Tuesday May 22, 2018

Is gardening safe in polluted cities? New study says ‘Yes’

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

A recent study, conducted by Kansas State University (KSU) researchers, showed that the potential risks involved with the vegetables cultivated in polluted urban soils are not as high as it’s feared to be.

The report was published in the Journal of Environmental Quality, which stated that even though the urban soil often tends to be polluted, the plants do not absorb that much of the pollutants through the soil.

Lately, interest in ‘grow your own’ vegetables is increasing around the world, especially in the cities. Growing vegetables in home gardens is considered to be healthier than buying them from outside vendors as it is believed that home-grown vegetables have lower levels of pesticides. In addition, there’s always a fear that people might be consuming high levels of pollutants considering that urban soil is contaminated with chemicals.

In 2014, a study was conducted in the New York City community gardens, which found heavy levels of elements like lead, barium, cadmium and other harmful substance in the soil samples.

The new report published by Kansas State University has come as a reassurance for the city-gardeners.

The Discovery News reported that during the study, the scientists grew tomatoes, collard greens and carrots in urban soil and then analyzed the crops for levels of lead, arsenic and compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which have the potential to be carcinogenic. They found that almost all of the vegetables turned out to have low levels of the various contaminants.

Root crops, such as carrots, were found to have the maximum uptake of substances like lead. However, the scientists reassured that it’s still not unsafe to cultivate and consume these carrots.

KSU assistant professor of agronomy, Ganga Hettiarachchi, stated in the press release, “It’s important to know how these safety levels are calculated,” adding “A person isn’t going to be eating those carrots for every meal 365 days a year. In the grand scheme, personally I wouldn’t worry much about the possibility of contaminants in carrots because I know I’m not really eating that much carrot.”

The researchers listed a variety of safeguards that urban gardeners can use to further reduce their toxic exposure. Washing vegetables with a special soap was the most successful method in the laboratory, but they also found that simply rinsing them in water also provided a degree of protection.

”Soap isn’t even really necessary if you wash all of the visible soil off with water in your kitchen,” Hettiarachchi said.

“The main point is to make sure you’re not intentionally eating soil,” she added.

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Good Heart Health Prevents Frailty in Old Age

Want to prevent frailty when you grow old? If so, then start maintaining good heart health. A new study indicates that low heart disease risks among older people may help them to prevent frailty.

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Want to prevent frailty when you grow old? If so, then start maintaining good heart health. A new study indicates that low heart disease risks among older people may help them to prevent frailty.

Frailty is a condition associated with decreased physiological reserve and increased vulnerability to adverse health outcomes. The outcomes include falls, fractures, disability, hospitalisation and institutionalization.

The findings, published in the Journal of Gerontology, found that severe frailty was 85 per cent less likely in those with near ideal cardiovascular risk factors.

The study also found that even small reductions in risk factors helped to reduce frailty as well as dementia, chronic pain and other disabling conditions of old age.

“This study indicates that frailty and other age-related diseases could be prevented and significantly reduced in older adults. Getting our heart risk factors under control could lead to much healthier old ages,” said co-author Joao Delgado from the University of Exeter in Britain.

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For the study, the researchers analysed data from more than 421,000 people aged between 60-69. The participants were followed up over 10 years.

The researchers analysed six factors that could impact on heart health. They looked at uncontrolled high blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, plus being overweight, doing little physical activity and being a current smoker.

Also Read: Eating Fish Twice a Week Reduces the Risk of Heart Failure

“Individuals with untreated cardiovascular disease or other common chronic diseases appear to age faster and with more frailty,” the researchers said.

“Now our growing body of scientific evidence on ageing shows what we have previously considered as inevitable might be prevented or delayed through earlier and better recognition and treatment of cardiac disease,” they noted. (IANS)

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