Shocking: Zero Pollution and Clean Water May Increase Asthma Risk in Kids

Shocking: Zero Pollution and Clean Water May Increase Asthma Risk in KidsPollution has almost become a way of life, particularly in India. We are so used to it that we don’t think of it as a serious threat to our lives. The capital city New Delhi is considered to be the most polluted city in the world, and the consequences of it are evident with cases of respiratory diseases going up rapidly over the years. It is a serious concern and we need to make a conscious effort to prevent its health risks. Perhaps packing our bags and heading to a hill top may prove to be ideal in such a situation, away from pollution. However, accordingly to a new study, zero pollution and clean water could actually do more harm to your kids. This is because you may deprive them of the good microbes that protect us against various illnesses.In a shocking revelation, Canadian researchers have found that children with access to clean drinking water may be at an increased risk of developing asthma in childhood than those who do not. They also suggested a link between the risk of asthma and a super clean environment (air).

“Those that had access to good, clean water had much higher asthma rates and we think it is because they were deprived of the beneficial microbes,” said Brett Finlay, a microbiologist at University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada. “That was a surprise because we tend to think that clean is good but we realise that we actually need some dirt in the world to help protect you,” Finlay added.

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The Study

The study also showed that while gut bacteria plays a role in preventing asthma, it was the presence of a microscopic fungus or yeast known as Pichia that was more strongly linked to the respiratory condition.

“Children with Pichia were much more at risk of asthma,” Finlay noted, adding “instead of helping to prevent asthma, its presence in those early days puts children at risk.”

The researcher said this while presenting the details at the 2017 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in Boston. The study may help in understanding the role of microscopic organisms in our overall health.

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A 30-Minute Walk May Help Advanced Cancer Patients

A 30-Minute Walk May Help Advanced Cancer Patients

For good health, some amount of physical activity is imperative. Even something as basic as walking can help you in numerous ways. The hectic lives that we lead today, not all of us find the time to stay active or hit the gym. This is why sedentary lifestyle is now scarily becoming one of the leading causes of major diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity, etc. Of course, one’s diet is another factor that plays a crucial role. But in you day-to-day life, if you want to start living healthy, step one is definitely to start walking, even if it is for 30 minutes.

Walking has various health benefits – from helping in blood circulation and pumping oxygen, to shedding those extra kilos and beautiful skin. According to a new research study, walking for at least 30 minutes thrice a week may help patients in advanced stages of cancer by boosting a positive attitude towards their illness and improve their quality of life.

 

Despite growing evidence of significant health benefits of exercise to cancer patients, physical activity commonly declines considerably during treatment and remains low afterwards. “Walking is a free and accessible form of physical activity, and patients reported that it made a real difference to their quality of life,” said lead researcher Jo Armes, a senior lecturer at London’s King’s College.

(Read: 6 Everyday Ayurvedic Herbs That May Protect You From the Risk of Cancer)

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The study is a first step towards exploring how walking can help people living with advanced stages of cancer. The findings in the programme of group walk for cancer patients showed marked improvement both physically, emotionally and psychologically.

 

“The study shows that exercise is valued by, suitable for, and beneficial to people with advanced cancer,” said Emma Ream Professor at the University of Surrey in Britain.

 

Many participants noted that walking provided an improved positive attitude towards their illness and spoke of the social benefits of participating in group walks. It also increased their motivation to reduce weight by altering diet, the researchers said, in the paper published in the journal BMJ Open.

 

For the study, the team included 42 cancer patients with advanced breast, prostate, gynaecological or haematological cancers. They measured patient outcome after assessing quality of life, activity, fatigue, mood and self-efficacy that were completed at baseline of six, 12 and 24 weeks.
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3 Easy Chest Exercises That Anyone Can Do

3 Easy Chest Exercises That Anyone Can Do

In today’s time where everybody is turning out to be a fitness fanatic, some people don’t even have the time to see gym. If you’d like to have an intensified chest, we’ll show you how. Not only men, women can also benefit from these easy exercises and get a curvy figure. Chest exercises usually target the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor muscles. It mostly involves weight training. If you don’t have the time or are too lazy to hit the gym, you can now strengthen your chest at home. A stronger chest improves your posture and makes you less injury-prone. Follow these basic chest exercises to get that desired physique:

1. Push-Ups

Push-up is one of the most effective body weight exercises. It not only works on your chest, but also your triceps. There are a variety of push-ups that can be performed at home.

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Normal Push-Up:  Place your hands directly below your shoulders with your head, back and buttocks in a straight line. Extend your legs so that the weight is on your toes and pull your shoulder blades down and back. Keep your elbows tucked in close to your body.

Clap Push-Up: Start with an arm-supported position with your hands positioned beneath your shoulders and fingers spread slightly. Lower yourself until your chest is just above the floor and bend the elbows to initiate the first part of the push up. Reverse the motion with your arms in full extension. Pull your hands up off the floor in order to quickly clap and then re-position your hands.

One Arm Push-Up: Use a bench, step, table, or wall, so that your push-up is done on an incline. Get into push-up position with one hand on the surface and spread your feet wide apart. Hold your free hand tight against your lower back. Lower your body slowly until your chest nearly touches, then come up to the starting position

Decline Push-Up: Kneel down on the floor with an elevation behind body. Position hands on floor slightly wider than shoulder width. Place feet on the elevation. Raise body in plank position with body straight and arms extended. Keeping body straight, lower upper body to floor by bending arms. Push body up until arms are extended and come back to the starting position.

2. Parallel Bar Dips

You can perform this in a park where you have a pair of parallel bars or at home with the help of chairs (obviously the taller ones will be better). Place your hands on the bars or on the chair back parallel to each other on the same level. Keep your body straight and push yourself upwards with your legs and torso straight and come down but don’t let your feet touch the ground; they should be in the air. Repeat this a few times.

3. 180-Degree Twisting Dumbbell Bench Press

Lie back on a bench holding two dumbbells and arms extended over your chest. Slowly lower the dumbbells to your outer chest, then press and rotate 180 degrees as you push back up to starting position. Hold this

chest workout

Picture credits: www.instagram.com/insanechest

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6 Basic Methods of Organic Farming

6 Basic Methods of Organic Farming

In today’s time where people are falling prey to chronic diseases easily, who would like to risk their life with the harmful pesticides and fertilizers? You should know that there is a way to rescue ourselves from these life threatening chemicals and that is Organic Farming. Organic farming is not a new concept; it is being practiced from ancient times. Organic Farming is a farming method which aims at cultivating the land and raising crops in such a way that the soil is kept alive and in good health by use of organic wastes (crop, animal and farm wastes, aquatic wastes) and other biological materials.

Organic farming is done to release nutrients to the crops for increased sustainable production in an eco-friendly and pollution-free environment. It aims to produce crop with a high nutritional value. There are various methods by which organic farming is practiced are as follows:

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1. Crop Diversity: Now a days a new practice has come into picture which is called -Polyculture- in which a variety of crops can be cultivated simultaneously just to meet the increasing demand of crops. Unlike the ancient practice which was -Monoculture- in which only one type of crop was cultivated in a particular location.

2. Soil Management: After the cultivation of crops, the soil loses its nutrients and its quality depletes. Organic agriculture initiates the use of natural ways to increase the health of soil. It focuses on the use of bacteria that is present in animal waste which helps in making the soil nutrients more productive to enhance the soil.

3. Weed Management: -Weed-, is the unwanted plant that grows in agricultural fields. Organic agriculture pressurizes on lowering the weed rather than removing it completely.

4. Controlling other organisms: There are both useful and harmful organisms in the agricultural farm which affect the field. The growth of such organisms needs to be controlled to protect the soil and the crops. This can be done by the use of herbicides and pesticides that contain less chemicals or are natural. Also, proper sanitization of the entire farm should be maintained to control other organisms.

5. Livestock: Organic farming instigates domestic animals use to increase the sustainability of the farm.

6. Genetic Modification: Genetic modification is kept away from this kind of agricultural set up because organic farming focuses on the use of natural ways and discourages engineered animals and plants.
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Don’t Bank on Your Good Looks to Get a Fat Pay Cheque, Here’s Why

Don't Bank on Your Good Looks to Get a Fat Pay Cheque, Here's Why

Who doesn’t want a fat pay cheque? After all, for all the hard work you have been putting in for the financial year, you do want rewards for the effort. If you have been wondering how to increase your chances of getting a big raise, chances are you have already found numerous ways to crack it by scrolling through various articles on the internet. There are no dearth of advises on how to increase your pay package. But there is a common perception that your pay cheque has much to do with your look. If you are a good looking employee, the boss maybe in favour of you, or so it seems.

However, a recent study suggests that a fat pay cheque may be influenced by more than just physical attractiveness or the lack of it, dispelling the ‘beauty premium’ theory which says beautiful people earn more while those who are not so gorgeous are paid less.

 

The findings showed that healthier and more intelligent people and those with more conscientious, more extraverted and less neurotic personality traits are the ones who take fatter pay checks home.

 

“Physically more attractive workers may earn more, not necessarily because they are more beautiful, but because they are healthier, more intelligent and have better personality traits conducive to higher earnings, such as being more conscientious, more extraverted and less neurotic,” said Satoshi Kanazawa from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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What is the Beauty Premium Theory?

 

Economists have widely documented the “beauty premium” – or, conversely, the “ugliness penalty” – on wages. Population-based surveys in the US and Canada for instance showed that people who are physically attractive earn more, while those who are aesthetically compromised earn less.

 

For the study, detailed in the Journal of Business and Psychology, the team analysed a nationally representative sample from a US data set that measured physical attractiveness of all respondents on a five-point scale at four different points in life over 13 years.

 

The beauty premium theory was dispelled when factors such as health, intelligence, and major personality factors together with other correlates of physical attractiveness were taken into account. The analysis showed that people are not necessarily discriminated against because of their looks.

 

In addition, the study also offered narrower categories of relative attractiveness, with less attractive participants split into “very unattractive” and “unattractive.”

 

The differentiation revealed an apparent ugliness premium, with very unattractive people earning more than their merely unattractive peers, the researchers said.
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What’s Your Daily Salt Intake? Even 5 Gram Can Put You at Risk of Heart Attack

What's Your Daily Salt Intake? Even 5 Gram Can Put You at Risk of Heart Attack

No other ingredient is as basic but as important as salt in the culinary world. Without it, it is almost impossible to hit the right flavour note and make all the ingredients come together into a gastronomic joyride. A little sprinkling of the white crystals into a bowl of salad, steaks, omelette, stir-fries, soups, etc is customary. Now, coming to Indians, the love affair with salt goes another level. It is almost like a compulsory side that has to accompany every meal. Even our snacks and small bites come smeared with salt and we relish every bite of it. Such as namkeens like bhujiya, dalmoot, chana chor garma, and other treats like pakoras, samosas, chaats, etc. Shattering this fairy tale, health experts are connecting this salty Indian habit to their increased cases of high blood pressure and heart diseases. While natural salt may contain good amount of essential minerals, the variety we pick from the stores are highly processed and devoid of any goodness. So consuming large quantities of it is sure to lead to health hazards.

A recent study has revealed that Indians love salt a little too much. The study conducted by an Australian firm suggests that an average Indian consumes about 119% more salt than the WHO recommendation. WHO guidelines suggest that an individual should limit intake of salt to 2gm per day. The average intake by Indians was noted to be 10.98 gms which is more than 5 times the limit. This is alarming given the rise of Cadiovascular Diseases (CVDs)in India in the recent year. Between 2010 and 2013, around 23% of all deaths in India were attributed to Cardiovascular dieases.

Conducted by George Institute of Global Health (GIGH), the study was published in The Journal of Hypertension. Doctors have for long discussed and advocated against the excess intake of Salt. Too much salt in your body can lead to a High Blood pressure, which in turn can cause several other heart-related diseases.

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The WHO believes that high sodium consumption (more than 2 gm of sodium which is equivalent to 5 gm salt per day) and insufficient potassium intake (less than 3.5 gm per day) contribute to high blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Dr Sanjay Kalra, Consultant Endocrinologist, Bharti Hospital, Karnal, and Vice President, South Asian Federation of Endocrine Societies, said, “Processed and fast foods have become the norm since they are easier to make and carry, and consume. Consumption of pulses, fruits and vegetables has reduced.” “A processed food diet is full of sugar, harmful fats, and excess salt leading to conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases.

 

High blood pressure can also lead to kidney failure by causing extra strain on the arteries,” he added. The study also notes that every measure of salt intake made in India except one has provided an estimate above the WHO-recommended maximum consumption level of 5 gm/day. The best estimate obtained by this meta-analysis suggests that average salt intake in India is double the recommended maximum level. Another study – published in the British Medical Journal – has shown that a government-supported national policy on reducing sodium intake by 10 per cent over 10 years can help reduce the burden of several lifestyle disorders including hypertension and heart disease.

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Dr K K Aggarwal, National President, Indian Medical Association (IMA), said “While sodium is needed by the body in certain amounts, an excess of it is very harmful. Excess salt is directly related to blood pressure. Increase in salt consumption raises the sodium level, thereby increasing blood pressure.” “It can also double the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease, heart failure, and strokes.

So it’s about time you started keeping a strict check on your salt intake.
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Having Vitamin B Supplements May Reduce Schizophrenia Symptoms

Having Vitamin B Supplements May Reduce Schizophrenia Symptoms

Vitamins are essential for various functions in our body. It is not without reason that doctors advise us to eat more fruits and vegetables, and even take vitamin supplements to meet the daily requirement. The hectic lives that we live, most often we tend to ignore the importance of a balanced and nutritious diet. As such our intake of vitamins and minerals hit a low, which then can cause various ailments. We need to keep reminding ourselves that these nutritional components are responsible for boosting your immunity, regulating your blood pressure, absorption of essential nutrients, bone health, skin care, eyesight, so on and so forth.

According to a new study, vitamins are also essential to maintain mental health. The researchers from University of Manchester in Britain found that treating schizophrenia patients with high-dose B-vitamins – including B6, B8 and B12 – supplements may significantly reduce symptoms of the mental disorder that affects nearly one per cent of the population more than standard treatments alone.

 

Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. It is a mental disorder that is characterized by abnormal social behaviour and failure to understand what is real.

(How to Boost Mental Health: Include Fruits and Vegetables in Your Daily Diet)

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How Can Vitamin B Help?

 

The findings showed that B-vitamin interventions which used higher dosages or combined several vitamins were consistently effective for reducing psychiatric symptoms, whereas those which used lower doses were ineffective.

 

“Looking at all of the data from clinical trials of vitamin and mineral supplements for schizophrenia to date, we can see that B vitamins effectively improve outcomes for some patients,” said lead author Joseph Firth.

 

Currently, treatments are based around the administration of antipsychotic drugs. Although patients typically experience remission of symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions within the first few months of treatment, long-term outcomes are poor and 80 per cent of patients relapse within five years.

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B-vitamin supplements were also found most beneficial when implemented early on, as B-vitamins were most likely to reduce symptoms when used in patients with shorter illness durations. “High-dose B-vitamins may be useful for reducing residual symptoms in people with schizophrenia,” Firth added.

 

For the study, published in Psychological Medicine, the team carried out a meta-analysis that identified 18 clinical trials with a combined total of 832 patients receiving antipsychotic treatment for schizophrenia. “The study builds on existing evidence of other food-derived supplements, such as certain amino-acids, been beneficial for people with schizophrenia,” noted co-author Jerome Sarris, Professor at Western Sydney University in Australia.
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The Case Against Butter and Meat: They Can Double Your Risk of Diabetes

The Case Against Butter and Meat: They Can Double Your Risk of Diabetes

It seems unfair that most food items that we cherish so dearly are not really the best for our health. Take butter for instance, or even meat. The flavour of a steak done in butter or even a hot toast slathered with a generous spread of the fat makes it taste so good. But then again, health experts would always advise you against indulging in too much of it. While the debate seem to continue on whether saturated fats – such as butter – is good or bad for health, one thing is certain that too much of it can definitely lead to heart diseases, causing blockage of arteries. Butter is said to contain 51% of saturated fats. Portion control is the health mantra. You can savour different kinds of food provided you have them in little portions. The times we live in today, with chemicals, additives and what not in our food, it is imperative that we are mindful of what we are eating.

Since butter is a fat source, too much of it is bound to cause various ailments. According to a study done by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the US, they found that people who consumed 12 grams per day of butter had a two-fold higher risk of developing diabetes.

 

What Makes Butter Harmful?

 

While the debate on saturated fats being good or bad for health continues, it is important to note that more than anything, what makes butter harmful is that it is a processed food product. Unlike the desi white butter which is made at home by churning malai or milk cream, the store-brought butter is prepared by emulsifying milk fat in water with milk proteins acting as emulsifying agents, and salt is added in the later stages. It contains transfats which is the worst kind.

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According to Marta Guasch-Ferre, lead author of the study, saturated and animal fat such as cheese and butter that are rich in saturated fatty acids and trans fats, their intake creates greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, whereas whole-fat yogurt intake is associated with a lower risk. Consumption of dietary fat has been previously associated with cardiovascular disease. For the study, the team analysed data from 3,349 participants who were free of diabetes at baseline but at high cardiovascular risk. After four-and-half years of follow-up, 266 participants developed diabetes

 

Benefits of Plant-Based Diets

 

With numerous reports on the harmful effects of animal-based food products , the switch to plant-based diet was only inevitable. Health experts have always advised to include more plant-based foods in one’s regular diet as compared to including red meat, butter, cheese, etc. The findings in the study showed that plant-based diets – rich in legumes, whole-grain cereals, fruits, vegetables and nuts – were more beneficial for health than animal-based foods such as red meat and processed meat, and also have less impact on the environment.

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In addition, a Mediterranean diet – rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, high on healthy fats like olive oil and low in refined sugars and saturated fats — may be useful for preventing chronic diseases, particularly Type 2 diabetes, the researchers stated in the paper, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

 

It is not without reason that the Mediterranean diet is considered to be the healthiest of all. It typically includes unsaturated fats found in olive oil, nuts and avocados, along with vegetables like spinach, celery and carrots that are rich in nitrites and nitrates. The protective effect of the Mediterranean diet comes at least in part from the nitro fatty acids generated which inhibit soluble Epoxide Hydrolase to lower blood pressure. Plus these ingredients are also known to maintain blood sugar.
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Emotions Are Not Inborn, They Depend on Your Environment

Emotions Are Not Inborn, They Depend on Your Environment

Emotions are a huge part of a person’s life. Emotion are essential because it provides information about what is relevant for us. It expresses needs and needs provide a direction towards action. They give meaning to our life story, to our narratives, thus they are fundamental in the construction of self. Neuroimaging studies show that emotion is generated in the subcortical areas of the brain and its “conscious” management is usually associated to pre-frontal cortex activity, which means that in order to use them purposefully, some executive functioning has to be involved. Fear, anger, sadness, happiness, trust, disgust are all human emotions. Emotions determine the reactions of a person in a given situation. Emotions are often considered as social outlaws, because their reactions don’t correspond with socially accepted patterns. A recent study has discovered that emotions are not in born but in fact, are cognitive states resulting from gathering information from the environment.

The research published in journal proceedings of National Academy of Sciences stated that, “the brain mechanisms that give rise to conscious emotional feelings are not fundamentally different from those that give rise to perceptual conscious experiences.”

Joseph LeDoux from New York University’s center for neural science said, “We argue that conscious experiences, regardless of their content, arise from one system in the brain. Specifically, the differences between emotional and non-emotional states are the kinds of inputs that are processed by a general cortical network of cognition, a network essential for conscious experiences.”

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According to LeDoux, emotion is a byproduct of behavioral responses that are triggered by survival circuits. Therefore neural pathways responsible for the acquisition of food can trigger emotions of happiness and pleasure after Thanksgiving dinner. Inversely, survival circuits responsible for defenses behavior initiate a fight or flight response, which constitutes fear when the organism has realized that such a response has been triggered. The results showed that the existing work denies that emotions are innately programmed in the brain’s subcortical circuits. Therefore emotions are often treated as different from cognitive states of consciousness, such as those related to the perception of external stimuli.

Emotions are not a response to what our brain takes in from our observations, but, are intrinsic to our psychological makeup as per the conclusion of the research. After noticing the existing scholarship on both cognition and emotion, the researchers saw a quite different architecture for emotions. The results of this study states emotions as higher-order states embedded in cortical circuits. Therefore, emotional states are similar to other states of consciousness and not innately programmed in our brain.
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Harmful Food Additives: Chocolates and Chewing Gums May Harm Your Intestines

Harmful Food Additives: Chocolates and Chewing Gums May Harm Your Intestines

No matter a kid or an adult, who doesn’t like candies? A quick sugar dose to lighten the mood, they come in so many options. But regardless of that, these chocolates, caramel sweets, flavoured gum and sour bombs have been rotting our teeth for a while now. While we are aware of their harmful side effects, it seems tough to give them up yet. Despite the enormous sugar content, there is another risk attached with munching candies and chewing gums. Along with tooth decay, chocolates and chewing gums may harm your intestine, suggests a new study. Titanium Oxide is a common food additive, often used in chocolates, chewing gums, breads, etc., which has been consumed by us for a long time now.

The study found that food additives were responsible for reduced ability of small intestine to absorb nutrients and block pathogens. Professor Gretchen Mahler Binghamton University, US said, “Titanium oxide is a common food additive and people have been eating a lot of it for a long time, but we were interested in some of the subtle effects, and we think people should know about them.” The fact that food additives are harmful to our small intestine yet are being widely consumed on the daily basis should be known to all. “There has been previous work on how a titanium oxide nanoparticle affects microvilli, but we are looking at much lower concentrations. We also extended previous work to show that these nanoparticles alter intestinal function,” she said.

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Titanium dioxide which is recognized safe by the US Food and Drug Administration and ingestion is nearly unavoidable due to its vast usage. The compound is an inert and insoluble material that used for white pigmentation in paints, paper and plastics. It often enters the digestive system through toothpastes, as titanium dioxide is used to create abrasion needed for cleaning teeth. Other uses of Titanium Oxide includes, in making chocolates to give it a smooth texture; in donuts to provide color; and in skimmed milks for a brighter, more opaque appearance which makes the milk more palatable. Previously a study had tested 89 common food products including gum, Twinkies, and mayonnaise and found that they all contained titanium dioxide. Mahler suggested, “To avoid foods rich in titanium oxide nanoparticles you should avoid processed foods, and especially candy. That is where you see a lot of nanoparticles.”

In order to prevent harm to your small intestine packaged food along with the candies should be avoided, as they are known to contain more food additive nanoparticles. There are a lot more food additives and preservatives being added to our packaged food, which is being consumed everyday. Not all of them contribute to a healthier body.
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