Avoid heating food in plastic containers in a microwave

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Hazardous chemicals in plastic containers can leach out to the bloodstream upon heating

New Delhi, 09 May 2018: Food microwaved in plastic containers can put you at greater risk of infertility, diabetes, obesity, and cancer, as per recent studies. Heating plastic containers in the microwave releases 95% of all chemicals, which could lead to high blood pressure, affect fertility, and damage functioning of the brain. It is important, therefore, to try and minimize the use of plastic and pack food in glass containers.

The most hazardous chemicals in plastic containers are bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, and phthalate. When ingested, they get into the bloodstream and may lead to a series of problems like infertility, hormonal changes, changes in gender traits and even different types of cancers.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI), said, “When food is heated in plastic containers in a microwave, the heat transfers the chemicals in plastic very effectively into the food. Indirect consumption of these chemicals can wreak havoc on the system. BPA and phthalates are believed to be ‘endocrine disrupters’, substances that mimic human hormones, and not essentially healthy for the system. ‘Microwave-safe’ labelling on a container indicates that they won’t melt or break when heated. However, they do not guarantee safety for health.”

If microwaving food in plastics is unavoidable, then consider the recycling codes at the bottom of the container. These indicate the type of plastic used. It is better to avoid any that have the code 3 or 7.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “Endocrine disruptors are capable of interfering with the way our glands produce hormones that govern virtually everything our bodies do. This includes the way we reproduce, grow, sleep, heal, develop mentally and burn energy. They disrupt this system, and upon reaching the receptors, they either block or mimic the hormonal messages, triggering abnormal responses.”

HCFI tips for using the microwave.

If you’re concerned about plastic wraps or containers in the microwave, transfer food to glass or ceramic containers labeled for use in microwave ovens.
Don’t let plastic wrap touch food during microwaving because it may melt. Wax paper, kitchen parchment paper, white paper towels, or a domed container that fits over a plate or bowl are better alternatives.
Most takeout containers, water bottles, and plastic tubs or jars made to hold margarine, yogurt, whipped topping, and foods such as cream cheese, mayonnaise, and mustard are not microwave-safe.
Microwavable takeout dinner trays are formulated for one-time use only and will say so on the package.
Old, scratched, or cracked containers, or those that have been microwaved many times, may leach out more plasticizers.
Don’t microwave plastic storage bags or plastic bags from the grocery store.
Before microwaving food, be sure to vent the container: leave the lid ajar, or lift the edge of the cover.

Why spirituality is friendly to wellbeing

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What you believe in can have a big impact on health and longevity. People with high levels of religious beliefs or spirituality have lower cortisol responses. Cortisol is a hormone the body releases in response to stress.

1. Positive thinking produces nearly a 30% drop in perception of pain.
2. Spirituality and the practice of religion are associated with a slower progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Those who regularly attend organized religious activities may live longer than those who don’t. Regular participation lowers mortality rate by about 12% a year.
4. People undergoing cardiac rehabilitation feel more confident and perceive greater improvements in their physical abilities if they have a strong faith.
5. Increased levels of spirituality and religious faith may help substance abusers kick their habit.
6. Spirituality stimulates the relaxation response. When the body is relaxed, the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate all go down, which decreases the body’s stress response.
7. Spirituality can affect function of the immune system. Spirituality, faith, church attendance improves immune function in ways that can be measured, like an increase in white blood cells.
8. Prayer heals the heart. Positive talking and thinking in the ICU produces better results.

Spirituality is what brings you peace and safety. It can be achieved through God or Goddess, nature, a beautiful sunset, a meditation, Pranayama, religious meeting, chanting, mind body relaxation, etc. Spirituality is something that can help all the way from promoting wellness to helping with recovery.

Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri AwardeeVice President CMAAOGroup Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications
President Heart Care Foundation of India
Immediate Past National President IMA