Choose Food Carefully. Concerns about canned soup? Scroll down for healthy recipes.
Canned Soup Delivers High Levels of BPA
By John Gever, Senior Editor
November 22, 2011
Levels of bisphenol A, a plasticizer suspected of causing a range of adverse health effects, shot up nearly 20-fold in people who ate canned soup daily for five days, researchers said.
In 75 healthy volunteers participating in a blinded crossover trial, urinary levels of BPA averaged 1.1 mcg/L when they ate homemade soup for five days, but reached 20.8 mcg/L when they ate canned Progresso soups, reported Karin Michels, ScD, PhD, of Harvard Medical School, and colleagues.
“The absolute urinary BPA concentrations observed following canned soup consumption are among the most extreme reported in a nonoccupational setting,” the researchers wrote in a research letter published in the Nov. 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Recent data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, for example, indicated that the 95th percentile for urinary BPA was 13.0 mcg/L, Michels and colleagues noted.
BPA is used in a wide range of consumer and medical products to soften plastics. Studies have shown that BPA can mimic the action of female reproductive hormones and may be linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and liver abnormalities. Infants’ exposure is a particular concern because they may be more sensitive to these effects than adults.
Last month, researchers found that children whose mothers had high urine levels of BPA during pregnancy were more prone to behavioral problems.
The U.S. government, after initially dismissing concerns about BPA in baby bottles and other consumer products, reversed course in 2010 and promised a major research effort to pin down the health risks.
Because BPA is also used in food can linings, Michels and colleagues sought to examine whether canned soups would be a vehicle to increase human intake of the chemical.
They used five varieties of vegetarian Progresso soups, including tomato and minestrone, and five similar homemade soups. Participants were randomly assigned to start with the commercial or homemade soups, eating a serving of each variety at lunchtime daily for five days. After a two-day washout period, participants who first ate the canned products then had a week of the homemade soups, and vice versa.
Participants could otherwise eat what they pleased during the study.
Urine samples were collected in the late afternoon on the fourth and fifth days of each period. To minimize intraindividual variations, each person’s samples from consecutive days were mixed prior to analysis.
BPA levels in urine were adjusted for dilution, using a formula that included the samples’ specific gravity.
All the participants had detectable BPA in their urine after eating the canned soup, whereas 23% of samples in the homemade-soup phase were BPA-free.
The mean individual difference between mean adjusted urinary BPA levels following canned versus homemade soups, 22.5 mcg/L, was highly significant, with a 95% confidence interval of 19.6 to 25.5 mcg/L, Michels and colleagues reported.
Results were nearly identical for participants who started the trial with canned soup compared with those initially assigned to the homemade soups.
The researchers did list several limitations to the analysis. The study involved one institution (all participants were students or employees of the Harvard School of Public Health) and the canned soup came from a single manufacturer.
More important, Michels and colleagues indicated that “the increase in urinary BPA concentrations following canned soup consumption is likely a transient peak of yet uncertain duration. The effect of such intermittent elevations in urinary BPA concentrations is unknown.”
But they argued that the magnitude of the peaks seen in their study is great enough to cause concern.
“Even if not sustained, [it] may be important, especially in light of available or proposed alternatives to [BPA-containing] epoxy resin linings for most canned goods.”
Grants from the Allen Foundation and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences supported the study.
All authors declared they had no relevant financial interests.
Primary source: Journal of the American Medical Association
Carwile J, et al “Canned soup consumption and urinary bisphenol A: a randomized crossover trial” JAMA 2011; 306: 2218-20.
3 Healing Soups
By Mao Shing Ni, L.Ac., D.O.M., PhD
The healing power of soup: something that both scientists and grandmothers can agree on. From helping you lose weight to warming you up from the inside out to boosting your immunity, soup is a winter staple that you shouldn?t be without.
An ancient Chinese proverb states that a good doctor uses food first, then resorts to medicine. A healing soup can be your first step in maintaining your health and preventing illness. When you slowly simmer foods over low heat, you gently leach out the energetic and therapeutic properties of the foods, preserving the nutritional value of the food and making it easier for your body to assimilate the nutrients. Here are soup suggestions that will keep you in tip-top shape all winter long.
1. Immune-Boosting Soup
Your immune system needs a lot of minerals to function properly and the typical Western diet does not always hit the mark. Keep in mind that boiling can destroy half of the vitamins found in vegetables, so cook soup over a low heat.
Simmer these ingredients for 30 minutes to 1 hour: cabbage, carrots, fresh ginger, onion, oregano, shiitake mushrooms (if dried, they must be soaked first), the seaweed of your choice, and any type of squash in chicken or vegetable stock. Cabbage can increase your body?s ability to fight infection, ginger supports healthy digestion, and seaweed cleanses the body. Shiitake mushrooms contain coumarin, polysaccharides and sterols, as well as vitamins and minerals that increase your immune function; the remaining ingredients promote general health and wellbeing. Eat this soup every other day to build a strong and healthy immune system.
2. Winter-Warmer Hearty Soup
You always want to eat for the season, and warm soup provides what the body craves in cold weather. When you simmer foods into a soup, you are adding a lot of what Chinese nutrition would call ?warming energy? into the food. Warming foods to feature in your soups include: leeks, onions, turnips, spinach, kale, broccoli, quinoa, yams, squash, garlic, scallions, and parsley. As a spice, turmeric aids with circulation, a great boost against the cold weather.
3. Detoxifying Broth
As a liquid, soup is already helping you flush waste from your body. When you choose detoxifying ingredients, such as the ones featured in the recipe below, you are really treating your body to an internal cleanse. This broth supports the liver in detoxification, increases circulation, reduces inflammation, and replenishes your body with essential minerals.
Simmer the following detoxifying foods for 1 to 2 hours over a low flame: anise, brussels sprouts, cabbage, Swiss chard, cilantro, collards, dandelion, fennel, garlic, fresh ginger, kale, leeks, shiitake mushrooms, mustard greens, daikon radish, seaweed, turmeric, and watercress. Strain to drink as a broth, or if you prefer, leave the cut vegetables in tact and enjoy a bowl.
You can be very creative when making soup, and the above recipes are just guidelines. The sky is the limit, so feel free to play with the ingredients and methods. Note: It is always best to serve soups fresh ? for each day it spends in the fridge, the therapeutic value decreases.
Courtesy: Dr. Mehmet Oz Website