Is Chewing Gum Bad for You? (One Ingredient Is Linked to Gut Destruction)

Disturbing side effects of chewing gum.  Alternative bad breathe ideas and reasons why you should rethink putting gum in your mouth.
Gut Destruction

Chewing gum manufacturers have been turning to an ingredient called titanium dioxide for years. Now used in nanoparticle form, this extremely tiny metal compound is posing some serious emerging health threats. This is probably the scariest reason to avoid gum.

Generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration, this compound is often used in nanoparticle form to create a bright white pigmentation in paints, plastics … and chewing gum. (2) It’s also found in tons of other foods, like candies and powdered white sugar (donuts!) and even bread. Although it’s allowed on store shelves and considered safe, scientists are starting to paint a different picture.

In fact, a 2017 study published in the journal NanoImpact shows that nano-titanium oxide ingredients like titanium dioxide can severely impact gut health. Researchers exposed small intestinal cells to a meal’s worth of nanoparticles over four hours (acute exposure) or three meal’s worth over five days (chronic exposure). What they found is a bit shocking.

Chronic exposure to titanium dioxide nanoparticles in the diet:

Weakened the intestinal barrier
Slowed down metabolism
Triggered inflammation
Weakened the gut’s defense against pathogens

Blocked nutrient absorption of key nutrients like iron, zinc and fatty acids
The nanoparticles actually blunted the effectiveness of the small intestines’ microvilli. Microvilli are tiny projections that jut off of small intestinal cells and work to absorb nutrients our bodies need to survive. (3)

People also face this type of titanium dioxide exposure through toothpaste, and it’s even sometimes used to created a smoother texture in chocolates and to create a brighter appearance in skim milk.

In 2012, Arizona State University found that titanium dioxide nanoparticles turned up in five percent of products tested, including Twinkies and mayonnaise samples. Under public pressure, Dunkin Donuts stopped using nano-titanium dioxide in its donuts’ powdered sugar in 2015.

“To avoid foods rich in titanium oxide nanoparticles you should avoid processed foods, and especially candy. That is where you see a lot of nanoparticles,” — Gretchen Mahler, PhD, study co-author and assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Binghamton University, State University of New York. (4)

Beyond that, many chewing gum products contain emulsifiers to retain flavor and keep gum from sticking to your teeth. (5) The trouble is, many emulsifiers act almost like detergent in your digestive tract, throwing off the natural balance of your gut flora. In fact, research in lab animals suggests certain emulsifiers used as food additives could contribute to colon cancer development.

Is Chewing Gum Bad? More Reasons to Stop

Migraines

For children and adolescents dealing with vicious migraines and tension headaches, the natural solution could be right under their noses: Stop chewing gum. A small study published in Pediatric Neurology discovered that nixing gum led to significant improvements in 26 out of 30 adolescents in the study. Amazingly, 19 of them experienced complete headache resolution. No pills, no treatments — they just stopped chewing gum. (6)

If you’re trying to figure out how to get rid of a migraine naturally, your gum habit is a great place to start. In tweens and teens, common proven headache triggers include stress, lack of sleep, hot weather, video games, noise, sunlight, smoking, skipping meals and menstruation. Now we can add gum to the list. Researchers aren’t sure if it’s the artificial sweeteners or a TMJ issue related to gum and headaches, but the good news is we can stop many headaches with this simple step. (7)

Sinister Sweeteners

You’d expect fake sweeteners like aspartame in diet soda, but chewing gum? Come on! Different chewing gum companies turn to ingredients like aspartame, sorbitol, high-fructose corn syrup, acesulfame K, sucrolose and xylitol. Some actually use multiple fake sweeteners in a single gum product.

These ingredients are linked to serious health issues like tooth decay, liver fat buildup, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, leukemia, lymphoma, kidney tumors and more. Acesulfame potassium, also known as acesulfame K, is among the most common artificial sweeteners detected in breast milk. That’s troubling, since the ingredient is also linked to thyroid dysfunction. Sucralose harms the gut, throwing off healthy levels of enzymes and disrupting the microbiome. (8)

While xylitol and sorbitol may seem more natural, these processed sugar alcohols aren’t absorbed well by the body and cause an allergic reaction for those who have a sensitivity to it. And then there are the digestive sugar alcohol and xylitol side effects, including bloating, gas, cramping and diarrhea. And get this: Its laxative effect is so pronounced that it’s actually part of the chemical makeup for many over-the-counter laxatives.

Special note to dog owners: Xylitol and other sugar alcohol-based sweeteners are life-threatening toxins to dogs. Be mindful of breath mints, candies, sugar-free gum, frozen desserts and other foods when your pets are around. (9)

Better Bad-Breath Fighters & Gum Alternatives

Bad breath is a good excuse to reach for gum, but as you can see, the side effects are bad news, especially for your gut. Luckily, there are better ways to cope. After ruling out potential underlying issues for bad breath, you can turn to these things to naturally improve your breath:

Eat parsley.
Drink enough water, especially tap into the benefits of lemon water.
Learn how to safely tap into peppermint oil benefits.(Not recommended for young children.)
Learn about oil pulling with coconut oil.
Avoid grains and added sugars.
Final Thoughts on ‘Is Chewing Gum Bad for You?’
American played a huge role in spreading the popularity of chewing gum all around the world.
However, today’s ingredients include fake dyes and flavors. But perhaps most concerning is nanoparticle-sized titanium dioxide, an ingredient used in everything from gum, candy and bread to paint and plastics.
Nano-titanium dioxide helps create a vibrant white color, but scientists now show that it can impact small intestinal cells in a way that blocks absorption of key nutrients, slows the metabolism, increases inflammation and weakens the gut’s ability to protect against dangerous pathogens.
Chewing gum is also linked to migraines and tension headaches in children and adolescents.
There are still some chewing gum companies that rely on old-fashioned, real-food ingredients, but they are sometimes harder to come by.

Source: www.draxe.com

ReCap: Cutting Board Education Night

If you missed the Local education night here is a few things we discussed:

Muscle building with Plant Protein
*How do you support a body on a plant based diet without eating meat?

Earth is the ultimate prism. Every green plant captures a different wavelength of light and energy from the sun. A collection of juices from sea plants, field grasses and garden vegetables will alkalize your body, build up your blood, and cleanse your cells.

What is a Carbohydrate? Fruit, vegetable, starch, grain, pasta
What is a Protein? Animal meat, dairy
What is a Fat? Nut, seed or oil

How Much do we need daily? Age/Gender/Health History
Carbs: Weight loss must be under 50g a day, aim for no more than 30g of carbs at a meal and 8g of sugars within those carbs. Think higher fiber foods.
Protein: 1g per 1kg body weight (think about half your body weight)
Fat: 25-30% daily calories can come from the pure sources of healthy fats.

***Ratios are different for everyone and Should be evaluated by a Certified Health Professional or Holistic Professional based on your health history.***

What are Amino Acids? What do they do?
Assists with the stabilization or recovery of muscle strength, endurance, and volume
Helps keep body tissues firm
Helps minimize body fat
May support a weight loss regimen
Aid in normalizing protein synthesis

If the essential amino acids are not present in the daily diet the body will break down existing proteins in order to supply the body with the missing amino acids.

Essential Amino Acids:
Cannot be produced in our body and thus must be consumed in our diets. The essential amino acids humans cannot synthesize are:
Phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, and histidine. (Arginine is mostly required in young children and not as important as adults)

Non-Essential Amino Acids: These can be synthesized by the body.
Proteins drive ALL functions of the various organs of the human body.
Alanine (from pyruvic acid)
Arginine (from glutamic acid)
Asparagine (from aspartic acid)
Aspartic Acid (from oxaloacetic acid)
Cysteine
Glutamic Acid (from oxoglutaric acid)
Glutamine (from glutamic acid)
Glycine (from serine and threonine)
Proline (from glutamic acid)
Serine (from glucose)
Tyrosine (from phenylalanine)

If you fail to obtain even just one out of the essential amino acids, your body’s proteins so not complete and the body is forced to steal from bones and elsewhere to create metabolic processes in your body. Also, unlike fats and carbohydrates, your body does not store excess supplies of amino acids for later use – you need a regular supply of them everyday.

Foods with amino acids include animal and vegetable sources. Most of the animal sources such as meat, eggs and milk are considered to be “complete protein sources” meaning that these contain all the essential amino acids that your body needs.
Vegetables are also good amino acid food sources but most of them do not usually contain all essential aminos.

Amino Acid Deficiency and Supplementation
Many people who are sick, fatigued, or trying weight loss programs, vegetarians or Vegans consume insufficient amounts of protein. Thus, supplementation of amino acids has been increasingly necessary. B6 and B12 are the most common of deficiencies when not consuming animal protein.

Non Meat Forms of Amino Acids: Think SEA LIFE!
*How can I combat muscle fatigue or just plain being tired all the time?
More GREEN foods create energy in the body! How do plants grow? They need sun, water, rest, minerals and vitamins, and time.

Antioxidant Rich foods: EAT FROM THE RAINBOW!
RED: Lycopene
YELLOW/ORANGE: Beta Carotene & Beta Crytoxanthin
BLUE/PURPLE: Anthocyanins
GREEN: Chlorophyll

GREEN FOOD BASICS:
*Green foods have a high content of chlorophyll due to porphyrin rings.
* Chlorophyll and heme units of red blood cells are virtually identical except the center molecule
* Chlorophyll-magnesium
* Heme-Iron
* Heme units are the building blocks for red blood cells
* Therefore, all green foods help the body to create new blood.

*How do we use food as medicine so we can fuel the body, heal and repair?
Basic Weight management Strategies and Lifestyle Strategies
1-Adequate ATP
2-Nutrient Density-Organic Foods. **A MUST!!!**
3-Balance-60-80% Alkalizing (pH Balance)
4-Moderation-Limited Refined Sugar
5-Calorie Control=Calorie Restriction
6-Variety= Seasonal Eating VS Emotional Eating
Refer to www.healthywithjodi.com for my Sweet 16 Eating Healthy Guidelines and how to achieve balance.

Definitions and menu DeCoding:
Vegan: A strict vegetarian who consumes no products from an animal, such as meat eggs or dairy products or stains from using animal products such as the leather.
Vegetarian: does not eat or believe in eating meat, fish, Fowl or any food drive from animals such as eggs or cheese. Uses fruits, vegetables, and grains for food sources.
Paleo: consume vegetables, fruits, nuts, lean meats, no grains, no processed foods.
Pescatarians: do not eat any land animals or birds such as beef pork chicken or turkey. Will eat fish and other seafood such as shrimp and clams. They do eat fruits, vegetables, beans, greens and nuts.
Lacto vegetarian: includes vegetables and dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, ghee, cream, Keefer but excludes eggs.

Food Catagories: Do you now what you are eating and how to combine them? (Just a few listed below)

Whole Grain, Gluten
Tamari, Coconut Aminos, Soy Sauce
Flax Seed, Chia Seed, hemp hearts, Tahini
Hummus, lentils, Tofu, beans
Nut Meat, Nut Milk, Quinoa
Micro greens, Sprouts

Spices: parts of the plant other than the leafy bit such as the root, stem, Bulb, bark or seeds ex: cinnamon, cloves, ginger and pepper.
Herbs: come from the leafy and green part of the plant. Ex: Basil, oregano, rosemary, Parsley, mint.
Spices and herbs add MAJOR nutrients to your meals, you can achieve therapeutic ranges when you use ORGANIC spices/herbs daily. Www.superfoodly.com

*What do I pair together to equal complete protein meal?
A nut or seed plus a legume equals a complete Protein.

BASIC PROTEIN NUTRITION INFO:**Even though you are worried about getting enough protein, you need to watch the Carbohydrate content of your meal. **
1/2 cup beans: average 7g protein Black, 7g protein garbanzo (20g carbs) 120 cal
1 small sweet potato: Not a nightshade 2g protein (22g carbs) 95 cal
1/2 cup yam: 2g protein (22g carb) ROOT Vegetable 95 cal
1/2 cup lentils (Legumes): average 9g protein (20g carb) 7g fiber
1/4cup Quinoa equals a cup cooked: 6g protein (29g carbs) 160 cal.
HAS ALL 9 ESSENTIAL AA
1 TBSP or 1/8cup nuts: walnuts: 2g protein (1g carb) 90cal
1 TBSP seeds: flax seeds: 3g protein (7g carb) 60 cal
1/2 cup brown rice: 5g protein (23g carbs) 150 cal
1/2 cup Black Rice: 10 LESS carbs than brown rice
4oz Tofu: 9g protein (3g carbs) 90cal
1/2 cup Soy beans: 14g (9g carbs) 150 cal
1 cup Avocado: balanced Meal!!! 3g protein (11g carbs) 7g fiber 22g fat 250 cal

Kahula Chocolate Fudge

Kahlua Chocolate Fudge
Vegan, GF, Refined Sugar free
Happily serves 20

ALL ORGANIC INGREDIENTS

20 oz Lily’s chocolate chips
14 oz Can full fat coconut milk
3 TBSP Ghee (or butter) cubed at room temperature
2 TBSP Kahlua
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp Sea salt
1 tsp espresso powder or 1 TBSP cold brew

Lightly grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.
Line with parchment paper, allowing the excess paper to overlap on two of the sides, set aside.
Add the chocolate and espresso powder into a large, heatproof bowl; set aside.
Fill a saucepan with a little water (about 1/4 full) bring it to a boil.
Reduce to barely a simmer. Place the bowl containing the chocolate and espresso powder on top of the pot.
Cook, stirring frequently, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is completely smooth, about 8-10 minutes.
Add coconut milk and ghee, cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until it is completely melted. Remove from heat.
Whisk in the Kahlua, vanilla, sea salt, and cinnamon. The mixture will be VERY thick.
Transfer to pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until firm enough to slice.
Remove the fudge and transfer it to a cutting board. Peel off parchment paper and slice into small pieces.
Serve at once or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or freezer up to 2 months.

Homemade Magnesium Body Butter

Want to make your own muscle relaxing lotion? Such a simple recipe and easy to make! If you do not wish to take the short time to make it, you can see my dear friend, Colleen Sinclair, owner of the Siphon Draw Apothecary.  She makes wonderfully combined skin care products from all natural organic food sources.  Also as a Holistic Nutritionist, she understands the biochemistry of the body and that’s it’s not just what we put in our body, it’s what’s absorbed on and in our bodies and skin. Www.siphondraw.com for more information.

This recipe contains avocado oil, which has naturally occurring magnesium and potassium that help hydrate the skin. Avocados are one of the most mineral-rich superfoods in the world. In addition, magnesium oil is added — it’s transdermal so can pass through the skin into the body.

Also, to naturally calm the body, this recipe contains lavender essential oil, which can relax muscles and reduce the effects of stress.

Apply this CALM magnesium body butter recipe today to naturally increase minerals and healing compounds in your body!

Dr. Axe explains it very simply:

Check out this video on YouTube:


Homemade CALM Body Butter Lotion
Total Time: 45 mins to an hour

Serves: 30-90
ALL ORGANIC INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup Avocado oil
1/4 cup Magnesium oil
1/2 cup Cocoa Butter
30 drops Lavender Essential Oil
Large Glass Jar or Small glass Jar
DIRECTIONS:

In saucepan with water over low heat, place a jar containing the cocoa butter.
Once melted, pour into bowl and let cool in fridge for 30 minutes.
Using a standard mixer blend and whip it.
Once whipped add in magnesium oil, avocado oil and essential oils and mix.
Transfer to glass jar or plastic container and keep in refrigerator for 90 days.

Sugar Cookies

Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free
Happily Serves 24

All Ingredients Organic

COOKIES
1/2 cup softened vegan butter (or butter if not vegan)
2/3 cup cane sugar or coconut sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp chickpea brine (aquafaba – the liquid left behind in a can of cooked chickpeas) or flax egg
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 2/3 cups gluten free flour blend
2/3 cup almond flour
1/3 cup arrowroot
1 Tbsp unsweetened almond or nut milk

FROSTING (optional)
1/2 cup vegan butter, softened
1.5 – 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 Tbsp unsweetened almond or nut milk
Preheat oven to 375 and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Add softened vegan butter (not melted or cold) to a mixing bowl and beat/whisk until creamy and smooth.
Add sugar and mix on medium speed until fluffy
Then add chickpea brine (or other egg substitute) and vanilla and mix again.
Add baking powder and sea salt and blend well
Then add GF flour blend, almond flour, and arrowroot and mix on low until the ingredients are combined.
Add almond milk and stir.

The dough should be thick, moldable and a little difficult to mix at this point. If too soft, continue adding a mixture of GF flour blend, almond flour, and arrowroot until a thick, moldable dough is formed. If too thick, thin with a bit more almond milk.

Transfer dough to the refrigerator and chill for 15 minutes. Once chilled, use a spoonful of about 1.5 Tbsp of dough and roll into balls – the dough will still be soft so be gentle. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets and press down gently with the back or your spoon to smash slightly.
Or you may roll out the dough on a well-floured surface until about 1/4-inch thick and use cookie cutters (dipped in GF flour) before pressing into the dough. Use a floured spatula to gently scoop onto baking sheets.

Bake cookies for about 10-12 minutes or until the cookies appear fluffy.
Let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to cool completely.

To make frosting, add softened vegan butter to a mixing bowl and whisk/beat until soft.
Sift in powdered sugar in small amounts and mix, add the vanilla and whisk.
Continue adding powdered sugar until you have spreadable frosting.

Once cooled, store leftover cookies covered at room temperature for 3-4 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month.

Notes
If you’d like to cut back on sugar, sub 1/3 cup of the sugar with about 1/4 tsp stevia. This will make the cookies softer, so you may need to add more GF flour or arrowroot to help thicken the dough.

The chickpea brine substitutes an egg in this recipe. In its place, you can also try subbing 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, 1 egg replacer, or 1 small chicken egg if not vegan.

You can make the cookie dough and refrigerate up to 2-3 days before baking.
Simply let the dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before scooping and baking. It should be soft and moldable.

Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 24 cookies without frosting.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cookie without frosting
Calories: 122 Fat: 5.6 g Saturated fat: 2.6 g Carbohydrates: 17 g Sugar: 5.8 g Sodium: 48 g Fiber: 0.8 g Protein: 1.3 g

Chocolate Quinoa Cookies Recipe

quinoa cookies

Chocolate Quinoa Cookies

Vegan, No Bake, GF

Happily makes 12 cookies

All Organic Ingredients:

¼ cup coconut oil

¼ cup pure maple syrup or raw honey

⅓ cup Organic Cacao powder

½ cup Sunflower butter (or nut/seed butter of your choice)

½ cup cooked quinoa

1/2 cup raw Quinoa, rinsed and dried (sprouted)

½ cup coconut flakes

Coarse sea salt

Directions

Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small sauce pan over medium, melt coconut oil, maple syrup or honey and cacao powder. Whisk until combined.

Add Sunflower seed butter and stir until smooth.

Remove from the heat and fold in the quinoa, and coconut flakes.

Divide in mini muffin tin pan.

Sprinkle with sea salt and place in the freezer to set for about 30 minutes.

Store in the freezer for best results, but can also be stored in the fridge

 

Quinoa Cookies

How Much Sugar – Can You Have? Did You Have? Should You Have? How to Calculate it.

sugar

How Much Sugar is Too Much?

Calculating Refined Sugar Intake In Teaspoons sugar

  • A healthy adult human being has approximately 5 liters of blood circulating at any given moment.
  •  In that 5 Liters of Blood a grand total of 1 teaspoon of sugar is available during a fasting state. That’s all the body needs to function.
  •  In 12-ounces of soda or energy drinks typically contain approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar.
  •  That little beverage effectively raises the blood sugar 10 times above what the body needs to function and typically within a matter of minutes.

To Decode the refined sugar in your diet simply do the following wherever refined sugars are listed in the ingredients.

1 Teaspoon of Sugar = Approximately 4 Grams of Sugar

In other words take the total grams of refined sugar and divide by 4 to learn how many teaspoons of sugar you are consuming per serving.

More About Refined Sugar

The Recommended Total Consumption of Refined Sugar & High Fructose Corn Syrup is less than 1 pound per month for Optimal Immune Health. Use the conversions below to assess how much sugar you are consuming each day.

  • 1 teaspoon of Sugar = 4.2 grams = approximately 4 grams
  • 453 grams of Sugar = 1 pound of Sugar
  • 115 teaspoons of Sugar = 1 pound of Sugar
  • 11 Sodas (132 Ounces) = 2, 2-Liter Bottles of Soda =
  • 1 pound of Sugar 1 Soda (12 Ounces) = 39 grams of Sugar = Approximately 10 teaspoons of Sugar
  • 1 Soda (20 Ounces) = 69 grams of Sugar = Approx. 16.5 teaspoons of Sugar
  • 1 Soda (2 Liters) = 67 ounces of Soda = 221 grams of Sugar = ½ pound of Sugar

Drinking 1 Soda (12 Ounces) per day = 30 Sodas per month = 2.65 pounds of Sugar per month from Soda alone = 360 teaspoons of sugar your body will have to use, store or eliminate in order to remain in balance at 1 teaspoon circulating in the blood stream.

I would also say that I would not count fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to this total…just refined sugars like white sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, dextrin, maltodextrin, agave syrup, maple syrup, and evaporated cane juice.

The US governments projects that average annual refined sugar consumption alone…not counting any other sweetener will be 74 or more pounds per year for the next 20 years. And we wonder why diabetes is the fastest growing pathology in the United States today.

 

See Related Articles

Tigernut Flour Pancakes

tiger nut pancakes

Tigernut Flour Pancakes

GF, Refined Sugar free

Happily serves 4-6

ALL ORGANIC INGREDIENTS 

  • 4 organic cage free eggs
  • ½ cup tigernut flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup dairy free milk (coconut milk)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • Properly measuring the flours is key to the recipe. Stir the tigernut flour with a fork to “loosen” it, then dip in the measuring cup and level the top with a knife. Measure the coconut flour the same way. Combine the flours and eggs to create a smooth batter. Mixing these ingredients first allows you to smooth out the clumps of tigernut flour. Add remaining ingredients, stir until combined.  Cook pancakes as usual

You can store leftover pancakes in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days. The leftover pancakes actually make a delicious “bread” for grain free sandwiches!

Quinoa Brittle

Quinoa Brittle

Vegan, Gluten free, Refined Sugar Free
Happily Serves 10

ALL ORGANIC INGREDIENTS 

3/4 Cup Tricolor uncooked quinoa

3/4 cup Pecans

2 TBSP Coconut sugar

1/2 tsp Pumpkin pie or allspice

2 TBSP Coconut oil

1/4 cup Blackstrap Molasses

1/4 cinnamon

Pinch of Himalayan sea salt

Stevia, if you desire it sweeter

Preheat oven to 325.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (Cover all edges)

Combine quinoa, pecans, coconut sugar, salt, and cinnamon/spices in a bowl and set aside.

Over low to medium heat, add the coconut oil and black strap molasses (and optional Stevia). Stir until there is no visible separation.  Pour over the dry ingredients, combine and coat evenly,  spread on a parchment lined baking sheet with a metal spoon.

Try to get it as even as possible or the edges will burn in the center won’t crisp up.

Bake for 15 minutes and turn the pan around to ensure even baking and Browning. Back 5 to 10 minutes more and watch carefully so it does not burn. The edges will get crisp and caramelized, and the color will be uniformly deep golden brown in color.

Let it cool completely before breaking it into serving pieces.   You can store leftovers in a sealed container at room temperature for a week, or in the freezer for up to one month.

Hot mess: The grossest health concerns of summer

 

(CNN)You are not the only one who thrives in the summer and loves its warm, long days. Bacteria and other microbes that cause food poisoning, diarrhea and just general grossness also flourish, threatening to make it a season to be sick.

“Foodborne pathogens follow an annual cycle, and we tend to see peaks of them, especially bacteria, in the summer, at picnics, potlucks and all the outdoor events,” said Melinda Wilkins, director of the online science master’s program in food safety at Michigan State University.
Your gut is not the only part of your body at risk of assault by bacteria such as E. coli in summer months. Bugs lurk in air conditioning filters, especially when it is hot and humid, ready to cause trouble for those with breathing problems. And the skin that protects you from infections can become a portal for them after a bad, blistering sunburn.
Of course, even if some dangers await you at the picnic, pool or beach, it is worth it to get out and enjoy yourself. You can most likely handle what comes your way.

Don’t pee (or poop) in the pool

The burn you feel in your eyes after a dip in the swimming pool is not because of chlorine. It is because pee, poop and sweat from fellow swimmers (and maybe you) react with chlorine and form chloramine compounds,and this combination is what really stings your peepers. Aside from the gross factor, the formation of these compounds means there is less chlorine left in the water to kill bacteria, such as E. coli. Chloramines can also irritate the airways, and when they build up in the air, such as at indoor pools, they can trigger asthma attacks.
“We recommend that you not pee or poop in the water, and shower before you go in,” said Michele Hlavsa, chief of the Health Swimming Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A 2010 CDC report found that one out of 10 public pools don’t have proper chlorine levels. To make sure you’re not about to take a dip in a bacteria-laden pool, “you can use pool test strips at a pool supply or big box store” to check the chlorine level, Hlavsa said. (The CDC recommends chlorine levels in pools between 1 and 3 parts per million and pH of 7.2 to 7.8.)
Even at the right levels, chlorine does not wipe out everything. A new CDC report found that a parasite called cryptosporidium, which can cause diarrhea and lives up to 10 days in a chlorinated pool, was associated with 37 (54%) of the 69 outbreaks of illness at pools and water parks. “To protect yourself, it’s about not swallowing the water you swim in, and to protect others don’t swim if you have diarrhea,” Hlavsa said.

Lurking in seawater

A day at the beach may leave you with more memories than you imagined if you go home with vibriosis. The infection is caused by vibrio bacteria, which live in some coastal waters and flourish in the warm months between May and October, when the majority of cases occur.
According to the CDC, there are about 80,000 cases each year, and about 100 of them are fatal.
An estimated 52,000 of those cases result from eating contaminated food, such as raw oysters, that have been infected in the water they once lived in. Symptoms usually begin within 24 hours of consumption. They include abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills. The illness lasts about three days.
The bacteria can also cause skin rashes that lead to infection when contaminated water gets into an open wound or even a scratch.
The best way to prevent this infection is to thoroughly cook shellfish and clean hands well after touching raw or undercooked shellfish. Cuts or scrapes should be cleaned well with soap after contact with infected water. When possible, cover the wound with a waterproof bandage before getting it wet.

Beware the picnic burgers

The thought of potato salad sweltering in the heat at the summer picnic may make the burgers on the grill sound pretty appetizing, but think again. “Actually, potato salad has kind of a bad rap, but it is not really a particularly high-risk food,” said Wilkins, of Michigan State University. “But people tend to bring frozen (burger) patties and throw them on the grill before they are fully thawed, (and) ground meat that is not thoroughly cooked is one of the riskiest items” because it can have E. coli, she said.
Ground beef and pork should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, ground chicken and turkey to 165 degrees. And yes, that means using a meat thermometer to test the temperature in the middle of the burger, Wilkins said.
Of course, bacteria can still lurk in a big bowl of gooey potato or pasta salad, but not for the reasons you may think. Ingredients such as potatoes, pasta and eggs, not the mayonnaise, are prone to contamination. To play it safe, keep containers of anything you’re supposed to eat cold, such as potato salad, in big bowls or coolers full of ice, Wilkins said.

Bacteria scream for ice cream (machines)

An issue that can plague many an inadequately cleaned soft-serve ice cream dispenser is bacteria. “Listeria (bacteria) is a really sneaky pathogen in that it likes to live in cooler temperatures and populate machinery,” Wilkins said. Listeria infections can cause fever and muscle aches, and they are especially dangerous for pregnant women, who may miscarry as a result.
On the bright side, the Blue Bell ice cream scare has made people more aware of listeria’s potential to lurk in frozen desserts, Wilkins said. It is a good idea to ask the person working at the yogurt shop or ice cream truck when the machines were last cleaned. “It brings the issue to the awareness of the workers and management to double check their procedures,” Wilkins said.

Burn, baby, burn

Sunburns may seem like a sweet souvenir from a day at the beach, but they should really be thought of as potentially harmful wounds. In the most severe cases, people can develop blisters and need to be treated like burn victims, said Dr. Cameron K. Rokhsar, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “The skin sloughs off, (and) if there’s any kind of raw wound, it can predispose you to an infection” and should be treated with a prescription antibiotic ointment, he said.
Worse yet, even just a few serious sunburns may greatly increase your risk of developing skin cancer. A 2014 study found that white women who had five or more blistering sunburns when they were teens were 68% more likely to develop melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Brush with jellyfish

Despite that old episode of “Friends” where Joey peed on Monica’s jellyfish sting, urine is not the antidote to the venom of this goopy animal, which is common off beaches across the United States and thrives in warm water. Rinsing the wound with saltwater is one of the most recommended ways to relieve the stinging, redness and swelling that follow a brush with a jellyfish tentacle.
A more surprising but also effective treatment is vinegar, said Rokhsar, who knows firsthand that it can make the pain go away almost instantaneously. “It happened to me. It hurts a lot, and I actually went to the lifeguard station, and they had vinegar spray,” he said.
Also beware of the not-so-cute baby jellyfish called sea lice. Unlike the adults’ sting, theirs doesn’t hurt, so you don’t have to worry about rinsing the wound with saltwater or vinegar. Save the vinegar for rinsing your swimsuit before you wash it. Some believe the larvae can become trapped in the fabric.
You will usually experience an itchy, red rash and small blisters within 24 hours. The rash is sometimes accompanied with fever, chills, headaches and nausea. The symptoms can last as long as two weeks and are not contagious.
The sea lice, which are actually microscopic larvae of marine life such as jellyfish or sea anemones, are most often found in summer waters in Florida and the Caribbean.

Grossness flourishes in air conditioning filters

When air conditioners are working around the clock in hot summer months, dust, mold and pollution from outdoor air (in the case of central AC) or indoor air (in the case of a window unit) tend to build up on the filter of AC units. Not only does this slash the air conditioner’s efficiency, it can also carry health risks, said Abby Brokaw, director of the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest Health House program.
“People who are already having problems with breathing or lung health — so people with allergies or respiratory disease — are going to be affected” if the filter is not properly cleaned, removing dust, mold, dander and other detritus, Brokaw said.
To keep your filter in tiptop shape, clean or replace it every three months, Brokaw advised. But take precaution when you do. Mold and bacteria love to grow on filters, especially in the summer humidity.
“You don’t want to breathe in mold spores and bacteria. We would recommend that you wear gloves and a mask,” Brokaw said, referring to surgical masks sold in drugstores.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/26/health/gross-summer-health/index.html