In the glow of youth, we often don’t worry about what our health will be like as we grow older. With more women dying from heart disease than ever before, and now half of the entire female population being diagnosed with osteoporosis (loss of bone density) by the time they reach age 60, it’s time to do something. Like, now.
What’s even more worrisome is that 1 in 5 women will suffer a fall by the time they are 60, and break their hip. Due to osteoporosis, it could mean that the bones don’t heal, and they never walk again.
Moreover, women as young as 20 are testing with low bone density.
There’s an incredibly simple solution though, and it just so happens to affect heart disease risk, too.
Become Vegetarian or Vegan
It may sound shocking and completely unrelated, but here are some interesting facts about why becoming a vegetarian could dramatically reduce your risk for this disease:
The excessive consumption of meat is causing bone density loss.
In one study it was discovered that the renal acid load from meats, cheese, and other animal products could be contributing to bone loss. The study states,
“One of the most hotly debated controversies in clinical nutrition today is whether a diet higher in protein has a positive or negative effective on bone strength and bone mineral density (BMD).
Those who are against protein point to the fact that vegetarians tend to have stronger bones than people who eat more meat and the clinical trials showing increased loss of calcium in the urine when meat or protein intake is increased.
On the other hand, those who believe more protein is beneficial to bone strength point to clinical trials in which children who consume more protein tend to build stronger bones than those who consume less.
In some studies of older Americans who consumed more protein, the risk of bone fracture was reduced. . .
If we look at this problem from an evolutionary perspective, two things are clear.
First, from the fossils of our ancient ancestors, it is clear that their bones were far stronger on average than those of Americans today.
Second, our ancient ancestors were for the most part hunter-gatherers and ate a diet that was likely considerably higher in protein than the diet of most Americans.”
But here is the caveat – our ancient ancestors didn’t eat as much highly processed, acid forming, antibiotic-laden, unethically slaughtered meat as we do today. The meat we eat now is highly acid-forming in the body, which leads to yet another study.
Any activities which cause low-grade chronic inflammation also contribute to osteoporosis. Though eating meat is not the sole culprit – a sedentary lifestyle, refined sugar, refined fats, etc. also add to acidity – meat eating does indeed cause inflammation.
An overly acidic diet is a key cause of chronic inflammation. In a healthy body, the natural biochemical balance is four parts alkaline to one part acid. To achieve this balance, a person needs to consume roughly 80 percent alkaline foods and 20 percent acidic foods.
Meat eating, particularly of red meat, has also been linked to higher incidences of heart disease, by Harvard researchers, and is an acid-creating food.
Fruits, vegetables, nuts, sprouts, seeds, and healthy fats like those found in hemp and flax seed, etc. are alkaline-supporting foods. They are also more easily digested by our bodies and lower chronic inflammation.
Eskimos Have Lower Bone Density
Yet another study looked at the bone mineral content of Eskimos, who are famous for eating a primarily meat-based diet to their harsh climate.
The study reports,
“Direct photon absorptiometry was used to measure the bone mineral content of forearm bones in Eskimo natives of the north coast of Alaska. The sample consisted of 217 children, 89 adults, and 107 elderly (over 50 years).
Eskimo children had a lower bone mineral content than United States whites by 5 to 10% but this was consistent with their smaller body and bone size.
Young Eskimo adults (20 to 39 years) of both sexes were similar to whites, but after age 40 the Eskimos of both sexes had a deficit of from 10 to 15% relative to white standards. Aging bone loss, which occurs in many populations, has an earlier onset and greater intensity in the Eskimos.
Nutritional factors of high protein, high nitrogen, high phosphorus, and low calcium intakes may be implicated.”
Though it is common knowledge that our soil is not as rich with vital minerals as it was before industrial agriculture, plant based foods still provide minerals, in their correct balance, to prevent or greatly slow osteoporosis.
Vegetarian and Vegan Foods to Build Strong Bones
Moreover, cheese and milk products (animal based proteins) are not the only source of calcium.
Spinach, collards, kale, Swiss chard, lettuces, rhubarb, mustard and turnip greens, and even broccoli all contain calcium.
Pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, Adzuki, lentils, chickpeas, pinto, Kidney beans and squash all have high levels of phosphate.
A word to the wise though – skip soy altogether. The reason so many more woman than men suffer from Osteoporosis is that estrogen interferes with mineral uptake. Soy, especially GMO soy, and other estrogen mimicking foods can make it hard for your body to build strong bones.
You can reduce inflammation overall by cutting back on refined sugars, and getting to the gym ore often. But, it seems that simply by reducing your animal protein consumption, you’ll likely still walk after the age of 60.
(Featured image: Shuttershock)
Biden to Ban Menthol Cigarettes, Citing Health Impact on Youth and Black People
The Biden administration is reportedly planning to propose an immediate ban on menthol cigarettes, a product that has long been targeted by anti-smoking advocates and critics who claim that the tobacco industry has aggressively marketed to Black people in the U.S.
On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the administration could announce a ban on menthol and other flavored cigarettes as soon as this week.
Roughly 85 percent of Black smokers use such menthol brands as Newport and Kool, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Research has also found that menthol cigarettes are easier to become addicted to and harder to quit than unflavored tobacco products, along with other small cigars popular with young people and African Americans.
Civil rights advocates claim that the decision should be greeted by Black communities and people of color who have been marketed to by what they describe as the predatory tobacco industry.
Black smokers generally smoke far less than white smokers, but suffer a disproportionate amount of deaths due to tobacco-linked diseases like heart attack, stroke, and other causes.
Anti-smoking advocates like Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, also greeted the move to cut out products that appeal to children and young adults.
“Menthol cigarettes are the No. 1 cause of youth smoking in the United States,” he said. “Eliminating menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars used by so many kids will do more in the long run to reduce tobacco-related disease than any action the federal government has ever taken.”
However, groups including the American Civil Liberties Group (ACLU) has opposed the move, citing the likelihood that such an action could lead to criminal penalties arising from the enforcement of a ban hitting communities of color hardest.
In a letter to administration officials, the ACLU and other groups including the Drug Policy Alliance said that while the ban is “no doubt well-intentioned” it would also have “serious racial justice implications.”
“Such a ban will trigger criminal penalties, which will disproportionately impact people of color, as well as prioritize criminalization over public health and harm reduction,” the letter explained. “A ban will also lead to unconstitutional policing and other negative interactions with local law enforcement.”
Pollution Is Making Human Penises Shrink and Causing a Collapse of Fertility, Scientists Say
With many still scoffing at the idea of rampant pollution posing a threat to humanity, a new study could drastically change the conversation: the chemicals across our environment could be the cause of shrinking human penises.
According to a new book by Dr. Shanna H. Swan, conditions in the modern world are quickly altering the reproductive development of humans and posing a threat to our future as a species.
The argument is laid out in her new book Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.
The book discusses how pollution is not only leading to skyrocketing erectile dysfunction rates and fertility decline, but also an expansion in the number of babies born with small penises.
While it may seem like good fodder for jokes, the research could portend a grim future for humanity’s ability to survive.
Swan co-authored a study in 2017 that found sperm counts had precipitously fallen in Western countries by 59 percent between 1973 and 2011. In her latest book, Swan blames chemicals for this crisis in the making.
“Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc,” she wrote in the new book.
“In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” she also wrote, noting that men could have only half the sperm count of their grandfathers.
Swan blames the disruption on phthalates, the chemicals used in plastic manufacturing that also have an impact on how the crucial hormone endocrine is produced
However, experts note that the proper implementation of pollution reduction measures could help humanity prevent the collapse of human fertility.
Visualizing The World’s Deadliest Pandemics By Population Impact
Humanity has been battling against disease for centuries.
And while most contagious outbreaks have never reached full-blown pandemic status, Visual Capitalist’s Carmen Ang notes that there have been several times throughout history when a disease has caused mass devastation.
Here’s a look at the world’s deadliest pandemics to date, viewed from the lens of the impact they had on the global population at the time.
Editor’s note: The above graphic was created in response to a popular request from users after viewing our popular history of pandemics infographic initially released a year ago.
Death Toll, by Percent of Population
In the mid-1300s, a plague known as the Black Death claimed the lives of roughly 200 million people – more than 50% of the global population at that time.
Here’s how the death toll by population stacks up for other significant pandemics, including COVID-19 so far.
The specific cause of the Black Death is still up for debate. Many experts claim the 14th-century pandemic was caused by a bubonic plague, meaning there was no human-to-human transmission, while others argue it was possibly pneumonic.
Interestingly, the plague still exists today – however, it’s significantly less deadly, thanks to modern antibiotics.
History Repeats, But at Least We Keep Learning
While we clearly haven’t eradicated infection diseases from our lives entirely, we’ve at least come a long way in our understanding of what causes illness in the first place.
In ancient times, people believed gods and spirits caused diseases and widespread destruction. But by the 19th century, a scientist named Louis Pasteur (based on findings by Robert Koch) discovered germ theory – the idea that small organisms caused disease.
What will we discover next, and how will it impact our response to disease in the future?
Like this? Check out the full-length article The History of Pandemics
Republished from ZH with permission.