Mercury from Coal Plants and a Way to Spice up your Dinner
Leave it to my wife to find random food health facts. And this one is a real winner. Several weeks ago, madcowmonkey wrote a blog about mercury in coal processing: It's not as if enough energy at a ... We were discussing how horrible mercury is as a neurotoxin, and the fact that a number of studies suggest that the mercury in the air near coal plants and the mercury that is in vaccines is a contributor to autism.
One concern of mine is that a new generation of coal plants is going to be installed before alternative renewable energy options can take hold. But regardless of new plants there are several dozen coal power plants all across the US and there are lots of people living near them.
All these people should start eating Mexican and Chinese food, because cilantro has been found to be one of the few substances that removes mercury and other heavy metals from the body! It is so cool. There is a great article at then end.
If you are not a huge fan of Mexican or Chinese food in general, might I suggest to simple alternatives that I love. A very simple guacamole of just avocados, salt, pepper, lime juice and lots of fresh chopped cilantro. It is so good just like that. Or the next time you make rice, make the cooking liquid half water and half coconut milk and add a huge handful of chopped cilantro at the end right before you serve it.
The article follows below. Check out the bold sections. Good stuff :)
Nutrients & Health: Staying Healthy in a Toxic Environment
By Laura LaValle, RD, LD
We live in an environment that continues to dump toxins into our air, water, and food. A growing body of evidence has shown the negative impact of different classes of toxins on human health. Are we being affected, is no longer a useful question. What to do about it is.
I'm a dietitian at LMI, working in partnership with clinicians that really understand the role of environmental toxins in a number of health conditions. I've seen patients with conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol significantly improve their health by taking steps to help rid their bodies of toxins.
My first advice to anyone concerned about the potential impact of toxins on their metabolism would be to find a professional clinician knowledgeable in integrative or functional medicine. S/he can measure the levels of toxic chemicals in your body, design a safe and controlled detox program, and closely monitor your health during this entire process.
Unfortunately, there's almost no way to completely avoid exposure to environmental toxins. Even the residents of pristine rural communities who tested their blood for its "body burden" of industrial chemicals were stunned at the unpleasant results. They found mercury, bisphenol A, phthalates, PFOA, PDBE's, and several more.
So what can you do right now to safeguard your family's health? You can reduce your exposure to some of these chemicals by selecting clothing and furniture without fire retardants, using stainless steel cookware instead of non-stick, and heating and microwaving in glass and ceramic rather than plastic. But how do you avoid pollutants you don't even know are there. Unfortunately, you can't.
But you can choose to eat foods that are known to enhance your body's ability to remove toxins. Today I'm beginning with a familiar herb that's a "detox superstar" -- cilantro, also known as Chinese parsley. Most of us are familiar with cilantro as it's used in Mexican foods -- but it's also an ingredient in some Asian dishes like Vietnamese soups.
Cilantro has been shown to help the body eliminate heavy metals, and it's one of the few substances known to be effective in removing mercury. We've known for years that heavy metals like lead and mercury are neurotoxins, and particularly dangerous to human health. They interfere with our thyroid hormones and other important metabolic enzymes, and cause a lot of free radical damage.
Cilantro appears to actually change the chemical properties of these minerals. It's also exceptionally rich in phytonutrients. Finally, it contains important trace minerals like iron, magnesium, and the manganese used in one of the very best enzymes your body makes for detoxification and free radical neutralization!
Cilantro has a sharp pungent flavor. Some people enjoy its taste all on its own, but I prefer it chopped up in salads, salad dressings, salsas, soups, etc. You can also make an "alternative pesto" -- substitute cilantro for basil and your favorite nuts and seeds for pine nuts -- pistachios, sunflower seeds, and/or cashews are great choices.
[Ed. Note: Laura B. LaValle, RD, LD is presently the director of dietetics nutrition at LaValle Metabolic Institute (formerly part of Living Longer Institute). She offers personal nutritional counseling at LMI for clients who need help with their diet in relation to illness or disease. Laura also provides educational services in the areas of health promotion, wellness, and disease prevention.]