Did You Know, Poultry is a Cause? Urinary Tract Infections Affect Millions. The Cures Are Faltering.

Dr. Lee Riley of the University of California, Berkeley, has been studying antibiotic-resistant strains of E. coli, which can cause urinary tract infections. “We’ve suspected maybe some of these U.T.I. cases may be food-borne,” he said. Credit Brian L. Frank for The New York Times

For generations, urinary tract infections, one of the world’s most common ailments, have been easily and quickly cured with a simple course of antibiotics. But there is growing evidence that the infections, which afflict millions of Americans a year, mostly women, are increasingly resistant to these medicines, turning a once-routine diagnosis into one that is leading to more hospitalizations, graver illnesses and prolonged discomfort from the excruciating burning sensation that the infection brings.

The New York City Department of Health has become so concerned about drug-resistant U.T.I.s, as they are widely known, that it introduced a new mobile phone app this month that gives doctors and nurses access to a list of strains of urinary tract infections and which drugs they are resistant to. The department’s research found that a third of uncomplicated urinary tract infections caused by E. coli — the most common type now — were resistant to Bactrim, one of the most widely used drugs, and at least one fifth of them were resistant to five other common treatments. “This is crazy. This is shocking,” said Lance Price, director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washington University, who was not involved in the research. 

The drug ampicillin, once a mainstay for treating the infections, has been abandoned as a gold standard because multiple strains of U.T.I.s are resistant to it. Some urinary tract infections now require treatment with heavy-duty intravenous antibiotics. Researchers last year reported in a study that a third of all U.T.I.s in Britain are resistant to “key antibiotics.” Certainly, the day-to-day experience of having a U.T.I. is growing less routine for many women. Carolina Barcelos, 38, a postdoctoral researcher in Berkeley, Calif., said she had several U.T.I.s as a teenager, all successfully treated with Bactrim. When she got one in February, her doctor also prescribed Bactrim, but this time it didn’t work.

Four days later, she returned and got a new prescription, for a drug called nitrofurantoin. It didn’t work either. Her pain worsened, and several days later, there was blood in her urine. Her doctor prescribed a third drug, ciproflaxacin, the last of the three major front-line medicines, and cultured her urine. The culture showed her infection was susceptible to the new drug, but not the other two. “Next time,” Dr. Barcelos said, “I’m going to ask them to do a culture right away. For eight days I was taking antibiotics that weren’t working for me.” Usually, it is people with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions who are most vulnerable to drug-resistant infections, but U.T.I.s have a dubious distinction: They are the single biggest risk to healthy people from drug-resistant germs.

Resistance to antibiotics has become one of the world’s most pressing health issues. Overuse of the drugs in humans and livestock has caused germs to develop defenses to survive, rendering a growing number of medicines ineffective in treating a wide range of illnesses — a phenomenon that is playing out worldwide with U.T.I.s.

The World Health Organization, while noting that data on urinary tract infections and drug resistance is “scarce,” said the fact the infections were so common strongly suggested that increasing resistance would lead to more severe illnesses and fatalities. The solution, researchers and clinicians say, includes a continued push for more judicious use of antibiotics worldwide. But more immediately, a partial solution would be the development of quick, cheap diagnostic tools that would allow an instant urine culture so that a doctor could prescribe the right drug for U.T.I.s.

Carolina Barcelos had a urinary tract infection earlier this year. Neither of the first two drugs she took helped. “For eight days I was taking antibiotics that weren’t working for me,” she said. Credit Brian L. Frank for The New York Times

But whether to wait the several days it usually takes to get lab results before prescribing presents a tough dilemma for doctors and patients, who frequently are desperate for relief. Plus, depending on a person’s insurance, getting a culture can be expensive. Generally doctors still do not order a urine culture before prescribing an antibiotic.

“In the old days, the list of antibiotic options was short but by and large they would all work,” said Dr. James Johnson, an infectious disease professor and leading researcher on urinary tract infections at the University of Minnesota. Some women have U.T.I.s that the body fights off on its own without using antibiotics, while other women may have a different low-level ailment that feels like a U.T.I., but isn’t. The safest course is to see a doctor and make an informed decision that includes a judicious determination of whether antibiotics are warranted. The science does not support the efficacy of some popular remedies like cranberry juice or cranberry pills.

Officials from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that U.T.I.s acquired by otherwise healthy people were a growing concern and one poorly studied. They are not tracked nationally. In older people, urinary tract infections can be deadly, but tracking in the United States is so weak that there are no reliable estimates on the numbers of deaths related to the infections. The C.D.C. published an estimate of 13,000 per year, but that figure comes from a paper looking at 2002 data and refers only to U.T.I.s acquired in hospitals. Dr. Clifford McDonald, associate director for science in the division of health care quality promotion at the C.D.C., said the government planned to expand its research.

“If we don’t do something soon,” Dr. McDonald said, “it’s going to push all our treatments to more advanced antibiotics that finally put a lot of pressure on the last-line treatments.”

What makes these infections so dangerous, and commonplace, is human anatomy. In women, the urethra — the gateway to the urinary tract — is in proximity to the rectum. This can lead to easy transfer of bacteria in fecal residue that otherwise resides harmlessly in the gut. 

In reproductive years, women are 50 times for likely than men to have a urinary tract infection; later in life, the ratio drops to 2 to 1, as men wind up having surgical procedures on their prostate, or catheters, that more easily expose their urinary tracts to infection.

There are multiple germs that cause U.T.I.s, and their resistance levels to drugs vary both by strain and by where a patient lives. By far the most common cause of U.T.I.s today is E. coli, and, in general, those infections have seen sharp rises in resistance to gold standard treatments over the past decade and a half.

Dr. Eva Raphael, a primary care physician at San Francisco General Hospital, said one of her patients returned to the emergency room after a drug-resistant U.T.I. spread to her kidney. “It makes me wonder what the world looked like for women before antibiotics, and wonder if we’re going to see that now,” she said. Credit Brian L. Frank for The New York Times

New research shows that one crucial path of transfer of germs that cause U.T.I.s is food, most often poultry. The consumed poultry winds up in a person’s gut and can get transferred through fecal residue to the urethra.

A study published last year by the American Society of Microbiology, funded partly by the C.D.C., found 12 strains of E. coli in poultry that matched widely circulating urinary tract infection strains. One of the study’s authors, Dr. Lee Riley, a professor of epidemiology and infectious diseases at the University of California, Berkeley, said he was working on a C.D.C.-funded project to determine whether the urinary tract infection needs to be classified and reported as a food-borne illness.

Dr. Brad Frazee, an emergency room doctor at Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif., has been a co-author of research that adds another troubling wrinkle: Increasingly, E. coli is proving resistant not just to individual antibiotics, but also to a broad group of drugs known as beta-lactam antibiotics. These drugs share a way of attacking infection, and when a germ develops resistance to this method of attack, it eliminates several key treatment options all at once.

Recently, a woman carrying such resistance showed up at Dr. Frazee’s hospital, he said. She wound up with pyelonephritis, an infection in the kidney, and had to be treated in the hospital intravenously with a drug called ertapenem that can cost $1,000 a dose. A study found that around 5 percent of U.T.I.s at the hospital carried this resistance. 

Doctors are now confronting cases of resistant urinary tract infections in their practices. Dr. Eva Raphael, a primary care physician in San Francisco, recently received notice that one of her patients, a healthy woman in her mid-30s, was back in the emergency room with another U.T.I. that was resistant to multiple antibiotics.

One of her prior U.T.I.s had failed to respond to two commonly used treatments and had spread to her kidney, requiring hospitalization to receive intravenous antibiotics. This time Dr. Raphael consulted with infectious disease specialists. “It can be quite dangerous in this age where there is more and more resistance,” she said, noting that without effective treatment the infection can get into the blood. “It can be fatal.”

Urinary Tract Infections Affect Millions. The Cures Are Faltering.
— Read on www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2019/07/13/health/urinary-infections-drug-resistant.amp.html

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A New Way to Detect Breast Cancer

Not long before Mihir Shah was to be married in 2007, his soon-to-be mother-in-law got a diagnosis of breast cancer. She underwent chemotherapy and survived, wearing a wig to the wedding. But while the women in Mr. Shah’s family — in both India and the United States — were able to get breast cancer screening, it made him think of the millions who weren’t as fortunate.

More than 90 percent of women in the developing world don’t have access to early detection of breast cancer. One reason is that mammograms, the gold-standard screening technique, are rarely used because of their high cost and a lack of trained radiologists. India has one radiologist for every 100,000 people; the United States has 12.

Then there are logistical challenges like a lack of electricity and poor roads. Many people are not aware of cancer, and the disease still carries a stigma.

Read on – nyti.ms/2BT0ap3

Is It Better to Drink a Little Alcohol than None at All?

Find out if the light to moderate alcohol drinkers prevail at the end of the video. My husband and I have heated discussions about this. We both were very much surprised at the end. Yes, alcohol causes cancer and many other complications. Certain studies like the famous J-shaped curve one, where yes, excessive drinking is bad, but light drinkers appear to actually have lower mortality than abstainers?

Click the video link below to listen for the answer.

— Read on nutritionfacts.org/video/is-it-better-to-drink-little-alcohol-than-none-at-all/

Eat Eggplants to Protect Your Brain 

Growing up, my mother never cooked or grew eggplants.  I’ve heard stories of my late grandfather growing it, which he referred to them as Garden Eggs. In my adult life, I’ve grown to love the taste.  I grow and cook them, and I even got my mother to enjoy growing and cooking with them too.  Eggplants are extremely healthy and versatile to cook with.  It is a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B1, copper, manganese, vitamin B6, niacin, potassium, folate and vitamin K.  Eggplants also contains phytonutrients; such as nasunin and chlorogenic acid.  The nasunin is the antioxidant responsible for providing your brain with food.

In animal studies, nasunin has been found to protect the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes. Cell membranes are almost entirely composed of lipids and are responsible for protecting the cell from free radicals, letting nutrients in and wastes out, and receiving instructions from messenger molecules that tell the cell which activities it should perform. Nasunin is located in the purple skin of the eggplant so don’t peel it.  It’s job is to search and defeat free radicals.

According to Rice University, free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like a dominoe effect. Their chief danger comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane.  Free radicals are basically bad for you and they are everywhere.  They can break down healthy cells and multiply.

What are free radicals?

Free radicals are highly unstable and reactive molecules that damage living cells. These can come from everyday pollution and other common stressors, like the ones listed below:

  • Everyday air pollutants
  • Smog / UV rays
  • Up to 80% of free radical damage is caused by the sun (1). Always wear a broad spectrum SPF!
  • Lack of sleep and exercise
  • Stress
  • Illness
  • Fried foods
  • Alcohol & Tobacco
  • Pesticides

Oxidative stress occurs when there are too many free radicals running amuck.  It leads to stressed out cells that are broken down and weakened. Then, diseases like cancers, cardiovascular disease, emphysema, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ulcers and a boatload of other inflammatory diseases can developed.

Free radicals are also associated with aging skin.  That’s right!  Sunblock isn’t the only defense for aging.  What you feed your body/cells is extremely important too. Eating dark leafy greens and high pigmented fruits that are rich in vitamin C helps to protect your cells and support fighting off free radicals.  Don’t forget to eat up your eggplant too because it will protect your skin from aging prematurely.

Did you know?

The high purple skin pigment on eggplants is also a form of protection for the plants. Researchers at the US Agricultural Service in Beltsville, Maryland, have found that eggplants are rich sources of phenolic compounds that function as antioxidants. Plants form such compounds to protect themselves against oxidative stress from exposure to the elements, as well as from infection by bacteria and fungi. If we eat the eggplant, these antioxidants protects us. Can you name a fast food chain that can do that? I think, NOT!

Resources:  
Protective effects of dietary nasunin on paraquat-induced oxidative stress in rats.

Eggplant: Medical News Today

Memory Booster

 

Move over almonds!  A recent study in the Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging found that subjects ages 20 to 59 who ate an average of five walnut halves daily performed significantly better on congnitive tests (memorizing a series of symbols and numbers) than those who didn’t eat them.  The brain-boosting effects may come from the nut’s high levels of antioxidants and omega-3’s. 

Another great plant-based option for healthy omegas is flaxseeds. Flaxseed is a source of healthy fat, antioxidants, and fiber; modern research has found evidence to suggest that flaxseed can also help lower the risk of diabetesThe best way to get your needed essential fatty acids is by eating a health-promoting diet derived exclusively from whole natural foods. These essential fatty acids are found abundantly in green leafy vegetables (kale, Swiss chard, spinach, etc.), flaxseeds, soybeans, and nuts and seeds.   

Eating a health-promoting diet will provide adequate amounts of the essential fatty acids, without the problems associated with animal products, processed oils, and supplements, which are often promoted as sources for these essential nutrients. Walnuts, flax seeds and green vegetables including purslane are a rich source of the desirable Omega-3 fatty acids.  



Resource: The World’s Healthiest Foods

Why Consume More Plants?

  

Weight control
Weight gain is generally correlated with high daily calorie intake, and eating a small amount of nutrient-dense foods full of dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole-grain foods typically provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories, compared to other types of foods. Putting more of these kinds of plants on the plate makes it easier to manage appetite and maintain body weight.

High dietary fiber
Only plant foods contain fiber. Dietary fiber is a complex form of carbohydrate. Several decades of studies have confirmed the health benefits of eating a fiber-rich diet. Specifically, diets rich in foods containing fiber — such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains — may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and improve regularity. A healthy elimination system allows bodies to get rid of toxins. Beans and legumes contain more dietary fiber than almost any other food, so they are an integral and versatile part of a balanced diet. The dietary fiber in legumes is both soluble — which is especially useful in helping control cholesterol levels to lower heart disease risk — and insoluble — which improves regularity. Beans are also filling, so they help promote weight management by satisfying hunger.

Chronic disease management
Consuming a diet featuring more plants is good for your health —today and tomorrow. Complex carbohydrates are easy to digest, and the antioxidants in plants help strengthen your body’s immune system. Dramatic results have occurred with the adoption of a more plant-based diet. Many people with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and various autoimmune diseases have been able to alleviate their symptoms by eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and consuming fewer solid and added fats, added sugars, and refined grains.

In a recent study, scientists finds that plant-based diets, without counting calories, leads to greater weight loss. The only way to succeed in a plant-based diet is to cut certain foods out of your diet.  Sounds easy right?  Well, everything in moderation, I like to say. Giving up cold turkey may be harder for some people.  

Resource: Nutrition StudiesPlant-Based Diet & Obesity Study 

Coffee: Who and What To Believe?

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Check these studies out. The first says 3-4 cups of coffee a day reduces the risk of endometrial cancer, which is the most common cancer of the female reproductive organs in the US, affecting around 1 in 37 women in their lifetime. Then the second one says, 4 cups a day is linked to early death. The third claims that the risk of suicide for adults who drank between 2-4 cups of coffee each day was 50% lower when compared with adults who drank decaffeinated coffee, very little or no coffee.

Study links coffee intake with reduced risk of endometrial cancer
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/288988.php

Four cups of coffee a day linked to risk of early death
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264778.php?sr

Drinking coffee linked to lower suicide risk in adults
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263962.php

I’m not a huge coffee drinker, but when I do indulge in a cup it’s when I’m totally exhausted and need a quick pick me up. On average, I drink about 2-3 cups a month, and I even go without it for months on end. What will my faith be? Should I start drinking coffee to prevent early death or even suicide?

There are many research studies about coffee consumption, and they can be extremely confusing. One have to wonder what and who to believe? Especially, who’s funding them. I believe in moderation. Too much of one thing is never good for anyone.

More reading:
Coffee and Cancer
Coffee and Health
9 Facts About Coffee That Will Impress Your Friends
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Fruit Fact: Grapefruits Fight Free Radicals

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Free radicals causes cells in our bodies to breakdown, and foods that are high in vitamin C can significantly reduce and prevent oxidative stress on our cells. Thus grapefruits, carrots, oranges and tomatoes to name a few, are exceptionally high in vitamin C.

Oxidative stress is now thought to make a significant contribution to all inflammatory diseases (arthritis, vasculitis, glomerulonephritis, lupus erythematous, adult respiratory diseases syndrome), ischemic diseases (heart diseases, stroke, intestinal ischema), hemochromatosis, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, emphysema, organ transplantation, gastric ulcers, hypertension and preeclampsia, neurological disorder (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy), alcoholism, smoking-related diseases, and many others.

An excess of oxidative stress can lead to the oxidation of lipids and proteins, which is associated with changes in their structure and functions.

Oxidative stress also causes premature aging and wrinkles. If you don’t want to look old before your time, choose the right foods.

The foods we choose to eat contributes to the health of our cells. What we put in our bodies everyday significantly affects us on a cellular level. If you choose to smoke, drink alcohol and take drugs, your cells will be damaged. If you choose to eat processed foods and junk foods, your cells will be damaged. It’s easy science. Know the facts and make wiser choices.

To read more about oxidative stress and to obtain the article where I found this information click here.

Papaya: My New Obsession

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Papaya’s are my new obsession at the moment. I go through these fazes with fruits and vegetables all the time. Right now it’s papaya. It is extremely healthy for you. Just one whole papaya has 168.08 mg of vitamin C, and a whopping 2622.00 International Units of vitamin A.

According to whfoods website, papayas may prevent a number of health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, aging and cancer. To read more about these health benefits click here.

Papaya alone will not prevent those diseases. It’s the other foods along with papayas that will determine your faith. I’m all about eating foods that will nourish my body. Especially, the ones that has anti-aging benefits…lol! I want to age gracefully and healthy. Who doesn’t? Those kinds of foods are whole foods and plant-based.

I quote from the book Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by, T. Colin Campbell, PhD:

“The foods you consume can heal you faster and more profoundly than the most expensive prescription drugs, and more dramatically than the most extreme surgical interventions, with only positive side effects.”

This book is phenomenal. The only diet now that can promise you and me that, is a whole food plant-based diet. I highly recommend reading it, and Healthy Eating Healthy World by, J. Morris Hicks, and The China Study by, Dr. Campbell again.

These three books will transform your outlook on food, nutrition and your life forever. There is much to be gained from reading these books. They are clearly written and powerfully true with scientific researches to support each claim. You will be able to comprehend and implement the changes into your life, and benefit from them.

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Some photos of how I incorporate papayas in my diet. It’s all plant-based foods.

Cruciferous Vegetables – Raw, Sauté, Steam, or Fry

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I grabbed all of these items before I left the house. I figured, I’ll cut everything up at lunchtime and create my own salad. If you look closely, There’s no lettuce. I thought, I would use my purple cabbage instead. I eat and cook a lot of different cabbages. There are red, green, and Savoy cabbages, and each one contain different patterns of health benefit.

Cabbage is in the cruciferous family along with broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. A study published in the August 2003 issue of the International Journal of Cancer suggests that eating lots of cruciferous vegetables may provide a significant survival advantage for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. One of the most aggressive cancers, ovarian cancer claims the lives of 14,000 American women each year.

According to the whfoods website there are over 475 studies that have examined the role of this cruciferous vegetable in cancer prevention (and in some cases, cancer treatment). The uniqueness of cabbage in cancer prevention is due to the three different types of nutrient richness found in this widely enjoyed food.

The three types are:
(1) antioxidant richness
(2) anti-inflammatory richness
(3) richness in glucosinolates

Incorporate more cabbage in your diet. They’re great lightly sautéed, juiced, steamed or even eaten raw. My salad has about two 2 cups of red cabbage. I enjoy eating cabbage served up in any style. There are do many different benefits in how you consume cabbage. For an in-depth look at these benefits check out whfoods.org.
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Resources:

Study: Miron A, Hancianu M, Aprotosoaie AC et al. [Contributions to chemical study of the raw polysaccharide isolated from the fresh pressed juice of white cabbage leaves]. Rev Med Chir Soc Med Nat Iasi. 2006 Oct-Dec;110(4):1020-6. 2006.

Study: Higdon JV, Delage B, Williams DE, et al. Cruciferous Vegetables and Human Cancer Risk: Epidemiologic Evidence and Mechanistic Basis. Pharmacol Res. 2007 March; 55(3): 224-236. 2007.
Whfoods.org
Top 12 Tips to Prevent Cancer
Eat Cabbage for Beautiful Skin