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Microwave Popcorn Toxicity Study


opcorn is one of the add-ons that rarely fails to make watching a movie more fun, but the mod-

ern way of preparing this popular snack may harbor an unhappy secret. Research by the U.S. govern- ment now reports that microwave popcorn may contain chemicals that can cause health problems.

At issue is that commercial popcorn companies often coat their microwave

popcorn bags with a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) which has been found to cause both cancer and lung disease in laboratory animals. Mak- ing matters worse, the butter substitute that generally accompanies microwavable popcorn contains a chemical called diacetyl, a common food-flavoring agent that, according to health scientists, is responsible for bronchiolitis obliterans, a serious, debilitating lung disease. For an easy and fun healthy alternative, nutritionists suggest that we pop our

own popcorn. All that’s needed is a large, high pot, about four tablespoons of pea- nut or canola oil and a small handful of organic popcorn kernels. When the ker- nels start popping, shake the pot to let the steam escape and to let the unpopped kernels fall to the bottom. As soon as the popping slows down, remove the pot from the stove, pour the popcorn into a bowl, season with a small amount of real butter or olive oil and natural salt or brewer’s yeast to taste, et voilà, happy eating.


Natural Sleep Aids for Kids V

arious factors may cause a child’s sleeplessness, so before reaching for conven- tional drugs and sleep medications, parents may want to first consider changing

a child’s bedtime routine. For example, try turning off the television and computer a couple of hours before bedtime to avoid overstimulation. It also helps to keep the child’s bedroom as calm and stress-free as possible; aromatherapy-scented pillows, soaps and lotions that work best include lavender, sage and chamomile. Homeopathic remedies are another option; practitioners advise that such

gentler medications are usually well tolerated by children. Choices include Kali phosphoricum for overstimulation, Magnesium phosphoricum to calm a child and to relieve colic, and Passiflora incarnata for a child who is too tired to go to sleep. Another natural sleep aid is drinking an herbal tea made from chamomile, passion flower and valerian an hour before bedtime. Before implementing any herbal rem- edy for a good night’s sleep, parents should consult a certified herbalist to ensure they are administering it correctly for the child’s age and weight.

Sources:,, WHY BROWN

RICE IS BETTER Rice is generally thought to be part of a healthy diet because it’s a good source of fiber, but not all rice is equally nutritious. Brown rice might have an advantage over white rice by offering protec- tion from high blood pressure and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), say researchers at the Cardiovascular Research Center and department of physiology at Temple University School of Medi- cine, in Philadelphia. The secret lies in the layer between the white center of the grain and the brown fibrous outer layer, which is milled away to produce white rice; it contains a component that works against angiotensin II, a known culprit in development of these health problems.


TO TV FOR TOTS Families who want kids to grow up thin- ner and smarter do well to keep them away from the tele- vision as toddlers.

In a new study published

in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, Dr. Linda S. Pagani, a profes- sor at the Université de Montréal and researcher at the Sainte-Justine Universi- ty Hospital Research Center, concluded: “We found every additional hour of TV exposure among toddlers corresponded to a future decrease in classroom enga- gement and success at math, increased victimization by classmates, a more sedentary lifestyle, higher consumption of junk food and ultimately, a higher body mass index.”

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