Why Everyone Should Watch “Toxic Beauty” Documentary

white and brown plastic bottles on white textile

Brief summary of Toxic Beauty

Toxic beauty is a documentary feature film following a class action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, a renown household brand. We follow personal stories of whistle blowers, survivors and women in a race against time revealing a series of ugly cover ups in the beauty & cosmetic industry. Besides that, the film weaves in a human experiment conducted by Mymy Nguyen, a Boston University Masters student who measures her chemical body burden when using different cosmetic products.

“The cosmetic industry is destroying women’s cells.”

This powerful statement mentioned by an ex formulator of one of the biggest cosmetic brands hooked me on immediately. I’ve had sensitive skin and eczema when I was a child, and the prolonged periods of itchiness and rash were not fun. Since then, I’ve always been wary of chemicals I apply on my skin, always fearful of a reaction. Even though I outgrew the sensitive skin phase, my sense of wariness about products I apply on my skin never left me. While my peers were playing with make up and slathering themselves in an assortment of cosmetic products, I stuck to the most routine: washing my face with water and applying sunscreen. After the unpleasant realization that I end up consuming the wax like substance, lipstick on my lips, I resulted to eyeliner as the only form of make up I use.

three makeup brushes on top of compact powders

Granted, some of the times, the lack of available scientific information in the present results in health issues in the future and cannot be avoided. However, what shocked me was that renown household companies like Johnsons & Johnsons which specialize in a range of baby products was engaged in a lawsuit that unveiled a series of cover ups that spanned across decades. Bear in mind this isn’t a direct hit on Johnson & Johnson as talc is used rampantly in other products. However, a link between talc and ovarian cancer was discovered all the way in early 1980s by world renowned epidemiologist Dr Daniel Cramer. However, nothing was done. No warning label was placed on talc even after the International Agency for Research on Cancer declared Talc as a possible carcinogen. The cosmetic industry has had little change since 1936, and the way we regulate personal care products need to improve.

I’d like to believe I’m an over cautious person, however, there is overwhelming scientific evidence that point that conglomerates often use harmful chemicals and ingredients in products and sell them to unwitting buyers. Labels such as “fragrance“, “parfum” and “aroma” do not show the ingredients used and can conceal a range of potentially hazardous chemicals. Furthermore, the fact that we live in a world operated by a post- market regulatory system is hazardous as a product goes into the market and a regulatory system kicks in only when there are incidents. The fact that we are slathering ourselves with potentially harmful chemicals every day of our lives doesn’t sit well with me. In 2004, Dr Phillipa Darbre, a scientist from the UK found parabens in breast tissue. In 2018, a study by the National Institute of Health linked breast cancer to the use of personal care products. Furthermore, the use of certain products high in oestrogen were found to link to hormonal disruption in baby boys causing a myriad of side effects such as developmental delays, low sperm count, infertility, cancer, diabetes, obesity and skin disease. The idea that a lot of these “bodily malfunctions” are essentially self induced is worrisome. How do we make informed decisions? How do we know which product is okay to use?

black makeup brush, lipstick, and blush on powder

It is scary that our physical and mental health risks can be self induced through using products containing harmful chemicals. The documentary follows Mymy Nguyen who conducts a self experiment to measure chemicals in her body when she doesn’t use any self care products at all, when she uses all of her usual routine, and when she uses natural and clean products. It was shocking that when she used her products she’s been using for years eg shampoos, toothpaste, make up, the parabens and phthalates (toxic chemicals) found in her urine samples were higher than the 95th percentile of Americans. It is close to impossible to not use any personal care products as tasks like washing your hair or brushing your teeth cannot be avoided. She expressed her fear of not being able to have children and like the women we follow in the lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson expressed the guilt that the health risks were almost like it was self induced. I disagree with the statement, as I feel the chemists and R&D part of companies should be more stringent and responsible about the types of ingredients they choose to use. But how do we make sure that the products we use aren’t harmful to us?

Regulatory bodies such as the FDA should aim to be more stringent with regulating cosmetic products instead of buckling under the pressure of conglomerates who promise to self regulate. Furthermore, consumers should take one step further and use ingredient analyzer platforms such as 1Source, EWG, and Incidecoder to make sure that the products they use do not contain harmful ingredients / chemicals. It is really simple to use, especially if your ingredient label is filled with long chemistry names we are unfamiliar with. Simply type the name of the product into the platform. A rating of the products will be shown and toxic ingredients will be flagged. By making smarter purchasing decisions, consumers can support clean businesses and put pressure on other companies to use cleaner ingredients. For starters, here are some toxic ingredients and chemicals to look out for in your personal products.

Different types of harmful chemicals

woman in gray sweater holding lipstick

Endocrine disruptors:

  • Mimic hormone activity with links to birth defects, reproductive harm and cancer
  • Found in hair, nail, sunscreen and baby products, makeup, lotions, toothpaste, soap, fragrance

Phthalates:

  • Endocrine disruptors linked to developmental disorders, reproductive harm & cancer
  • Found in fragranced lotions, body wash, hair, skin, baby products, nail polish, perfume, color cosmetics.

Parabens:

  • Endocrine disruptors linked to reproductive harm, developmental disorders, cancer
  • A preservative found in deodorants, antiperspirants, soaps, hair, shaving, fragranced products.

Toxic ingredients and Chemicals to look out for

  • Shampoos containing formaldehyde have a high risk of serving as an endocrine disruptor, and bring about side effects such as allergies, depression, and cancer
  • Deodorants contain endocrine disruptors such as formaldehyde which causes hormone disruption, reproductive problems, and tumors
  • Skin cream containing mercury, coal and tar may serve as endocrine disruptors that causes tremors, insomnia, and/ or cognitive dysfunction
  • Soap containing coal, tar and 1,4 dioxane may serve as endocrine disruptors that causes allergies, infertility and heart disease
  • Fragrance often contain toxic chemicals that are not disclosed and may cause allergies, reproductive disorders, and cancer
  • Skin lighteners containing chemicals hydroquinone and mercury may cause skin disease, organ damage or cancer

References:

“Carbon Black, Titanium Dioxide, and Talc – IARC Publications Website.” https://publications.iarc.fr/Book-And-Report-Series/Iarc-Monographs-On-The-Identification-Of-Carcinogenic-Hazards-To-Humans/Carbon-Black-Titanium-Dioxide-And-Talc-2010. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

“The Film — TOXIC BEAUTY.” https://www.toxicbeautydoc.com/the-film. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

“TOXIC BEAUTY.” https://www.toxicbeautydoc.com/. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

The Link Between Cooking and Your Mental Health

smiling woman standing and putting pepper on stock pot

Over the course of the pandemic, people have found new ways to keep their mental health intact — whether that means working out, journaling, or going on a Zoom call with friends. One such self-care routine is cooking. Of course, this is no surprise, as a full stomach can do wonders for elevating your mood. However, CNN notes that the act of cooking itself has therapeutic benefits as well. We list down a few of them below:

It gives you an achievable goal.


According to the Society of Clinical Psychology, behavioral action refers to “increasing patients’ contact with sources of reward” by exposing them to doable tasks that make them feel more accomplished. It’s one of the reasons ticking boxes off a checklist feels so satisfying — and cooking for mental wellness works in much the same way. The various activities associated with cooking, from dicing veggies to washing the dishes, all offer you a sense of control — which is something that’s sorely needed as the world navigates through COVID-19. When you’re focused on an achievable reward — a homemade meal, in this case — it’s easier to reduce procrastination and stay on track with your mental health.

It promotes mindfulness.

person cutting vegetables with knife

There’s a certain meditative quality in repetition that encourages mindfulness, and this includes the attendant chores of cooking. At its core, cooking is a ritual that gives you the opportunity to be present, appreciative and nonjudgmental. Focusing on your inner dialogue and the actual experience of cooking allows you to forget about your problems, if only for a moment. With that said, mindfulness is a muscle that needs to be practiced, and cooking is one good way to do that.

It helps you attain other fitness milestones.

assorted fruits and vegetable on brown wooden chopping board

Fast food culture has become prevalent around the world thanks to an increasingly busy workforce. But though fast food can be convenient, eating fatty, sodium-laden foods will eventually take a toll on your physical and mental health. Instead, make it a habit to cook your meals for the week ahead of schedule. This will not only give you full control over your nutrition needs, but will also free you up to do other self-care tasks like exercising and meditation.

To make meal prep easier, use multifunctional appliances. For example, you can use tools like the Braun FP3020 food processor to whip up a smoothie or shred some lettuce for a salad. Meanwhile, an Aroma rice cooker is great for cooking quinoa, rice, and even vegetables — all in one pot. With all this said, taking charge of your meals will make you healthier, both inside and out, so make meal prepping a part of your routine.

It engages the senses directly.

man in black and white stripe polo shirt holding bread


We’ve all been forced to stay at home because of the pandemic, which means we’ve had little to no sensory stimulation all this time. When this happens, everyday living becomes drudgery; you’re basically going through the motions with little reward. Cooking, however, can serve as a remedy, as it directly engages the pleasure centers of your brain through the sights, smells, and tastes of home-cooked meals. This gives you the mental health boost you need to take on other activities.

It allows you to flex your creative muscle.

person filling her plate


A report on Bloomberg notes that individuals who engaged in artistic activities reported lower rates of depression and greater life satisfaction. Indeed, everyone, no matter how artistically challenged, must have a creative pursuit in order to live a holistic life. For some, cooking fulfills that need. True enough, experimenting with recipes, ingredients, and cooking methods are also one form of self-expression that can bring you joy and a sense of fulfillment.

As we’ve mentioned before in our post on ‘Why Mental Health Should be Your Top Priority in 2021’, it’s important to pay attention to your mental well-being, given the effects of COVID-19. Take care of yourself by building positive habits like cooking, which nourishes both your body and your mind.



Heavy Metals in Your Baby Foods Cause Irreversible Brain Damage

selective focus photography of baby holding wooden cube

“Baby products used to hold a special position of public trust,” however, this is no longer the case. The House Oversight and Reform’s Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee released a report stating that baby foods are “tainted with dangerous levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury. These toxic heavy metals are declared dangerous to human health, according to The Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization. Children and babies are most vulnerable to the effects of toxic heavy metals, and even low levels of exposure can cause “serious and often irreversible damage to brain development”.

Effects of exposure to toxic heavy metals

person wearing gray shirt putting baby on scale
  • Permanent decrease in IQ
  • Diminished future economic productivity
  • May danger infant neurological development and long term brain function

Where does toxic heavy metals come from?

brown farming equipment harvesting on rice field during daytime

Naturally occurring toxic heavy metals contribute to the unsafe levels of toxicity in baby products. Crop fields contain varying levels of toxic heavy metals in the soil, due to metal containing pesticides and ongoing industrial pollution. However food manufacturers may also voluntarily add ingredients high in toxic heavy metals such as vitamin / mineral pre-mix.

Following allegations of high levels of toxic heavy metals in baby foods, the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy requested internal documents and test results from seven of the largest manufacturers of baby food in the United States. Out of the seven, only four of the companies responded to their request, suggesting that companies (Walmart, Campbell, Sprout Organic Foods) had something to hide. Independent testing conducted confirmed that baby foods sold by these companies contain concerning levels of toxic metals, which is a huge problem as their products are marketed to babies as young as 4 months.

Toxic heavy metal results:

Arsenic, lead and cadmium was present in all baby foods from all responding companies, while Mercury was detected in baby food for the only responding company that tested for it. The results are multiples higher than the maximum allowable levels dictated by the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. According to the report by the subcommittee, test results far exceeded those limits and were “up to 91 times the arsenic level, up to 177 times the lead level, up to 69 times the cadmium level, and up to 5 times the mercury level, ” resulting in a higher level of contaminants.

Other things to look out for:

woman in teal tank top drinking milk from feeding bottle
  • Nurture (HappyBABY) created its own internal standard for toxic metals, which exceeds the FDA limit by 15%, while Hain (Earth’s Best Organic) exceeded its internal policies under the guise of “theoretical calculations”.
  • A secret slide presentation from Hain (Earth’s Best Organic) was ignored by the Trump Administration, which revealed that corporate policies test only ingredients and not final products. Inorganic arsenic in Hain baby foods were found to be “28%-93% higher in finished products. “
  • Food producers may be adding ingredients that have high levels of toxic heavy metals into their products.

Advisory:

kid sitting beside round cake close-up photography

Parents: To this day, there is no warning label on toxic heavy metals on baby products. The Subcommittee urges parents to keep up with the news and avoid baby products containing ingredients that test high in toxic heavy metals. (Check out our article on determining if diapers are toxic for your baby.)

Manufacturers: Manufacturers should take responsibility and label their products transparently, and to report the levels of toxic heavy metals on food labels. Furthermore, manufacturers should voluntarily find substitutes for ingredients that are high in toxic heavy metals.

FDA: The FDA should set maximum levels toxic heavy metals allowed across all forms of baby foods and make mandatory testing to ensure that baby food products adhere to FDA regulations.


References:

 “Leading baby food manufacturers knowingly sold products with high ….” 5 Feb. 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/04/health/baby-food-heavy-metal-toxins-wellness/index.html. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

 “Baby Foods Are Tainted with Dangerous Levels of Arsenic, Lead ….” https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/2021-02-04%20ECP%20Baby%20Food%20Staff%20Report.pdf. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

 “Parents Erupt Over FDA Failure To Regulate Toxic Metals in Food ….” 28 Feb. 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/agenda/2021/02/28/fda-toxic-metals-food-471757. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

2021: How Different Are Chinese New Year Celebrations This Year?

It’s been a little more than a year since the start of Covid, and here we are. Your Chinese New Year might look a little different this year, mine certainly did. With domestic and international travel restrictions in place to keep a lid over the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve swapped huge gatherings in restaurants and visits for smaller family gatherings and zoom dinners from the safety of our homes.

hanged red ball lantern

Having relocated in Hong Kong four years ago, the annual Chinese New Year trip back to Malaysia is a ritual, and failing to complete it this year feels blasphemous. It is at this moment I truly miss the little things. I miss the bright red decorations, the loud Chinese New Year songs pervading the air, the fireworks, the chatter of friends and generations of families reuniting, the shy giving and receiving of red packets, and of course, the food.

chinse lucky charms on display inside store

Whether we are stuck halfway across the globe or several states away, many of us are missing our families. Despite the slightly hollow feeling in my chest this year, food, seems to be the thing that connects us. Looking at all the “reunion” dinners posted on my social media newsfeed, and the multiple family facebook video calls, my heart is warm. The “pun choi” and “yee sang”, roast duck, the munching of Chinese New Year treats on Instagram show that we are celebrating this occasion, albeit, a slightly different way.

person holding brown wooden chopping board

Using food to connect with ancestry can be a comforting and bonding activity during these times. Spice things up by adding twists to old family recipes! If you’re not a whizz in the kitchen, keep your eyes peeled for vendors selling your heritage meals! We may not physically be able to fly across the world, but the smells and flavors of food can conjure the closest thing to home.

Easy Chinese heritage food to recreate:

1) Pan fried dumplings

dumpling dishes

Pan fried dumplings: Wrap minced pork in dumpling wrappers. How simple does that sound? Compete with family members for the neatest and most innovative pleats! Play around with this recipe!


2) Char Siew (Roast pork in sweet sauce)

Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)
Source: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/232681/char-siu-chinese-bbq-pork/

Char siu: Drench in sweet sauce and throw it in the oven. The smoky sweet scent of meat roasting in the oven is heavenly. Recipe here, and don’t worry, it’s not as daunting as it’s made out to be!


3. Tang Yuan (Glutinous rice ball)

Tang Yuan: Fear not vegetarians, try out this Chinese dessert! Everyone can chip in in this family affair! Roll tiny balls of colored dough to be boiled and infused in pandan ginger syrup. (Recipe here) If you want an extra burst of flavor in the middle, check out this recipe for tang yuan with black sesame fillings!

4 Foods to Boost Your Immune System

Food is medicine, and the consumption of the right foods can lead us to boost our immune system and protect us against unwanted diseases and colds. Having a good immune system is essential these days as more virulent strains of Covid-19 are appearing all across the globe. As well as taking preventative measures and precautions, take care to add the following foods to your cart during your next trip to the supermarket.

aerial view of people walking on raod

Ginger

white and brown dog paw on red textile

This spicy, yellow, stem is a popular medicinal plant in various cultures and is traditionally used to treat a myriad of conditions such as colds, digestive maladies, fevers, and nausea. Adding slices of fresh or dried ginger in your food to give dishes a lovely aroma. You can also obtain ginger powder and add hot water/ tea to turn it into a comforting drink.

Easing a cold or flu: A study done in 2013 shows fresh ginger is effective against a respiratory virus in human cells. In a separate study, researchers aimed to investigate the popularity of herbal medicine as a treatment for cold or a flu. 69% of the public used herbal medicine out of a total of 300 pharmacies and most found it as effective.

Reducing inflammation: A 2017 review of 16 clinical trials determined that phytochemical properties in ginger leads it to have anti inflammatory properties.

Lowering cancer risk: Ginger is packed with antioxidants and multiple studies have shown that ginger can reduce oxidative stress which occurs when too many free radicals build up in the body. Free radicals are toxic substances produced by metabolism and other factors, according to Medical News Today, and antioxidants are needed to eliminate free radicals to prevent them from causing cellular damage as it can lead to a range of diseases such as cancer.

Relieving nausea: Research shows ginger is able to alleviate morning sickness and relieve nausea from cancer treatments. A study in 2010 observed that ginger was able to reduce nausea in most of 60 children and young adults who underwent chemotherapy. Furthermore, a 2011 review of studies reported that a daily dosage of 1,500mg of ginger extract was able to alleviate symptoms of nausea.

Raspberries

black berry fruit

One cup of these ruby jewels contain over 50% of the minimum daily target for vitamin C which supports immunity, according to Health Magazine. Furthermore, raspberries are packed with other minerals and vitamins such as manganese, vitamin K, vitamin E, magnesium, copper, iron, and potassium. Besides that, they are associated with cancer protection as research shows that phytonutrients in raspberries may signal apoptosis, programming cell death in cancer cells. Another major attraction to raspberries is that they are easy to add to our diet as it can be served as sweet desserts or incorporated into savory dishes.

Cocoa

open cacao fruit lot

Nope, this is not a justification for you to stock up on chocolate bars! Rich in polyphenols, cocoa is a potent antioxidant and is reported to be beneficial for cardiovascular health, brain functions and cancer prevention. More importantly, cocoa influences the immune system, in particularly the inflammatory innate response and the systemic and intestinal adaptive immune response. Look out for cocoa powder (without added sugar) and go wild on different desserts!

Poultry

roasted chicken

When we’re sick, getting a bowl of chicken soup is almost a reflex action. However, there is more to this scenario then we let on. Properties of chicken in the soup may help lower inflammation, thus improve symptoms of a cold. Furthermore, poultry are high in vitamin B-6, which is crucial to the formation of red blood cells. The stock made by boiling chicken bones contains gelatin and other nutrients that are beneficial to improving immunity.


References:

 “Ginger in gastrointestinal disorders: A systematic review of ….” 5 Nov. 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6341159/. Accessed 7 Jan. 2021.

“Anti-emetic effect of ginger powder versus placebo as an add ….” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20842754/. Accessed 7 Jan. 2021.

 “Ginger: Health benefits and dietary tips – Medical News Today.” https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265990. Accessed 7 Jan. 2021.

“Getting to the Root of Chronic Inflammation: Ginger’s ….” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128051863000059. Accessed 7 Jan. 2021.

 “7 Health Benefits of Raspberries | Health.com – Health Magazine.” 20 Mar. 2019, https://www.health.com/food/raspberries-nutrition. Accessed 7 Jan. 2021.

 “The effects of cocoa on the immune system – NCBI – NIH.” 4 Jun. 2013, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3671179/. Accessed 7 Jan. 2021.

 “15 Foods That Boost the Immune System: Citrus, Bell Peppers ….” https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-that-boost-the-immune-system. Accessed 9 Jan. 2021.

Dangerous Effects of Eating Frozen Foods

After a long day of work, we’re all guilty of throwing frozen foods into the microwave for a quick fix. Although frozen foods are quick, and affordable, a tiny part of us just knows that it certainly isn’t the healthiest dinner choice. However, what is wrong with eating frozen foods? Why are they bad for us?

frozen blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries

Frozen foods may increase blood pressure?

The US Food and Drug Administration defines processed foods as “any food other than a raw agricultural commodity and includes any raw agricultural commodity that has been subject to processing, such as canning, cooking, freezing, dehydration, or milling.” This defines nearly all food served in restaurants and grocery store products as processed. Food processing process involves the addition of sodium containing additives, hence increasing the sodium level in food products.

white and red labeled pack on shelf

This is an issue as according to the CDC, up to 70% of sodium Americans consume comes from processed and restaurant foods. Consuming too much sodium can increase blood pressure, hence increasing the risk of stroke and heart disease. 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend Americans to consume less than 2300 milligrams of sodium each day. But here’s a more important question: How do we cut down sodium in our food?

  • Similar products may vary in sodium content, hence, compare food labels and opt for foods with the least amount of sodium.
  • Use fresh ingredients instead of processed ones
  • Request for lower sodium options when dining out
  • Reduce portion sizes can limit salt consumption
dish on white ceramic plate

Frozen food may clog arteries

In processed / frozen food, trans fat is known as “partially hydrogenated oils” on ingredient labels which is notorious for clogging arteries and increasing the risk of heart diseases, stroke, and developing type 2 diabetes. Trans fats raises bad (LDL) cholesterol, while lowering the good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Trans fat is created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid, according to Heart Organization.

pizza with berries

Why do companies use trans fats? Besides being inexpensive and giving food a desirable taste and texture, trans fats can be reused a number of times. However, its undesirable health effects have trumped its usefulness, leading countries such as Denmark, Switzerland, Canada, and several jurisdictions of the US to restrict or reduce the use of trans fats in food service establishments. In November 2013, the FDA determined that partially hydrogenated oils are no longer Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) in human food.

Unknown chemicals in frozen foods

A report from Environmental Working Group estimated that up to 2,000 synthetic chemicals can be found in conventional packaged foods. Furthermore, the chemicals may not be approved by the FDA but as it is approved by industry group, the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association, it is used in products while not being required to be labeled on the package. This is disturbing as these added chemical preservatives may cause long term effects such as increase the risks of diseases ranging from hormonal problems to cancer.

woman holding fork in front table

The EWG has conducted their research and summarized some common synthethic preservatives found in packaged foods:

Synthetic PreservativesConcerns
Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)Listed by the state of California as a carcinogen and classified as a potential endocrine disruptor by the European Union.
Sodium NitrateDetermined by the World Health Organization to be probably carcinogenic to humans.
Sodium BenzoateWorld Health Organization reports hematologic effects in laboratory studies
t-ButylhydroquinoneWorld Health Organization reports hematologic effects in laboratory studies.
Diacetyltartaric and Fatty Acid Esters of GlyceroWorld Health Organization reports inflammation of the heart in laboratory studies.
Propylene GlycolWorld Health Organization and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report blood effects in laboratory studies.
Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)Causes lung and liver tumors in studies of laboratory animals.
Disodium InosinateWorld Health Organization and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have determined can increase uric acid levels, increasing the risk of kidney stones or gout.
Disodium GuanylateWorld Health Organization determined can increase uric acid levels, increasing the risk for kidney stones or gout.
Polysorbate 80Environmental Protection Agency reports potential to be an endocrine disruptor in studies of cells. Disrupts gut microbiota in laboratory studies.
Polyoxyethylene Sorbitan MonostearateAffects reproduction and lactation in laboratory studies.
NatamycinWorld Health Organization reports gastrointestinal effects.
Source: EWG, from EWG’s Food Scores database
mixed fruits served on ceramic plates

Try to reduce the consumption of frozen foods as there are too many synthetic chemicals that may cause long term health problems. Furthermore, trans fat and sodium contained in frozen foods may increase the risk of one developing heart diseases, strokes and other complications. Instead, try to use natural and organic foods as all synthetic chemical compounds has to be stringently approved by the FDA. If you really suffer a lack of time, try to ask your server for dishes with the least amount of sodium when dining out, and to check nutrition labels carefully before purchasing frozen foods.


References:

 “Get the Facts: Sodium’s Role in Processed Food – CDC.” https://www.cdc.gov/salt/pdfs/sodium_role_processed.pdf. Accessed 29 Dec. 2020.

 “Dangerous Side Effects of Eating Frozen Foods, According to ….” 26 Dec. 2020, https://www.eatthis.com/news-side-effects-eating-frozen-foods-experts/. Accessed 29 Dec. 2020.

“Organic: The Original Clean Food – EWG.” 5 Mar. 2019, https://www.ewg.org/research/packagedorganic/. Accessed 29 Dec. 2020.

 “Trans Fats | American Heart Association.” https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/trans-fat. Accessed 29 Dec. 2020.

Top 5 Healthiest Cuisines in the World

Here are top 5 cuisines which are handpicked for their health benefits and punch of flavor. Not only do these foods taste good, they are packed with a ton of nutrients and vitamins crucial for the well being of your body! From hidden gems in Asia to the far West, navigate through scrumptious meals from various cultures that boasts of health benefits and exotic flavors. Who knows, you might just accidentally find your next favorite dish!

Japanese

The Japanese are famous for their longevity, and they’re probably the closest to cracking the code of immortality. A study conducted by the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that the long life spans of Okinawan residents and their low rates of chronic diseases are corelated to their consumption of seaweed.

Japanese cuisine never goes wrong!

Commercial sushi joints tend to stray from the authentic roots with an injection of Western fusion which make it less healthier than traditional dishes. A popular dish, karaage, or Japanese style fried chicken is given a Western twist. It is smeared with a dollop of mayonnaise, making it appealing to Western consumers.

However, authentic Japanese cooking tends to star raw ingredients such as seafood and sea vegetables to honor its natural flavors. Staples such as yams, green tea, seaweed and soy, are rich in antioxidants and pack a punch of nutrition. As long as you watch your intake of tempura and carbs, you’re good to go!

Greek

Greek cuisine originates from the mysterious Island of Crete. According to research conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, there is substantial evidence linking the high life expectancy and trend of low heart disease among Cretans to their diet.

The Mediterranean diet consists of natural foods such as olive oil, yoghurt, fresh fruit, garlic, tomatoes, and nuts and stars unsaturated fats, legumes, vegetables and grains. Popular ingredients such as chickpeas, fish, and peppers contribute to high nutritional values and high levels of Omega 3. Surprisingly, the diet has little meat, hence reducing the amount of saturated fats.

Most Greek dishes try to preserve the natural flavor of its food, hence its simple methods of cooking such as grilling, and mixing natural foods into salads.

Korean

Known for cleverly incorporating a lot of vegetables and meats, the burst of flavors Korean food provides is packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Furthermore, their method of cooking is also healthier with plenty of soups, steamed dishes and grilled meats instead of fried foods.

Korean food is one of the healthiest cuisines!

When we think of Korean cuisine, the first item that comes to mind is kimchi. This fermented vegetable dish is said to have a myriad of health benefits including anti cancer properties and lower cholesterol. Key ingredients in Kimchi comprise of ginger, red peppers, and various vegetables. It is also considered a probiotic, which aids your digestive system.

Bimbimbap, “bimbim” meaning “mixed” and “bap” meaning rice, is a central dish in Korean cuisine which comprises of rice served with a mixture of vegetables with sliced beef and topped with gochujang (chilli pepper paste), soy sauce, or doenjang (fermented soybean paste). The mixture of protein, carbohydrates and vegetables make this a perfect balanced diet. Its noodles, soups and other versions of rice dishes are centered around this proportion of vegetables and meats.

Vietnamese

Vietnamese cuisine is low in fat, gluten free, and densely packed with nutrients, hence making it perfect for boosting the immune system, aid weight loss and provide a punch of energy. Dishes usually emphasizes fresh herbs, tons of leafy greens, seafood, lean meats and rice, packed with antioxidants and Vitamin A and E, which help fight against premature aging. Green papaya is utilized in a lot of Vietnamese dishes, and a study from British Journal of Nutrition found that green papaya contains healthier carotenoids than those in other vegetables.

Vietnamese cuisine for a change!

Vietnamese dishes are mostly prepared by steaming and simmering, hence less fat is being consumed. Cooked foods are usually accompanied by a side of salads and herbs served as whole leaves, adding a flavorful crunch to the meal. Restorative herbs like coriander and mint that is popular for improving digestion and cures nausea. ( Perfect hangover comfort food!)

Vietnamese food is low on wheat, the key culprit to getting hungry faster as it is digested by the body quickly. Vietnamese food mainly comprises of rice noodles and rice papers instead of wheat, and helps regulate the blood sugar level.

Thai

Traditional Thai cuisine is healthy and is vegetable centric, low in calories, served with lean proteins and often infused with a mixture of spices, and herbs, creating its signature bold tastes. Thai food has a good balance of macronutrients, with even servings of non starchy vegetables, protein, fats and carbs. Furthermore, a study shows that the intake of vegetables may contribute to sustained energy throughout the day and aid weight loss.

Packed with nutrition

Curries, and soups such as tom yum soup are laden with low starch vegetables such as mushrooms, tomatoes, cabbage and onions. The fiber, vitamins and minerals in the vegetables contribute to good digestion and overall health, according to Healthline. Healthy dishes include: Rice rolls, papaya salad, steamed fish, and red green curries.

To boost nutrition, opt for brown rice instead of white, which is packed with more fiber and nutrients. Also, eat high fat dishes like curries in moderation! Western influenced dressings for salads, deep fried foods and curries are prone to high calories and levels of sodium. As a rule of thumb, opt for a dish loaded with vegetables, with a protein source and infused with Thai herbs and spices. Cash in all that natural goodness!

Thai cuisine never goes wrong!