Iron Food

Report: Too much iron could cause cancer

A couple of weeks ago, I fainted. I was on a flight and it was supremely embarrassing.

Why did I pass out? Regular old life exhaustion, reinforced with a lashing of ‘low iron’.

I’m one of those people who struggles very hard to hold onto iron in my system, so much so that I need to get an infusion of it directly into my veins in order to top up my stocks.

So I was very surprised to read that iron has landed itself on a list as “the next cholesterol”, in terms of the damage it could potentially do to our health.

Part of the problem is that many of the highly processed foods we eat today are fortified with iron, meaning we’re consuming more of it than we realised.

“It is entirely feasible that an average citizen could get awfully close to exceeding the maximum daily iron intake regarded as safe with a single bowl [of cereal] – which is supposed to be a pretty healthy wholegrain breakfast option. And that’s just breakfast,” writes Clayton Dalton, an emergency medicine resident at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

“At the same time that our iron consumption has grown to the borders of safety, we are beginning to understand that elevated iron levels are associated with everything from cancer to heart disease.”

A cancer link – is anything simply healthy any more?!

While this is brand new information to me, apparently, it “has been known since the late 1950s that injecting large doses of iron into lab animals could cause malignant tumours,” Dalton shares.

“It wasn’t until the 1980s that scientists began looking for associations between iron and cancer in humans,” he adds.

Many, many studies have been done since (Dalton recounts them in his article) and clear lines of evidence have emerged, which support the association between iron and cancer.

What’s more, as far back as the 1920s, it was discovered that neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are associated with increased iron deposition in the brain.

And here I was thinking that ordering steak and salad at a restaurant was the healthy option…

Moral of the story? Everything is bad for us in some way, shape or form, so we might as well enjoy ourselves while we can!

The only bright side of Australian politics: Twitter

Sportsbet done mucked it up this year, and the internet’s demanding Queensland departs the nation but here we all are, another election done.

The internet more than blew up in Australia overnight, with everyone fuming that Labor lost ‘an unloseable election’.

In the cold, harsh light of day more and more is coming out about how Bill Shorten’s campaign was seriously lacking, with the Labor leader expecting the leadership to just fall into his lap.

After last year’s Liberal leadership coup – it seemed all but inevitable that Labor would gain power. Alas, it was not the case. And the internet has SEVERAL opinions.

First of all, even American political commentators were watching the election closely and some… alarming… connections were made.

But never mind that, the internet says it’s Queensland’s fault.

Us Queenslanders are the ones who went and picked a few mining jobs over the Great Barrier Reef, and now the entire country hates us.

The hashtag ‘#Quexit’ has kicked off on Twitter, demanding the sunshine state gets cut-off from the rest of the country, so you know, cool.

In response, Queenslanders started their own hashtag ‘#NotAllQueensladers’ pointing the blame more north and further in land.

Just to give you an idea of social media last night… ‘#Quexit’ was trending… below ‘RIP Australia’.

In other news.. how good* is it that Clive Palmer dropped a casual $60 million (at least) on his campaign and secured… no seats. (*of course this is sarcastic, this money might have been way better spent repaying his Queensland Nickel workers).

While a good amount of the population was scratching their heads over who’s the better pick of the bunch, this photo did the rounds in the election lead up.

You know what, I would have number 1’ed Rick Astley.

Obviously we can’t copy and paste the entire internet, but wow last night was a good time to be a Twitter scroller.

In another fun twist, Tony Abbott lost his seat so if we’re to look on any sort of bright side here, Scomo MIGHT actually get something done.

But enough political speculation, we’re here for the fun. We’re here for the bright side of the Auspol carnage.

So let’s wrap up with: Sportsbet.

They done gone called the election EARLY and paid out $1.3 million to punters. ABSOLUTE WOW.

They’re riding this joke alllll the way to the bank now though, mopping the floor on social media with …themselves, oh and Clive.

Hilarious mistake or complete publicity stunt? We don’t even care.

The grandest joke has to be how everyone’s turning on each other as to who’s to blame for a democratic vote.

Whatever, Scomo BURNS for us… **cue Tina Arena/Johnny Farnham/INXS song puns**

At least we’re stuck with Scomo for three years, right?

My Body My Choice

Internet explodes over Alabama’s new abortion laws

“Alabama sucks so hard they literally have to force people to be born there.”

This is a joke I saw on social media today. It’s not very funny, but it does its job – which is to get people really thinking and talking about the changes to abortion laws being peddled in Alabama right now.

Earlier this week, Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill into law that would ban nearly all abortion care in Alabama.

The new law doesn’t come into effect for another six months and “faces inevitable court challenges”, says Dr Yashica Robinson. She adds that despite the legal change: “Just as I have for the last 15 years of my medical career, I will continue to deliver babies, give prenatal care – and provide abortions.”

This is despite the fact that the new law states that doctors who perform abortions “could face up to 99 years or life in prison”.

Pro-life advocates are praising these changes, of course.

But they live in a world devoid of reality – the reality being, not every child is a blessing.

Which means this law isn’t going to stop abortions. It’s just going to stop access to safe abortions.

Abortion is not some sort of “easy out” for a careless woman. It’s a tough, heart-wrenching choice for any woman to make – as it’s a decision that indicates that no life at all would be better than the life the baby (and its parents) would have, should the pregnancy continue. Noone makes a decision like this lightly.

Yet in Alabama, a panel of 25 all-white males have voted that a woman must carry a baby to term once she becomes pregnant – even in cases of incest, child abuse and rape.

I’m fairly certain that if men were the ones who became pregnant, and they were at risk of carrying, growing and delivering an unwanted pregnancy, this law wouldn’t exist. In fact, there would probably be an abortion clinic on every corner.

It is such a step backwards, and made me so grateful not to live in America… then I double-checked our own laws.

While women can and do have abortions in Queensland, they (and the doctors who perform them) are at risk of criminal charges. This is because in Queensland, abortion is a criminal offence, except in very special circumstances.

I guess I shouldn’t be so grateful after all.

Red Wine

Quick test: do you drink too much?

Whenever I go out for dinner or drinks with friends, we end up doing some sort of basic math calculation.

“There was the cocktail at the bar, then the three of us shared a bottle of white wine over dinner, and I had the glass of champagne at home first… so that’s, what 4 standard drinks? Or is it 5? How many standard drinks are in a cocktail?”

It’s a pointless exercise, when the most painless answer all along is always: budget and plan for an Uber.

Safe driving strategies notwithstanding, doing ‘alcohol maths’ is something that many of us do to keep track of our drinking.

But perhaps, we should be taking a longer view. There’s now a simple test we can do, designed to check whether our ongoing drinking habits are bordering on unhealthy.

Alcohol Think Again has released a “5 Minute drinking audit” that invites you to anonymously catalogue your regular drinking habits.

Here’s the deal, though. To make it worthwhile, you have to be really truthful with your answers… and I mean, really truthful. It’s a little bit uncomfortable and I must admit, I was nervous about getting my results.

For instance, it asks, “How many drinks containing alcohol do you have on a typical day when you are drinking?”

My initial inclination was to click the “3-4 drinks” response. This is an accurate response. Well, it is partially accurate.

If I’m being really honest, I need to factor in the size of my at-home alcohol pour (you can find out how your own standard pour measures up here) – because it’s at least the size of two standard drinks.

Even the serve of alcohol that a restaurant or bar dishes up is generally more than one standard drink, with the average pour measuring up to around 1.5 units of alcohol.

Therefore, my “3-4 drinks” could easily constitute 6-8 standard alcoholic drinks.

When you consider the fact that consuming 4 standard drinks officially lands you in the category of “binge drinking”, it’s easy to see how our culturally approved past time of swilling booze for every social occasion could become problematic.

How does your regular drinking stack up? Take the test here.

Money House

Pollies buy votes with housing incentives

Just when we thought this federal election couldn’t get more interesting, ScoMo comes along and ups the ante with an effort to buy votes from – I mean appeal to – first homebuyers.

And it’s absolutely brilliant!

ICYMI, under the new home deposit scheme, the government plans to offer loan guarantees for first homebuyers, allowing them to buy properties with deposits of just 5 per cent.

At the moment, buyers need to save a whopping 20% of a property’s purchase price – sometimes you can get away with a 10% deposit, but in this instance you have to pay a hefty lenders mortgage insurance premium.

Morrison’s proposed scheme will fund the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation to the tune of $500 million, with another $25 million earmarked to set the program up and research the housing market.

Should his party be re-elected this weekend, the program will be rolled out from January 1 next year, and will allow first home buyers with an income of up to $125,000 per person (or $200,000 for couples) access to the guarantee.

This is going to offer a massive leg up to those keen to buy a property – and in my view, it’s a golden opportunity for first time buyers to get into the property market.

It’s definitely preferable to the plans that Labor are proposing to roll out from January 1, which is to strip negative gearing benefits from established investment properties.

This will only result in investors fleeing the market, which will decrease the amount of rental supply and push rents up… making it very difficult for first home buyers to save their deposit.

Not everyone is in favour of the policy, of course.

Independent MP Kerryn Phelps is concerned “that if people are going to be borrowing 95 per cent of the cost of a house, and with the falling property market, if they get into mortgage stress and they’re not able to make repayments… then people may find they’re in a situation of having to sell that property and they owe more than they own,” she said during an interview with Sky News.

Following the Royal Commission, it’s hopeful that the banks will be cautious enough not to lend to people who can’t afford the loan.

What the public thinks of this policy will play out at the polls on Saturday – make sure your voice is heard! Find your electorate here.