Monday, May 31, 2010

POP goes the poison - how it gets into your body

As mentioned in the previous post about persistent organic pollutants (POP's), I am doing some digging around how they enter our bodies. Found some very interesting PDF's researching POP's in NZ. Will post this information as it comes to light. 

Firstly POP's are fat soluble. This means that foods high in fat are likely to have higher levels than fat free foods. This means fruits and vegetables are unlikely to contain POP's.

A NZ study undertaken in 1997 investigated NZ foods and levels of POP's. This is what they found is shown in the two figures below. Firstly the graphs are in 1-TEQ levels. Within each family of POP's eg PCDD and PCB, their are a range of poisonous chemicals. Each chemical will have a different poison level, hence to graph them all on one graph they are modified by their poison level so that they can be compared.

 Figure 1: PCDD equivalent levels in NZ foods in 1997.

Figure 2: PCB's equivalent levels in NZ foods in 1997

What I find interesting is that meats are not higher. I would have thought that pastures which have been farmed for over 100 years and in that time had some fairly toxic sprays, chemicals etc used on them. However the level of poisons in the meat are at approximately same level as cereals. Also dairy products seem lower than expected for the same reason. This makes me think that cows are designed not to transport poisons into the milk.

The other disturbing thing is how high fish is in these toxins. One of the reason is that these toxins concentrate up the food chain. Hence DDT was banned as it was killing off American bald eagles as they were at the top of the food chain. (just like we are!). It is especially unnerving as we need to eat more fish!

The fish products analyzed were:
  • New Zealand fish: Selection of snapper, blue cod, sole and terakihi, plus
    battered deep-fried fish from fish and chip shop 
  •  Shellfish: Oysters and mussels 
  • Imported tinned fish: Tinned tuna, salmon and sardines
So it a mixture of NZ and overseas fish.  However they did say:
PCDDs, PCDFs and PCBs were quantified in all three fish samples. The imported
tinned fish had markedly higher levels relative to the New Zealand samples.
Putting this into numbers NZ fish and shellfish had an average PCDD's level of 0.027 and 0.021 ng/kg respectively.  Imported tinned fish had approximately 5 times this level with 0.12 ng/kg. For PCB's the NZ fish had a third and shellfish a fifth of tinned fish.  

So even though the toxins were found in all three fish food groups the overseas tinned tuna, salmon and sardines had high levels. This is likely due to higher pollution in these fishery's. Also tuna and salmon are near the top of the food chain.

Potatoes both raw and deep fried as potato chips had a third of the toxins than processed snack food. This is not surprising due to the level of processing would bring the food into more contact with plastics and other contaminates. Also oil had about 75% toxin level compared to processed food. As processed food generally has a higher oil content it is unsurprising that it has a high contaminate level. This is interesting as I suggested in my last post that obesity could be a sign of eating poor foods that had high toxin level and it is this toxin level, not the weight gain, that causes diabetes. This data seems to support that theory.  

Lastly here is a graph comparing the NZ intake to various overseas intakes. I think the take home message is rather clear - be grateful that you live in NZ (if you do!).

So in summary:
  • Eat NZ fish, not canned imported fish (remember Tuna has low omega 3 fats)
  • Don't worry about red meat having high levels of toxins 
  • Be grateful if you live in NZ
Reference: Concentrations of PCDDs, PCDFs and PCBs in retail foods and an assessment of dietary intake for New Zealanders. Organochlorines Programme Ministry for the Environment November 1998

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Diabetes caused by toxins not obesity ?!

We all know that diabetes is a problem in the western world. We all know that a high sugar diet increases risk of diabetes. We also know that fat on the stomach region is an indicator of diabetes, or increases your risk of diabetes...... how these assumptions may not be the complete picture. 

There was a very interesting review in The Lancet which suggests that toxin's cause diabetes by interfering with fat and sugar metabolism. The following comments were in the review:
A strong correlation between insulin resistance and serum concentrations of persistent organic pollutants, especially for organochlorine compounds. This was a surprise for many people working in diabetes research because most studies to date have focused on the effects of genetics and westernization of dietary habits and lifestyle
Couple of points you need to know. Organic pollutants..... organic in this context is chemistry/compounds with carbon in them. Organic in the terms of giving life, being life, used in life. Hence why scientists complain about organic being free from chemicals - yet all the food is made up of organic compounds.

So organic pollutants - think petroleum products, aromatic products like benzene and other nasty smelling chemicals, polymers like plastics and polystyrene. Organochlorine is another group of organic chemicals. Unsurprisingly these are carbon (and/or hydrogen) binding to chlorine atoms. These show up in plastics like PVC. PVC or similar plastics are used in nearly all modern water pipes. Yet another good reason to purchase a water filter! Organochlorides are also found in some pesticides, with DDT being the most well known. Also insulators such as PCB's.         

So moving onto other paper quotes: 
An increasing number of reports suggest that chronic dietary exposure of environmental pollutants which the body might also be associated with diabetiogenesis.
The expected association between obesity and diabetes was absent in people with low concentrations of persistent organic pollutants in their blood.... That association between obesity and diabetes became stronger as the concentration of such pollutants in the blood increased

It is a logical step to say that people who have a high refined/processed food have a higher toxin intake than other people who have high vegetable and fruit intake.So hence overweight appears as a risk factor, but is not the real reason for diabetes. Therefore obesity could be more of a symptom not a cause.

Another possibility is that refined diets put the body under stress, which then reduces the ability to get ride of toxins. So again pointing to overweight being the symptom, not the cause. 

Yet another reason to eat organic, purchase a water filter, eat lots of fresh fruit and vege's so that you body can remove the toxins from your body via the P450 pathways in your liver, kidneys, intestine and lungs.

This raises the logical question - where can I get my blood analyzed for these organic pollutants? 

Reference: Jones, O., Environmental pollution and diabetes: a neglected association The Lancet Vol 371 no 9609 2008

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Portion sizes for same dose of anti oxidants

When asked - what fruit or vegetable should I eat? My response is one that you enjoy eating. You are better to eat through a big pile of apples that you love, rather than one kiwifruit which you don't like.

That said, if you have a choice, it would be better to go for a nutrient dense food. Eleven years ago a study come out with the equivalence of antioxidant level:
1 glass (150 ml) red wine equivalent to 12 glasses white wine equivalent to 2 cups of tea equivalent to 4 apples equivalent to 5 portions of onion equivalent to 5.5 portions egg plant equivalent to 3.5 glasses of blackcurrant juice equivalent to 3.5 (500 ml) glasses of beer equivalent to 7 glasses of orange juice equivalent to 20 glasses of apple juice (long life)
There are a number of fascinating things:
  1. That red wine is very high in antioxidants. I new it was high, but didn't realize it was that high
  2. That juices have low antioxidant levels. The juices which I would suspect are commercial, are a lot lower in antioxidants than raw food. Furthermore if it is long life there is very little life in the juice. Therefore purchasing juice for the antioxidant level is a poor use of money
  3. Beer is an antioxidant. Beer is made from malt. Malt is made by taking sprouts and slightly heating them (barley sprouts). Also beer contains hops which is a natural herb. Hence it makes sense that beer is an antioxidant. However it have it a higher antioxidant than white wine, or equal to blackcurrant juice is quite surprising. Also being a commercial beer - it would imply that non pasteurized beer would even be better for you. 

 Reference: Paganga G, Miller N, Rice-Evans CA. The polyphenolic content of fruit and vegetables and their antioxidant activities. What does a serving constitute? Free Radic Res. 1999 Feb;30(2):153-62.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Expose baby / toddler to the winter sun

Here in NZ (and Australia) we assume that because our sunlight is so harsh that we get enough vitamin D. Well more and more data is showing that this might not be a valid assumption.

Today's blog reviews a study that looked at vitamin D levels in 1 - 2 year old babies/toddlers in Dunedin a city in the south of NZ. Vitamin D levels can be accurately measured in blood and unusually for vitamins the blood level is a good indicator of vitamin D status (they actually measure 25-hydroxyvitamin D which is shortened to 25(OH)D see vitamin D Wikipedia article). In this study they used a blood level of 50 nmol/l as a cut off, below this level baby was deficient, above was acceptable.

No surprise that during the summer months 94% of babies/toddlers had blood levels of > 50 nmol/l. However in the winter months nearly 80 % were deficient, eg blood levels >50 nmol/l. That is staggering that go from 94% to just over 20% having adequate vitamin D levels.

The good news is that baby/toddlers just need to play / lie in the sun, and if mum is breast feeding then have her relax in the sun. As much of the skin should be exposed as possible (legs and arms are the official recommendations). This sounds like a great excuse to have a warm and cosy room in which mum (or dad) can lie in the sun with baby/child lying/crawling on/around..... my only recommendation would to be that baby have a nappy on.... cause you know what will happen if they don't!

Reference: Lisa A Houghton, Ewa A Szymlek-Gay, Andrew R Gray, Elaine L Ferguson, Xiaolan Deng and Anne-Louise M Heath Predictors of vitamin D status and its association with parathyroid hormone in young New Zealand children. Am J Clin Nutr (May 19, 2010). doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.29055 Picture credit.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Brilliant visualization tool

Thanks to Keith Lightfoot I have been supplied with this link. It is well worth checking out. A great way of finding out what vitamins/minerals/plants work for specific conditions. For instance this screen shot is the information around things that work for cardio vascular health. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

If baby grows ok - diet ok?!

Formula for babies is a very nasty and poor substitute for the real thing. I personally know that it has prevented some babies from dieing as they were going backwards weight wise on breast milk. What actually I find worse is that there is no research about why or how these babies / mum's experience this problem. Billions spent on heart disease but none on the most helpless and available in our social, new borns and their mothers!

Anyway formula manufactures obviously think they are doing a service, otherwise they wouldn't do it. One of the problem in formula is that has no were near as many micro-nutrients and additional healthy factors that breast milk has. Therefore to (a) gain a competitive advantage over other formula's and (b) provide a more healthy formula company's and researches investigate ways of making this formula more nutritious.

The intake of mum's carotenoids (the things that give plants color) determines the types of caroteniods in the breast milk. This is why colostrum can be any color, white (for very low caroteniod diet), yellow, orangey, reddy etc. Lutien being a type of carotenoid is often found in breast milk. Depending on diet of the cow lutein may or may not be present.

Therefore a study investigated the effect of adding lutein to baby formula. This by itself is not particularly not worthy. However one of the key indicators measured in the study was baby's growth. Yes that this is write in 2010 we check to make sure formula is ok by measuring growth of baby.Unsurprisingly there was no differences between the growth of the formula and formula + lutein.

How archaic, how bizarre, how unbelievable that is in this day and age we measured the success of a "food" product. What the heck - lutein clearly doesn't have a role in growth. Surely a better metric would have been antioxidant load of the blood or antioxidant break down in the urine, or some enzymatic function, or eye responsiveness. They did take some blood measurements at the end of the 16 week cycle but none of them seemed relevant.  I can't believe that we would use measure of growth as the standard, it belongs back 100 year ago in the dark ages of nutrition.       

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Milk fat - not bad for your heart

 I love, in principle, raw milk. In Huntly we have not got a local supplier...... however we haven't looked hard to a supplier for a year or two....

Even pasteurized and homogenized milk fat should be ok for you. The reasons for this is (1) milk is low in fat. Yes even "high" fat milk is low in fat. Milk is manly water, with bits of proteins and fats. The fat level is only 3.2%. My rule of thumb is less than 10% fat and 10% sugar is acceptable. So clearly milk makes the grade. (2) Milk fat has "healthy" fats. That is short chain fats are not associated with heart disease. Only long chain fats are. Therefore some of the fats are healthy ones. (The exact numbers I don't remember). (3) Milk has other beneficial nutrients. Carotenoids from the grasses (assuming free range) and a range of minerals. Hence the milk will contain antioxidants which will minimize fat deposition on arteries.

So it is not surprising that a Swedish study has found that markers of milk fat found in the blood (specific milk fats found in milk) showed no correlation with heart attacks (myocardial infarction). In fact in women markers of milk fat in the blood was associated with a lower risk of heart attacks!  

Reference: Eva Warensjö et al Biomarkers of milk fat and the risk of myocardial infarction in men and women: a prospective, matched case-control study. Am J Clin Nutr (May 19, 2010). doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.29054. Picture credit.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cool research - biodegradable film with cinnamon as anti bacterial agent.

There is some cool research being undertaken. Today I read an abstract about a biodegradable film. It was made from chitosan. Chitson is made up of long lengths of a special carbohydrate. are most likely to come across chitosan in your life as the "shells" of shrimp and other seafood.

Turns out you can make it into a plastic film rather like cling film / glad wrap. And being organic is breaks down, so is biodegradable.  I also strongly suspect that it wouldn't leach plasticizers into the food like normal cling films do. However without knowing all the manufacturing information it is hard to tell. 

Not satisfied with a rather groovy product this team tried impregnating the film with cinnamon extracts. This was to test if the added cinnamon could create anti bacterial properties. Turns out that it does.

This type of research assuming it gets commercialized must be good for us and the environment. Would much rather prefer to have natural glad wrap with a spice extract than some chemical wrap with some nasty anti bacterial chemical.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dandelion - its protects against alcohol damage in the liver.

I remember a story where drug companies went to Amazon / tropical jungle and tested plants for therapeutic value. It turned out to be an expensive exercise in failure. Nothing was found of use. However when they went to the local people and asked them what plants they used for healing/health they found a number of different plants that could have potentials as drugs.

Goes to show that there is some truth in folklore around herbal/plant usage. So it comes at no surprise that dandelion root, which is prescribed by herbalists for liver healing has been found to prevent alcohol damage to mice liver.

Mice livers were soaked in approximately 13 grams of  pure alcohol (300mM). Unsurprisingly the mouse livers got damaged and only functioned at 60% of their initial functioning. However when the livers were soaked in alcohol plus a cooled hot water extract of dandelion root there was no liver damage. A ethanol extract (ie a tincture) of dandelion root did not prevent liver damage. Thus the liver protecting part of the dandelion root is found in the water soluble part.

This is good news as dandelion root can be made into a cup of "tea".   

Also when the mice were fed a dandelion root extract of 0.02 grams a day (1 g/kg bw/day) their livers showed no damage from alcohol, that is "complete protection from alcohol-induced hepatotoxicity". Where as the alcohol group did have liver damage.

Scaling this up linearly a 100 kg adult would need 100 grams of dandelion extract a day. Unfortunately the method of creating this extract is currently unavailable.However I think I am going to make some dandelion tea - and see if I can drink it.

Reference: Yanghee, Y., et al In vitro and in vivo hepatoprotective effects of the aqueous extract from Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) root against alcohol-induced oxidative stressFood and Chemical Toxicology Volume 48, Issue 6, June 2010, Pages 1632-1637 doi:10.1016/j.fct.2010.03.037
Picture credit.

Friday, May 14, 2010

800 IU of vitamin E is good for your liver

The liver is a wonder organ that cleans up the body. If your diet leads to obesity then it is highly likely that you have fatty liver. Unsurprisingly this is called fatty liver disease. It can then progress from just being fatty to scaring of the liver, this is then called Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH). This is much more serious as it means that permanent damage is being done to the liver. If this progress it leads to cirrhosis, which basically is a stuff liver.

Currently there is no treatment for NASH and no known drug that prevents progression to cirrhosis. I strongly suspect that massive lifestyle change would help......

A study investigated the effect of placebo, 800IU of vitamin E and Pioglitazone on NASH. Pioglitazone is a diabetes medication and is the 10th most commonly used drug in the USA.

Unsurprisingly the vitamin E turned out to be much better than that placebo or the drug. Among the markers they measured it was determined that vitamin E reduced the amount of fatty liver, ie turned parts of the liver that was fatty back to healthy liver. It also reduced inflammation of the liver. Furthermore more the drug group gained more weight than the vitamin E group. This can't be good. So if you have a sick liver, change your lifestyle and take 800IU of vitamin E.

Reference: Sanyal et al (2010) Pioglitazone, Vitamin E, or Placebo for Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis New England Journal of Medicine Volume 362:1675-1685 May 6, 2010 Number 18
Picture credit

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Vitamin C stops your red blood cells exploding - have to supplement to obtain the level of vitamin C needed

When cells die they "explode" or more scientifically their membrane (think "cell skin") breaks down and either crumples or gets messy and is opened up, but explode sounds so much cooler. Cell death is a normal part of your body function. However logic implies that cells dieing because they are under stress is not a good idea. This stress can be caused by removal of food (glucose) or by oxidative stress.

Red blood cells also undergo cell death when they are under stresses. Turns out, rather unsurprisingly, that vitamin C prevents this cell death from occurring. The vitamin C level tested was 0.28mM. Now the question that I have is how much is this level in reality. So my ruff calculations say this is 250mg of vitamin C in your blood (assuming your an "average" adult). [4.7 liters of blood, and molecular weight vitamin C is 176]

So this still doesn't tell you what you need to eat to obtain this level. Well it turns out that the average adult has in their body:
1.2–2.0 g of ascorbic acid that may be maintained with 75 mg/d of ascorbic acid
A turn over of 1 mg/kg body and a body pool of 22 mg/kg at plasma ascorbate concentration of 50 μmol/ L
So a typical adult weights 100 kg (to make the numbers easy). Therefore their body pool would need to be 2200 mg of vitamin C with 100 mg a day ingestion. Now the level of vitamin C that stopped red blood cell death was 0.28mM which is 280 μmol/ L. So ingesting 100 mg a day (or 22mg per kg of body weight) obtains a plasma (blood) level of 50 μmol/ L. However 280, which is the level we want, is 5.6 times higher than 50!

Therefore one could assume that 100 mg a day of vitamin C times by 5.6 would give the blood levels of 280 μmol/ L. The level of vitamin C ingestion would then be 560 mg.

Now I am not convinced that such a simple linear multiplication is appropriate. It is likely that like nearly everything in the body that there is some non linear effect. Thus instead of multiplying by 5.6 it is almost certain that it should be a higher number. However what I am unsure of factor should be used.

560 mg of vitamin C - according to the food tables (which I am highly suspicious of) the average weight of a kiwifruit is  40 g. And they have 90 mg / 100 grams of vitamin C. Therefore you need to eat 15 kiwifruit or you could go for 7 and 1/2 oranges...... maybe I will also take some vitamin C supplements as well. 

References: Hasan Mahmuda, Syed M. Qadria, Michael Föllera, Florian Lang  Inhibition of suicidal erythrocyte death by vitamin C. Nutrition Volume 26, Issue 6, June 2010, Pages 671-676

K Akhilender Naidu Vitamin C in human health and disease is still a mystery ? An overview Nutrition Journal 2003, 2:7doi:10.1186/1475-2891-2-7

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Different types of vitaim B and why it matters

As I have previously posted there are 4 different precursors to vitamin B6. They are known as PL, PM and PN (there is also PNP which will not be talking about today, and it turns out there are in total 7 different types of vitamin B6/precursors to vitamin B6).

All the precursors and different types of vitamin B are all taken up by the body. They are then transformed in the liver to PLP which is the bodies active form of vitamin B6. The PLP is "used up" by the body by turning it into pyridoxal and then into PA. This is interesting because the liver produces pyridoxal and PA when vitamin B is ingested. Therefore there must be a use for pyridoxal and PA in the body.

Most people think that the type of vitamin B6 precursor is irrelevant as the body transforms it all into PLP. However we shouldn't as that would be that naive ! It turns out that the PL (Pyridoxal) form reduces inflammation in the body more than the other precursors and vitamin B6 (PLP) itself. For you techy's it reduces the production of cox-2 which is a inflammation creating hormone.

Clearly something is occurring..... it would appear that PL binds into the cell wall/surface and this process reduces the amount of inflammation cos-2 enzymes produced. Very fascinating how complex the body really is and that the liver doesn't make things it doesn't use. The next logical question is where do you find this pryodoxal (PL)? A paper has this to say:
  • Pyridoxal and PLP are the major vitamin B-6 forms obtained from animal food products
  • Pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, PNP, and PMP are the main forms obtained from plants
  • Pyridoxine is also the form given as vitamin B-6 supplement. 
So animal products (eggs, meat, liver etc) have pyridoxal as their form of vitamin B6. Yet another reason why free range, outdoor housed, non factory farmed animal products are good for you.    

References: Hiroaki Kanouchi, Mayumi Shibuya, Shuntaro Tsukamotoc, Yoshinori Fujimura, Hirofumi Tachibana, Koji Yamada and Tatsuzo Oka Comparisons of uptake and cell surface binding among pyridoxal, pyridoxine, and pyridoxamine in RAW264.7 cells. Nutrition. Volume 26, Issue 6, June 2010, Pages 648-652       
Øivind Midttun, Steinar Hustad, Jørn Schneede, Stein E Vollset and Per M Ueland. Plasma vitamin B-6 forms and their relation to transsulfuration metabolites in a large, population-based study
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 86, No. 1, 131-138, July 2007

Monday, May 10, 2010

Wake up call about global food

The face on the pear - the news story that has hit our newspapers yesterday is an interesting example of how global our food chain has become. I have heard that canned peaches come from Spain and can tomatoes from Italy.
I personally think that the pear looks really cool and I think it is quite funny. The bit that is disturbing is that the canned pear comes from China. This worries me on two issues. Firstly I know that regulations are more relaxed in China. For example the food may or may-not have low pesticide levels or was the pesticides used approved for human consumption?.... how do I know?

Secondly it concerns me that we are less and less eating from local suppliers. Do we actually can anything in NZ? Hopefully we are eating fresh and not using canned food very often..... but I know the reality is that we have canned food in the cupboard and the shelves dedicated to cans in the supermarket tell me that canned food is often purchased.    

Meal portions

A design company has created a line of plates that are color coded according to the portion size that you are aiming to consume. I think this is a wonderful idea. It would be very helpful as a reminder that our meals should be dominated by vegetables.

They shouldn't be difficult to produce..... very interesting that they are not yet in the stores....

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Emotional closure - viewing a loved ones body after a traumatic death.

While my Grandfather was on his death bed I traveled down to see him in Hawake's Bay. When I got their he had already died while I was traveling and nobody contacted me about it. So when I turned up at the hospital I could figure out why different relatives were around the hospital bed that my grandfather was in..... upon inquiring I found out that he had moved on.... fortunately I had visited a few weeks earlier when he was "with it" so wasn't totally gutted. Anyway the nurses asked if I wanted to sit with him. I took it up as thought it would be nice to have some one on one time to say my last good byes.

I was totally shocked when I saw him. His mouth was open, skin pale and deathly greenish, eyes like black sockets, not much hair and he instantly reminded me of a orc from Lord of the Rings Pete Jackson movie. After I had spend time with his body I moved on...... however I had to take the time to view him at the funeral home - cause I didn't want my last memory of grandad to be a orc! So I did see him again. I was amazed at the transformation. He looked old, but so much more like him when he was healthy. Very impressed with the ability to transform the body from a very scary look to a calm, peaceful and real look.

Tell you that story because a study has come out looking at loved ones seeing the body after a traumatic death. When given the option some people declined to identify / view body as they didn't want to remember the person like how they looked after the trauma. However interestingly enough those who did view the body found that:
Seeing the body brought home the reality of death; it could be shocking or distressing, but, in this sample, few who did so said they regretted it.
The number of families in the study were 80, so still low numbers. The study then concluded with:
Even after a traumatic death, relatives should have the opportunity to view the body, and time to decide which family member, if any, should identify remains. Officials should prepare relatives for what they might see, and explain any legal reasons why the body cannot be touched.  
This has changed my view. I would have previously declined to see any loved ones body if it was irreversibly damaged via trauma. However after reading this study I would seriously consider looking at the body to help with closure. I know that this was hardly a wellness message, however it is research that can bring people life.... so have included it!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Two small victories - two more foods to eat

Apologies about not posting this week. Have had issues with one of our delightful daughters and school. Has taken all our time and emotional effort. Hopefully the end is in sight!

Tonight dinner was vegetable and bacon soup. My excuse to through together food that is in the garden or in the fridge. Part of it was a eggplant. I loathed egg plant as a kid, so this is the first year that I have actually grown any and tried to eat them. The good news was neither myself or the kids noticed them amongst the other vege's and it was all quite yummy. Thus I have put to death a childhood food phobia. Next year I might even go for dishes were the egg plant plays a major part, or is thee major plant.

The other victory is that I used some acorns in the soup. Have been meaning to try them for years and this year I shelled then boiled the acorns. Then soaked in water for a week replacing the water regularly until little tannin came out. I then semi dehydrated them - to make them keep their shape as they were threatening to dissolved into mush! Through a handful into the soup - not to many in case it was a disaster. They were very edible. The kids didn't believe me that there were acorns in the soup until I found one to show them. Taste slight floury apart from that like the rest of the soup, maybe a hint of nutty flavor. So next time will add more......