1. E. coli found in uncooked flour

    Could you get a raw deal from raw dough?

    It's that time of year -- and no matter what your faith or tradition, there always seem to be cookies involved.

    You might even whip up a batch of Grandma's famous jelly cookies yourself... just to keep the holiday spirit alive throughout the season.

    But no matter what kind of treat adorns your holiday platter -- whether it's cookies or cakes or special seasonal breads -- one thing's for certain.

    Don't eat the raw dough while you're making them!

    Now, you probably already know not to eat any recipe that contains eggs unless it's been cooked, since raw eggs can harbor the dangerous bacteria Salmonella. That's probably why it was so hard to get a lick in edgewise as a kid when it came to your mother's mixing bowl or big wooden spoon!

    But according to a new study, it's not just the raw eggs you have to worry about -- because the FLOUR you use in baking could be contaminated with toxic bacteria, too.

    And it's a pathogen you want to steer clear of if you can: E. coli.

    In the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers investigated the causes of an outbreak of E. coli that sickened people in two dozen states last year.

    It turned out that all of the cases could be traced back to raw dough made with General Mills flour (marketed under three different brand names).

    And even though the flour in question has been recalled, the threat that raw flour poses remains.

    You see, for all the processing that flour goes through, from bleaching to grinding, it's not routinely treated for bacteria in the way that, say, milk products are.

    Bacteria from animal waste out in the fields can hitch a ride on the wheat and wind up right in your flour sack.

    Typically, when flour is baked into cookies, cakes, and other goodies, the heat from the oven kills any harmful bacteria.

    But if you take a lick of uncooked batter, those pathogens could be alive and kicking.... and sock you in the gut!

    The effects of an E. coli infection -- from abdominal cramps to bloody diarrhea -- are absolutely miserable to live through. And, in the most severe cases, the infection could even lead to life-threatening kidney failure.

    Since many strains of E. coli are resistant to antibiotics, you want to do everything you can to keep these nasty bugs out of your system.

    So, as tempting as it may be, don't go near any raw dough this holiday season... or any other time for that matter. And keep the little ones you love away from it, too.

    Of course, the cooked stuff isn't so great for you either, as processed flours and sugars will spike your blood sugar... up your risk of diabetes... and ratchet up inflammation in your body.

    But only a Grinch would tell you to give up your cookies altogether. Just try to keep it to just one or two -- and if you're the one doing the baking, look for Paleo-friendly recipes that don't add any sugar.

  2. Bacteria may be breeding where you least expect it

    Hidden kitchen germs can threaten your health

    Tell me, would you rather eat something off the toilet seat... or the kitchen floor?

    I bet if anything landed on your toilet seat -- even in your own bathroom, even for just a second -- you'd probably toss it without thinking twice.

    But believe it or not, as far as filth goes, your kitchen may be giving your bathroom a run for its money.

    Sponges and dishcloths are both a breeding ground for bacteria, up to 200,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat! And that means when you use them to clean dishes AND soiled surfaces like countertops, cutting boards, and floors, you end up spreading all those bugs.

    So, as far as cleaning cloths go, use them once and either wash them or toss them.

    Cleaning cutting boards frequently is essential, too. In fact, researchers found that cutting boards can contain 200 times more of the bacteria found in poop than where you actually poop.

    Carpets and other flooring are riddled with germs -- with some reports claiming that they can be up to 4,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat! So when you drop some food on a laminate or tile floor that's been tainted with salmonella, the bacteria practically skate right onto it.

    But what about the "Five-Second Rule"? you ask.

    Well, a 2014 study out of the UK did find that bacteria contaminates food more the longer it sits there.

    But while five seconds may be safer than six seconds, you're still exposing yourself to all sorts of infectious bugs -- like E. coli, Staphylococcus, and more -- if you pick it back up and eat it anyway.

    And once the fallen food has been left there for more than 30 seconds, according to another study, it's pretty much done-for.

    And grandparents, that goes for those saliva-soaked baby toys and pacifiers as well!

    The science may not be conclusive about how much time on the floor is too much, but common sense doesn't leave much doubt.

    If you happen to drop something -- especially on a surface that you haven't cleaned yourself, like the floor of a restaurant or your car -- just throw it out.

    You can always get more food, but you can't take back a big bite of bacteria that ends up making you sick.

  3. Antibiotics tied to 71% of deadly C. diff infections

    Kids are being left with life-threatening infections after antibiotic prescriptions they never needed.
  4. Study finds doctor's stethoscopes are filthy

    Is your doc wearing a toilet seat around his neck? He'll tell you to wash your hands while reciting the A,B,C's. He wants you to sneeze into your elbow, not your hands. He's practically got you running around town in a radiation suit and a surgical mask swiping every surface you touch with a disinfecting wipe. Your doc has a...
  5. Hundreds of U.S. hospitals doing nothing to prevent infections

    Filthy hospital horror show kills 100,000 a year If cleanliness is next to Godliness, my mother is playing table tennis with the Virgin Mary right now. When I was a kid, you didn't dare approach her dinner table if you had dirt behind your ears or grime under your fingernails. Mom's kitchen was so clean you could have performed surgery...
  6. The real truth about raw milk's health benefits

    Raw milk opponents have hit the airwaves and newspapers with a fresh set of lies warning about bacteria levels in raw milk. So why hasn't a state that recently legalized raw milk seen a single illness reported? Get the real truth about how life-saving and delicious raw milk can wipe away disease and battle everything from allergies to autism!
  7. Time alone can cure some UTIs

    Some urinary tract infections don't need drugs -- all they need is a little time, because your own immune system can wipe them out in some cases.
  8. Antibacterial soap can mess with your brain

    A key ingredient in antibacterial soaps can disrupt signals from the brain to muscle, including the muscles in the heart.
  9. The good bacteria that will keep you alive

    You might not think of bacteria as your friends -- but your stomach is crawling with microscopic critters that help keep you healthy.
  10. Revealed: The dirtiest spots in your hotel room

    You might want to stay home after your read this: Hotel rooms are covered in germs and poop bacteria, especially in the spots you're most likely to touch.

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