It’s no wonder so many of us struggle with energy issues. We go, go, go from morning to night, running on little but grit and caffeine. But it doesn’t have to be that way. “The reality is, you can get a real boost by making a few simple changes,” says Dr. Nada Milosavljevic, director of the integrative health program at Massachusetts General Hospital. That’s why we put together this complete guide to all-day energy: It’s packed with proven strategies that will keep you powered up as you plow through your to-do list. You’ll also learn about surprising energy drains (social media, we’re looking at you)—and how to keep them from stealing your mojo.
Keep allergies under control
People with hay fever often feel sluggish. “You spend so much time trying to breathe, you don’t have energy for anything else,” says New Jersey-based allergist Dr. Neeta Ogden, spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Your congestion might also keep you awake at night: French researchers found that more than 40 percent of seasonal-allergy sufferers reported they weren’t able to get a good night’s sleep when their symptoms flared.
Studies have shown that over-the-counter nasal steroid sprays (like Nasacort and Flonase) effectively relieve congestion and improve quality of life—including fatigue and sleep issues—in people with seasonal allergies. Ogden suggests pairing a spray with a daily dose of an OTC nonsedating antihistamine (such as Claritin or Allegra); the drug will block the action of histamine, the compound that triggers pesky nasal symptoms. For best results, begin treatment a couple of weeks before sniffle season starts.
Get enough (quality) sleep
It’s estimated that up to 26 percent of all adults in the U.S. have sleep apnea, a disorder that involves shallow breathing or pauses in breathing while you sleep. If you’re among them, you may often feel like you’re in a “brain fog,” even if you’re clocking seven hours of shut-eye a night. If your primary care physician suspects sleep apnea, she can refer you to a sleep center. Most cases can be diagnosed with an at-home test, says Dr. Raj Dasgupta, professor of sleep medicine at the University of Southern California and spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Mild cases can often be treated with lifestyle modifications, such as losing weight and avoiding alcohol before bed. Moderate or severe cases may require sleeping with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which supplies a steady stream of air to keep your airways open.
A sweat session is great for upping your oomph, even when you feel like you’re out of juice. “When you exercise, you release hormones like adrenaline. This hormone actually tells our bodies to ignore feelings of pain and fatigue while enhancing blood flow to large muscles,” says Sabrena Jo, senior exercise scientist at the American Council on Exercise. As a result, a workout can leave you with more energy than you had beforehand—an effect that can last several hours.
And it doesn’t take much. One study looked at healthy, sedentary people who began exercising three days a week for just 20 minutes a day, at either a moderate or a low intensity. By the end of six weeks, their energy levels were 20 percent higher than those of a control group of nonexercisers.
Remember: The idea is to leave the gym energized, not exhausted. “If you feel beaten down by the time you step off the treadmill, it’s a sign you need to scale back,” says Jo.
Get adequate vitamin D
Research suggests this key vitamin plays a role in keeping us charged up. Experts suspect D helps regulate insulin secretion and metabolism, both of which affect energy levels. The nutrient has also been linked to better moods (not to mention a slew of other health benefits). If you find yourself constantly dragging, particularly in the winter, it might be worth asking your doc to check your D levels. Since it can be tough to get an adequate amount from food (sources include fatty fish, eggs, and fortified milk), she may recommend a supplement.
Purge your Facebook friends
There are two reasons social media can be an energy suck, says Dr. Brian Primack, director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health at the University of Pittsburgh. “On one hand, you look at everyone’s curated photos and get depressed because your life doesn’t look so perfect,” he explains. “But on the other hand, anything that’s negative also gets magnified. Neither extreme is good.” Indeed, one of his studies found a link between the amount of time spent on social media and the likelihood of depression.
Not ready to cut the Facebook cord? Try paring your “friends” down to your actual friends. “When you don’t know someone, you’re more likely to have a miscommunication or be upset by something in their feed,” says Primack. “But using social media to connect with old friends can have the opposite effect—it’s energizing.”
Eat to fuel
To improve your everyday energy, try this tweak: Substitute plant protein for animal protein whenever possible, suggests Samantha Heller, a registered dietitian at the NYU School of Medicine. Plants feed the “good” bacteria in your gut, she explains, which help boost your immunity to keep you healthy. They may also boost overall mood. A 2015 study found that people who followed a plant-based eating program for 18 weeks saw an increase in their productivity. Here, Heller describes a sample menu for an ideal day.
Breakfast: A Berry smoothie. Blend 1/2 cup berries with a scoop of avocado and 3/4 cup soy milk. The shake is high in both fiber and protein to stabilize your blood sugar until lunch.
Lunch: Lentil soup and kale salad. Lentils and kale are a mighty nutritional combo, offering protein, fiber, iron, potassium, zinc, folate, and more.
P.M. snack: Fruit and nuts. This duo serves up a nice balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat to help you power through the rest of the afternoon.
Dinner: Vegetarian tacos. Wrap beans with shredded lettuce and cheese, chopped tomato, avocado, and salsa in a corn tortilla for a light dinner that won’t mess with your sleep.
Try some fast pick-me-ups
Take a mini break. Stand up and stretch, or watch a funny video. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers found that people who took two short breaks during a repetitive 50-minute task performed better than those who worked straight through.
Go for a quick walk. A landmark study published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology revealed that a brisk 10-minute walk can have a revitalizing effect, enhancing energy for at least two hours.
Chew a stick of gum. A 2015 U.K. study found that this trick raised alertness and improved concentration, possibly because chewing increases blood flow.
Don’t ignore fatigue
Sometimes feeling spent isn’t a problem that can be solved with a nap. Below are a few possible medical explanations for flagging energy.
Anemia. This condition, common in women, means you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your tissues. If blood tests reveal you’re anemic, you may need to take an iron supplement.
Celiac disease. Fatigue is one of the symptoms of this serious condition, in which an autoimmune reaction to gluten damages the intestines. If blood tests suggest celiac, you’ll need an intestinal biopsy to diagnose it. The only proven therapy is a gluten-free diet.
Hypothyroidism. “If your body isn’t producing enough thyroid hormone, you’re going to feel like you’re running low on fuel all the time,” says Milosavljevic. This disorder can be treated with synthetic hormones.
Heart disease. A 2003 study published in Circulation found that 70 percent of women who’d suffered heart attacks had reported feeling unusual fatigue for up to a month beforehand. “Patients often say that they feel tired in their chest,” says Dr. Dana Simpler, an internist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. After a full workup, your doc can prescribe a treatment plan.
This article originally appeared on Health.com
Hallie Levine / Health.com May 03, 2017 TIME Health
Kefir is all the rage in the natural health community.
It is high in nutrients and probiotics, and is incredibly beneficial for digestion and gut health.
Many people consider it to be a healthier and more powerful version of yogurt.
Here are 9 health benefits of kefir that are supported by research.
1. Kefir is a Fantastic Source of Many Nutrients
Kefir is a fermented drink, traditionally made using cow’s milk or goat’s milk.
It is made by adding kefir “grains” to milk.
These are not grains in the conventional sense, but cultures of yeast and lactic acid bacteria that resemble a cauliflower in appearance.
Over a period of 24 hours or so, the microorganisms in the kefir grains multiply and ferment the sugars in the milk, turning it into kefir.
Then the grains are removed from the liquid, and can be used again.
So basically, kefir is the drink, but kefir grains are the “starter kit” that you use to produce the drink.
Kefir originated from parts of Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia. The name is derived from the Turkish word keyif, which means “feeling good” after eating.
The lactic acid bacteria turn the lactose in the milk into lactic acid, so kefir tastes sour like yogurt, but has a thinner consistency.
A 175 ml (6 oz) serving of milk kefir contains:
Protein: 6 grams.
Calcium: 20% of the RDA.
Phosphorus: 20% of the RDA.
Vitamin B12: 14% of the RDA.
Riboflavin (B2): 19% of the RDA.
Magnesium: 5% of the RDA.
A decent amount of vitamin D.
This is coming with about 100 calories, 7-8 grams of carbs and 3-6 grams of fat, depending on the type of milk that is used.
Kefir also contains a wide variety of bioactive compounds, including organic acids and peptides that contribute to its health benefits.
Dairy-free versions of kefir can be made with coconut water, coconut milk or other sweet liquids. These will not have the same nutrient profile as dairy-based kefir.
Bottom Line: Kefir is a fermented milk drink, cultured from kefir grains. It is a rich source of calcium, protein and B-vitamins.
2. Kefir is a More Powerful Probiotic Than Yogurt
Some microorganisms can have beneficial effects on health when ingested.
Known as probiotics, these microorganisms can influence health in numerous ways, including digestion, weight management and mental health .
Yogurt is the best known probiotic food in the Western diet, but kefir is actually a much more potent source.
Kefir grains contain about 30 strains of bacteria and yeasts, making it a very rich and diverse probiotic source.
Other fermented dairy products are made from far fewer strains, and don’t contain any yeasts.
Bottom Line: Kefir contains about 30 different microorganisms, making it a much more potent source of probiotics than other fermented dairy products.
3. Kefir Has Potent Antibacterial Properties
Certain probiotics in kefir are believed to protect against infections.
This includes the probiotic Lactobacillus kefiri, which is unique to kefir.
Studies show that this probiotic can inhibit the growth of various harmful bacteria, including Salmonella, Helicobacter Pylori and E. coli.
Kefiran, a type of carbohydrate present in kefir, also has antibacterial properties.
Bottom Line: Kefir contains the probiotic Lactobacillus kefiri, and the carbohydrate kefiran, both of which can protect against harmful bacteria.
4. Kefir Can Improve Bone Health and Lower The Risk of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis (“porous” bones) is characterized by deterioration of bone tissue, and is a massive problem in Western countries.
It is especially common among elderly women, and dramatically raises the risk of fractures.
Ensuring an adequate calcium intake is one of the most effective ways to improve bone health, and slow the progression of osteoporosis.
Kefir made from full-fat dairy is not only a great source of calcium, but also vitamin K2. This nutrient plays a central role in calcium metabolism, and supplementing with it has been shown to reduce the risk of fractures by as much as 81% .
Recent animal studies have shown that kefir can increase calcium absorption by bone cells. This leads to improved bone density, which should help prevent fractures.
Bottom Line: Kefir made from dairy is an excellent source of calcium. In the case of full-fat dairy, it also contains vitamin K2. These nutrients have major benefits for bone health.
5. Kefir May be Protective Against Cancer
Cancer is one of the world’s leading causes of death.
It occurs when there is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body, such as a tumor.
The probiotics in fermented dairy products are believed to inhibit tumor growth by reducing formation of carcinogenic compounds, as well as by stimulating the immune system.
This protective role has been demonstrated in several test tube studies.
One study found that kefir extract reduced the number of human breast cancer cells by 56%, compared with only 14% for yogurt extract.
However, take all of this with a grain of salt, as this is far from being proven in living, breathing humans.
Bottom Line: Some test tube and animal studies have shown that kefir can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. This has not been studied in people.
6. The Probiotics in it May Help With Various Digestive Problems
Probiotics such as kefir can help restore the balance of friendly bacteria in the gut.
This is why they are highly effective for many forms of diarrhea.
There is also a lot of evidence that probiotics and probiotic foods can help with all sorts of digestive problems
This includes irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcers caused by H. pylori infection, and various others.
For this reason, kefir may be useful if you have problems with digestion.
Bottom Line: Probiotics like kefir can treat several forms of diarrhea. They can also lead to major improvements in various digestive diseases.
7. Kefir is Generally Well Tolerated by People Who Are Lactose Intolerant
Regular dairy foods contain a natural sugar called lactose.
Many people, especially adults, are unable to break down and digest lactose properly. This condition is called lactose intolerance.
The lactic acid bacteria in fermented dairy foods (like kefir and yogurt) turn the lactose into lactic acid, so these foods are much lower in lactose than milk.
They also contain enzymes that can help break down the lactose even further.
Because of this, kefir is generally well tolerated by people with lactose intolerance, at least when compared to regular milk.
Also keep in mind that it is possible to make kefir that is 100% lactose free, by using coconut water, fruit juice or some other non-dairy fluid.
Bottom Line: The lactic acid bacteria have already pre-digested the lactose in kefir. People with lactose intolerance can often eat kefir without problems.
8. Kefir May Improve Symptoms of Allergy and Asthma
Allergic reactions are caused by inflammatory responses against harmless environmental substances.
People with an over-sensitive immune system are more prone to allergies, which can provoke conditions like asthma.
In animal studies, kefir has been shown to suppress inflammatory responses related to allergy and asthma.
Human studies are need to better explore these effects.
9. Kefir is Easy to Make at Home
The last one is not a health benefit, but important nonetheless.
If you are unsure about the quality of store-bought kefir, then you can easily make it at home yourself.
Combined with some fresh fruit, it makes one of the healthiest and tastiest desserts I have ever come across.
You can buy kefir grains in some health food stores and supermarkets, as well as online.
There are some good blog posts and videos on how to make kefir, but the process is very simple:
Put 1-2 tablespoons of kefir grains into a small jar. The more you use, the faster it will culture.
Add around 2 cups of milk, preferably organic or even raw. Milk from grass-fed cows is healthiest. Leave one inch of room at the top of the jar.
You can add some full-fat cream if you want the kefir to be thicker.
Put the lid on and leave it for 12-36 hours, at room temperature. That’s it.
Once it starts to look clumpy, it is ready. Then you gently strain out the liquid, which leaves behind the original kefir grains.
Now put the grains in a new jar with some milk, and the process starts all over again.
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.
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.
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.
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
The possible health benefits of honey have been documented in early Greek, Roman, Vedic, and Islamic texts and healing qualities of honey were referred to by philosophers and scientists all the way back to ancient times, such as Aristotle (384-322 BC) and Aristoxenus (320 BC). – Joseph Nordqvist, Medical News Daily
For something that tastes so good, honey isn’t consumed all that often. Besides being delicious, honey is also densely packed with valuable nutrition, such as nutrients. Honey is also quite healthy: a tablespoon of raw, unadulterated honey contains 64 calories, and is free from cholesterol, fat, and sodium.
The ideal nutritional composition of honey almost assuredly helps give the natural sweeter its health-promoting properties. Here, we’re going to discuss nine such health benefits of this sweet nectar.
HERE ARE NINE AMAZING HEALTH BENEFITS OF HONEY:
1. RELIEVES ALLERGIES
Honey has anti-inflammatory properties that many believe can help with reducing allergic reactions. Honey itself contains traces of pollen that can initiate an immune response when exposed to it. Over time, the body will produce enough antibodies to the pollen, which effectively causes the body to release less histamine. Consequently, the body will exhibit a more limited immune response.
2. SUPPRESSES COUGH
The viscus texture of honey causes it to accumulate a sort-of coat around the throat area. This coating can help with throat irritation often experienced during a coughing episode. Honey also stimulates the nerve endings of the throat, which serves as a protection mechanism while coughing.
The American Academy of Pediatrics released a comprehensive study pertaining to the cough suppression properties of honey. Using three different honey varieties – citrus, eucalyptus, and labiatae – researchers administered a 10-gram dose to 300 children aged 1 to 5 years. According to the study, “there was significant improvement from the night before treatment to the night of treatment.”
3. NATURALLY PROMOTES SLEEP
Honey can be a beneficial for a sleepless night. Consuming honey causes an increase in serotonin and insulin levels, while the body systematically converts them into melatonin – a compound that both promotes and regulates sleep. Consequently, consuming honey improves both the desired duration and quality of one’s sleep.
4. TREATS BURNS AND WOUNDS
It surprises many to learn that honey is a natural antibiotic. Medically, the antibiotic uses for honey span a multitude of both internal and external uses. It is a natural disinfectant against many bacteria, making it a powerful agent against wounds and sores.
In a study published by the British Journal of Medicine, honey was applied to 59 patients that had failed to heal using traditional medicine. Astonishingly, 58 of the 59 patients showed “remarkable improvement” after honey was applied to the wound.
5. IMPROVES MEMORY
Oxidation of the brain can lead to structural damage and cognitive decline. Honey products help in this regard, as the substance contains high levels of antioxidants that may reverse this adverse effect. Honey also helps to absorb calcium – a vital nutrient for brain nourishment. It is believed that these two mechanisms of honey can aid cognition, including memory.
6. PROVIDES ENERGY
Honey can also provide a much-needed energy spike. This all-natural sweetener contains fructose and glucose, which can quickly enter the bloodstream and produce a burst of energy. Even those seeking to gain muscle mass can benefit from the unique energy properties of honey. Honey which can actually help them build bulk via release of insulin-life growthfactor-1 (IGF-1).
7. TREATS DANDRUFF
Kind of an odd-one-out sort of deal here, but as already mentioned, honey is a potent natural healer for the skin. In a study published by the US National Library of Medicine, patients that applied diluted honey to areas of flaking scalp three hours before rinsing “responded markedly with application.” In the same study, scalp itching disappeared within one week; skin lesions in two weeks, and some patients even showed “subjective improvement in hair loss.”
8. HELPS ACID REFLUX
According to RefluxMD, honey supposedly reduces the symptoms of acid reflux. Honey coats the lining of the esophagus, which may lead to soothing of irritation. Consumption of honey is also thought to counteract any internal damage caused by acid reflux. Further, the heavy concentrations of enzymes within honey assists with digestion, which may help to prevent the occurrence of acid reflux. So, forget the Alka-Seltzer…reach for the honey!
9. STRENGTHENS THE GUT
Honey can be used as a prebiotic, which in turn provides sustenance to the healthy bacteria in our gut. Healthy bacteria are required to properly digest food, absorb nutrients, and equalize the immune system. It is also suggested that honey, because of its prebiotic properties, can deter problematic digestive conditions such as Celiac Disease, Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and others.
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.
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.”
Itchy skin condition also linked to a number of other ills, skin specialist says
People dealing with the itchy skin condition known as eczema may have other medical conditions to cope with as well, including heart disease, a dermatologist says.
Eczema, which causes dry, red patches of skin and intense itchiness, affects an estimated one-quarter of children in the United States. And, as many as seven million adults also have eczema, Dr. Jonathan Silverberg said in an American Academy of Dermatology news release.
“Although it affects the skin, eczema is not just skin-deep. This disease can have a serious impact on patients’ quality of life and overall health, both physically and mentally,” Silverberg said.
He’s assistant professor in dermatology, medical social sciences and preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
Eczema has been linked to an increased risk of health conditions such as asthma, hay fever, food allergy, obesity and heart disease, Silverberg said.
The reasons for this are unclear. But, the connection may be eczema-related inflammation affecting the entire body, he said. Or, the negative effects of eczema symptoms on sleep and health habits may play a role, he added.
People with eczema also have a higher risk of skin and other infections. And, the frequent intense itching of eczema and its effect on the skin’s appearance may contribute to a greater risk of mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression, Silverberg said.
Controlling flare-ups of eczema symptoms may help reduce the risk of problems such as sleep disturbance, but heart disease and other conditions may develop due to eczema’s long-term effects on the body, Silverberg said.
That’s why it’s important for treatment to not only improve symptoms in the short-term, but also to manage eczema for the long-term, he said.
By Robert Preidt HealthDay Reporter FRIDAY, July 29, 2016 (HealthDay News)
SOURCE: American Academy of Dermatology, news release, July 28, 2016
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.
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
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.
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.