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Why you should always toss your expired pancake mix

Let’s be honest. When you come across an expired food item in your pantry, unless it’s from prehistoric times, you probably continue on and eat that item anyway. After all, those dates are just put there as a guideline, right? For most food items the actual risk is pretty low, but when it comes to pancake mix, you might want to think twice. So why not pancake mix? Well… it could kill you. That’s the official report following several case studies examining a number of freaky stories about people who claim they experienced life-threatening symptoms after eating expired pancake mix. One study published in the American Journal of Forensic Medical Pathology covered the story of a 19-year-old man who ate pancakes made from an opened mix that was two years old. After eating the pancakes, the man went into anaphylaxis — a life-threatening allergic reaction, often caused by food, that makes…

Skipping breakfast could increase risk of heart disease, study shows

You’ve heard it before — “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But that still doesn’t stop you from slapping the snooze button and skipping out on the first meal of the day in favor of a few extra quality minutes of shuteye. But you might want to think twice. We already know a good breakfast can help you lose weight, but a new study suggests that skipping breakfast might increase your risk of death from heart disease. The study was recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Researchers used data from 1988-1994 on more than 6,500 people between the ages of 40 and 75, who had been asked how often they ate breakfast in the morning. Responses showed that 5.1% almost never ate breakfast; 10.9% rarely ate breakfast; 25% had breakfast somedays; and 59% had breakfast every day. The researchers followed up with the…

Eating garlic could help protect your memory, new study shows

You might miss out on some smooches, but a new study suggests that consuming garlic may help protect your memory. Scientists at the University of Louisville found that eating garlic may reduce age-related problems with memory. As it turns out, allyl sulfide, the same sulfide compound that gives us “garlic breath” also improves our gut health, which is one factor in cognitive function. If people eat more garlic, the study’s authors believe people could see a reduced risk in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. For the study, researchers gave oral allyl sulfide to 24-month-old mice (basically 56 to 69 years of age in human years). They then compared these mice with 4- and 24-month-old mice not receiving the allyl sulfide supplement. The older mice that received the garlic showed better long and short term memories, as well as a healthier gut bacteria, than the mice that didn’t receive…

You should never cook frozen chicken in a crock pot, USDA says

Crock-pots are all about convenience. You throw in some ingredients, go about your business, and whip out a delicious, hot meal a few hours later. No one takes the time to prep ingredients a whole day before for a crock-pot. That’s why it was so disconcerting to learn that taking chicken directly from the freezer and plopping it in the popular countertop appliance is a big no-no. According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) website, slow cookers, as a whole, are safe. But in a section called “Slow Cookers and Food Safety,” the department elaborates and says that you should, “Always thaw meat or poultry before putting it in a slow cooker.” Unfortunately, microwaving it last minute isn’t even an option! Man, these guys are tough. The reasons are based on bacteria. The USDA explains that because your slow cooker is, well, slow to reach any cooking temperature…

Soda could cause cancer tumors to grow, study shows

Think your 3 p.m. Coca-Cola pick-me-up isn’t a huge problem? You might want to reconsider. New research revealed that your sugary soda addiction could actually cause serious health problems — even cancer. According to The Sun, it was the increase in bowel cancer cases in people under 35 that spurred the interest of Dr. Lewis Cantley, of Cornell University, to look for answers. Cantley, along with his colleagues, suspected that an increased consumption of high-fructose corn syrup was to blame. To test the theory, cancer-prone mice were fed high-fructose corn syrup (amounting to about one can of Coke per day for a human). The study showed that the tumors were “directly eating the sugar… the cancer was using fructose and glucose together to more than double its growth rate.” Yikes! Excluding skin cancers, bowel cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. According to the American Cancer…

The 2019 Dirty Dozen reveals fruits and vegetables with most pesticides present

Exactly how safe is that produce in your kitchen? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently released its annual “Dirty Dozen” report naming the fruits and vegetables contaminated with the highest number of pesticides — and the list is full of everyday, household favorites. The EWG analyzed data from the United States Department of Agriculture. Overall, the USDA found 225 different pesticides on the common fruits and veggies Americans eat everyday. The tests were conducted before produce was washed or peeled — which shows that simple washing isn’t enough to eliminate pesticides from your produce. As a reminder, researchers have long-warned us that consuming pesticides can lead to a number of health issues including cancer and low fertility. Some fruits and vegetables that appear on the 2019 Dirty Dozen list are regulars (hello again, strawberries), but some are newcomers to the pesticide-laden list of shame. This year, kale seems to be…

6 Benefits of eating spicy foods

Eating spicy foods can be a point of pride for some people. Friends compete to see who can eat the hottest wings without crying. Restaurants tout their Ghost Pepper salsas, and TV show crews travel thousands of miles to film their hosts taking on spicy food challenges at fairs and festivals. But aside from a badge of honor — and maybe the thrill of it — there are several benefits to eating spicy foods. Of course, if you already have reflux or gastro issues, eating spicy foods may make you feel worse. But, if you don’t have these issues and your stomach is strong, you may experience some of these health benefits of spicy foods: 1. A boost in metabolism. Studies have shown that people who eat spicy foods burned more calories and had less of an appetite after eating red pepper. Spicy foods, like hot peppers, contain the capsaicin,…

Weight gain could reduce your sense of taste, study shows

Chew on this. A recent study shows that packing on some extra pounds can seriously mess with your sense of taste. Yes, regularly eat too much and your taste buds become less effective. Researchers at Cornell University set out to find out why this is the case. They fed mice high-fat diets, which led to weight gain, then examined their tongues. When compared to a control group of mice which was fed a normal diet, the obese mice had 25% less taste buds present. Their taste buds were quicker to mature and die off, and were resupplied at a slower rate. The scientists think that weight gain can cause inflammation that can interrupt the regeneration of taste buds, meaning fewer are present at any given time. Results were published in the journal PLOS Biology. So how does this translate in humans? Of course, individuals naturally have differences when it comes…

Moldy foods that are still safe to eat, according to the USDA

Americans waste more than $160 billion in food every year — yikes! Of course, no one buys food with the anticipation of throwing it in the trash, but once something gets moldy, we have little choice. This might be true of most foods — but not all. According to the USDA, some foods can still be consumed even when mold is visibly present. This handy guide can help you decide if you’re still unsure. Here are 3 foods that don’t need to wind up wasted just because of a little mold: Moldy foods you can still eat 1. Hard salami and dry-cured country hams The USDA says that it’s normal for  these products to have a layer of surface mold. Think about the white coating around certain salamis — this is actually a benign mold that helps cure the meat and prevent harmful bacteria from growing. Just remove the surface,…

Consumer Reports finds alarming levels of heavy metals in kids’ fruit juice

A new study will be hard to swallow for some well-meaning parents. A recent study by Consumer Reports found concerning levels of potentially dangerous metals in many kids’ fruit juices. Arsenic, cadmium, and lead were found in beloved brands including Whole Food’s 365 Everyday Value, Juicy Juice, Honest Kids, Minute Maid, Welch’s, and more. Also see: Learn to make your own juice at home. The watchdog group tested 45 fruit juices sold nationwide, including grape, apple, pear, and fruit blends. More than half of the juices tests for those three heavy metals. Overall, heavy metals in fruit juices have gone down since a similar CR test in 2011, but  Consumer Report’s Chief Scientific Officer James Dickerson, Ph.D. warns we shouldn’t be comfortable with that alone. “People should still be concerned that test heavy metals are still being found in juice products… and take action so they can ensure that they…