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Water

To our readers

Ensuring environmental sustainability is a goal – Goal 7 – of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and Muriella’s Corner is committed to support its implementation, in partnership with all who intend to help more than one billion people release their creative energies, to help free them from the shackles of a life of continuing and overwhelming poverty.

Some of you might have noticed that water has been a recurring topic* on Muriella’s Corner and blogs. This seeming bias is due to almost three decades of work in the United Nations in the area of environment, water and sanitation.

REMEMBER TO STAND UP FOR THE ELIMINATION OF POVERTY ON

17 OCTOBER 2007

Muriella’s Corner

*These are earlier issues on water
To filter or not…
End of an era…error?
Environment and you
Water, water, ice
Tips for Travelers to the Tropics

Most of my work took me to developing countries over short and long periods, working with communities, governments and not-for-profit agencies in the drilling of wells, installation of handpumps, building of latrines.

The theme of water vibrates around the globe. In most developing countries, water quantity and water quality are main hurdles for the people. In others, water quality is the main challenge.

I have seen, first hand, the pain and suffering diseases cause to families who ingest and bathe in water populated by parasites – diseases like dracunculiasis (guinea worm), schisostomiasis,bilharziasis, and all the -isises- you can think of.

People’s lives are very affected, too ill to work, not enough time to go to school as fetching water is one of the main duties, especially of girls, and so on.

But they are forced to drink what is available, even though the source is questionable.

They have no CHOICE.

On the other hand, in the developed countries, there is no lack of water. In the quest to make the water potable, many chemicals are added. One of the most insidious is chlorine.

But, since exotic diseases are not present in the water supply, people are hardly concerned about the chemicals and as such continue to drink,shower and bathe in chlorinated water (swimming pools reek of chlorine).

Some are buying bottled water, but here again, hardly any attention is given to health issues – e.g. the water source from which the water is bottled is questionable; the plastic containers are questionable, pollution issues, the financial costs of buying a bottle of water – not enough to drink per day; no attention given to the water used for showering, bathing, cooking, etc., etc.

What is to be done?

The most important thing, we believe, is for people to know that they have a choice. Information propelled them to be users of bottled water, to choose to drink bottled water instead of tap water. But if their grasp of what propelled them is understood overall, they would also be concerned about the water used for showering, bathing, cooking.

We have prepared a comprehensive newsletter on Water with the following headings:

The Water Cure
Different types of water
Bottled Water – clear choices
Brands of Bottled Water; Filtration systems
Chlorine and cancer?
Chlorine and Asthma?
Testimony on drinking water
Discussion H2O

Given the amount of information this entails, we have decided to send it to you in short sips, so that you can click through and read the article you prefer. We recommend however that you read all of them as they will be of use to you as you make your choices.

We have also developed podcasts on water and can make them available upon request.

We will continue the focus on drinking water (quality and quantity), given the focus on this issues as Goal 7 of the Millennium Development Goals

-Reducing poverty and achieving sustained development must be done in conjunction with a healthy planet. The Millennium Goals recognize that environmental sustainability is part of global economic and social well-being. Unfortunately exploitation of natural resources such as forests, land, water, and fisheries-often by the powerful few-have caused alarming changes in our natural world in recent decades, often harming the most vulnerable people in the world who depend on natural resources for their livelihood.

Goal 7 of the Millennium Development Goals sets out by the year 2015 to:

  • Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources.
  • Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water.
  • Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020. (Source: millenniumcampaign.org)

For full articles and links go to this webpage

Thank you

Muriella’s Corner

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More Cocoa-Chocolate no Cavities low BP

Chocolate-cocoa connexion – low blood pressure, reduced cavities…

Care to give up prescription drugs for hypertension for a cup of hot chocolate? 

Want a sweeter reason not to brush teeth with fluoride?

Research has been consistently revealing the wonders of cocoa-chocolate and its health-enhancing chemical composition.

 

A doctoral student at Louisiana’s Tulane University has discovered a natural food compound that beats fluoride’s anti-cavity power.

 

Researchers in Japan reported that cocoa bean husks and water-soluble cocoa extracts suppress decay-causing bacteria and plaque formation, and proposed their use to deter tooth decay.

 

The newly proven enamel enhancer in tea and cocoa turns out to be theobromine, a far milder chemical cousin of caffeine. show that this chemical strengthens teeth better than fluoride.

For more on fluoride click here.

 

Theobromine outperforms fluoride at protecting teeth from bacteria-generated enamel-eroding acids, and it works these wonders at concentrations equal to those in which sodium fluoride is added to standard toothpastes.

 

It is known for many years that tea helps prevent tooth decay. But it was thought that the polyphenol antioxidants in tea were solely responsible.

 

Catechins and theaflavins, polyphenolic compounds derived from tea have been reported to have a wide range of biological activities including prevention of tooth decay and oral cancer.

The benefits are attributed to tea extend  to cocoa and dark chocolate, both of which are also rich in tea-type polyphenols as well as theobromine.

In recent years, researchers in Japan have published research showing that cocoa bean husks and water-soluble cocoa extracts suppress decay-causing bacteria and plaque formation, and proposed their use to deter tooth decay.

 

Theobromine is the primary alkaloid found in cocoa and chocolate; chocolate contains 0.5-2.7% theobromine. Theobromine can also be found in small amounts in the kola nut (1.0-2.5%), the guarana berry, and the tea plant.

More  research is throwing up very interesting results.

While theobromine and caffeine are similar in that they are related alkaloids, theobromine has a lesser impact on the human central nervous system and it stimulates the heart to a greater degree, even though theobromine while not as addictive,t has been cited as possibly causing addiction to chocolate.

 

 A Sexual Odyssey: From Forbidden Fruit to Cybersex discusses how chocolate’s alleged aphrodisiac effects may be caused by a number of factors. These include the stimulative effects of theobromine, pleasure induced by the hypothalamus as an effect of chocolate’s sweet and fatty nature, or how chocolate affects the levels of serotonin. While serotonin has a pleasurable effect, in high concentrations it can be converted to melatonin which in large amounts reduces sexual drive.

Harvard Research 

Harvard researchers are now praising cocoa’s qualities as shown from information on the Kuna Indians.

According to  recent estimates, nearly 1-in-3 American adults has high blood pressure. But for the Kuna Indians living on a group of islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama, hypertension doesn’t even exist. In fact, after age 60, the average blood pressure for Kuna Indian islanders is a perfect 110/70.

Is it because they eat less salt? Is it because of their genes? No. to both.  Moreover, Kuna Indians who move away from the islands are just as likely to suffer from high blood pressure as anyone else!

So what makes these folks practically “immune” to hypertension — and lets them enjoy much lower death rates from heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and cancer?

Hot Cocoa

Harvard researchers were stunned to discover it’s because they drink about 5 cups of cocoa each day.

Studies show the flavonols in cocoa stimulate your body’s production of nitric oxide — boosting blood flow to your heart, brain, and other organs. In fact, one study found cocoa thins your blood just as well as low-dose aspirin!

In addition, a Harvard Medical School professor claims cocoa can also treat blocked arteries, congestive heart failure, stroke, dementia, even impotence!

 Potential health benefits and risks
Recent studies have suggested that cocoa or dark chocolate may possess certain beneficial effects on human health. Dark chocolate, with its high cocoa content, is a rich source of the flavonoids epicatechin and gallic acid, which are thought to possess cardioprotective properties.

Cocoa possesses a significant antioxidant action, protecting against LDL oxidation, perhaps more than other polyphenol antioxidant-rich foods and beverages. Processing cocoa with alkali destroys most of the flavonoids.

 Some studies have also observed a modest reduction in blood pressure and flow-mediated dilation after consuming approximately 100g of dark chocolate daily.

There has even been a fad diet, named “Chocolate diet”, that emphasizes eating chocolate and cocoa powder in capsules. However, consuming milk chocolate or white chocolate, or drinking fat-containing milk with dark chocolate, appears largely to negate the health benefit.

 Processed cocoa powder (so called Dutch chocolate), processed with alkali greatly reduces the antioxidant capacity as compared to “raw” cocoa powder.

Chocolate is also a calorie-rich food with a high fat content, so daily intake of chocolate also requires reducing caloric intake of other foods. Two-thirds of the fat in chocolate comes in the forms of a saturated fat called stearic acid and a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid. However, unlike other saturated fats, stearic acid does not raise levels of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream.

Consuming relatively large amounts of dark chocolate and cocoa does not seem to raise serum LDL cholesterol levels; some studies even find that it could lower them.

Theobromine has a bitter flavour, which gives dark chocolate its typical bitter taste.

However, it seems that although theobromine does not cause harmful effects with humans, it is highly toxic to some domestic animals, including dogs and horses. With the animals, theobromine can lead to cardiac arrhythmias and seizures.
Amazing how foods from the kitchen can be so good for you.  Pure cocoa preferable to cocoa  processed with alkali.

Source: Bottom Line Secrets, Wikipedia, Vital Choice, Phytochemicals Information,

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