How cancer could be creeping into your health without you knowing it.

The foods we eat may have a cancer triggering mechanism

healthy living tips

Browned toast and potatoes are ‘potential cancer risk’, say food scientists

Bread, chips and potatoes should be cooked to a golden yellow colour, rather than brown, to reduce our intake of a chemical which could cause cancer, government food scientists are warning.

Acrylamide is produced when starchy foods are roasted, fried or grilled for too long at high temperatures.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommends carefully following cooking instructions and avoiding browning.

However, Cancer Research UK said the link was not proven in humans.

The FSA also says potatoes and parsnips should not be kept in the fridge.

This is because sugar levels rise in the vegetables at low temperatures, potentially increasing the amount of acrylamide produced during cooking.

Acrylamide is present in many different types of food and is a natural by-product of the cooking process.

The highest levels of the substance are found in foods with high starch content which have been cooked above 120C, such as crisps, bread, breakfast cereals, biscuits, crackers, cakes and coffee.

It can also be produced during home cooking, when high-starch foods – such as potatoes, chips, bread and parsnips – are baked, roasted, grilled or fried at high temperatures.

When bread is grilled to make toast, for example, this causes more acrylamide to be produced. The darker the colour of the toast, the more acrylamide is present.

During the browning process, the sugar, amino acids and water present in the bread combine to create colour and acrylamide – as well as flavour and aromas.

The Food Standards Agency says it is not clear exactly how much acrylamide can be tolerated by people, but it does believe that we are eating too much of it.

So it is advising people to make small changes to the way they cook and prepare food, including:

  • Go for a golden yellow colour when toasting, frying, baking, or roasting starchy foods such as potatoes, bread and root vegetables
  • Don’t keep raw potatoes in the fridge – store them in a cool, dark place above 6C instead
  • Follow the cooking instructions carefully when heating oven chips, pizzas, roast potatoes and parsnips
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes five portions of vegetables and fruit per day as well as starchy carbohydrates

What’s the risk?

Research in animals has shown that the chemical is toxic to DNA and causes cancer – so scientists assume the same is true in people, although as yet there is no conclusive evidence.

The possible effects of acrylamide exposure include an increased lifetime risk of cancer and effects on the nervous and reproductive systems.

But whether or not acrylamide causes these effects in humans depends upon the level of exposure – and some are not convinced that there is any real danger to public health.

David Spiegelhalter, professor for the public understanding of risk at Cambridge University, said there was no estimate of the current harm caused by acrylamide or the benefit from a reduction.

He said: “Even adults with the highest consumption of acrylamide would need to consume 160 times as much to reach a level that might cause increased tumours in rats.”

 researches say food such as biscuits and bread produce Acrylimade which increases cancer UK

Smoking exposes people to three to four times more acrylamide than non-smokers because the chemical is present in tobacco smoke.

As well as advising the public, the Food Standards Agency is also working with industry to reduce acrylamide in processed food.

And there has been some progress – between 2007 and 2015, it found evidence of an average 30% reduction in acrylamide across all products in the UK.

Steve Wearne, director of policy at the Food Standards Agency, said most people were not aware that acrylamide even existed.

“We want our campaign to highlight the issue so that consumers know how to make the small changes that may reduce their acrylamide consumption whilst still eating plenty of starchy carbohydrates and vegetables as recommended in government healthy eating advice.

“Although there is more to know about the true extent of the acrylamide risk, there is an important job for government, industry and others to do to help reduce acrylamide intake.”

High-calorie crisps

Emma Shields, health information officer from Cancer Research UK, acknowledges that acrylamide in food could be linked to cancer – but she says the link is not clear and consistent in humans.

“To be on the safe side, people can reduce their exposure by following a normal healthy, balanced diet – which includes eating fewer high calorie foods like crisps, chips and biscuits, which are the major sources of acrylamide.”

She said there was many other well-established risk factors for cancer “like smoking, obesity and alcohol which all have a big impact on the number of cancer cases in the UK”.

Reference for the above article is BBC news

my opinion

Whether Acrylamide does affect our health and expose us to cancer it is always good to ensure we stay on the safe side. Normally the foods that are said to produce acrylamide are deemed to be lowered in terms of their consumption.

Sitting done too long may shorten your lifespan

Healthy living requires lots of exercise as that is linked to less aging in your cells

healthy living tips

Too much sitting, too little exercise may accelerate biological aging

Older women with low physical activity and 10 hours of daily sit time had even ‘older’ cells

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that elderly women who sit for more than 10 hours a day with low physical activity have cells that are biologically older by eight years compared to women who are less sedentary.

The study, publishing online January 18 in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found elderly women with less than 40 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day and who remain sedentary for more than 10 hours per day have shorter telomeres — tiny caps found on the ends of DNA strands, like the plastic tips of shoelaces, that protect chromosomes from deterioration and progressively shorten with age.

As a cell ages, its telomeres naturally shorten and fray, but health and lifestyle factors, such as obesity and smoking, may accelerate that process. Shortened telomeres are associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and major cancers.

“Our study found cells age faster with a sedentary lifestyle. Chronological age doesn’t always match biological age,” said Aladdin Shadyab, PhD, lead author of the study with the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Shadyab and his research team believe they are the first to objectively measure how the combination of sedentary time and exercise can impact the aging biomarker.

Nearly 1,500 women, ages 64 to 95, participated in the study. The women are part of the larger Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), a national, longitudinal study investigating the determinants of chronic diseases in postmenopausal women. The participants completed questionnaires and wore an accelerometer on their right hip for seven consecutive days during waking and sleeping hours to track their movements.

“We found that women who sat longer did not have shorter telomere length if they exercised for at least 30 minutes a day, the national recommended guideline,” said Shadyab. “Discussions about the benefits of exercise should start when we are young, and physical activity should continue to be part of our daily lives as we get older, even at 80 years old.”

Shadyab said future studies will examine how exercise relates to telomere length in younger populations and in men.

Reference for the above article is ScienceDaily

My opinion

As we keep seeing along the years that the human body is not only required to have exercise but it actually needs exercise in order for it to work optimally. Most studies seem to have a common theme about this topic of exercise and health. It is evident that each of us sets at least 30 minutes a day for exercises as a commitment. In the condition I had exercise proved to be a must as far as my recovery was concerned. Now I apply exercises daily to ensure the momentum. Remember it does have to be a long rigorous workout: moderate exercises at different times of the day do the trick.


Churches can bring about healthy living for mankind

Healthy living can be brought about by churches

The church is key in promoting health

The definition of health according to World Health Organisation is ‘a complete state of physical, social, economic, psychological and spiritual well being’

healthy living tips

By Fred Sheldon Mwesigwa

The recently released parliamentary opinion poll survey results on citizens’ perceptions on Uganda’s governance, expressed their biggest need in improving welfare of Ugandans as improvement of health service delivery. The results of the household survey poll conducted by Research World International is an indicator of how Ugandans seriously consider health issues over and above education, infrastructural development and other key social economic challenges. No wonder, the Banyankore say ‘amagara nigakyira amagana’ literally translated as ‘life is far more worthy than wealth’.

The definition of health according to World Health Organisation is ‘a complete state of physical, social, economic, psychological and spiritual well being.’ While a complete realisation of this state in human terms seems utopian, it sets manageable objectives that can be achieved especially by Christians, world over who are expected to live a full life as pronounced by Jesus Christ. Jesus said, ‘A thief comes to kill, steal and destroy but I have come that you may have life and have it in full (John 10: 10). The thief, Satan, attacks his prey, the Christians, from different fronts including fanning poor economic conditions that more often than not arise from laziness. It is for this reason that Paul admonishes his hearers that he who does not work should not eat (2 Thessalonians 3: 10). Church leadership has a key role to play in promoting hard work in line with the use of our talents (Mathew 25: 14-30) and this role has been well emphasized in Churches. Secondly, the thief Satan, targets disrupting the social and psychological status of individuals through causing disharmony within an individual and between husband and wife, children and parents and other blocks of relationships in society.

One of the most under-looked areas of Church ministry is in ensuring full Christian life through the care for our bodies, the temple of the Holy Spirit. Church leadership needs to engage squarely with the issue of health since it is in line with the Jesus proclamation of life in full for believers. While the Church has squarely addressed disease through establishing mission hospitals and gotten concerned with spiritual warfare especially problems of witchcraft and while the issue of sin that corrupts man has been addressed overtly, the area of health education has not been well-addressed. The devil, Satan, has taken advantage of this to attack Christians through disease that affects the physical body.
I have attended several funerals and whenever I listen to the post-mortem reports it ignites my passion to engage with this subject. Only about a week ago, I visited a family that had just buried their 35-year-old son and as I engaged them in a conversation, it became clear that the problem arose from the eating habits or diet of the young man.

In our vigil conversation there were several old people well above70 years and a few young men. When the subject turned to the kind of food the old people in our society used to eat, and some still do eat, as possible reason for long life, the father of the deceased innocently remarked that in fact his son, who was a mechanic, used to eat two platefuls of roasted pork almost daily and he was commonly nicknamed Muchomo! He went on to say my son had put on much weight and really these young people’s eating habits are not the same as ours. In an instant I thought the code of the cause of death had been cracked. His brother went on to tell us that the over weight young man got a heart attack at 3pm and by 5 am he was dead. The medical report read that it was a cardiac arrest. Although none among us at the vigil was a medical doctor, we gave the verdict that most certainly the cause of death was poor diet.

Many argued that in such cases perhaps the pork with its fat clogged the blood vessels and stopped the heart. It is for such reasons that in 2015 I launched a pastoral health campaign of teaching what I considered to be the four critical diseases namely Cancer, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes and HIV/ Aids. My interesting discovery was that apart from men, whose services were to be found at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital only particularly for prostate cancer, women throughout the districts of Ibanda, Isingiro, Mbarara and part of Ntungamo had opportunity of having service centres relatively near to test for cancer among other diseases. In addition different women NGOs run test clinics periodically.

Nevertheless, a handful of Christians have ever tested as was proven by a show of hands during my pastoral visits in the 106 parishes! I used this opportunity to teach about the importance of medical tests even when one is not sick. Despite the cultural taboos, progressively we are witnessing changed attitude among Christians.
I was so pleasantly surprised recently while at Rweibare COU in Kashari county when one of the women who had stood up, upon my question of who had responded to my health campaign advice, to say, “Thank you Bishop for advising us, I was able to go and check and although the medics found that I had cancer of the uterus, it was in early stage and the uterus was removed!” The deafening silence that followed was a tale tell sign that the message had sank in. I doubt there is a woman from that church who has not gone for tests.

On August, 7 2016 I received a whatsApp message from one of my highly educated Christians whose mother had been suddenly diagnosed with lung cancer at Mulago Cancer Institute. The message alerted me with other friends to pray and also contribute money towards Shs20 million for further management at a Nairobi hospital to do radiotherapy. Somehow I missed seeing the message but read it on August, 12 2016 and promised to pray and raise some support. Same day my friend sent me a message to say the mother’s situation was getting out of hand with swelling and blockage of vein to heart, etc. On August 14, 2016, I sent some humble contribution but alas, less than two weeks, a message came through to say our 60-year-old friend’s mother had died. The death of this woman raised many questions but certainly with cancer the best treatment is early detection and treatment and that can only be achieved through health education.

These different incidents have further confirmed to me that when Jesus talks about ensuring a full life, he expects of us to promote a holistic gospel that touches the individual. It is not helpful for our Christians to overcome sin but die of ‘simple diseases’ that require simple hygiene or even advanced diseases that can be addressed through available scientific methods.
To this end, collaboration between Parliamentarians, government officials, health professionals and Church leadership will be inevitable if we are to meet the eminent critical need of Ugandan’s, health service delivery, as revealed in the parliamentary household opinion poll.

Reference for the above article is Daily Monitor

The above article may have been altered so as to fit the page.

My opinion

It is evident that health education is a requirement in every area in life. This vital is because the most important aspect before any other area is your health. I think churches are a great platform fo health awareness as people are more inclined to follow church practices more than any other advice. This is thus a great initiative to put it in churches as well as in the work place as these are the places where people mostly spend their time at.


Can breast cancer be prevented before it develops? research reveals information

Healthy living tip: prevention is better than cure especially in breast cancer

Healthy women should take breast cancer pill, says NICE

Hundreds of thousands of healthy women should take pills to cut their risk of breast cancer, says NHS watchdog NICE.

The draft guidelines for England say women predisposed to breast cancer because of a strong family history of the disease need this protection.

There are now three drugs to choose from – tamoxifen, raloxifene and, for the first time, anastrozole.

Anastrozole is cheaper than the other two and, for some women, has fewer side-effects and is more effective.

Which one is best?

Trials show that per 1,000 patients taking anastrozole for five years, 35 cancer cases would be prevented compared with 21 for tamoxifen.

Which treatment is best for each woman will depend on her situation. If she is pre-menopausal, anastrozole won’t be suitable because it knocks out the female hormone oestrogen, creating, in effect, a drug-induced menopause.

Clinical trials show anastrozole avoids two of tamoxifen’s more serious side-effects – an increased risk of developing a blood-clotting disease, and an increased risk of developing womb cancer.

But anastrozole can make bones weaker and so it is not recommended for women with osteoporosis.

healthy living tips

Women should discuss the relative merits and risks with their doctor when deciding which tablet to take.

Prof Mark Baker from NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) said: “Our draft guideline update recommends the use of anastrozole as a first-line treatment for post-menopausal women at high or medium risk of breast cancer who don’t have osteoporosis.

“The evidence examined by the committee suggests anastrozole will not only reduce the number of breast cancer cases in these women compared to tamoxifen, but it is also a more cost-effective option.”

Anastrozole costs about 4p a pill. The list price of tamoxifen is about 9p per tablet.

Baroness Morgan from the charity, Breast Cancer Now, was concerned that patients might not be able to access treatments, despite the recommendations.

Not all of the tablets are licensed for use as breast cancer prevention drugs. Doctors can still prescribe them off-label.

“This updated guideline is a great first step but we now need to ensure that these risk-reducing options actually make their way to patients that could benefit. Ultimately, if the full potential of anastrozole is to be realised for post-menopausal women, there needs to be far greater awareness and support for GPs in prescribing off-label treatments.”

Some women find that the side-effects of these breast cancer pills are significant enough to stop them taking the medication.

Common side-effects, affecting at least one in every 10 women on the tablets, include hot flushes and sweats.

Breast cancer affects one in eight women in the UK. Most cases are not linked to a family history.

Around 5% of people diagnosed with breast cancer have inherited a faulty BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.

If you have a faulty gene, it doesn’t mean you’ll definitely develop breast cancer, but you are at higher risk.

Out of every 100 women with a faulty gene, between 40 and 85 will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

Genetic testing for breast cancer

My opinion

Breast cancer, like any other disease, will always be a very touchy subject as different people will always want immediate cure. What I have come to realize in life is that any situation that you want to overcome will require adequate and correct information with guidance. That is why there will always be side effects with medication you may take. However if you want to get an improvement in your health first and foremost consult a doctor while at the same time listening to what your body is telling you because failing to do this can cause lots of long term effects on your body as medication and food affects our bodies differently. The doctor can sure give you breast cancer medication but he/she is not in your body to tell what the signals are saying. First and foremost to cure yourself you must know yourself. In that way you can reach a good healthy living lifestyle adequately

The above content may have been altered in order to fit this site.

The reference for this information is on BBC new