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Professionals answer your questions about natural medicine


Professionals answer: What's wrong with processed oils?

What's wrong with processed oils? 
Q:How can typical processing methods alter fats and endanger health?

A:Udo Erasmus:
Food processing alters fats in many ways. Hydrogenation, which is used to turn oils into margarine, shortening, or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, produces trans-fatty acids, which are twisted molecules that lose their health benefits and become toxic. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, trans-fatty acids double the risk of heart attack, kill at least 30,000 Americans every year, and increase diabetes.

Cooking oils are made by treating oils pressed from seeds with corrosive base, corrosive acid, and bleaching clays. This is done to remove “minor” ingredients such as phytosterols, antioxidants, and lecithin, which have major health benefits, but shorten the shelf stability of the oil. Bleaching turns oils rancid, and they acquire a bad odour. They must then be deodorized to remove the rancid odour. This process is carried out at frying temperature. Oils treated this way lose most of their minor ingredients, are unbalanced, and contain about 0.5- to one-per-cent molecules that have been changed during processing from natural to toxic.

All of the cooking oils normally found on store shelves are refined, bleached, and deodorized (RBD) oils, except for extra-virgin olive oil and other nonrefined seed and nut oils, which have not undergone RBD processing and retain their minor ingredients.

Cooking is best done with water (steam, poach, boil, and pressure cook) or with hard, saturated fats such as ghee, coconut, or palm oil, which are damaged less than liquid oils when used in frying. Frying exposes oils to the destructive effects of light, air, and heat. It has been known for 40 years to increase cancer and heart disease.

Chiropractic for sports

Q: My daughter took a tumble at soccer the other day. Although nothing showed up on the X-ray, she is complaining of a sore hip; we have been advised to visit a chiropractor. Would a chiropractor be able to help her get back in the game?

A: Alan Irving DC, DACRB:
Hip and groin injuries account for four per cent of sports injuries with soccer being the highest risk sport (10 per cent of all soccer injuries). Your daughter’s hips may hurt because a nerve is irritated in the lumbar spine. Alternatively the genitofemoral or lateral femoral cutaneous nerve may be trapped, usually in conjunction with a sports or groin hernia.

Most hip injuries occur at the muscle-tendon junction, though. The muscles most commonly injured are the iliotibial band, adductors, abdominals, quadriceps, hip flexors, and piriformis, a small muscle deep in the buttocks. Your daughter’s joints may not move normally and her knee and foot may also contribute to hip pain.

These injuries respond well to therapy. In fact, medical research supports the fact that after adequate home care—rest, icing, compression, and elevation (RICE)—your chiropractor is best trained to treat the majority of spinal musculoskeletal injuries.
The chiropractor will look at your daughter’s spine, hips, knees, feet, and gait, and especially her posture and its relationship to the rest of the spine. He or she will then manipulate her joints, moving them gently to correct any misalignment. Current research indicates that chiropractic “manipulation” is superior to both drugs and acupuncture in the treatment of spinal pain.

He or she will then ask about the training program that led to the problem, correct poor technique, and offer soft tissue therapy, exercise, and preventive measures. 

Left untreated, your daughter may experience chronic low back pain, which is prevalent in 33 per cent of children ages 7 to 17. 

Omega 6 oils and breast cancer
Q: I have read in some magazines that omega 6 oils should not be consumed when you have breast cancer while other magazines say it is beneficial. Can you clear up this confusion?

A: Lorna Vanderhaeghe, BSc:
Omega 6 oils should be broken down into two types: Omega 6 oils that contain Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) and those that do not. Those that have GLA, including black currant seed, evening primrose, and borage, have been shown in clinical studies to be breast protective. Those that do not contain GLA, including corn, safflower, canola and soy, have been found to be disease promoting.

The reports that link omega 6 oils to breast cancer are misleading because the studies they are based on did not consider the type of omega 6 oils that the participants were using. Nor did they expose whether the oils consumed were refined, genetically modified, or organic. Studies that did consider the type of omega 6 oil found that evening primrose oil and borage oil reduce the risk of breast cancer, eliminate cyclicdelate breast pain (a risk factor for breast cancer), and improve fibrocystic breast disease.

The reported studies also did not consider the total amount of fat from all sources. This is important because consuming too many of the “bad” omega 6 oils (highly refined safflower, sunflower, soy, and canola), too many saturated fats from red meat and dairy, and not enough of the good omega 3 oils (e.g., flax seed, fish) disrupts our essential fatty acid balance, setting the stage for disease.

It’s all about eating the “right” fats, and balance among the fats we eat.



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