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Does Red Meat Have Health Benefits? (ll)

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The effects of red meat on health have been heavily studied.
However, most of these studies are observational, meaning that they are designed to detect associations but cannot prove causation (cause and effect).
Observational studies tend to have confounding variables — factors other than the ones being studied that might be influencing the outcome variable (10Trusted Source).
For example, an observational study may find that people who eat a lot of red meat have worse health outcomes.
However, perhaps this group of people may be more likely to smoke, drink alcohol frequently, or engage in other behaviours that contribute to undesirable health effects compared with those who do not eat red meat.
It not impossible to control for all of these factors and determine if red meat is a “cause” of any health outcome. That limitation is important to keep in mind when reviewing the research and determining if red meat is something you would like to incorporate into your regular diet.
Red meat and heart disease
Several observational studies show that red meat is associated with a greater risk of death, including from heart disease
Nevertheless, it appears that not all red meat has the same health effects. Plus, it is important to remember the limitations of observational studies.
A large study including 134,297 individuals found that high intake of processed meat (150 or more grams per week) was significantly associated with an increased risk of death and heart disease.
However, no association was found for unprocessed red meat consumption, even in amounts of 250 or more grams per week .
Randomised controlled trials — which are considered to be higher quality than observational studies — appear to support these results.
One review of controlled studies concluded that eating half a serving (1.25 ounces), or more of unprocessed red meat daily does not adversely affect heart disease risk factors, such as blood lipids and blood pressure levels.
One of the reasons processed meats may be associated with heart disease risk is the high salt content. Excessive sodium intake has been linked to high blood pressure .
Overall, it is unclear if, how, and why unprocessed or processed red meats are connected to heart disease. We need more high quality studies to help contextualise the data.
Red meat and cancer
Observational studies also show that red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of certain cancers, especially colorectal and breast cancers .
Similar to the studies on heart disease, it appears that the type of meat makes a difference.
Consumption of processed red meats, like bacon and sausage, has been linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer. This does not appear to be true for unprocessed red meats.
What is more, a review of studies found that high processed meat intake was associated with a larger increase in breast cancer risk compared with high unprocessed meat intake.
It is not fully understood how processed meats increase the risk of certain cancers.
However, it is thought that using nitrites to cure meat and smoking meats can produce carcinogenic (cancer-causing) compounds. High heat cooking, such as grilling, may also create cancer-promoting compounds.
The way red meat is cooked also affects how it influences your health. When meat is cooked at a high temperature, it can form harmful compounds.
These include heterocyclic amines (HCAs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) .
According to the National Cancer Institute, lab experiments suggest these compounds may change DNA and promote cancer development.
More research is needed, though.
Here are some tips to minimise the formation of these substances when cooking red meat.
Use gentler cooking methods, like stewing and steaming, instead of grilling and frying.
Minimise cooking at high heats and do not expose your meat directly to a flame.
Limit charred and smoked food. If your meat is burnt, cut away the charred pieces.
If you must cook at a high heat, flip your meat frequently to prevent it from burning.
Soak your meat in a marinade, like one made with honey and herbs, before cooking. Marinating may help decrease the formation of HCAs.

By Kevin Nengia

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‘Research, Key To Better Health National Dev’

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Rivers State Head of Service, Barrister Rufus Godwins, has underscored the need for more research to end disease pandemics and other health related challenges in the country.
He gave the recommendation while delivering the 39th and 40th Convocation lecture of the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education(IAUE) , yesterday in Port Harcourt.
Barrister Godwins who spoke on the topic, “Nigerian Universities and the Challenges of National Development” noted that the recent Covid-19 pandemic that ravaged the world uncovered the nations near absence of research in the face of a threatening health situation.
The HOS submitted that universities should be centres of research to help the nation confront any health challenge, but that last year it failed because there was nothing on ground.
Godwins reasoned that the efforts made by academics in the University of Oxford England by Prof. Sarah Gilbert and her team to produce the Astra Zeneca vaccine should serve as a lesson for government and corporate bodies to fund health related research.
He added, “to date it is estimated that two billion dozes of the Covid-19 vaccine, developed by Oxford University and Astra Zeneca have been released to more than 170 countries, including Nigeria.”
The Head of Service advocated for the use of university in making and implementing the nations policies and programmes, arguing that failure to do so will only lead to stagnation.
Urging the nation to learn from the Covid-19 pandemic, Godwins observed that the shortcomings witnessed should spur researchers to evolve effective methods to improve health of the citizenry.
He carpeted the use of politicians in areas that require technocrats and experts, such as those in health related fields, as this can strengthen the system and better health care.
Against this backdrop, he challenged both government and private bodies to improve their funding to universities, to boost research that will contribute to society and better the lives of the people.

By: Kevin Nengia

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Your Ear Lobe And Your Health

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In Chinese medicine every part of the body is used to connect to another part. For instance, in acupuncture the foot is used for massage to heal other parts of the body like the liver, kidney and heart, so also is the palm and the eyes.
In natural medicine, the eye is used to mirror the body. It is believed that the eyes reflect the condition of the internal organs.
When the eyes are pale, one is said to be anaemic or suffering from liver problem like hepatitis. A sparking eye ball can also indicate strong health and life.
As regards the ear lobe, that soft edge of your ear can indicate how healthy you are as well. Its is one of the body’s early warning signal of an impending stroke attack. This insight from Chinese medicine may sound  archaic or perhaps phony but has been proved right on many occasions.
Sometime in 1973 an American doctor called Dr. Sanders T. Frank confirmed this belief. Hence today, it’s called “Frank Sign” in medicine.
Dr. Sanders was of the view that the ear may indicate whether someone has heart problems. Naturally, the ear lobe is robust and fluffy when there is no problem in sight.
But when the feathers are about to start flying, the ear lobe begins to dry up and to curl inwards. That is because enough blood is not getting into the lobe, and perhaps, other parts of the body, including the brain.
Though some doctors have flayed” Frank Sign” on many occasions, studies have confirmed that 75 percent of stroke patients have creased lobes presented.
An Israeli study affirmed this claim as the examined 241 patients with acute stroke and discovered that 198 of them  had diagonal crease in their ear lobes.
Today many doctors have adopted the ear lobe “Frank Sign” diagnoses because it is a possible marker of other ailments in aging process.
Other tell tale signs of an impending stroke are sudden numbness or weakness in the face,hands or legs and to one part of the body. Sometimes vision may be lost abruptly. Energy may also drop.
Dr. Yaqoob Bhat, a clinical director for stroke medicine at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board in South Wales, England lists aging process ailments associated with Franks Sign to include diabetes, hypertension, ischemic heart diseases and peripheral heart disease.
Many people do not know that diabetes can lead to heart attack or stroke. Diabetes thickens the blood and slows flow. This causes scanty oxygen delivery to the cells and delayed evacuation of wastes in the body.
Diabetes may also cause clotting of the blood. Blood clots are known to obstruct blood flow to the heart, to the brain where increased pressure may cause blood vessel to burst. This burst would spill blood on the surrounding tissue of cells and may lead to stroke.
It’s therefore important for one to often pull his or her earlobes once in a while to rule out the occurrence of “Frank’s sign”. To be alert and alive is key to health.

By Kevin Nengia

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World Malaria Day: NGO Wants Special Funding For Malaria

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A non- governmental organisation ,Erens Ekpirikpo Health Foundation has tasked both the State and Federal Government to create special funding and agency to tackle malaria.
It also disclosed plans says  to tackle malaria menace in two rural communities of Ngo and Edoha in Rivers State.
Founder and President of the foundation, Erens-Spiff Ekpirikpo gave the indication during a special colloquium to mark the World Malaria Day Monday in Port Harcourt.
He said the target is to reach 1000 persons in the first phase, as many people in the rural areas are faced with the challenge of poor enlightenment and lack of resources to tackle malaria.
Mr. Ekpirikpo stressed the need to enlighten the rural populace, distribute mosquito repellent nets, and free medicals as key measures to be adopted by the body.
Government on the need to create special funding for malaria, Ekpirikpo observed that if the attention that was given to Covid19 was given to malaria, by now the death rates from malaria would have been reduced drastically.
On his part, an expert in Haematology and lecturer in Rivers State University, Dr. Azunwo Obiomah in his paper, “Facts and Myths of Covid19” stated that more people die from malaria than Covid19.
Dr. Obioma said the target of eradicating malaria by the federal government will be a mirage as poor funding, lack of testing kits coupled with ignorance from the populace are still high.
As far as he was concerned malaria kills more than Covid19, and as such should be given serious attention.
The university lecturer urged the populace to take measured steps in preventing malaria scourge, and eschew from taking concoctions that do not cure malaria.

By: Kevin Nengia

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