Processed staple foods may increase the risk of heart and brain diseases

Processed staple foods may increase the risk of heart and brain diseases

Excessive consumption of ultra-processed foods may increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, experts have warned.

But it’s not just potato chips and chocolate bars that we need to worry about. Many of the foods we consider “healthy” are also technically ultra-processed.

Ultra-processed foods usually contain ingredients that you won’t find in your kitchen cupboard. And you may not recognize the names of the colourings, sweeteners and preservatives.

Here, MailOnline reveals some healthy foods you may not have realized were actually highly processed.

Soup cans

Although home-made soup cannot be classified as ultra-processed, soup sold in cans often contains ingredients that are unfamiliar.

For example, a can of tomato soup contains “acidity regulator – citric acid”.

This acidity regulator is added to soups to control the taste, as well as the PH level to stop the growth of bacteria.

Cream of Chicken Soup also contains stabilizers to keep the ingredients from mixing together.

Oat bars

They may be sold as a healthy snack, but oat bars are often full of artificial sweeteners and chemicals.

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Although they are made with 60% oats, Nature Valley Crunchy Oat Bars contain emulsified lecithin.

Eating homemade nuts or oats is one way to avoid these chemicals and sweeteners.

Protein shake

These shakes are drunk by gym-goers to build muscle, and are often flavored with sweeteners.

But most of them contain the sweetener sucralose and many stabilizers. This means your protein shake is ultra-processed.

Although adding sucralose to food does not make it healthy, it helps people reduce sugar consumption, which reduces the risk of tooth decay, according to the British National Health Service.

Vegetarian meat alternatives

Chicken breast and fish fillets are single-ingredient foods that are not ultra-processed.

But plant food recycled to look and taste like meat has had flavors added to make it palatable and chemicals to make it look appealing.


Journal Nature Medicine : Brain fog in “long Covid” cases may be linked to blood clots!

A new study has revealed that the debilitating brain fog that long-term coronavirus patients often suffer from may stem from blood clots.

Long-term coronavirus describes a myriad of symptoms that persist for weeks to years after infection with Covid-19. Some people with this condition have problems with blood flow and lung capacity, which have been linked to small, abnormal blood clots. The researchers suggested that blood clots may also trigger neurological symptoms of long Covid, such as brain fog, which can disrupt people’s ability to concentrate, remember and carry out tasks.

The new study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, supports this idea, linking blood clots to brain fog.

“I am optimistic that science is starting to give us real insights into the causes of [long Covid] and therefore potential treatments,” said study co-author Chris Brightling, clinical professor of respiratory medicine at the University of Leicester in England. 

The new research used data from nearly 1,840 adults who were hospitalized for COVID-19 in the UK in 2020 and 2021.

Two proteins involved in blood clotting, fibrinogen and D-dimer, have emerged as major predictors of cognitive problems in people in the future. Manufactured by the liver, fibrinogen is the main structural component needed to form a blood clot, and D-dimer is a protein fragment that is released when blood clots break down.

Compared to those with the lowest amount of fibrinogen, hospitalized patients with the highest levels of fibrinogen scored worse on tests of memory and attention, and rated their cognition as worse on surveys.

Likewise, people with high levels of D-dimer had poorer cognition on self-surveys than people with low levels of D-dimer. The high D-dimer group was also more likely to report problems with their ability to work after six and 12 months of hospitalization.

The journal Science reported that two blood clotting proteins were previously linked to severe Covid-19 infection, and separately, fibrinogen alone was linked to cognitive problems and dementia. At this point, it is not known how proteins can cause brain fog in long-term Covid cases.

Lead study author Dr. Maxime Taquet, a clinical psychologist at the University of Oxford, said blood clots linked to fibrinogen may disrupt blood flow to the brain or may interact directly with nerve cells. D-dimer may be more closely linked to clots in the lungs and breathing problems, which were more commonly reported in the high-D-dimer group, he said.