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The Surprising Food that Aids Allergy Sufferers

When I ask “what surprising food aids allergy sufferers?” you may think of green tea or some other food that is well-known for its immune-balancing effects, but you probably don’t think of sauerkraut when the runny nose and itchy eyes of allergy season strike. But a growing body of shows that maybe you should enjoy naturally-fermented sauerkraut on a regular basis, particularly before and during allergy season.

Research in the journal Current Sports Medicine Reports found that probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut can reduce allergic conditions and balance immune function. In this study at the Division of Sports Medicine at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu, researchers found that fermented foods like sauerkraut reduced allergy symptoms while also enhancing athletic performance. That’s a nice bonus: I’m not aware of any allergy medications that also boost athletic ability.

Other research in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that fermented cabbage regulated the immune systems of animals and even reduced or prevented allergic reactions altogether. In this study at the National Teipei University of Education researchers concluded that fermented cabbage offers promise for the treatment of allergic diseases.

The researchers still aren’t clear on the mechanism involved in preventing or reducing allergic reactions but it is likely a couple of things at work:

1) Many probiotics have a natural gut-healing and anti-inflammatory effect, and we now know that many diseases begin with gut inflammation and damage to the delicate mucosal lining in the gut.

2) As probiotics are being discovered and categorized, we are learning that many offer specific health benefits. So it is possible that there are specific probiotics that simply help to reduce allergy symptoms or allergies altogether. The research is still in the early stages, so perhaps over time and as more studies are carried out we’ll better understand how the probiotics in sauerkraut can help us deal with allergy season.

But not just any sauerkraut will do. Most commercial varieties are actually made with white vinegar instead of the natural fermentation process needed to encourage probiotic development. And, it’s the probiotics that offer the therapeutic allergy-reducing benefits.

Additionally, most store-bought sauerkraut has been pasteurized, a process of using excessive heat to bottle sauerkraut to increase shelf-life, but one that also kills all of the probiotics linked to allergy-reduction. The best way to ensure that the sauerkraut you eat is full of beneficial microbes is to make it yourself, which is much easier than most people think. Check out my blog Make Your Own Probiotic-Rich Sauerkraut to learn how. Alternatively, purchase sauerkraut in the refrigerator section of your health food or grocery store, making sure that the label indicates “unpasteurized” or “live cultures.”

While little research has been done on other fermented foods to see if they offer anti-allergy effects, preliminary studies also indicate that kefir (a beverage that is similar to yogurt, only a thinner consistency), miso and yogurt also offer immune-regulating, anti-histamine and respiratory-boosting effects. Ideally, eat at least one fermented food, but preferably more, each day. Be sure to choose only unsweetened options that contain live cultures.

By: Michelle Schoffro Cook                 March 4, 2017
About Michelle          Follow Michelle at @mschoffrocook

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-news World’s Healthiest News, president of PureFood BC, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: The Probiotic Promise: Simple Steps to Heal Your Body from the Inside Out.

source: www.care2.com


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Experts Now Recommend Introducing Peanuts To Babies At High Risk Of Allergies

Withholding the nuts may actually contribute 
to the deadly allergy, a national panel concludes.

For millions of children who have peanut allergies, mealtimes can be deadly. And for years, doctors have advised parents to keep peanut products away from children thought to be at high risk.

But new guidelines issued Thursday state that infants should be introduced to peanut products as early as 4 months old if they appear to be at high risk of developing food allergies.

A panel of experts convened by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases says that introducing peanuts early in life can actually help prevent the development of peanut allergies.

The new recommendations encourage parents to prevent food allergies by following a schedule of early introduction of certain allergenic foods, explained Dr. Hugh Sampson, director of the Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and a member of the NIAID panel. The NIAID’s 2010 guidelines had stated only that that there was no sufficient data to support the withholding of allergenic foods in order to prevent allergies.

“The big difference with these guidelines is that they’re not saying there is no reason not to give it. It’s now saying give it,” said Sampson. “So this is a proactive statement, as opposed to a more passive [approach].”

Severe peanut allergies can cause anaphylaxis, in which the throat swells, constricting breathing. People with less severe peanut allergies can experience wheezing, shortness of breath, digestive problems, skin rashes or hives in the mouth and throat.

How to introduce peanut products to babies

If a baby has severe eczema, an egg allergy or both, these conditions increase the risk of a peanut allergy. For these high-risk infants, peanut product introduction should take place from 4 to 6 months of age — not with whole peanuts, which can be a choking hazard, but perhaps with diluted peanut butter.

Babies with mild to moderate eczema but no egg allergy should start being introduced to peanut products at 6 months if this fits in with the family’s normal diet. In other words, parents shouldn’t feel compelled to introduce peanuts at this age.

The guidelines state that for both of these high-risk scenarios, parents should see if babies are developmentally ready to eat solid foods by introducing something else first. Then, when babies show confidence in eating solid foods, parents should check with the pediatrician first before introducing a peanut food. A pediatrician may suggest testing for peanut allergies before the first introduction or may have specific instructions for the introduction. A baby’s first taste of peanut can even take place at the doctor’s office.

If the baby shows no sign of eczema or egg allergy and thus appears to be at no heightened risk of developing a peanut allergy, peanut products should be incorporated into their diet in keeping with the family’s normal dietary preferences, in an age-appropriate way.

baby
Introducing babies as young as 4 months to peanut products
could prevent development of peanut allergies.

Compelling data prompted the change

The recommendations are based on an NIAID-funded, five-year clinical trial called Learning Early About Peanut Allergy, or LEAP. The trial randomly divided more than 600 infants into two groups: a control group that avoided eating peanut products until they were 5 years old and an experimental group that was introduced to peanut foods early in life on a regular basis. Scientists found that eating peanuts early in life was safe and reduced the risk of developing a peanut allergy by 81 percent compared with the control group.

“The data was so compelling on the preventive effect of early introduction that it was felt that the guidelines needed to be revised,” said Sampson of the LEAP study results.

Childhood peanut allergies in the U.S. have increased dramatically over the last decade: In 1997, 0.4 percent of children reported an allergy to peanuts, and by 2008 that number was 1.4 percent, or more than 3 million people.

To reduce the number of people with peanut allergies, Dr. Sujan Patel, an allergist immunologist at New York University Langone Medical Center, has been advising parents to introduce allergenic foods early to their children for several years now. He says he is glad that the guidelines have caught up with the practice, common among immunologists.

Allergies to peanuts and other foods could have risen because parents were introducing certain foods to their children later, because of official guidance or perhaps out of fear of triggering a life-threatening allergic reaction, Patel explained. But the results of the LEAP study, published in 2015, show that this approach may actually be setting the stage for severe food allergies in the future.

“We’re trying to combat the development of peanut allergy with early introduction, based on these studies,” said Patel, who was not involved in the creation of the new guidelines. “With the overall increase of prevalence of food allergies, I feel that a lot of parents are now nervous to introduce highly allergenic foods at a young age because they feel like the child might be in danger.”

Other factors that may have contributed to the rise in food allergies include outdated advice from family doctors and pediatricians, or perhaps a reluctance to introduce any solid food at all before 6 months, in favor of exclusive breastfeeding.

Patel and Sampson hope that the new recommendations will stem the increase of peanut allergies in children.

“We’re looking to reduce the prevalence of peanut allergy among the population,” said Patel.

For instructions on how to introduce peanut products to your child, check out this video produced by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

 01/05/2017       Anna Almendrala        Senior Healthy Living Editor, The Huffington Post


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Allergic to flossing? It can happen, small study finds

A Winnipeg researcher says that some people actually have a flossing allergy that affects the gums, but it’s very rare.

Many Canadians like to joke that they are “allergic to flossing,” which is why they never do it.

A report earlier this month seemed to let them off the hook, revealing there wasn’t a lot of evidence to support the practice.

Many dentists immediately scrambled to insist that flossing is as important as ever for preventing gum disease. But a new study finds that in a small group of patients, an allergy to flossing could actually be real.

Winnipeg periodontist Dr. Anastasia Cholakis recently published a study about four of these patients, all of whom found that flossing made their gum problems worse.

Cholakis, who is also a professor at the University of Manitoba, says one of her patients had a stubborn case of periodontal disease that persisted for years. The patient had been a meticulous tooth brusher and flosser, but still had terrible gums that were always red, swollen and bleeding.

“We had been trying to treat her for five to six years with no success. I could see the bone melting away from the teeth,” Cholakis tells CTV News.

A second patient came in who also had gum disease that could not be controlled, no matter how much she brushed and flossed. Then a third patient, and a fourth. Cholakis was at her wit’s end, trying to think what to recommend.

So she took a tiny sample of one of the patient’s gums to examine it under a microscope. She discovered a high number of plasma cells, which often emerge in certain allergic reactions.

flossing

Cholakis suspected that the patients had developed a hypersensitivity to something in their oral hygiene routine, wondering if they had grown allergic to flossing.

“Very flippantly, we said, ‘Stop flossing,” she says.

The patients did, and within a few months, the redness and bleeding were gone.

Cholakis suspects there is something in the wax coating or flavouring that triggers an allergic reaction to dental floss in some patients. She has recently published a paper in the Journal of the American Dental Association detailing what she noticed in her four patients.

Study co-author and oral pathologist Dr. John Perry says he and Cholakis were stunned that floss was the problem.

“We have never thought about dental floss…and dental floss changes over time in terms of components manufacturers use,” he said

It’s not clear what ingredient might be behind the reactions. Dental floss manufacturers are not obligated to list their ingredients, so they can change. Cholakis says she and her team were not able to get floss manufacturers to reveal the chemicals they use in their floss coatings.

CTV News contacted a number of floss manufacturers but didn’t hear back

Dr. Larry Levin, the president-elect of the Canadian Dental Association, says an allergy to dental floss is likely rare, but he still thinks manufacturers should start listing the ingredients in dental floss.

“I would want my patients to know specifically what it is they are using and as a practitioner, I would like to know what it is I am recommending,” he said.

In a statement to CTV News, a Health Canada spokesperson said that dental floss is listed as a Class I medical device, “representing the lowest risk out of 4 classes.”

Floss manufacturers must follow labelling rules, but those requirements “do not state that the composition of a medical device must appear on the device labelling,” the statement said.

“Consumers who have questions or concerns about the ingredients in dental floss can contact the manufacturer for more information.”

With a report from CTV medical specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip
Angela Mulholland, Staff writer     @AngeMulholland     Monday, August 15, 2016


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6 Foods That May Help Curb Your Allergies

By Kerri-Ann Jennings, MS, RD   WebMD   Feature Reviewed by Luqman Seidu, MD

Seasonal sniffles, sneezes, and itches got you down? There are things you can eat that may ease your allergy symptoms.

No food is a proven cure. But fruits and vegetables are good for your whole body. They’re full of nutrients that can keep you healthy. They may also protect you from seasonal allergies.

Try these items:

1. Onions, peppers, berries, and parsley all have quercetin. Elson Haas, MD, who practices integrative medicine, says quercetin is a natural plant chemical. According to Haas, this chemical may reduce “histamine reactions.”  Histamines are part of the allergic response.

2. Kiwi is a fuzzy fruit rich in vitamin C. It can also cut down on histamines. You can get Vitamin C from lots of foods, including oranges and other citrus fruit.

3. Pineapple has an enzyme called bromelain. According to Lawrence Rosen, MD, bromelain can reduce irritation in allergic diseases such as asthma.

4. Tuna, salmon, and mackerel have Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 can help reduce inflammation. Go for two servings of fish every week. A study from Japan found that women who ate more fish had lower levels of hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis.

salmon

5. Kefir is a yogurt drink that contains probiotics. These are good-for-you bacteria that live in your gut. Rosen says they may help prevent and even treat seasonal allergies. You can get probiotics in fermented foods. Look for yogurts that say “live active cultures” on the label. Sauerkraut and kimchi are also good sources.

6. Local Honey. The research is mixed on whether local honey helps you head off allergies. “If you take small doses of the honey early in the season,” Rosen says, “you may develop a tolerance toward pollen in your area.” One study found that people who ate birch pollen honey had fewer symptoms of birch pollen allergy than those who ate regular honey. It’s not a sure thing, but see if it works for you.

Article Sources :
American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: “Common Seasonal Allergy Triggers.”
Lawrence Rosen, MD.
Kompauer, I. Public Health Nutrition, June 2006.
Ruiter, B. Clinical and Experimental Allergy, July 2015.
Elson Haas, MD, author; integrative family doctor.
University of Maryland Medical Center: “Allergic Rhinitis.”
Pavan, R. Biotechnology Research International, 2012.
Secor, E. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, September/October 2012.
Schubert, R. International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, March 2009.
American Heart Association: “Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.”
Miyake, Y. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, June 2007.
Nwaru, B. The British Journal of Nutrition, August 2012.
Gui, Y. North American Journal of Medical Sciences, August 2013.
Panzer, A. Current Opinion in Rheumatology, July 2015.
Reviewed on July 07, 2015

source: WebMD


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7 Ways to Combat the Worst Spring Allergy Season Yet

By: Diana Vilibert     March 2, 2016     Follow Diana at @dianavilibert

If you’re one of the 50 million North Americans who suffer from spring allergies, you may find yourself suffering a bit more this year. The amount of pollen in the air each spring has been getting worse in recent years due to climate change, and this year may bring the worst pollen season yet, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Luckily, you don’t have to resign yourself to living in a bubble for the next few months. Start addressing your allergies now with these tips:

Start your medication now. If you use an allergy medication, don’t wait until you’ve become one with a box of tissues to address your symptoms. “Although people think spring starts in April or May, spring allergy symptoms begin earlier, so start taking your prescription allergy medications two to three weeks before your symptoms normally appear,” the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology advises.

Leave house cleaning duty to someone else. Keeping your home clear of allergens requires cleaning…but cleaning actually releases a lot of the dust and allergens that have settled all over your home. When drawing up the chore chart, make sure the family member who doesn’t suffer from allergies is the one doing the dusting, sweeping and vacuuming. If you have to do it, wear a dust mask.

allergies

Don’t re-wear clothes. Make room in your schedule for extra laundry days—the clothes you wear outdoors bring home a ton of allergens during heavy pollen season. An investigation published in the journal Grana found that a single large T-shirt trapped seven million pollen grains in one day. “The high numbers of pollen and airborne particles trapped on fabrics may act as a primary source for indoor allergens particularly public indoor areas, e.g. the work environment where large numbers of people come in from the outdoors wearing the same clothes throughout the day,” the researchers write. “For severe allergy sufferers a frequent changing or washing of clothes will reduce the number of allergens on clothing. We found that washing the fabrics with water and a foaming wetting agent removed 99.9% of the pollen in the first washing.”

Shower at night—and don’t forget your hair. It’s not just your clothes and shoes that track in allergens—it’s your skin and hair, too. Make sure you aren’t bringing them to bed with you by showering before going to sleep…and lather up your locks while you’re at it. Products like gels and pastes may keep your ‘do perfect, but they’re also pollen magnets.

Drink more green tea. Though the effect wasn’t proven in humans yet, lab tests led by researchers in Japan found that EGCG, a compound in green tea, blocks a cell receptor involved in triggering and sustaining an allergic response. Those suffering from severe allergies probably won’t want to drop their allergy medication in favor of a hot cup just yet, but Hirofumi Tachibana, the study’s chief investigator, does say that “Green tea appears to be a promising source for effective anti-allergenic agents.”

And less alcohol. Sorry, the glass of wine won’t help you cope with your sniffles—it may make them worse. One study of almost six thousand women found that having more than two glasses of wine a day double the risk of allergy symptoms…even among those women who didn’t have allergies when the study started. The fermentation process produces histamine, the chemical that triggers allergy symptoms—and you may want to stay away from wine in particular, which contains sulfites—another trigger.

Load up on omega-3 fatty acids. Fish for dinner won’t cure you of your allergy symptoms, but it can help support a healthy immune system, decrease inflammation and reduce your susceptibility to allergies, according to research. An intake of two grams of EPA and DHA, two fatty acids found in oily fish and fish oil supplements is recommended to get the benefits—salmon, sardines, flaxseeds and walnuts are all good sources to get you started.


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Food Allergy, Food Intolerance, or Something Else?

It’s pretty common to have a reaction to a certain food, but in most cases it’s an intolerance rather than a true allergy. Why does it matter? Although they may have similar symptoms, a food allergy can be more serious.

These clues can help you figure out if it is an allergy or intolerance. A doctor can help you know for sure.

Food Allergy:

  • Usually comes on suddenly
  • Small amount of food can trigger
  • Happens every time you eat the food
  • Can be life-threatening

Food Intolerance:

  • Usually comes on gradually
  • May only happen when you eat a lot of the food
  • May only happen if you eat the food often
  • Is not life-threatening

Gluten-Free Diet for People With Gluten Allergies or Celiac Disease

Shared Symptoms

A food allergy and an intolerance both can cause:

  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Different Symptoms

When a food irritates your stomach or your body can’t properly digest it, that’s an intolerance. You may have these symptoms:

  • Gas, cramps, or bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Headaches
  • Irritability or nervousness

A food allergy happens when your immune system mistakes something in food as harmful and attacks it. It can affect your whole body, not just your stomach. Symptoms may include:

  • Rash, hives, or itchy skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Sudden drop in blood pressure, trouble swallowing or breathing – this is life-threatening. Call 911 immediately.

 

food-allergy



Common Food Allergies and Intolerances

These triggers cause about 90% of food allergies.

  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts (such as walnuts, pecans and almonds)
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Wheat

The most common food intolerance is lactose intolerance. It happens when people can’t digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy. Another kind of intolerance is being sensitive to sulfites or other food additives. Sulfites can trigger asthma attacks in some people.

What about a gluten allergy? While celiac disease – a long-lasting digestive condition that’s triggered by eating gluten – does involve the immune system, it doesn’t cause life-threatening symptoms.

Treatment for Food Allergy

Your doctor can find out if you have an allergy or intolerance. These things may help:

Keep a diary of the foods you eat and the symptoms you have

Stop eating some foods to help figure out which one is causing symptoms

Have allergy tests

If you have a food allergy, you’ll need to stop eating the food altogether. .If you have a food intolerance, you’ll need to avoid or cut back on that food in your diet. For lactose intolerance, you can look for lactose-free milk or take a lactase enzyme supplement.

With a food allergy, you could be at risk for anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction. Ask your doctor if you need to carry an Auvi-Q or Epi-Pen (epinephrine shots) that you could give yourself in an emergency. If so, always carry two injections with you.

How to Prevent Symptoms

Learn which foods – and how much – cause you to have symptoms. Either avoid the food or only have as much as you can without triggering symptoms.

When you eat out, ask your server about how your meal will be prepared. It may not always be clear from the menu whether some dishes contain problem foods.

Learn to read food labels and check the ingredients for trigger foods. Don’t forget to check condiments and seasonings. They may have MSG or another additive that can cause symptoms.

WebMD Medical Reference
Reviewed by Luqman Seidu, MD on November 16, 2014
 
source: WebMD


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10 things you didn’t know about food intolerances

Do you have stomach pains and feel bloated when you eat foods like dairy and wheat? If so, you may be suffering from food intolerance. Food intolerance occurs when your body cannot digest or absorb specific foods and results in you having a bad reaction, particularly in your digestive system.

By Leslie Emmons

1.Food allergies and food intolerances are quite different. 

Food allergies produce a negative reaction in your immune system – think throat swelling and closure. Food intolerances, however, cause a negative reaction in the digestive system and can cause stomachaches and bloating.

2.Reaction time can vary.

Remember that delicious piece of cake you ate last Saturday at your sister’s birthday party? It may be the reason that you’re bloated and gassy on Monday morning. Unfortunately, food intolerance reactions can occur between 30 minutes to seven days after the food culprit was originally consumed.

3.Food intolerances often involve the foods we eat most regularly.

It may be that piece of toast you ate in the morning for breakfast, the yogurt you had for a snack or that pasta you ate for dinner. Foods that contain dairy and gluten are the number 1 offenders of food intolerance and we eat them all of the time.

4.Symptoms range all over the board.

Stomachaches, gas, bloating, tension headaches, migraines, feeling sluggish, skin rashes, asthma – just to name a few – are all symptoms that can occur from food intolerances. If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor and try keeping a food journal to figure out what foods trigger the symptoms.

5.You may not react every time. 

One confusing thing about food intolerance is that the amount of food you consume is directly related to the reaction you will have. For example, you may be lactose intolerant but be able to have milk in your coffee without suffering a reaction. However, drinking a whole glass of milk would likely make you want to curl up in a ball and moan and groan. This sometimes makes it hard to pinpoint which foods you are, in fact, intolerant to.

6.Stop eating that food.

The more often you eat a food you are intolerant to the worse your symptoms become. An occasional cheat from your diet won’t leave you with severe effects – as long as your “cheat day” isn’t seven days a week! Get the offending food out of your diet and you’ll become one step closer to a healthy digestive system.

7.You are not alone.

Did you know that Canadians report the most cases of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in the world? And did you know that many IBS symptoms are the same as those of food intolerances? Chances are many Canadians are running around with food intolerances and haven’t realized it yet!



8.Sadly, there is no cure.

Unfortunately there is no magic pill to make that uncomfortable pain disappear and to allow you to eat those cookies and milk again. The trick is to just avoid, avoid, avoid the foods you have reactions to and find substitute products if you can.

9.There is an app for that.

The app Food Intolerances is now available for your smartphone. It has over 700 foods you can track and you can learn about their nutrition facts and possible reasons why you may be reacting to them. You can also add foods to make a shopping list and flag foods you know you have intolerances to.

10.The weight loss versus weight gain debate.

You may have heard that having a food intolerance and not knowing about it can lead to weight gain. You may also have heard that eliminating the food will lead to weight loss. Studies are split down the middle, with some doctors claiming these statements are true while others say they are false. One thing is for sure though: As you start to study the foods you eat more closely, you will be drawn to naturally healthier foods. Your diet will improve and so will your overall body’s health.

In case you need a more concise list:

1.Food intolerances are different from food allergies. Allergic reactions take place in your immune system – think throat swelling – whereas intolerance reactions mostly take place in your digestive tract, causing bloating and stomach pain.

2.Reaction time can vary. That delicious piece of cake you ate on Friday night may only catch up with you on Monday morning. Reactions can occur anywhere between 30 minutes and seven days after ingestion.

3.Food intolerances often involve foods that we eat regularly. Foods that contain dairy and gluten – such as bread, cereal, milk and cheese, among others – are the number 1 culprits.

4.Symptoms range all over the board and are never very pleasant. Think bloating, gas, stomachaches, tension headaches, migraines and low energy.

5.You may not have a reaction every time. The amount of food you consume has a direct relation to your reaction. Milk in your coffee may be OK, but a glass of milk may cause you to call in sick.

6.The more often you eat a food you are intolerant to the worse your symptoms become. An occasional cheat from your diet won’t leave you with severe effects, as long as your “cheat day” isn’t seven days a week!

7.You are not alone. Food intolerance awareness has become more and more popular over the past few years because people are becoming informed and cutting bothersome foods from their diet.

8.Sadly, there is no magic pill that will make those uncomfortable pains disappear and allow you to still eat those cookies and drink that milk. Just avoid, avoid, avoid the foods you have reactions to and find substitute products if you can.

9.There’s an app for that. Food Intolerances is an app that lets you track 700 foods, flag them if they bother you, find out why you may react to them and create shopping lists that are dangerous-food free. 

10.Your diet will become healthier once you cut out the foods you are intolerant to. You will begin to read labels more cautiously and will be more aware of what you put into your body.


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What you need to know about brain fog

Aug 06, 2009    by Christine Cristiano

TIPS TO CLEAR YOUR HEAD

The occurrence of brain fog is a common health concern among thousands of people. Unfortunately, brain fog is one of those loosely defined unknown ailments that is not recognized as a medical or psychological condition. The symptoms associated with brain fog, however, are very real and can be alarming for those who suffer from them. If you’ve been having problems with concentration, memory and clarity, you may be experiencing this aggravating ailment.
 

WHAT IS BRAIN FOG?

Brain fog is defined as a feeling of being somewhat disconnected or spaced out, mentally confused and lacking clarity, focus and concentration. Other symptoms may include a decrease in short-term memory, reduced attention span and the onset of forgetfulness. The condition can present itself slowly over a short period of time or progress very quickly.
 
Individuals who suffer from brain fog will describe the feeling of being zoned out, detached, and “stuck inside their head.” Some sufferers also report that they feel a tingling on top of their head, a sensation of cotton balls being in their head, and an impairment in their vision.
 

BRAIN FOG TRIGGERS AND CAUSES

Although it is difficult to prove the causes of brain fog, there are many theories as to its origins. According to various articles written on the condition, stress and lack of sleep are often to blame.
 
As we all know, restful sleep is essential for keeping the brain functioning at optimal capacity. A prolonged disruption in the normal sleeping cycle can result in moodiness, depression and a decrease in the brain’s functioning. For this reason, brain fog is also associated with other less defined illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, which disrupt an individual’s normal healthy sleep patterns.
 
Brain fog has also been linked to autoimmune diseases such as lupus and multiple sclerosis due in part to the effects of these diseases on the body and the body’s inability to get rid of toxins.
 
The causes of brain fog, however, are not limited to autoimmune disorders. Symptoms may be the result of hypoglycemia and other fluctuations in blood sugar levels, food sensitivities, and deficiencies in vitamin B-12, magnesium, amino acids and copper. Other possible causes include chronic viral infections, metal toxicity, and side effects from medications used to treat anxiety, sleep disorders and nausea.
 
Ailments affecting the digestive system such as chronic constipation, diarrhea, irritable or inflammatory disease, can cause a build up of toxins and trigger brain fog. Pregnant women, new moms, and menopausal females may suffer from brain fog due to changes in hormones. Individuals who battle the overabundance of yeast or Candida in their system can experience brain fog. The condition can also be caused by chemical overload due to indoor fumes arising from building materials or furniture.
 

9 TIPS TO CLEAR YOUR HEAD

1. See your doctor first. There are many proactive measures one can take to reduce the effects of brain fog, but before embarking on your own health regime, schedule an appointment with your doctor to rule out any undetected abnormalities. Blood tests can confirm whether your brain fog is caused from a mineral imbalance, food sensitivities or allergies.
 
2. Be patient and keep researching. It may be difficult to determine the cause behind brain fog because the triggers can vary widely from person to person. Be patient, keep a positive attitude, and continue to ferret out the possible triggers.
 
3. Follow a healthy lifestyle. As with so many other conditions, oftentimes the key to recovery is taking care of yourself. Be sure to follow a healthy diet, get a daily dose of moderate exercise and prioritize sound sleep.
 
4. Clean up your diet. If you are a regular consumer of artificial sweeteners or foods that contain MSG, eliminate them from your diet. Although fish and seafood contain many contain healthy nutrients, they can also contain mercury which may trigger brain fog if eaten in large quantities over a long period of time.
 
5. Get rid of the chemicals. You may need to give your cleaning products an overhaul. Consider eco-friendly products over products made with harsh ingredients. If you suspect the building materials or furniture in your house are the problem, talk to a building professional about the types of finishes and chemicals that are lurking in your house.
 
6. Elimate the allergens. People who are sensitive to dairy and grain products or other food allergens may find relief by limiting or eliminating these foods from their diet. Consult with a food allergy specialist to determine if you have food allergies and the best way to ensure you still get your recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals.
 
7. Consider supplements. Some recommended supplements that can help reduce brain fog include coenzyme Q-10, vitamins B6 and B12, calcium, and antioxidants such as vitamin C. Your best option is foods containing these nutrients; however, supplements can ensure you are getting enough.
 
8. Eat more healthy fats. If your brain fog is caused by elevated cholesterol levels, consuming foods that contain monounsaturated fatty acids like almonds, avocados and olives, can help reduce the build-up in your arteries and improve blood flow to the brain. Consult with your doctor for other cholesterol lowering tips.
 
9. Keep a journal. If you have experienced repeated episodes of brain fog, consider keeping a daily diary of your activities, sleep patterns, emotional responses, foods that you have consumed, and any other factors that may play a part in triggering the condition. Sometimes, the process of elimination can lead to the best remedy and outcome.
 


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Trees May Save a Life Each Year in Big Cities

By Amy Norton   HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) — Parks and tree-lined streets may give city dwellers more than shade. They may also save some lives, a new study from the U.S. Forest Service suggests.

Researchers estimate that across 10 U.S. cities, “urban forests” prevent an average of one death per year, by helping to clear the air of fine particulate matter — tiny particles released when fossil fuels are burned. Car exhaust, wood burning and industrial sources such as power plants all contribute.

Those fine particles can be inhaled deeply into the lungs, and they are a particular concern when it comes to people’s health, said David Nowak, a Forest Service researcher who led the study.

The particles are thought to cause inflammation in the blood vessels and airways, which can be dangerous for people with existing heart or lung disease.

The new findings, reported in the July issue of the journal Environmental Pollution, suggest that trees play a role in protecting urban dwellers from the health effects of air pollution.

But, Nowak said, it’s not just a simple matter of “let’s plant more trees.”

This study shows a “large-scale” correlation between tree coverage and human health. But researchers still have to figure out the nitty-gritty, Nowak said. “How do we best design to protect people from [fine particle pollution]? What configuration of plants do we need? What species of tree?” he said.

And all of that, Nowak added, has to be figured out at the local and regional levels.

Trees, he noted, do a lot more than clear fine particles from the air. They have many beneficial effects — including reducing other air pollutants such as ozone, and keeping the temperature down during the summer. But certain other effects are not so good for human health: Trees release pollen, for example, which can exacerbate allergies and asthma.


“We need to make smart decisions about what we should plant, where we should plant and when we should plant, in order to improve people’s quality of life,” Nowak said.

The findings are based on daily air-quality data from 10 U.S. cities, along with information on the cities’ tree coverage. To gauge how trees might be affecting city residents’ health, Nowak’s team used a computer program from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that estimates the health impact of changes in air quality.

Overall, Atlanta was number one when it came to the amount of fine particle pollution removed by trees, at 64.5 metric tons — owing to the city’s relatively dense urban forest.

But as far as lives saved, New York City came in on top, with an average of eight lives saved per year. That, Nowak said, was partly due to the city’s large population, but also to the “moderately high” removal of fine particles from the air — thanks to trees.

No one is claiming that trees are the answer to air pollution, though.

Trees may be a smaller-scale way to give people extra protection from pollution, said Janice Nolen, assistant vice president of national policy for the American Lung Association.

“But they’re not going to be the solution,” Nolen said.

The “big tools,” she said, are measures to reduce emissions from power plants, cars and other sources of pollutants.

One of those wide-scale measures got extra attention this week. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to review a controversial decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals that reversed a major EPA air-quality policy — dubbed the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, the Washington Post reported.

The regulation would have cut emissions from coal-fired power plants across more than half of U.S. states. Last August, the D.C. Circuit Court said the EPA had overstepped its authority in issuing the rule.

“We’re very pleased the Supreme Court will review this,” Nolen said.

As for trees, she said they are a worthy pollution-fighting measure to keep studying — including whether strategic planting along roadways might be beneficial.

source: Health.com


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Food sensitivity could be stopping you lose weight, says doctor who also claims low-fat diets can make you HEAVIER

  • Food sensitivities are ‘by far the commonest single cause of weight gain,’ says allergy expert
  • Everyday foods such as wheat, corn, milk and eggs most common culprits
  • Cutting out potential ‘problem’ foods could also relieve ailments such as headaches and low mood
  • Calorie counting a strategy that ‘consistently fails millions of people’

By ANNA HODGEKISS  October 2012
  
Whether it’s low fat, low carb, low GI – most of us have tried, and failed, to lose weight at some point.

Now a leading doctor is claiming the problem could be much more deep-rooted – a food sensitivity.

If the body is aggravated by a food, it can cause sensitivity and weight gain, says Dr John Mansfield, a pioneer in the field of allergy and nutrition.

In fact, in his new book, the Six Secrets of Successful Weight Loss, he says food sensitivities are ‘by far the commonest single cause of weight gain,’ rather than too many calories or a lack of exercise. 

‘One of the most successful weight loss secrets is to find out if you are sensitive to any ordinary, everyday foods such as wheat, corn, eggs, yeast or milk,’ he told MailOnline. 

Dr John Mansfield says the most common reason many of us can’t lose weight is because we have a food sensitivity that causes a response and a reaction in the body that prevents weight loss.

‘Food sensitivities, which vary considerably from one person to another, were the prime cause in more than 70 per cent of the patients I treated over a period of 31 years in clinical practice, specialising in allergy and nutritional medicine.’

He adds that many of us have no idea we are sensitive to certain foods because we eat them all the time – and then put up with symptoms such as headaches or fatigue without realising our diet is to blame.

He said: ‘I wrote the book to help people who are frustrated by diets and still struggle to reach their ideal weight. As every individual has different health and nutritional influences, the ‘one-size-fits-all’ diet does not simply work.

PROBLEM FOODS
Dr Mansfield has identified the 20 foods most likely to produce a reaction, with the most common at the top:

  • Wheat
  • Corn Milk and products made from it
  • Corn (maize)
  • Eggs
  • Yeast (used in many products such as bread, vinegar and alcohol)
  • Cane sugar
  • Coffee
  • Oats
  • Barley (malt)
  • Beet sugar
  • Tea
  • Potatoes
  • Soy (used frequently in processed foods)
  • Lemons
  • Cocoa beans (chocolate)
  • Oranges
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Onions

‘Obesity and weight problems have reached epidemic proportions in the western world in the last three decades, with more and more people struggling to achieve their ideal weight.’


Dr Mansfield also quashes the theory that calorie counting and low-fat diets can lead to weight loss. 

‘Low-fat diets don’t work because we need fat to regulate our appetites. If you are not eating enough fat your appetite fails to be satisfied and you are constantly hungry, and therefore eat more.

‘The repetitive mantra of the doctors, dieticians and governments is to reduce calorie intake and increase exercise. Yet this approach has not produced the desired results. 

‘Despite growing evidence against it, the experts are stuck in the narrow one-track conceptual groove of calorie control, a strategy that consistently fails millions of people.’

Instead, Dr Mansfield advises checking for underlying health issues that may be affecting your weight, such as a thyroid problem (an underactive thyoid can lead to weight gain) and identify food sensitivities ‘that inflame the body and contribute to weight gain’.

The theory is that an allergic -type reation caused by food sensitivies disrupts a feedback mechanism in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. 

After eating, this receives signals from the gut that stored body fat has increased, prompting us to feel less hungry.

‘When this mechanism is working well, your body weight remains constant, despite quite widely varying calorie consumption from day to day,’ said Dr Mansfield.

‘However, the adverse reaction caused by regularly eating foods you are sensitive to causes the ‘constant’ level of weight to be permanently set at an incorrect, higher level.

‘This is why you can’t shed the pounds regardless of what you eat.’

In order to work out which foods might be affecting your health, he advises following an ‘elimination’ diet and gradually re-introducing potential ‘problem’ foods, such as milk, eggs and yeast. 

The elimination’ diet allows you to eat as much as you like of the 42 foods identified as being ‘low sensitivity foods’, such as turkey, lamb, many types of fish, lentils, vegetables such as green beans and avocado and fruit such as apples.  

Dr Mansfield claims that through this process of elimination of ‘high sensitivity foods’ weight loss is quickly achieved within the first seven days. 

However the overall aim of this diet is to introduce a broad range of foods back into the diet that don’t adversely affect weight or induce other symptoms such as headache and fatigue. 

‘The process takes on average up to six weeks to reintroduce foods back into your diet but the reality is that you will then know which foods you can eat in quantity, without influencing your weight or how you physically feel,’ he says.

‘It goes against the dieting grain to say “eat as much as you like”, but this is possible on the elimination diet by sticking to eating foods that are on the allowed list and those that you have reintroduced with no adverse effect. 

‘You should never feel hungry following this diet. If you do, you are not eating enough of your allowed foods.’

He cites one patient who lost 11lb (5 kg) and all of her symptoms of severe depression in the first seven days. 

‘She then reintroduced single foods, one at each meal, and was able to identify just three foods that were the root of all her problems.’

In three months her weight dropped from 13st 2lb to her original weight of 8st.

‘When I saw her seven years later she still weighed the same and had had no recurrence of her medical condition. 

‘I realised I had stumbled across an actual cause of weight gain, as there had been absolutely no calorie restriction whatsoever.  I know of no single strategy in medicine that has changed more people’s lives than this simple diet.’

The book also discusses the cholesterol ‘myth’, the dangers of low-fat diets and the importance of avoiding refined carbohydrates which Dr Mansfield says cause weight gain, diabetes and coronary artery disease.