Sunday, March 23, 2008

Mothers' Milk Reveals Ancient Diets

Breast milk from women in regions where the first humans likely emerged suggests that Western diets — with their high amounts of carbs, sugars, salts and oils — go against the optimal human diet.

That conclusion comes from a new study that also suggests infant formula guidelines, which are based on Western dietary recommendations, need reassessment.

"It is somewhat strange to first drastically deviate from what we as Homo sapiens derive from in an evolutionary sense, then, because of this deviation, we get all kinds of new diseases that many blame on environment, notably diet, and then we set recommendations on the basis of this abnormal diet!" author Frits Muskiet told Discovery News.

Muskiet is a scientist in the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Netherlands' University Medical Center Groningen. He and his colleagues conducted chemical analysis of milk obtained from 20 mothers living on the island of Chole, Tanzania. Some of the oldest human remains have been found in this region.

For comparison, the researchers then studied milk from women living in four different tribes in the Tanzanian inland.

Their findings have been accepted for publication in the journal Prostaglandins, Leukotrines and Essential Fatty Acids.

Chole's inhabitants eat large amounts of coconut, fish, vegetables, fruits and occasional flying fox meat. The other tribes studied eat foods often associated with Western diets, such as processed carbohydrates, red meat and corn oil.

The chemical analysis found mothers' milk from Chole contained high amounts of lauric acid, an unsaturated fatty acid often derived from coconuts. The tribes with more Western diets showed fewer fish oil fatty acids and high concentrations of linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid that is a component of many vegetable oils.

Infant formula guidelines in most countries more closely match the inland milk, but Muskiet and his team believe the Chole milk and diet are likely more ideal.

So is the Chole level of activity.

"They are very fit," he said.

Muskiet explained that the human genome changes, or adjusts, to its environment with a rate of about ".5 percent per million years," so although many human lifestyles have dramatically changed from those in Paleolithic times, the human genome is still adapted to the conditions then.

Loren Cordain, professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University, said he agrees there is an "evolutionary basis for optimal diet and hence the range of values for fatty acids, which would have been found in the milk of our pre-agricultural ancestors."

But he thinks the jury is still out on whether the earliest coastal humans regularly ate seafood, "as the technology to efficiently capture fish (hooks, weirs, seins, nets, barbed spears, etc.) only came into being in the past 40,000 to 70,000 years."

Muskiet said people today don't have to live like cavemen to reap the benefits of the past.

"The point is that we may enjoy more years in health if we adapt our lifestyle to that of our ancient fathers and mothers according to modern Western habits," he said.

"You don't have to dig tubers and run after antelopes, but you can make healthy food choices in a modern supermarket...and you can visit the gym or take a daily walk or do some biking," he added.

Special Thanks to Discovery Channel
Garlic is an important medicinal herb that is readily available everywhere, unlike some of the other herbs mentioned on these pages. It is one of the safest herbs, and as such can be taken often. It does, however, have its drawbacks, as we all know. Bear this in mind when using remedies (especially internal ones), and cut back when family and friends start avoiding you.

Garlic does indeed have scientifically-proven medicinal properties. It contains a substance called Allicin, which has anti-bacterial properties that are equivalent to a weak penicillin. It appears that cooked garlic weakens the anti-bacterial effects considerably, however, so don't count on cooked garlic with meals for much in the way of a curative.

Garlic appears to have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. The list is long when it comes to its uses as a remedy. This list includes wounds, ulcers, skin infections, flu, athlete's foot, some viruses, strep, worms, respiratory ailments, high blood pressure, blood thinning, cancer of the stomach, colic, colds, kidney problems, bladder problems, and ear aches, to name a few. It is believed to cure worms in both people and animals - try giving the dog a clove of garlic daily (but he's not gonna like it).

For most internal problems, eating garlic raw is probably the most potent way to take it. However, due to the obvious lingering odors associated with this, a tincture can be made by soaking 1/4 pound of peeled and separated garlic cloves in 1/2 quart of brandy. Seal tightly and shake every day. Strain and bottle after two weeks of this, and take in drops - 25-30 a day, if desired.

For cough, flu, and respiratory ailments, make a cough syrup out of garlic. Slice 1 pound of fresh garlic and pour one quart of boiling water over it. Let sit for 12 hours, then add sugar until you reach the consistency of a syrup. Add honey for better taste, if desired.

For sore throat, make a garlic tea by steeping several cloves of garlic in half a cup of water overnight. Hold your nose and drink it.

Externally, garlic is a known anti-bacterial and anti-infection agent. An interesting use for ear aches is to slice a garlic clove, heat briefly in a small amount of virgin olive oil, and let cool. Then use a drop of two in the affected ear (strain the mixture beforehand, of course).

Make an Ointment out of garlic (use cloves instead of leaves, stems, or flowers as described in Ointments) for wounds, cuts, athlete's foot, or any other external skin irritation, fungus, or infection. Also, try a few drops of Oil on a toothache for pain relief.

Special Thanks to Gardens Ablaze


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Special Thanks to Jordan Crowder Films

9 thought dead as Minneapolis bridge collapses

The entire span of an interstate bridge broke into sections and collapsed into the Mississippi River during evening bumper-to-bumper traffic Wednesday, sending vehicles, concrete and twisted metal crashing into the water.

Hometown newspaper The Star-Tribune reported that nine people had been confirmed dead, 60 had been taken to hospitals and at least 20 remained missing early Thursday. The Associated Press put the number dead at seven so far.

Authorities said the death toll was expected to climb.

Asked about the possibility of finding more survivors, Fire Chief Jim Clack said, “The likelihood is fairly slim.”

"This will be a very tragic night when this is over," Mayor R.T. Rybak said.

From rescue to recovery
By 1 a.m. CT Thursday, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said all search efforts had been called off for the night. At about 10:25 p.m. CT, officials said recovery personnel had moved from rescuing individuals to recovering bodies.

About 20 families had gathered at an information center, looking for information on loved ones apparently missing.

Police Chief Tim Dolan said all survivors who were on the bridge are now off.

"We've accounted for all the construction workers except for one," he said.

Rybak said rescue workers had searched around 50 cars. “We have a feeling that there are more vehicles under the water,” Clack said.

"Obviously, this is a catastrophe of historic proportions," said Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

The Interstate 35W bridge, a major Minneapolis artery, was in the midst of being repaired when it collapsed at 6:05 p.m. CT. Repairs, which closed at least two of the eight lanes, involved guardrail replacement on the joints and concrete work, Pawlenty said.

At least 60 injured
"There were two lanes of traffic, bumper-to-bumper, at the point of the collapse. Those cars did go into the river," said Minneapolis Police Lt. Amelia Huffman. "At this point there is nothing to suggest that this was anything other than a structural collapse."


Sixty people — at least 10 of them children — were injured, said medical officials. Six individuals being treated at Hennepin County Medical Center were in critical condition, Dr. Joseph Clinton said. He said at least one of the victims had drowned.

Clinton said his hospital treated 28 people. The injuries were blunt force trauma to the abdomen, head, trunk and extremities.

NBC News reported that every Minneapolis ambulance had been requested to the scene.

A freight train was passing under the bridge when it collapsed and was cut in two, witnesses on the scene reported to MSNBC.

No indication of terrorism
The Homeland Security Department said the collapse did not appear to be terrorism-related. The National Transportation Safety Board planned to send a team of investigators to Minneapolis, NTSB spokesman Ted Lopatkiewicz said.

Special Thanks to MSNBC