Good Health Is Knowing How to Eat

The American culture has developed an adversarial relationship to food, often concentrating on what not to eat. The age-old practice of 'mindful eating' may restore our body to health.

What's the Latest Development?


Health experts, including a Harvard nutritionist, believe a healthier body is achieved by concentrating on how we eat, not just the kinds of food we consume. Called 'mindful eating', the practice has its roots in Buddhism and is catching on in some surprising circles. From the nutrition departments of ivy league schools to Google HQ, spiritual teachings are making their way into meal time. The process involves concentrating on the experience of eating, which means switching of the electronic gadgets, avoiding chatter and chewing patiently.

What's the Big Idea?

As the pace of life continues to accelerate, the role of food in our lives is changing, says Dr. Lilian Cheung, a Harvard nutritionist who has co-authored a book on mindful eating with the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Too often, they say, Americans develop an adversarial relationship to food, viewing it as something which is destined, unless we have an iron will, to make us feel guilty and fat. But instead of focusing exclusively on what we eat, we should consider how we eat to be of equal importance.

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Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)
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In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.


Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
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