DEAR DR. BLONZ: My 25-year-old daughter eats about 4 to 5 ounces of canned tuna packed in water every day for lunch during the week. Should there be any concern about the mercury in the tuna? -- C.M., Los Angeles
DEAR C.M.: I also enjoy eating tuna. It offers great protein, and is a source of essential fatty acids (EPA and DHA). But doing it every weekday is definitely pushing it. Your tuna-holic daughter should probably be expanding her menu for lunchtime sustenance, and some additional information will help with this realization.
The Environmental Protection Agency posts a list of resources at b.link/fish22. Next, the Food and Drug Administration has a page on mercury levels in commercial fish and shellfish at tinyurl.com/y5s3prt4.
More articles can be found online, from various sources, on other tuna-related topics: the environmental impact of overfishing, for example, and the effects of mercury on the nervous system. Knowledge is power, so you should consider all this information. Even if your daughter switches to a lower-mercury fish, keep in mind that a “lower level” of mercury is still not “no” mercury. So the advice to rotate foods still makes sense.
DEAR DR. BLONZ: There are many patches that one can buy to place on the bottom of their feet to cleanse the body. Please advise me if these can really work to help detoxify the body. Various ones say they remove heavy metals, improve circulation, combat fatigue and stress, jump-start the metabolism and promote a better night’s sleep. There is even mention of some sort of FDA approval. I bought one, and according to the literature, you place one on each foot every other night for 30 nights, then use about once every three weeks. -- S.F., Chicago
DEAR S.F.: What, no cure for cancer, obesity, high blood pressure and arthritis? Based on the lack of objective evidence supporting such claims, these products are unadulterated garbage. The idea that those claims have any approval from the FDA is also nonsense. Check out the discussion about the “The Detox Food Pad Scam” at b.link/foot28.
DEAR DR. BLONZ: What is it in asparagus that makes urine smell? It is now in season, and both my husband and I enjoy it, but I always notice a telltale odor the next time I visit the bathroom. I notice it only after eating asparagus. My husband doesn’t have the same problem, and we both eat the same asparagus. -- G.A., Augusta, Georgia
DEAR G.A.: Asparagus, garlic and onions are members of the lily family. These vegetables all have sulfur-containing compounds that can give rise to distinctive odors. With asparagus, the peculiar odor isn’t noticeable in the raw vegetable. Rather, it comes from metabolic byproducts that are eliminated through urine after the asparagus is eaten.
While these harmless, yet odorous, compounds are produced in everyone, the ability to perceive the odor is determined by one’s genes.
Send questions to: “On Nutrition,” Ed Blonz, c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO, 64106. Send email inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.