Author: Barbara W. Andrade

Food from the chemistry kit: vegan meat substitutes are so unhealthyFood from the chemistry kit: vegan meat substitutes are so unhealthy

Vegan nutrition is often equated with healthy and ecologically correct. This is a big misunderstanding when it comes to meat substitutes made from soy or wheat protein. Only a lot of salt, fat and additives create flavor on the plate.

  • Soy or wheat protein taste like nothing, especially not like meat.
  • Abundant food chemistry turns plants into meat substitutes.
  • Vegan ready meals are no healthier than conventional products.

Guess what that is: soy protein, paprika, onions, sunflower oil, drinking water, wheat protein, chicken protein powder, wheat flour, wheat starch, table salt, spices, yeast, maltodextrin, herbs, thickener: (guar gum), smoke flavor?

These 16 ingredients make vegetarian mini meatballs from Lidl’s “My best Veggie” series. It’s a casual yet typical example of meat dishes without meat. A lot of food chemistry is required before soy becomes a meatball or seitan becomes a currywurst. Taste, texture and appearance are only created through skillful handling of additives and aromas from the laboratory.

Vegan ready meals are too salty and too greasy

Too many additives, including too much salt, sugar and fat in meat substitutes, criticized the Hamburg Consumer Center two years ago in the “Market Check: Vegan Food” . Nothing has changed since then. The criticism also applies to the 2.5 grams of salt and 13.3 grams of fat per 100 grams of meatball in our example.

Vegetarian and vegan ready meals, sausage and cheese preparations are no more unhealthy than the originals – but neither are they healthier or better in quality. But this is what many consumers expect, as the NDR’s consumer magazine “Markt” recently showed in a road test:

Consumers have false expectations of “vegan”

Quite a number of respondents were in favor of vegetarian products because they considered them healthy and low in calories. When they were referred to the list of ingredients, they reacted surprised and slightly shocked.

  • The vegetarian currywurst tested had 100 kilocalories more than the original made from meat from the same manufacturer.
  • 100 grams of meatless salami contained 3.3 grams of salt. This is more than half of the daily dose of six grams recommended by the German Nutrition Society.
  • Some examples of sausages contained not only rapeseed oil, which is considered healthy, but also cheap palm fat. Because of its saturated fatty acids, it is one of the fats that are harmful to health.
  • Overall, thickeners, stabilizers, colors and preservatives are on the long lists of ingredients in meat substitutes – all additives that nutrition experts are a thorn in the side of even conventional foods.

Ready meals with meat substitutes or sausage imitations no longer have anything to do with the healthy wholefood diet of traditional vegetarians. If you want to eat valuable food without meat, you should rely on fresh food and creative preparation – the best advice for healthy eating has always been.

Vitamin A deficiency is blind: which foods protect them – and which are no-gosVitamin A deficiency is blind: which foods protect them – and which are no-gos

Vitamin A is a generic term for several vital substances, including beta-carotene. A deficiency is rare, but there are risk groups, for example with liver or intestinal diseases. The signs of A-deficiency, how to avoid it and how dangerous an overdose can be.

Carrots are high in vitamin A and beta carotene, hence their name, and are important for the eyes and the immune system. Most of them do not know more about these vital substances – and this statement is sometimes even incorrect.

Vitamin A, provitamin A and beta carotene – what are they?

Because vitamin A is a complex of vitamins that includes retinol and retinyl esters . These forms are mainly found in animal foods.

There is also provitamin A as a precursor, which is found in plant-based foods. “There are also various representatives of provitamin A, the best known is beta carotene,” explains Andrea Henze, nutritionist at the University of Potsdam. The body has to convert provitamin A such as beta carotene into vitamin A so that it can be used. This processing takes place mainly in the intestines and liver.

Beta carotene – like all provitamins A – in turn belongs to the large group of carotenoids, of which there are more than 600 different ones. All of them have the property, as a natural coloring agent, of coloring plants yellow, orange, red and are therefore found in many orange-red vegetables. “But green vegetables such as spinach can also contain a lot of carotenoids,” adds the scientist, who is also researching the subject of vitamin A. In green vegetables, however, the orange-red color of the carotenoids is masked by the green plant substance chlorophyll.

The function of vitamin A.

Vitamin A is vital. “We need vitamin A for almost all body functions because it enables cells to differentiate,” explains Andrea Henze. This means that under the influence of this vital substance, the cell can become a skin cell, a mucous membrane or nerve cell. The other functions of vitamin A:

  • Immune system: Vitamin A primarily promotes the development of lymphocytes and thus a strong immune response to foreign substances and pathogens.
  • Skin and mucous membranes: It ensures healthy cell growth and cell integrity, thus preventing cracks and other damage, improving wound healing, i.e. regenerating. In this sense, vitamin A also acts on the lung epithelium and supports the constant renewal of the fine cilia that line the lung surface. It is similar in the intestine with the intestinal epithelium. Vitamin A is responsible for this constant renewal.
  • Blood formation: Vitamin A promotes the formation of red blood cells (erythrocytes) and thus improves the transport of oxygen into every cell.
  • Bones: It influences the storage of calcium phosphate in the bones.
  • Reproduction and fertility: Vitamin A is extremely important for the formation of healthy egg cells and sperm as well as for embryonic development. “We know from studies that vitamin A deficiency in animals often causes infertility or, if fertilization does take place, the offspring can have deformities of the limbs,” adds the scientist.
  • Seeing: Vitamin A is important in the eye as a pigment that enables the process of vision. It plays a key role in the nerve impulse that is triggered by the incidence of light and sent to the brain. Vitamin A, so to speak, mediates this signal cascade during the visual process.

Vitamin A does not have an antioxidant effect

From a purely chemical point of view, vitamin A is an antioxidant, but it does not play a role in the body in this context, for example because of its binding to transport proteins and its intracellular localization. As is often assumed, it is not a radical catcher and does not protect against “cell rust”, i.e. oxidation. “Vitamin A has no direct effect in this context, only an indirect one,” explains Andrea Henze more precisely: Vitamin A increases the absorption of vitamin E and selenium in the intestine, which have an antioxidant effect.

Pro-vitamins A such as beta carotene, on the other hand, can develop an antioxidant effect in the body before they are converted into vitamin A.

Why is this distinction important? Andrea Henze explains why it is best to use both animal and vegetable sources of vitamin A: Only then can the full spectrum of activity of these vital substances be used to the full.

Foods that are high in vitamin A and beta carotene

Among the foods of animal origin, the following are particularly rich in vitamin A:

  • Beef liver
  • Pork liver
  • poultry
  • butter
  • cheese
  • Eggs

When it comes to plant-based fruits and vegetables, these are good provitamin A suppliers:

  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • spinach
  • Apricots
  • paprika

Store and prepare foods rich in vitamin A correctly

Vitamin A is sensitive to light, so food should be stored in the dark. In addition, the vital substance is relatively heat-stable and fat-soluble. This means that it is bound to fat and can therefore best be absorbed by the body.

In the case of animal sources, this is usually given or due to the preparation, for example the extremely low-fat liver is fried in oil. For the preliminary stage vitamin A, however, the corresponding vegetables should be prepared together with fat. “Studies have shown that it is particularly well absorbed by the body when it is crushed and steamed with a little fat,” reports Andrea Henze. Grinding is important so that the provitamin is released from the cellular structures.

An example: carrot vegetables, chopped up and steamed with a little safflower oil, provide the body with the vitamin better than nibbling raw carrots.

This is how much vitamin A you need every day

According to the reference value of the German Nutrition Society, the daily requirement for vitamin A is around one milligram per day. However, this is a bit simplified. Other units are used in nutritional science, the requirement is given as so-called retinol equivalents (RE) or retinol activity equivalents (RAE), explains the scientist and explains in more detail. 1 milligram of retinol corresponds to 1 milligram of RE or RAE. For provitamin A carotenoids, the calculation is more complex because additional factors have to be taken into account:

  • Efficiency of absorption in the intestine (this is generally lower for carotenoids than for retinol or retinyl ester and depends on the food matrix)
  • Conversion efficiency of provitamin A into vitamin A (this differs greatly between the provitamin A carotenoids, it is highest for beta carotene)

When using RAE, a conversion factor of 12: 1 is assumed for beta carotene and 24: 1 for all other provitamin A carotenoids. This means that 12 milligrams of beta carotene or 24 milligrams of other provitamin A carotenoids must be ingested with food to meet the requirement of 1 milligram of RAE. If, on the other hand, the intake takes place in the form of retinol or retinyl esters (i.e. from animal foods), the required intake is correspondingly lower.

According to this calculation, the daily requirement for vitamin A is covered with 150 grams of carrots, for example, or with a mixed diet: 1 egg, 100 grams of Gouda cheese and 75 grams of carrots.

Vitamin A deficiency affects certain risk groups

Because these foods are so rich in vitamin A, there is virtually no deficiency in this vital substance in Germany and other industrialized nations. However, that’s only true at first glance. Because experts differentiate between primary deficiency and secondary causes when it comes to undersupply.

Primary means that too few foods rich in vitamin A are eaten. This is almost never the case in this country. Even those who only eat fast food are adequately supplied with vitamin A. Vegans and vegetarians also get enough vitamin A from the preliminary stage.

It is different, however, with a secondary deficiency. In this context, secondary is used when the deficiency arises as a result of illnesses. Digestive diseases that affect absorption, such as:

  • inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease
  • Celiac disease
  • chronic liver disease, because vitamin A can then no longer be stored
  • Diseases of the pancreas, because the digestive enzymes that are important for the absorption of the vitamin are not sufficiently produced.

In addition, there is a risk of undersupply if the vitamin A requirement is increased, this is the case with:

  • pronounced inflammatory processes
  • massive injuries such as burns when much of the skin surface is destroyed
  • Kidney disease, which causes vitamin A to be excreted in the urine without being used
  • Alcohol abuse because liver function is impaired
  • pregnancy

Vitamin A Deficiency: Symptoms can be dramatic

As a rule, these risk groups are well looked after by a doctor, so that symptoms of deficiency rarely occur. Exception: alcoholics and very overweight people with massive fatty liver who do not seek medical advice. Apart from these patients, little is known about vitamin A deficiency in Germany. “Vitamin A deficiency occurs mainly in developing countries, where it is the main cause of blindness,” adds the scientist. Because one of the signs of vitamin A deficiency is night blindness, which can increase to complete blindness and is then no longer treatable.

There are also many other causes of night blindness, which are primarily age-related. The adaptive ability of the eye declines, for example as a result of cataracts, macular degeneration or retinopathia pigmentosa (hereditary disease). In any case, a doctor should always clarify if twilight vision deteriorates.

The other signs are a bit unspecific

  • Susceptibility to infection
  • dry skin and eyes
  • brittle hair
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fertility disorders

Vitamin A deficiency is best compensated for naturally

Anyone who thinks they are undersupplied with vitamin A should simply use more of the corresponding fruits and vegetables. Overdosing is not possible because the body only converts as much provitamin as it needs and it still makes sense to store it.

Over-the-counter supplements are the next step. It is best to get advice from a doctor and trust products from Germany. “Over-the-counter products only contain provitamin A, so overdosing is difficult, and absorption in the intestine is reduced if there is sufficient quantity,” explains Andrea Henze in more detail.

Beware of vitamin A supplements

Vitamin A supplements, on the other hand, can be more problematic, and poisoning is possible if overdosed. In Germany such products are therefore not freely available, but in other countries they are. “Vitamin A supplements should only be used under medical supervision and not for self-medication,” warns Andrea Henze.

Vitamin A poisoning – the first signs

The excess supply of vitamin A does not slow down the body, as is usually the case with provitamin A. The excess vitamin A is mainly stored in the liver; if it becomes too much, the detoxification organ can no longer work. “It leads to intoxication,” says the scientist. In pregnant women, this can also have negative consequences for the embryo.

The signs of vitamin A hypervitaminosis:

  • Nausea and headache ,
  • the bone tissue becomes porous.

If the oversupply lasts longer, it can even lead to death.

Incidentally, high doses of vitamin A supplements also led to the increase in lung cancer among smokers, previous studies warn.

There is no risk of intoxication from vitamin A through food – with one exception

What is certain is that over-the-counter supplements, which mainly contain beta-carotene, are usually harmless even if taken regularly. It is different with products that contain vitamin A, such as retinol. With them, intoxication is quite possible and can occur with a daily intake of 3 milligrams or more. By the way, retinol can also be found in many care products to keep the skin young and firm. “In this context, there is no need to fear overdosing, the substance does not pass from the skin into the bloodstream,” reassures the expert.

And hypervitaminosis A is hardly to be feared with food either. “Unless you eat liver several times a week,” warns Andrea Henze. Liver can contain over 30 milligrams per 100 grams of goods and thus exceeds the daily requirement by more than 30 times!

A historical anecdote shows how tragic this can end: More than 100 years ago, three researchers set out on an Antarctic expedition, Douglas Mawson, Belgrave Ninnis and Xavier Mertz. The expedition was not a lucky star, the men had to gradually eat the sled dogs in their distress in order not to starve to death. Mertz is said to have eaten the livers as well, subsequently complained of stomach pain, and his skin was partially peeling. After he fell into delirium, he passed away. Experts suspect that it was vitamin A poisoning from the dogs’ liver .

Therefore do not demonize the liver

Nobody knows for sure whether the story is really true. However, it is scientifically proven that hypervitaminosis A from natural foods is not to be feared, unless one eats a liver daily. Apart from that, the liver is an extremely valuable food from a nutritional point of view, contains vitamin A, iron, zinc , copper, vitamin B12 and folic acid, the supply of which is sometimes critical.

The most sensible recommendation: A lack of vitamin A can best be prevented with a balanced mixed diet, i.e. eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, whole grain and low-fat dairy products, sometimes a little fish or poultry.

9 cancer risks that hardly anyone knows – and that can be avoided9 cancer risks that hardly anyone knows – and that can be avoided

Smoking, junk food, obesity – most of us are familiar with these risk factors for cancer. But there are also sources of danger that you would never think of in life. It’s worth avoiding them in the future.

It can be the cream you put on your face every morning, the beloved hamburger or a habit at the wheel – behind some everyday behavior lurks a danger that hardly anyone knows: you increase the risk of developing cancer. You should therefore leave the following things in the future:

1. Choose your window seat on the plane

Most people enjoy seeing the landscape from above during take-off and landing. Air travelers also like to look at the clouds of cotton wool under the clear blue sky. But if you fly often and sit by the window, you risk skin damage. The window panes keep out most of the UVB rays that cause sunburn. But they let through 47 percent of UVA rays. They are responsible for skin aging and a risk of skin cancer . Because: UV radiation can damage the genetic material. If damaged cells do not die, skin cancer can develop.

2. Insert all receipts

The receipts on thermal paper come from many cash registers and payment devices. And: bisphenol A (BPA). The substance has been classified by the EU as “of very high concern”. It endangers the brain development of the unborn, has been linked to male infertility, and can cause heart disease and cancer. Every time you touch thermal paper, BPA enters the body through the skin and accumulates there. In 2020, an EU-wide ban on thermal paper containing BPA will come into force.

3. Consume very hot drinks

Many people love their soup or tea steaming hot. But whoever swallows liquids above 65 degrees Celsius is putting his esophagus at risk . Because this irritates the tissue and in the long term cell damage occurs, from which cancer can develop.

4. Drive through the rush hour traffic with the window open

As long as there are no clean cars or driving bans in cities, diesel exhaust poses a specific risk for lung and bladder cancer. The WHO investigated this several years ago . Professional drivers or road construction workers are particularly at risk. But you can also get rid of dangerous diesel residues on daily trips through rush hour traffic with stop-and-go movement.

5. Avoid using condoms during sex

Those who live in a monogamous relationship will no longer be infected with the cancer-causing human papilloma virus. Because the greatest risk of HPV infection is unprotected intercourse with changing partners. The most common type of HPV cancer is cervical cancer, which usually develops many years after first exposure to the virus. Infection with certain HPV types can also lead to malignant tumors in the vagina, labia, anus and penis.

6. Use cosmetics with mineral oils

Oils care for the skin, but they shouldn’t be mineral oils. However, these are found in many cosmetic products, from skin cream to lipstick – for example when the ingredients are paraffin, petrolatum or mineral oil. The group of aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH) poses a health risk. They have the potential to change the genetic makeup and cause cancer. They are filtered out of cosmetics – a decent residue remains, as the testers from the Stiftung Warentester found back in 2015.

7. Drink an after-work beer – or two, three …

Those who drink alcohol not only have an increased risk of liver cancer, but also of mouth and throat cancer and breast cancer. Unsurprisingly, this risk increases with the amount of alcohol. But there is no “safe” lower limit, especially for breast and liver cancer. Various substances that are produced when alcohol is broken down in the body probably play a role here.

8. Staring at your smartphone at night

Studies have shown a link between low levels of melatonin and a higher risk of cancer.The release of the sleep hormone is hindered when light breaks through the nighttime darkness . Smartphones and tablets are a common source of the bright glow in the dark bedroom nowadays. They delay falling asleep or wake the user with incoming messages that are immediately responded to. The sleep cycle is constantly interrupted and chronic sleep disorders develop – a risk factor for cancer.

9. Skip doctor’s appointments

If you don’t see a doctor, you won’t get cancer because of it. The regular check-ups and preventive appointments with the doctor but can ensure that a tumor early discovered no fatal cancer. The colonoscopy and cervical smear can even prevent abnormal cells from becoming cancer in the first place.

 

Stomach cancer emerges years beforehand – these symptoms must be taken seriouslyStomach cancer emerges years beforehand – these symptoms must be taken seriously

Stomach cancer is not as common as colon or breast cancer, but its prognosis is less favorable. FOCUS Online explains the reasons why early detection is therefore particularly important, the current therapies and what belongs to prevention.

Stomach cancer is not uncommon, with around 15,000 new cases per year on the list of carcinomas. 9,300 men and 5,600 women are affected. The cause of the gender difference is currently unknown.

Stomach cancer is not one of the most common cancers, but the chances of survival are not good. Two thirds ultimately die of the tumor disease. “We have to assume that three out of four patients will only be diagnosed in a locally extended or even metastatic situation,” reports Michael Stahl, head of the Clinic for Internal Oncology at the Evangelical Clinics Essen-Mitte (KEM).

This late diagnosis means that three quarters of the patients have a poor prognosis and cannot be cured with an operation alone, summarizes the oncologist, who is among other things the author responsible for the German guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of esophageal cancer and a member of the lead group of the working group for internal oncology for carcinomas of the stomach and esophagus.

Cause of stomach cancer unknown but there are risk factors

“The only good relative risk factor for stomach cancer is the stomach germ Helicobacter pylori”, the expert clarifies. That would be risk factor number 1.

However, around a quarter of Germans are infected with this bacterium, but only a fraction of them develop gastric cancer. Why they get sick is not yet fully understood, just as much is still unknown about the causes of stomach cancer.

There is also evidence that smoking increases the risk. And what about alcohol? “However, there is no meaningful evidence that alcohol also increases the risk of stomach cancer,” adds the oncologist. However, it can lead to gastric mucosal inflammation, i.e. gastritis, up to and including gastric ulcer (ulcer).

Chronic gastric mucosal inflammation and reflux disease could in turn increase the risk of stomach cancer at the junction with the esophagus.

Stomach cancer can also develop from previous operations on the stomach.

The reflux of bile is also considered a risk factor. This danger arises from being very overweight.

And on the subject of obesity and nutrition: Scientists assume that a one-sided diet with a lot of processed meat products, heavily salted, but also smoked and grilled foods promote stomach cancer – keyword nitrosamines, which are known to be carcinogenic. Rotten and moldy foods pose a general health risk, also with regard to stomach cancer.

Stomach cancer with certain genetic changes

In addition, there are genetic components in the development of gastric cancer: first-degree relatives (children, siblings) of patients with gastric cancer have an increased risk – i.e. if the father, mother or sibling are ill. In addition, stomach cancer can occur if a certain form of colon cancer is already present (hereditary colorectal cancer) or breast cancer.

These are patients with changes in their genetic makeup, for example what is known as microsatellite instability (MSI). You are at an increased risk of various types of cancer, including cancer of the stomach and intestines. “Doctors should keep this in mind if a patient has a colon cancer with microsatellite instability , or if there are multiple carcinomas in the family,” emphasizes the Essen-based oncologist.

However, all of these are only possible risk factors. “Of most patients who fall ill, we don’t know why, because none of these risk factors apply to them,” summarizes Michael Stahl.

Look out for these warning signs

Besides this, there is the second difficulty in gastric cancer – late diagnosis. This is because the symptoms are rather unspecific, affecting the stomach, but are often dismissed as harmless everyday complaints. Early signs can be:

  • Feeling of fullness, pressure in the stomach
  • general upper abdominal discomfort
  • Eructation
  • nausea
  • Vomit
  • Flatulence
  • Loss of appetite

“Anyone who has one or more of these complaints for more than three weeks should have them checked out by a doctor,” advises Michael Stahl.

Do not treat persistent stomach problems with acid blockers on your own initiative

However, many sufferers do not take these symptoms seriously and try to relieve them first with self-medication – wasting valuable time on early cancer therapy and thus a high chance of recovery.

They resort to gastric acid blockers that are available over the counter or prescribed by doctors. The pain will actually go away. “Cancer itself does not cause the pain at the beginning of the disease, rather the mucous membrane defect it causes is irritated by stomach acid – and that triggers the pain,” explains the expert.

This pain disappears when the stomach acid is blocked because it no longer irritates the mucous membrane. The cancer growth is not influenced by this, the tumor can spread undisturbed.

The most important diagnostic tool – gastroscopy

The oncologist therefore urgently recommends that the complaints be clarified by a quality-assured endoscopy, i.e. in a gastroenterological practice that carries out these examinations on a daily basis or in an appropriate center.

The gastroscopy only takes a few minutes; the doctor can not only check the condition of the esophagus and stomach up to the duodenum, but can also test whether Helicobacter is present and possibly take additional tissue samples.

Usually no tumor is discovered, but rather the stomach germ or an enlargement or relocation of the area between the stomach and esophagus (hernia), which can cause reflux. A change in diet can help here or medication may be necessary. Sometimes, however, the doctor finds stomach cancer, “and more and more often in the transition area to the esophagus,” reports the expert from the practice.

The reason for this is that there are more and more people who are very overweight. “Being overweight puts pressure on the abdominal cavity, which is why bile acids and stomach acids flow back into the transition area to the esophagus, which is not designed for frequent contact with these acids and is therefore damaged,” says Michael Stahl, summarizing the chain of reactions.

How stomach cancer spreads

The treatment depends on the severity of the disease (grading):

  • Whether the carcinoma is limited to the mucous membrane,
  • already affects the underlying muscle
  • in addition, the outer connective tissue of the stomach
  • surrounding organs
  • Lymph nodes
  • Has metastasized.

In Asian countries, where the risk of stomach cancer is very high and gastric cancer screening is therefore carried out regularly, the cancer can often be detected early. If the diagnosis “stomach cancer” is made in the early stages, i.e. only the mucous membrane is affected, there is a high chance of recovery.

Unfortunately, this is extremely rare in Germany, explains the oncologist. In this country, stomach cancer is usually only discovered when it has worked its way deeper into the tissue or has already broken through the stomach. This is also the reason why the prognosis for stomach cancer in Germany is so unfavorable – the cancer is recognized very late.

Stomach cancer does not depend on age

How long the time span between gastric cancer in its initial stage and the appearance of metastases cannot be answered. However, Michael Stahl points out in this context that it is a cancer myth that the tumor only grows slowly in the elderly. “We also have elderly patients with rapidly growing stomach cancer, and young ones,” he warns. Young people should also take stomach problems seriously and not dismiss them: “I’m only 35, it can’t be something bad, like cancer.”

Treatments for stomach cancer – chemotherapy plus surgery

Only in the early stages, i.e. when stomach cancer is limited to the mucous membrane, surgery alone is the method of choice. Then it is the only way to cure the patient.

Most patients, however, need more than the operation, the scientist reports. For locally advanced tumors (without metastasis), treatment consists of chemotherapy, surgery and renewed chemotherapy. Chemotherapy before the operation is intended to shrink the tumor and combat (invisible) metastases at an early stage.

Antibody therapy for HER2-positive gastric cancer

In addition, chemotherapy plus antibody therapy with so-called HER2 antibodies is used for certain forms of metastatic gastric cancer. In around 20 percent of gastric cancer patients, HER2 receptors (HER2-positive gastric cancer) are found in particularly large numbers on the cancer cells. They are docking points for growth factors. Occupied by the special antibodies, tumor growth can slow down significantly.

By the way, HER2 receptors are also found on breast cancer cells, keyword HER2-positive breast cancer. This is where this antibody therapy, which incidentally does not count among the immunotherapies, was first used.

In addition, attempts are being made in Germany, the scientist reports, to treat HER2-positive gastric cancer with HER2 antibodies plus immunotherapy. Scientists hope that this will enable them to offer equivalent treatment without chemotherapy in the future. However, the effect of this combination of therapies has not yet been proven.

Immunotherapies for gastric cancer do not (yet) meet expectations

In some forms of cancer such as melanoma or lung cancer, immunotherapies, for example with checkpoint inhibitors, are considered particularly successful today. These drugs are also currently being tested in studies for gastric cancer .

“Unfortunately, the first results are sobering,” reports the scientist. He and his colleagues had hoped that immunotherapy could improve the effect of chemo, but this was not confirmed. “If, however, all therapy options have already been exhausted in a patient, more can be achieved with immunotherapy than without further tumor-specific treatment,” reports Michael Stahl about the studies.

The problem with this is that it is currently difficult to predict in which patients the immunotherapy will work and which will not. Only in the few patients (less than ten percent of all patients with gastric cancer) whose tumors show what is known as high microsatellite instability (MSI-H) can one predict that immunotherapy has a high chance of effectiveness. Overall, the risk of severe side effects under immunotherapy is significantly lower than under chemotherapy, namely 20 percent instead of 60 percent.

The prognosis for gastric cancer is poor because the patients are late

How successful are the therapies at a glance? “The chances of a cure for stomach cancer are on average 25 to 30 percent; if stomach cancer is metastatic, the average life expectancy is one year,” reports Michael Stahl. The prognosis is only very good at a very early stage. However, patients with gastric cancer in this easily curable stage would be the exception in practice because many go to the doctor too late.

Prevention of stomach cancer – three measures

This makes provision and prevention all the more important. This includes, on the one hand, having longer stomach complaints clarified by a gastroscopy – and it does not matter how old the person affected is.

On the other hand, everyone should pay attention to the following three factors. Because little is known about the development of stomach cancer, so few are:

  1. Pay attention to food hygiene, do not eat spoiled food, nothing that is moldy
  2. Do not smoke
  3. Avoid being overweight

This can not only protect the stomach, but is known to promote general health – not smoking and maintaining a normal weight are among the most important preventive measures against cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, but also against cancer.

The unknown colon cancer: How to prevent tumors in the small intestineThe unknown colon cancer: How to prevent tumors in the small intestine

When it comes to colon cancer, most people think of colon cancer. What is less well known is that the small intestine can also develop malignant tumors. What you should know about it, about symptoms, treatment and the combination of colon and small bowel cancer.

Small bowel cancer accounts for up to five percent of all bowel cancers; around 2,600 men and women were diagnosed with small bowel cancer in 2016, compared with around 60,000 colon cancer. “It is important to classify a carcinoma on the one hand by localization, i.e. in the case of bowel cancer, small or colon cancer, but also differentiate it on the basis of its biological characteristics,” reports Ulrich Graeven, chief physician at the Clinic for Hematology, Oncology and Gastroenterology at Maria Hilf Mönchengladbach Hospital.

Cancer of the small intestine is usually biologically very different from cancer of the colon

While colon cancer is usually adeno tumors, i.e. growths of the mucous membrane, this affects only a small fraction of small bowel cancer. The most common forms of small bowel cancer, depending on the cells that cause the disease, are:

  • Neuroendocrine tumors (NET) with around 50 percent, they arise from hormone-producing cells
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) make up about ten percent, these tumors originate from the connective tissue in the gastrointestinal tract.

The differing biological characteristics of the two types of colon cancer, colon and small bowel cancer, “make these two diseases so fundamentally different, even though both affect the bowel,” explains the oncologist.

Causes of small bowel cancer and why it is less common than colon cancer

What triggers the fact that the cells in the small intestine no longer act normally, but degenerate and multiply in an uncontrolled manner, is still largely unknown. It is assumed that there is a connection with pollutants in food that come into contact with the small intestine during passage and can thus influence its cells.

It is well known that the small intestine connects directly to the stomach. This first section of the three-part small intestine is called the duodenum, followed by the jejunum and ileum. In addition to transporting the chyme to the large intestine, the task of the five-meter-long small intestine is to break down certain food components and release them into the blood. The most important ones are carbohydrates, which are processed into various sugars, fat, but also vitamins and trace elements.

The chyme is still thin in this section of the intestine and is therefore transported on quickly. The contact time with the intestinal wall is much shorter than later in the large intestine, “which could explain why colon cancer is much more common than small intestine cancer,” the gastroenterologist explains the possible background. In addition, the mucous membrane in the small intestine is less susceptible to certain factors such as pollutants than that in the large intestine.

Risk factor hereditary diseases

However, there is also a familial willingness to develop small bowel cancer: Hereditary polyposis syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and Lynch syndrome. Genetically, a large number of polyps develop in the large intestine, sometimes also in the small intestine. These are adenocarcinomas, but are very rare in the small intestine compared to NET and GIST.

Small intestinal tumors associated with FAP are usually only discovered when polyps have been detected in the large intestine. In the course of further diagnosis of the familial predisposition, these rare small bowel carcinomas are also identified.

Small bowel cancer symptoms

Small bowel cancer usually grows slowly. Frequently, signs only appear when the disease has progressed and the tumor is taking up space. Depending on you can

  • Bleeding,
  • Stomach pain,
  • nausea
  • Constipation or diarrhea

occur. If the tumor is large, it can even block the intestines (ileus). The intestinal obstruction manifests itself through massive pain, it is always a medical emergency that is life-threatening and must be treated immediately.

Small bowel cancer prognosis varies

Small bowel cancer is usually only discovered at an advanced stage. In more than 70 percent, the carcinoma is only diagnosed in stage three or four, i.e. later than this applies to this common colon cancer – again the comparison with colon cancer.

The survival rates for small bowel cancer are therefore somewhat lower. “The decisive factor, however, is always the type of cancer of the small intestine,” explains the expert. If a GIST or NET is detected early, the chances of survival are very good. If, on the other hand, it is adenocarcinoma, which is also usually discovered later, the prognosis is not quite as favorable.

Diagnosis of small bowel cancer

The classic examination methods of gastroscopy and colonoscopy only cover the upper or lower part of the small intestine, “the almost five meters in between are not reached with these examination techniques,” explains the expert.

Imaging methods such as magnetic resonance tomography (MRT) or computed tomography (CT) are only used if there are symptoms and suspicion of this intestinal tumor. Capsule endoscopy, which shows images from the small intestine, also provides information.

Only when these examinations reveal an abnormality is it possible to specifically mirror the small intestine. “However, this is very time-consuming and cannot be used as a preventive examination – also because these intestinal tumors are very rare,” emphasizes Ulrich Graeven.

Small intestinal cancer therapies – surgery and its consequences

Overall, the following applies to the various small intestinal tumors: If possible, an operation should be performed. “If the tumor is limited, parts of the small intestine can usually be removed without any problems,” explains the oncologist in more detail.

A stoma, i.e. an artificial anus, is therefore usually not necessary. However, it is crucial which part of the small intestine is missing and which functions it had, which trace elements and vitamins it passed on to the body. This deficiency must then be compensated for through appropriate nutrition or medication.

Treatment for small bowel cancer varies depending on the type of tumor

Parts of the removed tumor are examined histologically. For the therapy plan, it is crucial whether it is NET, GIST or the rare familial adenocarcinoma in the small intestine. “A generally applicable therapy scheme for small bowel cancer is not possible because there is not just one small bowel cancer, but different ones, it always depends on its type,” emphasizes the oncologist.

Accordingly, there are many different therapy options. If a gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) has metastasized, for example, there are very good drugs for further treatment. “This is not the classic chemotherapy, but we use so-called tyrosine kinase inhibitors, with very good results,” reports the expert. These are inhibitors, such as imitanib, that can block certain signaling pathways within the cells. They are sometimes also used before an operation to reduce the size of a tumor that is too large and therefore inoperable, or after an operation to avoid a relapse.

If the cancer of the small intestine is a neuroendocrine tumor (NET), on the other hand, surgery is often the only treatment required. The NET is further subdivided with regard to the need for drug therapy, taking into account its growth rate. This subdivision of the NET is also of crucial importance for planning therapy for metastatic NET.

Ademocarcinoma of the small intestine is treated on the basis of the results from the treatment of colon tumors.

Small bowel cancer prevention

Targeted prevention against these rare tumors is hardly possible – apart from the well-known rules for a healthy life, i.e. without smoking, with a sensible diet, extensive alcohol restriction and sufficient exercise. Because little is known about the possible causes of small bowel cancer, they cannot be influenced.

However, there is an important tip from the expert for everyone in whose families there are genetically determined polyps in the large intestine: Remember to not only limit the preventive measures to the large intestine, but also to extend it to the small intestine. Although this is provided for in the relevant colorectal cancer screening and follow-up programs, it must not be overlooked.

Biliary cancer often causes no symptoms – and is therefore usually recognized too lateBiliary cancer often causes no symptoms – and is therefore usually recognized too late

Gallbladder cancer in particular only leads to symptoms in an advanced stage. Why this is so, what role gallstones play – and why the prognosis so far has often been unfavorable.

Biliary cancer, with around 5500 new cases per year, is one of the rare forms of cancer, but it is particularly risky. According to popular opinion, the tumor causes almost no early symptoms and is therefore usually only recognized late when an operation is no longer possible and the tumor has already metastasized.

Biliary cancer – important: inside or outside the liver

The fact is, however, that the colloquial term biliary cancer, medically cholangiocarcinoma (CCA), covers different forms. First of all, there is gallbladder cancer, which forms in the gallbladder, which in turn is embedded in the liver.

Secondly, a carcinoma can form in the bile ducts, which are not only located within the liver and direct the bile to storage in the gallbladder, but also away from the gallbladder, which lead the bile to the small intestine.

“Depending on the localization, we differentiate between intra- and extrahepatic carcinoma, i.e. those that develop inside or outside the liver,” explains Arndt Vogel, spokesman for the “Hepatobiliary Tumors” working group of the Internal Oncology Working Group (AIO) and head of the Visceral Oncological Center Hannover Medical School (MHH).

The risk of developing cholangiocarcinoma increases with age. Overall, the incidence of intrahepatic carcinomas is increasing, while that of extrahepatic carcinomas falls somewhat.

Risk factors for biliary cancer

An exception in connection with cholangiocarcinoma is Southeast Asia, especially countries like Thailand. This cancer often occurs there because certain parasites can inflame the biliary tract. Chronic inflammation plays an important role in the development of biliary cancer.

The following risk factors come into play in the western industrialized nations, but they are also closely related to inflammation:

  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis, an inflammation of the bile ducts that mostly affects men.
  • Cysts in the bile and bile ducts, including Caroli’s syndrome; they increase the risk of biliary cancer.
  • Smoking, because the substances in smoke are known to be carcinogenic, are not only excreted via the kidneys and urine, but are also collected, processed and passed on in the bile.
  • Gallstones; However, only when they cause problems, i.e. inflame the bile, do they promote the development of cancer.

Gallstones and biliary cancer

Around ten percent of Germans are said to have gallstones, and the risk increases with age. “But very few of those affected develop cholangiocarcinoma. This cancer is very rare, ”says the medicine professor reassuringly.

The gallbladder should only be removed if the stones cause problems, i.e. colic and inflammation.

Symptoms appear differently late, but are similar

The signs of gallbladder inflammation caused by stones are somewhat similar to those of cholangiocarcinoma (CCA).

So biliary cancer can cause the following signs:

  • Jaundice (jaundice)
  • nausea
  • Vomit
  • Pain in the left upper abdomen.

The location of the carcinoma is crucial for the stage at which symptoms appear:

  • Intrahepatic carcinoma triggers these clear signs quite late, “because the liver doesn’t hurt when a tumor grows there,” explains the expert.
  • Extrahepatic carcinoma, on the other hand, usually quickly means that the bile can no longer flow into the intestine. Bile congestion and jaundice are relatively early signs of this type of cancer.

That is why bile duct cancer that grows outside the liver is usually diagnosed earlier – but it is difficult to operate because of its often complicated location next to blood vessels and does not make the generally difficult situation with cholangiocarcinoma any easier, the oncologist limits the associated high expectations.

Diagnosis of cancer of the gallbladder and bile ducts

Doctors use cross-sectional image diagnostics such as MRI and CT. “This allows the suspicion to be clarified and the staging, i.e. stage and spread, to be identified,” explains Vogel.

The histological examination provides additional details about the tumor, whereby the samples in gallbladder cancer are relatively easy to obtain. However, this is more difficult with extrahepatic tumors because the biliary tract is often narrow and winding. The examination is carried out through an endoscope, the method here is called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP examination).

Are there any less invasive methods? Ultrasound, carried out endoscopically through the stomach from the inside or from the outside, can also be informative, says the cancer specialist. However, the methods of first choice are MRI and CT.

Treatment of biliary cancer – surgery not always possible

If the suspicion has been confirmed and the results of the examination enable the tumor to be classified, the goal is to remove the carcinoma surgically. “However, as already described, this is sometimes difficult due to the location of the tumors,” reports Vogel. However, the surgical techniques have improved significantly in recent years.

The standard treatment for patients with advanced tumors is chemotherapy, with a combination of gemcitabine and cisplatin.

In a palliative situation, i.e. to lengthen survival time and / or improve quality of life, local therapies such as selective internal radiotherapy (SIRT, radioembolization) are currently used in clinical studies . Radioactive microspheres are guided to the tumor via an inguinal catheter, its cells are destroyed and healthy tissue is spared. The first results show that for some patients many months can be gained with this.

The prognosis for biliary cancer is poor …

Despite all these possibilities, few patients can be cured. Even if the tumor could be completely removed in the healthy, the recurrence rate is still relatively high. “60 to 80 percent of the tumors come back,” reports Vogel. Because the tumors spread very early.

… but with the therapy “a small revolution is emerging”

This is the bad news. In fact, these prospects could improve in the future. The oncologist says: “Because a small revolution is taking place here at the moment.” The interest of pharmaceutical companies in this rare cancer has increased significantly, and intensive work is being carried out on the development of new drugs.

The reason for this change is the fact that it has been discovered that numerous genetic changes occur in these tumors and thus allow a molecular, i.e. targeted therapy. There have been many studies on this topic for a few years now.

Two developments are particularly promising:

1. Inhibitors against IDH1 mutations , from which patients with a corresponding cholangiocarcinoma can clearly benefit.

2. Inhibitors against FGFR2 , fusions, MSI, NTRK and others.

“There are currently a number of very promising active ingredients in the test that have the various genetic changes as a starting point,” reports the oncologist. How much these new therapies could improve the treatment of biliary cancer becomes clear when one realizes that 40 to 50 percent of all these tumors, especially intrahepatic ones, show such genetic changes and are therefore suitable for targeted, molecular therapy.

Prevention Of Bile Cancer – Quit Smoking!

However, it will be some time before the new therapies are available to all patients. Until then, it is still true that biliary cancer is difficult to treat and the prognosis is unfavorable.

This makes prevention all the more important. To what extent can everyone prevent this tumor – apart from the advice not to smoke, which is so important with regard to many other diseases? The expert also has one recommendation in particular:

Get gallstones cleared up if they’re causing problems. However, this does not mean that everyone who has gallstones should be afraid: Gallstones are considered to be risk factors for gallbladder cancer, but only one percent of all gallstone carriers develop this tumor.

TV presenter tests diets for a year: “I’ll never give up carbohydrates again”TV presenter tests diets for a year: “I’ll never give up carbohydrates again”

For a year, the presenter and author Anna Funck pored through various nutrition trends to find out: What really makes you more beautiful, fitter and healthier? Their conclusion: It can be a little chocolate – and carbohydrates in any case.

I don’t know about you, but do you always feel so drained and overfed, especially in the first few months of the new year? Yes? My condolences. I do not anymore. I’m out of the number. But I’ll also be happy to tell you how I did it. Or as my friend Inke said the other day: “You are always so slim – despite feasting. How does that work?”

“Diets are not about the ‘what’, but the ‘how'”

My answer to that, when her eyes got bigger and bigger: “Very simple: In principle you can eat anything, it’s not about the ‘what’, it’s just about the ‘how’. Carbohydrates are okay, even chocolate is perfectly fine. ”And the best thing is: I actually only found that out on the side while I was trying to eat my family and myself as healthy as possible.

For a year I cooked my way through all the usual diet trends: from paleo and superfoods to apple cider vinegar and algae sweets to bog water, I tried a wide variety of methods.

Carbohydrates make us happy and relaxed

Since then, I’ve always shook my head a little when I hear again that Jennifer Lopez and others are calling out “No Carbs Week” on Instagram again. Carbohydrates only bark, but they don’t bite. They are not angry – on the contrary: They make us happy, let us relax and increase our ability to perceive. The brain needs carbohydrates, otherwise it will cook on the back burner.

“But they should make you fat?” My friend Inke explains to me again. Whereupon I have to laugh: “Yes, we all think so. Because we combine them incorrectly. If we only ate one type of carbohydrate per meal and took enough breaks, we would not gain weight at all. ”

Incidentally, a theory that I stumbled across during my research from Hamburg to Hollywood. Even Hollywood stars are taught that – only not the fat average German.

The body needs carbohydrates – but not too much at once

Need an example? Let’s take our breakfast. Hands up, who eats a jam roll in the morning? Mistake number one! Because there are three types of carbohydrates in jam rolls per se. The first is the cereal in the bun, the second is the fructose from the jam and the third is perhaps a refined sugar for preservation.

Our body then thinks: “Great, I know the grain, I’ll use it, but I’ll put the other two carbohydrates on my hip right away. And then I get tired and lie down first. “Hello afternoon low!

So my trick – if it has to be a roll – would be to top it with a neutral hard cheese. This meal doesn’t make you fat or tired. But please don’t use a soft camembert, because it contains lactose.

Now you also know why I never offer my children a few cornflakes with milk and sugar before school. In terms of metabolism, the dwarfs would prefer to go straight back to bed – with such a combination of milk and industrial sugar and cereals, no wonder.

Select carbohydrates specifically

“But that’s terribly complicated – I have to know all the carbohydrates!” Interjects Inke.

Actually, it’s not difficult. Meat and fish as well as vegetables, hard cheese and eggs are neutral. And you wouldn’t actually eat rice, potatoes and pasta together with that. Actually, I just make sure that I only eat one sugar or only one type of cereal or only one starch together. When I fry something, I don’t mix the fats, I stick with one. In the restaurant, I don’t eat the bread basket empty if I’ve ordered potatoes with the fish anyway. And if it should be a glass of wine (also contains carbohydrates), then I enjoy it best after dinner.

Give your digestion breaks

We come to factor two: The ‘how’ does not only refer to the composition of our meals, but also to the ‘when’. In general, I noticed that we are actually digesting continuously.

In the morning we eat our fattening breakfast, which nobody really needs because it takes away all energy, then we drink a carbohydrate bomb in the form of a café latte with lots of milk and sugar afterwards, push ourselves into the canteen, then need it caffeine again because we’re so tired from eating before we go back in the evening.

Our body actually just wants a break. And maybe a green tea, a smoothie, or just nothing so he can send the cleaning crew through. We eat and eat and don’t even know why.

What can you still eat? It is confusing

I admit, everything has gotten very confusing too: gluten is bad, milk full of hormones, meat the devil, everyone is confused. I often hear that you can continue to eat as normal. It is worthwhile to feed in more precisely. If we buy it cheaply in the bakery for twenty cents, the dough can contain additives such as corn, potatoes, glucose syrup, i.e. sugar, and there are also flavor enhancers.

Do you notice what? Again several carbohydrates and chemistry. And immediately we get fat and tired, have a stomachache like we did in the ninth month and in the end even stomach ache, migraines and sleep disorders. With organic you are on the safe side. And with breaks and some kind of carbohydrate too, I think.

Sinning is allowed – but then there is a long pause

And whoever has sinned, simply waits five instead of two hours. Who is perfect and always obeys all the rules? If I am invited to a friend’s house, I sometimes skip five, but I always return to the one-carbohydrate principle. This also applies to snacking: at the moment I like to treat myself to a bar of chocolate in the evening – from Monday to Friday.

Yes you’ve read correctly. Chocolate is my insider tip, because the cocoa practically covers the sugar, which is why chocolate is just one type of carbohydrate. Or as my nutritionist Dörten Wolff once put it: “If you know how to eat chocolate correctly, it doesn’t necessarily work!”

In my case, eating right means: If I notice that I have to put in another chocolate unit in the evening, then I eat meat and vegetables instead of high-carbohydrates for dinner. My dessert, the chocolate, is my carbohydrate component. Without question, it should be high quality chocolate and not cheap, adulterated one.

“Cancer cells are fed” – underestimated health risks lurk in meat and sausage“Cancer cells are fed” – underestimated health risks lurk in meat and sausage

Iron deficiency is often discussed. There is hardly any talk about the opposite, the frequent overloading with heme iron, the iron form made from red meat and sausage. It promotes the common diseases of diabetes, cancer and arteriosclerosis. FOCUS Online shows how you can meet your iron needs in a healthy way.

The trace element iron is indispensable for a number of vital metabolic functions in the body. As a component of hemoglobin in the red blood cells, it supplies every body cell with oxygen. Iron deficiency, which manifests itself in anemia, exhaustion, susceptibility to infection, affects around 20 percent of women and ten percent of men in Germany. The higher risk for women is explained by menstruation and decreases accordingly when the childbearing phase of life is over.

Many people have an excess of iron – and know nothing about it

Iron deficiency is known and many nutrition-conscious people pay attention to adequate iron intake. However, significantly more people could have anything but an iron deficiency, namely too much of this trace element. Probably very few people know about it, although it carries a high risk of disease.

Heme iron and non-heme iron: these are the differences

First and foremost, it is important for these relationships – there are the two known, different forms of iron, only one of which can be hazardous to health:

1. Heme iron , i.e. bivalent iron (Fe), mainly found in red meat and sausage. Heme iron has a high bioavailability, the body can use at least 20 percent from food.

2. Non-heme iron , trivalent iron (Fe3), from plant-based nutrient suppliers such as legumes, whole grains, nuts, oil seeds and various types of vegetables. Non-heme iron must first be oxidized to some form of Fe in the small intestine in order for the body to use it. In this way, only around five percent of the iron from food comes into play.

The iron requirement per day is 15 milligrams for women and 10 milligrams for men.

Underestimated health risk heme iron

What is certain is that most people in industrialized nations have at least a sufficient supply of the trace element. Due to our meat and sausage-heavy diet, a large part is even oversupplied with heme iron, and thus risks diseases. Various studies indicate these relationships .

“We assume that too much heme iron can have negative health consequences through eating meat,” explains Matthias Riedl, board member of the Association of German Nutritionists (BDEM) and diabetologist, nutritionist, internist, managing director and medical director at Medicum Hamburg.

The human organism is not prepared for high meat consumption

Normally, a complex mechanism of substances in the liver and intestines controls the iron level. If too much iron storage protein ferritin is measured, the body slows down absorption. “This does not work adequately with large amounts of heme iron, the body continues to absorb it, simply because this form of iron is extremely easy to use,” says the expert.

The nutritionist explains that the cause lies in our evolutionary history. Up until two million years ago, humans were purely plant-eaters, only then did they add animal consumption. That was sometimes more, mostly less meat – definitely a lot less than is regularly eaten today. The human organism is not prepared for this.

High consumption of heme iron feeds cancer cells

The excess iron is then deposited in the pancreas, liver and spleen, which can put stress on the organs. But that’s not all. “Heme iron can promote mutations via certain chemical compounds – for example in intestinal cells, but also in other cells,” warns the internist.

In addition, these compounds have a cytotoxic effect, so they can not only change cells, but also damage them. “And cancer cells, on the other hand, are properly fed by heme iron, so to speak,” says the expert. Malignant cells have a high demand for this trace element. A high consumption of heme iron means that existing cancer cells grow better and are stronger against the immune system.

Meat lovers are more likely to develop diabetes and arteriosclerosis

In addition to the connection between heme iron and cancer, many nutritional studies have shown two other negative effects of the “meat iron”:

1. Numerous studies show that people who consume a lot of sausage and meat are particularly likely to have type 2 diabetes .

2. In addition, this dietary preference often leads to arteriosclerosis , with the well-known secondary diseases of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.

“If people don’t eat ‘appropriately’, they get sick”

The higher the meat consumption, the higher the risks for cancer, diabetes and arteriosclerosis. What actually stands behind it: “If people do not eat ‘species-appropriate’, i.e. eat too much red meat and sausage and thus too much heme iron, they will get sick,” warns Matthias Riedl. It is well known that primitive peoples who still eat originally – eat very little meat and no sausage – do not have arteriosclerosis at all, for example.

Trivalent iron from plants is converted into bivalent iron

So heme iron has a rather negative effect on the body. Non-heme iron, on the other hand, does not pose these health risks – but is converted into bivalent iron in the body in order to make it available. Doesn’t it then become as unfavorable as bivalent heme iron? “No, because the trivalent iron from plants is converted into a bivalent iron, but not into heme iron,” explains the expert.

Providing the body with healthy iron – vegetables and fruits with non-heme iron

In order to provide the body with sufficient iron without meat, there are a number of plant-based foods that have a high content of non-heme iron, such as:

  • Lentils around 2.7mg / 100gr
  • Chickpeas around 2.7mg / 100gr
  • Peas 1,5mg / 100gr
  • Spinach 3,6mg / 100gr
  • Chanterelles 6.5mg / 100gr
  • Elderberry 1.6mg / 100gr
  • Pine nuts 9.2mg / 100gr
  • Millet 6.9mg / 100gr
  • Flaxseed, ground 8,4mg / 100gr
  • Amaranth 8.9mg / 100gr

Spinach contains a comparatively high amount of iron for a plant-based food, but at the same time the substances it contains can prevent it from being absorbed by the body. Beans or lentils are therefore better suited as a vegetarian source of iron.

Intelligently upgrade the bioavailability of iron from vegetables and fruits

Sure, none of these foods provide as much iron as meat. “The availability of iron from plant-based foods can be increased by cleverly combining the ingredients in a meal,” says Matthias Riedl. Vitamin C, for example, improves absorption. Suggestion for a corresponding daily plan:

  • In the morning: oatmeal / muesli with fruit, a glass of orange or lemon juice for breakfast,
  • Lunch: millet salad with paprika (the pods are extremely rich in vitamin C),
  • In the evening: whole wheat pasta with broccoli or parsley pesto

Coffee and tea inhibit iron availability

However, there are also plant substances that have an inhibiting effect on iron absorption. These are phytates and polyphenols, for example, these plant substances are contained in coffee and tea. So avoid these drinks during, immediately before and after a meal containing iron. In wholemeal products, on the other hand, the phytate content plays a lesser role, as they convince with their high iron content.

Cover your iron requirement healthily, certain meats are also allowed

“Those who follow a purely vegetarian / vegan diet can still get too little iron, especially women are at risk here,” says the expert.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women in particular should take preparations if they have a proven iron deficiency. Otherwise there is a ‘species-appropriate’ solution for everyone: That means a small, moderate meat meal per week, preferably poultry meat, because white meat is not statistically associated with the disease risks mentioned.

At 20, 40, 60 and 70 years: how to eat healthily at any ageAt 20, 40, 60 and 70 years: how to eat healthily at any age

Sometimes the body needs more protein, sometimes more carbohydrates and after a certain age it should be less overall. If you want to eat healthily for a lifetime, you should always keep an eye on your age when shopping and cooking.

According to today’s recommendations, a healthy diet consists of plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, good oils, as little industrially processed food as possible, economical consumption of animal products, white flour and sugar – from children to old people.

So there is only healthy and unhealthy diet, but no age-related diet. But: Over the years and depending on the situation in life, the need and utilization of nutrients change. And here age definitely plays a role. For example, the nutritionists at the University of California in San Diego have put together an overview of what to look out for .

This is what matters from 20 to 40:

The basal metabolic rate is highest in young adults, which means that the body consumes the most calories even without physical activity. At this age, many people can “eat what they want” without getting fat. At least at this age, the body forgives a few fast-food orgies and other antics.

In general, it is important to build up muscles, bones and connective tissue between the ages of 20 and 30 , also with the help of a sensible diet. Everyone can benefit from this basis in later years, when it is no longer so easy to maintain fitness.

In these years, special attention to nutrition requires more of a life circumstance for women: pregnancy.

Special dietary instructions for young pregnant women only

In addition to a diet full of high-quality nutrients and the natural avoidance of tobacco and alcohol , it is important to ensure an optimal supply of vitamins, minerals and trace elements so that the child develops well. Eating for two, on the other hand, is completely unnecessary and wrong.

Therefore, all expectant mothers should take folic acid in the first 3 months of pregnancy . Iodine tablets can also be useful. And vegans also have to pay attention to a number of micronutrients that they lack by avoiding animal foods: iron, zinc , calcium, vitamins B12, B2 and D as well as an appropriate intake of omega-3 fatty acids.

This is important from 40:

From the age of 40, the metabolism begins to slow down. While the body can usually break down too much sugar and carbohydrates by the age of 30, it loses this ability by the age of 40 at the latest. Suddenly, an unchanged diet is reflected in the stomach and hips.

Anyone who is only now finding an adequate diet can still set the course for a healthy future.

Anyone who has already eaten reasonably healthy should now pay more attention to the following elements:

  • Fruits and vegetables in bright colors – the antioxidants they contain act as cell protection with an antiaging effect in the body.
  • more whole grains on the menu
  • a (small) portion of red meat twice a week – good for building muscle , also important for women because of the prevention of iron deficiency
  • Vegetarians should pay particular attention to green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale or Swiss chard.

Here are some things to watch out for in your 50s and 60s:

Now begins a dangerous age for cardiovascular problems such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Anyone who has neglected their diet and has not taken much exercise must expect type 2 diabetes .

It is now important to have a diet that keeps the blood sugar level stable and prevents deposits in the blood vessels. It should be low in cholesterol, high in fiber and slowly digestible carbohydrates, so:

  • lots of vegetables
  • little animal fat
  • no sugared soft drinks
  • little white flour products

In addition:

  • nuts
  • Good oils (olive, flaxseed)
  • Fish (omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D)
  • Low-fat dairy products (calcium)

Changes in hormones accelerate the loss of calcium from the bones. The substitution of calcium plus vitamin D can now counteract the threat of osteoporosis . Because of the breakdown of estrogen during menopause , it occurs earlier and more frequently in women. But bone loss threatens men too.

An omega-3 supplement can benefit heart health if someone doesn’t eat sea fish. Omega-3 fatty acids stabilize the blood vessels.

Proper nutrition with 70 plus:

With age, various physiological and psychological changes occur that directly affect nutritional needs. The taste buds and appetite decrease, as does the desire to cook freshly and by yourself.

The body is less able to absorb and use many vitamins and minerals. With age, the digestive juices in the stomach change, reducing the absorption of iron, calcium, and vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid.

Long-term use of prescription drugs can decrease the absorption of certain nutrients.

Less calories, but not less nutrients

Seniors need fewer calories than younger people, but no fewer nutrients. Protein becomes important again in old age: it can delay muscle loss in old age, especially when combined with strength training.

As a rule of thumb, one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight per day . However, it should not be exclusively protein from meat, as it promotes inflammation, especially in the joints.

Because digestion becomes sluggish with age, fiber is important for the 70+ generation. A teaspoon of psyllium husks are a recommended alternative to the vegetables or whole grains that would be necessary for an optimal supply. To do this, seniors have to drink plenty, even if that is difficult for many.

7 Day Plan: What to Eat to Cleanse Your Colon7 Day Plan: What to Eat to Cleanse Your Colon

The intestine can recover in just one week, complaints such as flatulence and sluggishness of stools disappear, the intestinal flora regenerates – and the immune system increases significantly. Everything about the wellness regimen for the intestines, with simple recipes for every day and extra tips for a healthy digestion.

The intestine affects our health much more than was known a few years ago. The intestinal mucous membrane with its special flora made up of billions of microorganisms has a decisive influence on how well our defenses are set up, whether there is a risk of chronic inflammation, acne, autoimmune diseases or obesity.

But even if these connections have now been proven, the way we deal with the most important factor influencing intestinal health has hardly changed: diet.

We know how important the intestines are, but we still don’t pay attention to them

Most of us still eat too much meat and sausage, sugar and fat, fast food and ready meals, plus the “intestinal enemies” smoking and alcohol .

  • The direct consequences: The intestinal flora is out of balance, flatulence , constipation and obesity result.
  • The indirect ones: there is a risk of immunodeficiency, skin problems, inflammation and, last but not least, an increased risk of cancer, at least for colon cancer.

Particularly harmful: Leftovers lie in the intestines for days

Especially when food remains in the intestine for a long time, it is harmful to health. In the process, animal protein (from meat and sausage residues) in particular forms toxins that can cause damage not only in the intestines, but also in the whole body.

The medical term is intestinal auto-intoxication. Typical toxins that arise in the intestine: including neurin, putrescin, indican and cadaverine, the dead body poison.

Cleanse the bowel, but do not drain it aggressively

A mild intestinal regeneration cure with the right diet, so that the intestinal flora can recover naturally, is therefore recommended, as a kind of wellness for the intestine , so to speak . A week can go a long way. In principle, there are only two things to keep in mind:

1. At the beginning there is colon cleansing. It often takes several days for the residues to pass after a meal. This can be supported with healing earth and flea seeds. These natural measures have a gentle laxative effect and are usually better tolerated than strong laxatives such as Glauber’s salt.

The mild cleansing is complemented by light fasting. Both measures work together like a “reset” of the bowel, driving it back to zero, so to speak. This can be rebuilt with the right, this time intestinal healthy diet.

2. This diet should contain probiotics (including lactic acid bacteria) because they can help the intestinal flora to repopulate with beneficial intestinal bacteria. In addition, fiber-rich fresh food is part of it. Because dietary fibers act like prebiotics, so they serve as food for the “good” intestinal bacteria.

In contrast, you should avoid red meat, sausage, high-fat dairy products, sugar, alcohol and coffee (and preferably not only) during the intestinal diet. Of course, it is important that you drink a lot during the bowel treatment. Only then will the fiber swell up well and be able to absorb, bind and transport a lot of pollutants out of the body.

Make rice water yourself

You can support these measures with rice water, the insider tip for a healthy bowel. The slightly milky brew contains dissolved fiber, mucilage, minerals and, above all, B vitamins. This combination cares for the intestinal mucosa and supports its healthy structure.

Make rice water yourself and drink a glass every day:

  • ½ cup of organic rice
  • 1 liter of water

Bring the water to the boil, pour in the rice, simmer for a good 20 minutes until it is almost boiled over. Strain, catching the water. The rice water can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Recipes for seven days of intestinal treatment

The bowel cure is suitable for all adults, except pregnant and breastfeeding women. Anyone who has chronic illnesses and / or has to take medication regularly should consult their doctor before beginning. And off you go:

1st day of the intestinal diet

In the morning : Drink a glass of lukewarm water with a level teaspoon full of healing earth on an empty stomach. This recommendation applies to the entire course. Healing earth attracts the toxins, so to speak, binds them and transports them out of the body.

Porridge – briefly toast a good handful of oat flakes in the pan without fat, add a little water and, if you want, a pinch of salt. After a few minutes, the gruel thickens a little. With this homemade porridge there is herbal tea to taste, after the meal a teaspoon of psyllium husks, like the healing earth, stirred into a large glass of water. Flea seeds also divert pollutants, swell up strongly in the intestine, in this way stimulate the natural intestinal peristalsis and thus shorten the time leftover food remains in the intestine. The mucilage in the flea seeds also nourishes the intestinal mucosa and helps it to regenerate.

Lunch : vegetable soup with potatoes and carrots, seasoned with a pinch of sea salt and caraway seeds.

In the evening : Sweet potatoes with dip – cut sweet potatoes into small pieces, sauté, plus there is probiotic yoghurt, which is seasoned with a little dill and a pinch of salt.

In between : drink a lot, herbal tea and mineral water, apples and pears (please chew each bite several times and slowly until a porridge has formed)

2nd day of the intestinal diet

In the morning : Serve oatmeal muesli with probiotic yoghurt, rub an apple under it, flea seeds and healing earth as on day 1

Lunch : Vegetable soup with easily digestible vegetables of your choice – such as fennel, celery, potatoes

In the evening : potatoes with quark – boil the potatoes in their skins, peel them and season with fresh herbs

In between : drink a lot again, apples, a banana

3rd day of the intestinal diet

In the morning : flea seeds and healing earth as on day 1, oatmeal muesli with yogurt and banana

Lunch : Polenta with vegetables – boil polenta in vegetable stock for ten minutes, let it steep for 15 minutes, stir in a small amount of butter, with steamed vegetables with fresh herbs of your choice

In the evening : vegetable soup made from carrots and potatoes

In between : drink a lot, apples, pears

4th day of the intestinal diet

In the morning : oatmeal muesli with seasonal fruit such as blueberries and strawberries; Flea seeds and healing clay as on day 1

Lunch: asparagus with potatoes, drizzle asparagus with a little butter and season with fresh herbs, with jacket potatoes

In the evening : Lukewarm vegetable salad with fresh goat cheese, sauté vegetables of your choice, such as celery and carrots, serve with fresh radicchio, season with salt and lemon juice, spread two tablespoons of fresh goat cheese over it

Occasionally : spelled crackers, apples, 1/2 liter of buttermilk

5th day of the intestinal diet

In the morning : Muesli of your choice (oat flakes, three- or five-grain flakes), yogurt, fruit, flea seeds and healing earth as on day 1

Lunch : Gnocchi with chicken and fennel – make your own gnocchi from boiled, mashed potatoes, flour and an egg, shape the gnocchi from the potato dough and cook in water until they float on top. In the meantime, clean the fennel bulb and cut into strips, sauté in a little safflower oil, cut a chicken breast into strips and add, season with salt, stir in a little sour cream and serve with the gnocchi.

Evening : Avocado sandwich – make avocado cream yourself from a mashed avocado, mix with a little yoghurt, season with lemon juice and salt, with graham bread (whole grain bread, but chewed … slowly)

Occasionally : banana, apples, drink a lot

6th day of the intestinal diet

In the morning : banana porridge made from oat flakes – briefly bring the oat flakes to the boil in salted water, let them cool down, add a little yogurt and a mashed banana. Flea seeds and healing clay as on day 1

Midday : Wholegrain penne with vegetables and ricotta, cook the penne while chopping the carrots and onions and sautéing them in a little vegetable stock, seasoning with salt and a touch of garlic powder, adding the parsley, serving with the penne, spreading a little ricotta over the top.

In the evening : Sweet potato casserole, cut the sweet potatoes into fine wedges, place in a casserole dish, whisk an egg with a little sour cream, season with salt and pour over the vegetables, bake in the oven over a mild heat for about 25 minutes.

Occasionally : spelled crackers, apples

7th day of the intestinal diet

In the morning : porridge with a dash of kefir and fruit to taste, a few walnuts, psyllium and healing clay as on day 1

Midday : Cod on carrots and kohlrabi – chop kohlrabi and carrots and sauté in a little safflower oil, season with salt, season the cod fillet with salt and lemon, fry in a non-stick pan with a little fat, place on the vegetables, close the lid and leave to stand for another five minutes . Garnish with fresh parsley and, if you want a side dish, serve with potatoes.

In the evening : Beetroot bulgur salad with cottage cheese – boil the beetroot, cut it open and flavor it with a little lemon and salt while still warm, let it steep. In the meantime, bring the bulgur to the boil and let it steep until it is soft, then strain. Serve with the beetroot, season to taste, for example with turmeric. Crumble the cottage cheese over it and serve.

In between : banana, apples, sesame crackers

So that the intestine remains healthy in the long term

After this week the intestines have usually recovered well and digestion is working optimally. This means that the passage of food through the digestive organs has accelerated without the presence of diarrhea – which is undesirable, as is constipation. If you eat a healthy bowel diet now in the future, you will create the best basis for optimal digestion. Eating healthy intestines means:

  • drink a lot
  • Use fleas for intestinal care
  • take yoghurt, kefir or buttermilk more often because of the helpful lactic acid bacteria
  • Reduce sugar and fat
  • eat a lot of fruit and vegetables instead
  • Eat meat only once a week, fish once
  • it is best to cook it yourself, largely eliminate ready meals and fast food from the menu

It also makes sense to refrain from cigarettes and limit alcohol consumption. With this simple yet powerful program, you will not only support your bowels, you will also be doing the best for your overall health, preventing illnesses and probably even losing weight in the long run.