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The Dutch Have Antibiotic Resistance Under Control

Antibiotic resistance is a growing issue, the current prognosis is that by 2050 it could be the cause of more deaths than cancer, even though the number of deaths from cancer is estimated to have tripled by then. Whoa!

Fortunately, there has been a lot of research in the area over the past decades and guidelines for treatment with antibiotics have changed. We know now that restrictive use is the key to success, but unfortunately, not all countries are equally capable of ensuring that doctors only recommend an antibiotic course when it is truly needed.

The Scandinavian countries are often raised as a role model, but they are not alone. One country that has the problem of antibiotic resistance under control is the Netherlands. UMC Utrecht reports that, if someone contracts a multi-resistant bacteria in the Netherlands, the risk of death is not greater than if they had contracted a bacteria which can currently be treated with antibiotics.

The fact that the Netherlands has antibiotic resistance under control is probably due to Dutch doctors, like many Scandinavian doctors, prescribing relatively few doses of antibiotics to their patients. And, when they write out a prescription, it is rarely the type of broad spectrum antibiotics that fight many different bacteria simultaneously, but rather forms that are directed towards a specific bacteria. This too helps to keep antibiotic resistance in check.

In contrast to many other countries, the laboratories in the Netherlands are also quick to analyze the bacteria, which means that people infected with resistant bacteria quickly get the right antibiotics. The Dutch are also proactive in preventing the spread of resistant bacteria. Patients seeking care in hospital need to, for example, inform the staff if they have sought care abroad and such cases are isolated until it is known if they are infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Go Netherlands!

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Outfit of the Day: Walnuts

Today we are running between meetings with a handful of walnuts bouncing around in our tummies. After an assessment by EFSA, the EU Commission has recently decided that a health claim, pertaining to walnuts and cardiovascular function, can be obtained through just 30 grams of walnuts per day. So this means that there is a strong scientific-backed correlation between eating 30 grams of walnuts per day and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. That’s pretty powerful considering that cardiovascular diseases are among the most common causes of death in both Europe and the U.S!

(Today’s stomach contents are also accompanied by a matching walnut-colored top hat and walnut colored boots.)

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Soda Giant Focuses on the Hip Health Drink Kombucha

Nobody can have missed how kombucha, the trendy health drink, has popped up on store shelves everywhere. The drink, initially a mystical bottle found in only well-stocked health stores, is now widely available in countless flavor varieties and is seen among the hippest restaurants and cafes. Even grocers have hopped on the bandwagon and filled their fridges with kombucha. So, is kombucha just a trend? Hardly.

Kombucha is actually a brew several thousand years old originating in Korea where it was well-regarded for cleansing the body of toxins and restoring energy. It is usually made from a base of black or green tea which is fermented with sugar as well as a type of bacterial culture or tea-sponge called the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). With proper nursing, SCOBY multiplies and through its offspring can live eternally. The web is brimming with articles about kombucha’s many healthy benefits, but whether it’s really a miracle or not has yet to be determined. So far, there is unfortunately no sufficient scientific evidence that it cleanses the blood from poisons, affect cholesterol levels, blood pressure, or protects against diabetes. Some exciting findings have been made after scientists have tested the beverage in animals, but we are still waiting for the results that show how it affects the health of humans.

Enough about that. Fall’s most exciting news on the subject is that soda giant Coca-Cola is getting on board this trend and will begin to sell kombucha. Coca-Cola has not only acquired the British coffee chain Costa but also bought the Australian company Organic & Raw Trading Co., which invests heavily in kombucha. Apparently, this is one of many steps the company will take to maintain its place as a drink manufacturing giant and gain a stake in an increasingly health conscious market.

We just hope that Coca-Cola chooses to make as pure and natural kombucha as possible. Some bottles sold in stores today unfortunately contain unnecessarily large amounts of added fruit juice and sugar, which in our eyes destroys the entire idea behind ​​the drink. It’s a bit like, sitting on a carefully folded origami figure or drawing with a pen on a real Picasso.

Either way, we like kombucha and welcome hip health trends that help to remove soda from the shelves. Our prediction is that kombucha is here to stay.

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The EU Prohibits Plastic Disposables

What did you do last week? We celebrated this cheerful, environmentally-friendly news. It must be one of the best things to have happened in the last several weeks, the EU Parliament has voted yes to ban the use of a whole variety of plastic disposables. Hurra!

The purpose of the new legislation is to reduce environmental degradation by prohibiting one-time use plastic items which greatly contribute to the litter of our world’s oceans. We may think that we are good at recycling the plastic we consume, but unfortunately, millions of tons of plastic waste end up in the oceans every year. And if we don’t pay attention, our seas will contain more plastic than fish by 2050.

The new EU rules focus mainly on the plastic products that we find most frequently in nature today: cotton swabs(Q-tips), cutlery, plastic plates, straws, cocktail stirrers and balloon sticks. It may not sound like such a big change, but if we remove these from our oceans and shores, we could reduce litter by as much as 70 percent.  And that is pretty unbelievable! The intention is for the ban to be effective sometime during 2021.

We here at Food Pharmacy banned plastic disposable items at the shop from day 1. And for alternatives to plastic straws we have bamboo straws! The hope is that you will always carry at least one straw in your bag, so you can pass up the plastic straws offered at every cafe. Check them out in the shop.

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