soda often contains something called high-fructose corn syrup, a sweetener.  Fructose is similar to glucose (like what carbohydrates are made of), but our bodies were not made to intake large amounts of high-fructose corn syrup.  Due to our bodies metabolizing and responding to high-fructose corn syrup differently than glucose, it’s been linked to obesity in both children and adults.  Some brands of soda are so acidic you can use them as cleaning solution.  This acidic content can cause the enamel on our teeth to slowly erode down.  The darker the soda, the more acidic it is.  Combine that with the high sugar content of the beverage and it leads to cavities. 

Because soda only has a very small amount of water in it, it really doesn’t quench a person’s thirst.  One thing soda has done is add to the obesity crisis facing the United States.  Passing on the pop is one small thing you can do to improve your health.  Next time you want soda, reach for a glass of juice or water instead.  Over time, you’ll feel better, your waistline will be slimmer, and your body will thank you.