China Pushes Public to Accept GMO as Syngenta Takeover Nears

Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University and two other Chinese colleges will carry out the survey, said Jin Jianbin, a professor at Tsinghua’s School of Journalism and Communication. The poll, sponsored by the government, will be carried out in tandem with a campaign on social media to broadcast basic knowledge on GMO technology, which is widely misunderstood in the country, Jin said.

China is the world’s fourth-largest grower of GMO cotton and the top importer of soybeans, most of which are genetically modified and used for cooking oil and animal feed for pigs and chickens. But public concern over food safety issues and skepticism about the effects of consuming GMO foods have made the government reluctant to introduce the technology for staple crops.

A 2012 trial of so-called Golden Rice — a yellow GMO variant of the grain that produces beta-carotene — caused a public storm after reports that the rice was fed to children without the parents being aware that it was genetically modified.

The national survey aims to discover what the public’s concerns are so that the government can resolve the confusion, Jin said. “If the government pushes ahead before the public is ready to accept the technology, it would be embarrassing — like offering a pot of half-cooked rice to eat.”

Producers of GMO crops claim they offer improved yields, enhanced nutritional value and resistance to drought, frost and insects. Critics have raised concerns over safety and potential adverse ecological effects. Last year, the U.S., the world’s largest producer of GMO crops, mandated that food makers label products with modified ingredients. EU lawmakers this month objected to imports of herbicide-resistant strains of corn and cotton.

China itself has spent billions on research of its own GMO technology over the past decade, but has not allowed commercial production of grains, with scientists citing public resistance as part of the reason for the delay. China has said that it will allow commercial production of modified corn and soybeans by 2020.

Government officials have said that the country would introduce the use of the technology first on feed grains after cotton. China’s corn consumption is estimated to grow nearly 20 percent in the coming decade on demand for protein-rich meat and dairy products.

Bloomberg

Drinking Kava Becoming Popular with Tongan Women

For Tongan women drinking kava with others is becoming more popular, but does require them to break with tradition.

For Ikanamoe Ma’u, that is exactly what she has been doing for almost two decades.

She proudly calls herself a heavy kava drinker.

“I can drink kava all night and drink more cups than men,” she says proudly.

Now living in Aotearoa, it was a pleasant surprise to notice a shift in female kava consumption on a recent trip back to Tonga, she said.

“I went home and was surprised to see a lot of young females as kava consumers and they do drink the kava.”

She said when she started drinking kava heavily in the late 1990s, she hadn’t heard of any other Tongan women who also did it.

By tradition, the Tongan fai kava or practise of drinking kava is usually done with men sitting around the kava bowl circle and a woman serving kava to the men is known as a tou’a.

Read the rest of the story here.

Home Remedies for Common Aging Women’s Problems

Menopause… it’s a word many women dread and don’t really like to use. But in reality, it’s not the transition itself that is bothersome and uncomfortable. Postmenopausal women would confess that they feel relief not having their lives dictated by their menstrual cycle.

First and foremost, do not panic. These symptoms are common, but the frequency and severity of which they appear to vary depending on health, age, and lifestyle. There are many natural remedies and lifestyle adjustments available to make your transition into menopause smoother and more enjoyable.

Memory foam pillow: As levels of the hormone estrogen decline so does your body’s ability to control temperature. Hence the night sweats and the resulting sleep disturbances. A good pillow with a layer of flexible, air permeable memory foam will support your head and keep the temperature down.

Sunscreen: Menopause results in your skin becoming thinner, more sensitive, and more vulnerable to the sun’s damaging effects. If regular sun protection isn’t part of your skin care routine yet, it’s not too late. Look for a daily moisturizer offering protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

Bamboo underwear: You may have seen clothes made of bamboo in stores. They are similar to cotton but softer to touch. If hot flashes and night sweats are regular occurrences, the bamboo fabric will keep you cool by effectively absorbing sweat.

Cooling spray: You can buy one at the store or you can make one yourself. Just add a few drops of menthol and peppermint oil to water. It’s a handy item to keep in your bag in case of an out-of-the-blue hot flash attack. A cooling spray can effectively reduce the heat sensation and leave you feeling fresh.

Pomegranate Juice: Marketed as a modern superfood, pomegranate is packed with all-important vitamin C as well as plant-based estrogen-like compounds (phytoestrogens). These phytoestrogens may be helpful in keeping your hormone levels in check.

Menopause doesn’t have to be a living nightmare. Equipped with the right tools to keep you feeling cool, menopause will be a breeze.

Bel Marra Health

Are you on a diet? You can still enjoy Sandwich week!

National Sandwich week runs from 14th to 20th May 2017 and according to the organizers, British consumers manage to munch their way through over 11.5 billion sandwiches each year. If you laid each one end to end, they would go around the world about 44 times.

But with around 200 calories in 2 slices of white bread, and ready-made sandwiches often high in salt, they might be a treat for our taste buds, but not so great for our waistlines.

Here are 5 sandwich swaps for some of the most popular diets: Vegan, Dopamine, Paleo, Gluten-free and Raw.

Vegan Sandwich
A Vegan diet means no animal products at all, including butter, eggs, and dairy. To supplement your Vitamin B12 intake, Marmite is a great choice, top with bananas, which are full of Vitamin B6 that helps with brain development and function.

Dopamine Diet Sandwich
The Dopamine Diet, popularized by celebrity chef Tom Kerridge, focuses on stress-busting ingredients to put a smile on your face.

Paleo diet
The Paleo, or ‘Caveman’ diet, consists of a high protein, low carb mix, mimicking the natural diet our ancestors had. If you can’t hunt or gather it, you can’t eat it. That means no pasta, cereal or bread.

Gluten free
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye – going gluten free is recommended for treatment of coeliac disease. There are now many gluten-free pieces of bread on the market, but for a more interesting alternative, try using grilled Portabello mushrooms as your slices. Fill with melted cheese and chicken for a hunger-busting lunch.

Raw food
The raw food diet is based on the principle that heating food destroys the essential nutrients and enzymes that aid digestion. Anything processed can’t be eaten, so bread is most definitely out.

Huffington Post

Low Back Pain Killing You? Try 8 Remedies (Before Taking Pills)

You may have heard that doctors are getting away from prescribing opioids for chronic low back pain. New guidelines from the American College of Physicians (ACP) advise doctors to start with options that don’t involve any type of medication.

This breaks from the World Health Organization tiered medication scale favored in the past. The scale previously focused on drugs that included opioids.

What to try first for your back pain?

1. Physical therapy
“Cleveland Clinic very much advocates active physical therapy,” says Dr. Mayer. An exercise prescription can help to ease back stiffness and strengthen muscles that support the spine.


2. Acupuncture
This ancient Chinese technique involves inserting hair-thin needles into key points to ease the pain. “Acupuncture is better at relieving the radiating leg pain that can accompany low back pain. We often recommend acupuncture because relieving pain allows you to exercise and be active,” says Dr. Mayer.


3. Exercise
Individual, group or supervised exercise can make you sore at first. “But it can help improve your core strength, spine flexibility, endurance and balance,” he notes.


4. Yoga and tai chi
Practicing these meditative forms of exercise from ancient India and China “has shown good benefit for those with low back pain, improving their function, endurance, and symptoms,” says Dr. Mayer.


5. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
“Research shows this popular form of talk therapy improves coping, lessens social isolation and decreases the social impact of pain on your life,” he says. Combining psychological therapy with physical therapy and social work support is also beneficial.


6. Biofeedback
Placing electrodes at certain points allows you to control and release tension in your back muscles. “This improves function, positional tolerance, and muscle pain,” says Dr. Mayer.


7. Stress management and mindfulness
Relieving stress and focusing on the present help to take your mind off the pain.


8. Progressive relaxation
Gradually releasing tension in each part of the body can be helpful in easing pain, especially before bed.

If you’ve been suffering with long-term low back pain, it’s worth exploring these non-drug treatment options before resorting to pills. You’re likely to find your quality of life improving.

Cleveland Clinic

Southeast Asia’s Kratom Leaf Draws Controversy

Throughout the course of botanical history, there have been two distinct types of people: those who want to ingest plants for their medicinal and psychoactive properties, and those who want to make those plants illegal. Most recently, the debate has centered on the Southeast Asian leaf Kratom, a natural painkiller ingested to treat chronic illness. But the plant, which comes from a tropical evergreen tree, also has several recreational benefits.

In low doses Kratom can act as a stimulant. At high doses it can act as a sedative, similar to a narcotic. The substance, which many say is more “subtle” than marijuana, is banned by the military and is illegal in six states. In 2014, the FDA began seizing Kratom coming into the U.S., and in 2016 the DEA announced its intentions to regulate the plant, receiving protest from users. Still, many enjoy its effects, often mixing the soluble ground powder in chocolate milk shakes, grapefruit juice or tea, while others take it in pill form.

Read more about kratom over at Dope Magazine.

The Diet we’re all Googling but it’s not a Fad

Research shows that interest in veganism spiked in December 2016 and January 2017, with searches increasing by 28% over this period.

Gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free diets are about as trendy as Gucci loafers and 90s fashion right now (that’s to say, very) but the one diet we’re all Googling, according to Hitwise’s Clean Living report, is the vegan diet, which might not be a surprise if you too swear by soy-based snacks.

Veganism also extends beyond a person’s day on a plate – to the clothes they wear, for example – and subscribing to certain philosophies “that reject the commodity status of animals,” in every industry… not just food or fashion.

Interestingly, searches for “paleo” have dropped 22% since 2014, which “could be due to the negative press surrounding paleo guru, Pete Evans and his position on vaccinations,” according to the report.

Interest in going – or just reading about, anyway – “dairy free” has decreased 8% since 2015 (milk has gotten some better PR since then, apparently) but according to Hitwise, “it’s not statistically drastic enough to warrant writing this ‘diet’ off” quite yet.”

Thesatellite

Tackling hidden hunger: Biofortified Genetically Engineered Foods Increase Iron, Zinc and Vitamin A

Today, most of us do get enough to eat, in terms of calories, but we still may not be getting our essential micronutrients, such as iron and zinc. In other words, our focus has shifted from quantity to quality. This ‘hidden hunger’, a term used to describe dietary micronutrient deficiencies, must be taken care of. The answer, find researchers, is biofortification.

Golden rice is a variety of rice produced through genetic engineering to biosynthesise beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, in the edible parts of rice.

The most common micronutrient deficiencies are iron and zinc, with 2 billion people affected worldwide with anaemia (30% of the world’s population), says the World Health Organization. Vitamin A deficiency is not far behind. This triad, vital to our health, especially for the development of children, women, and other vulnerable sections (seniors or those who have low immunity), is the focus of biofortification research.

The Genetic Literacy Project

5 Ancient Remedies That Strengthen Your Whole Body

Ancient civilizations did not have to worry about GMOs, pesticides and modern day illnesses. They did, however, suffer from the same immune-suppressing ailments that modern-day man suffers today. But without the use of pharmaceutical drugs at their disposal, they relied on the wisdom of generations past to support their health and wellbeing. Much of that healing wisdom has been buried under modern day medicine. Still, there are some powerful ancient remedies that have stood the test of time, which continue to heal today.

When it came to immune-boosting remedies, ancient people looked to their gardens for healing foods and herbs. You can do the same. Here are five ancient remedies used to strengthen the bodies.

Garlic Tea. Garlic may be a flavorful seasoning, but it dates back thousands of years as a traditional medicine to strengthen the immune system. In fact, according to Sophia Norbert in “Garlic Herbal Remedies – The Best Garlic Natural Cures for Health and Beauty” there are several records noting the medicinal use of garlic in ancient Chinese literature to strengthen their labor force.

Echinacea Tea. Echinacea is one of the most popular traditional herbs in North America. Native Americans have used echinacea for hundreds of years. But evidence suggests that echinacea was also used by ancient cultures to treat infections and boost immunity.

Aloe vera. Aloe vera is one of the oldest medicinal plants on record. According to history, ancient Chinese and Egyptians once used aloe vera to treat burns, wounds and reduce fever. Legend has it that Alexander the Great conquered the island of Socotra, off the coast of Africa, to secure supplies of aloe vera for his wounded soldiers. It’s also said that Cleopatra even used aloe vera in her daily skin regime.

Mint Tea. Mint is an ancient culinary delight used to promote digestive health. In ancient times, this backyard herb was used medicinally to treat stomach aches, chest pains, and halitosis. It’s also a great breath freshener, palate cleanser and helps promote digestion. Research suggests that mint may also soothe nausea and even motion sickness. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, mint is very effective in clearing up congestion and loosening phlegm.

Chamomile. Chamomile is probably one of the most ancient medicinal herbs known to mankind. The Egyptians dedicated the chamomile to the sun, and worshiped it above all other herbs for its healing properties, according to the Herbal Encyclopedia. In fact, hieroglyphics show that chamomile was used cosmetically for at least 2,000 years. Apparently, Egyptian royalty used preparations of crushed petals on their skin. Greek physicians also prescribed chamomile for fevers and female disorders.

Ancient remedies work. They don’t use harsh chemicals, they’re inexpensive and usually do not produce any side effects. Unfortunately, you can’t say the same for pharmaceuticals.

TheAlternativeDaily

Study: Diet soft drinks linked to strokes, Dementia

“So, the bottom line is, ‘Have more water and have less diet soda.’ And don’t switch to real soda.”

Americans trying to stay healthy have abandoned sugary drinks for diet drinks in droves over the past few decades on the theory the latter is better than the former. Now, more evidence has emerged to refute that rationale.

Indeed, a new study shows an association between diet soft drinks and both stroke and dementia, with people drinking diet soda daily being almost three times as likely to develop stroke and dementia as those who consumed it weekly or less.

The study kept track of 2,888 individuals age 45 and over for the development of a stroke and 1,484 participants age 60 and older for dementia over a 10-year period. All are participants in the famous Framingham Heart Study, several thousand men, and women who have had blood tests done periodically since the 1970s.

The study “found that those who reported consuming at least one artificially sweetened drink a day, compared to less than one a week, were 2.96 times as likely to have an ischemic stroke, caused by blood vessel blockage, and 2.89 times as likely to be diagnosed with dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease,” said a summary from the AHA.

A parallel study of sugary drinks did not find an association with stroke or dementia.
The artificial sweeteners consumed by those in the study included saccharin, acesulfame-K, and aspartame. Others — including sucralose, neotame, and stevia — have been approved by the FDA since the study said.

“Low-calorie sweeteners have been proven safe by worldwide government safety authorities as well as hundreds of scientific studies and there is nothing in this research that counters this well-established fact,” it said in a statement, adding: “While we respect the mission of these organizations to help prevent conditions like stroke and dementia, the authors of this study acknowledge that their conclusions do not — and cannot — prove cause and effect.”

NWF Daily News