Dealing with food allergies can be daunting. The effects of a reaction range from somewhat bothersome to potentially deadly. There is no cure, so anyone with a food allergy must vigilantly avoid the foods that trigger a reaction.
So how best to protect yourself? These six tips can help you create a system that can feel manageable, even routine.
Always read labels. Today, food labels include important allergy information such as whether any additives contain milk protein or byproducts of wheat, or whether a food was produced in a facility that processes nuts. Still, you need to read every label, every time — even if you have purchased the item hundreds of times before. Manufacturers frequently change ingredients and an allergen may be part of a new formulation.
Take care when cooking. If everyone in the household isn’t following an allergen-free diet, you want to be sure to avoid cross-contamination. It’s a good idea to have two sets of cooking and eating utensils — one exclusively for the allergic person — so that a knife used to cut a peanut butter sandwich isn’t inadvertently pressed into service buttering the toast of someone who’s allergic to peanuts. All dishes and utensils should be thoroughly washed in hot, soapy water between uses.
Dine out defensively. It’s wise to let the manager or chef know about your food allergy before you order. People with food allergies often carry a chef card — a printed note specifying all the ingredients you are allergic to as well as a request that all dishes, utensils, and preparation surfaces be free from traces of that food. You can customize a template of such a card on the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network Web site, www.foodallergy.org. Fast food restaurants and coffee shops are no exception. Read labels and ask questions before deciding what to eat and drink.
Formulate an action plan. Make a list of steps to take should you accidentally eat the food you are allergic to, and carry a printed copy of the plan with you.
Wear a medical ID bracelet. Make sure it lists relevant information about your food allergy.
Always carry your medication, ideally two doses. If your doctor has prescribed emergency medication for you (EpiPen or TwinJet) always take it with you and always carry two to be sure you’re prepared in case you get into trouble. Some people with food allergies also carry antihistamines. Don’t leave home without your medications.
Article by Harvard Medical School
Home Remedies For Eczema
Home remedies and natural treatments can soothe the dry, itching skin that comes with eczema. Natural substances, such as aloe vera gel and coconut oil, can moisturize dry, broken skin. They can also combat inflammation and harmful bacteria to reduce swelling and prevent infection. Natural remedies cannot cure eczema, but they can help manage the symptoms and prevent flares. This article looks at the best natural remedies for eczema.
1. Aloe vera gel
Aloe vera gel is derived from the leaves of the aloe plant. People have used aloe vera gel for centuries to treat a wide range of ailments. One common use is to soothe eczema. The antibacterial and antimicrobial effects can prevent skin infections, which are more likely to occur when a person has dry, cracked skin. Aloe’s wound-healing properties may soothe broken skin and promote healing.
2. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy for many conditions, including skin disorders. The National Eczema Association (NEA) report that apple cider vinegar may help with the condition. However, they recommend using caution, as the vinegar’s acids can damage soft tissue.
3. Colloidal oatmeal
Colloidal oatmeal, also known as Avena sativa, is made from oats that have been ground and boiled to extract their skin-healing properties. A 2015 study reports that colloidal oatmeal lotion had antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, resulting in improved skin dryness, scaling, roughness, and itch intensity.
4. Coconut oil
Coconut oil contains healthful fatty acids that can add moisture to the skin, which can help people with dry skin and eczema. A randomized clinical trial looked at the effects of applying virgin coconut oil to the skin in children. The results show that using the oil for 8 weeks improved the symptoms of eczema better than mineral oil.
Honey is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent, and people have used it to heal wounds for centuries. Conclusions of a review confirm that honey can help heal wounds and boost immune system function, which means that it can help the body fight off infections. Applied directly to eczema, honey could help prevent infections while moisturizing the skin and speeding healing.
There is no cure for eczema, but people can often manage their symptoms with home remedies, including natural gels and oils, medicated baths, and dietary changes. If eczema is severe or does not respond to home treatments, it may be a good idea to see a doctor.
Article by Jennifer Berry
Hay Fever Relief
Springtime is here and with it comes pollen season, which is bad news for hay fever sufferers. Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is typically a reaction to pollen from trees, grasses and weeds that makes the immune system believe pollen is a harmful invader, triggering production of the antibody immunoglobulin E. This stimulates release of histamine, causing inflammation and swelling of the nasal passages, along with excessive mucus production and other symptoms such as sneezing, itching nose and throat, watery eyes and a clear, runny nose.
However, before you reach for anti-histamine medications this spring, there are a number of foods, nutrients and herbs that are extremely beneficial for alleviating hay fever symptoms.
Kiwifruit contain more vitamin C, gram for gram, than oranges (especially the yellow kiwifruit variety). Vitamin C is an effective natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory, and it also supports healthy immune function and protects from secondary respiratory conditions. This can be very beneficial in achieving hay fever relief naturally.
Pineapple is a rich source of bromelain, an enzyme with strong systemic anti-inflammatory effects, which helps decrease common hay fever symptoms such as mucosal inflammation and nasal congestion.
Commonly used in Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine, this spice contains curcumin, a phytochemical with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions that are comparable to steroidal and nonsteroidal drugs. Curcumin has been found to have anti-allergy properties, which inhibit the release of histamine. This has proven to be effective when treating allergic rhinitis naturally.
Having an onion a day can help keep your hay fever at bay. Everyone who’s chopped onions has probably experienced the fact that onions can make you cry. As a result, cooking with fresh onions can naturally help with opening and draining your sinuses. Additionally, onions contain quercetin, a chemical compound that has antihistamine properties and aid in the reduction of inflammation and nasal congestion.
Make yourself a fresh veggie juice with a good slice of fresh ginger. Ginger is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory that helps reduce nasal swelling and associated hay fever symptoms. In fact, research from a 2008 study published in International Immunopharmacology suggests that ginger can modulate the immune response to inflammation associated with allergic asthma.
Lastly, Avoid Certain Foods
Limit or avoid cow’s milk and other dairy products as they can increase the production of mucus in the respiratory tract and exacerbate hay fever nasal congestion. Try alternatives such as rice, almond, quinoa and coconut milks.
Article by Lisa Guy
What Is Asthma?
Asthma is a condition characterized by difficulty breathing and narrowing of the airways leading to the lungs (including the nose, nasal passageways, mouth and larynx). Common symptoms of asthma include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and pain or pressure in the chest. In people who have asthma or allergies, the blocked or inflamed airways that cause asthma symptoms can usually be cleared with help from certain lifestyle changes and treatments. Eating a healthy diet supplies asthma sufferers with antioxidants and nutrients to combat environmental toxins, control inflammatory responses and reduce dietary triggers.
Some of the most beneficial foods to include in your asthma diet plan are:
Brightly colored carotenoid foods: This compound gives fruit and vegetables their orange or red color and can help reduce asthma attacks. Carotenoids are the basis of vitamin A, which is involved in the maintenance of healthy mucous membranes that line the air passageways. Severity of asthma correlates with low vitamin A, so increase your intake of things like root veggies, sweet potatoes, carrots, leafy greens and berries.
Vitamin E and vitamin C foods: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and helps detoxify the body, which is why some research suggests that consuming more vitamin C reduces wheezing and inflammation. Vitamin C is found is leafy greens, citrus fruits, cruciferous veggies and berries. Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant found in nuts, seeds and healthy plant oils.
Foods with magnesium: Low levels of magnesium are associated with increased risk of developing asthma, and increasing magnesium has been shown to reduce severity of asthma attacks and symptoms like muscle-spasming anxiety. It’s been found that magnesium can induce bronchial smooth muscle relaxation and allow air to get into and out of the lungs more easily. Sources include greens, nuts, seeds, beans, cocoa and certain ancient grains.
Broccoli, broccoli sprouts, Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables: These contain many antioxidants and a key compound called sulforaphane. Researchers from UCLA state, “A major advantage of sulforaphane is that it appears to increase a broad array of antioxidant enzymes, which may help the compound’s effectiveness in blocking the harmful effects of air pollution. This strategy may offer protection against inflammatory processes and could lead to potential treatments for a variety of respiratory conditions.”
Omega-3 foods: Omega-3 is mostly found in oily fish, such as mackerel, sardines, orange roughy, salmon, trout and tuna. Nuts and seeds can also provide a good dose. Omega-3s help lower the incidence of asthma significantly because they reduce airway inflammation and immune system reactivity.
By Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DMN, CNS
Seasonal Allergy Relief
Oh, seasonal allergies. They truly can make life miserable. Some allergy symptoms include excess mucus, sneezing, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, etc. The good news is, there are things we can do (without allergy medication)! These simple natural remedies have been very effective for allergy relief in our family.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an age old remedy that is often recommended for a variety of health conditions. I’ve personally used it for allergy relief (and heartburn relief) with great success. The theory is that its ability to reduce mucous production and cleanse the lymphatic system makes it useful for allergies. It is also said to help digestion, weight loss, and more so it is worth a try.
Quercetin is a natural bioflavonoid that is said to help stabilize mast cells to keep them from releasing histamine. It is also a potent antioxidant that is said to help reduce inflammation. It is best used as a long term remedy and many people start taking it about 4-6 weeks before allergy season to help prevent allergy symptoms. As with any herb, you should check with your doctor before using, especially if you have a liver problem, are pregnant, or are on hormonal contraceptives.
Allergies are the result of an imbalance in the immune system that causes the body to react too strongly to a stimuli. Many studies link the presence of beneficial bacteria in the gut with reduced incidence of allergies. Evidence is even emerging that a mother’s gut bacteria during pregnancy and nursing can impact a child’s likelihood of getting allergies throughout life, as can exposure to overly sterile environments. While we can’t do much about our mothers’ diets while they were pregnant, balancing gut bacteria now and consuming enough beneficial bacteria can help easy allergy symptoms.
4. Local Honey
There isn’t much scientific evidence to back this one, but there seems to be a lot of anecdotal evidence from people who have tried it. (Even Mark Sisson weighed in on the subject here). The theory is that consuming local honey from where you live will help your body adapt to the allergens in the environment there. This is supposed to work like a natural allergy “shot” and doesn’t seem to have a downside.
5. Anti-inflammatory Foods
Foods, teas, and spices with known anti-inflammatory benefits may play a role in reducing unpleasant allergy symptoms. A 2016 study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that ginger given orally to mice reduced sneezing and congestion as well as lowered mast cell response. Green tea shows similar effects for allergy relief.
Different people seem to benefit from different remedies depending on certain genetic factors and which allergens you are reacting to, so it might be worth trying more than one of these to see which works best for you. We wish you the best in health!
Article by Katie Wells
Herbs & Spices To Ease Pain
Did you know that the solution to your toothache, muscle pain or stomach upset might be sitting in your spice rack or window box? It’s true! Aside from the fact that herbs and spices have been used medicinally for thousands of years, countless scientific studies show that most have unique healing qualities and anti-inflammatory benefits. Before you head out to the drugstore for some narcotic painkillers, check out this list of herbs and spices which kill pain fast!
Known as ‘the stinking rose’, garlic has been used since ancient times as both a food and a natural medicine thanks to its ability to enhance the immune system with its antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, garlic cloves contain chemicals that shut down inflammatory pathways in ways similar to ibuprofen. Make sure to always use fresh garlic, either chopped or crushed, for best results.
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger is an amazing and tasty pain reliever. If you suffer from frequent headaches or migraines, try out some ginger and see if it quells the pain. In a study of 100 migraine sufferers, it was found that both ginger powder and the drug sumatriptan had comparable pain relieving effects. And a six week trial of patients with osteoarthritis saw them swap their pain medication for ginger extracts twice daily. Participants felt less pain when standing and walking after taking the ginger. Of course, ginger doesn’t cause any of the negative side effects that medications do.
Used in both Eastern and Western medicine for thousands of years, licorice root is used for a variety of illnesses. One particular type, known as DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice), is used to treat peptic ulcers, canker sores and acid reflux. When licorice root fluid extract was used on 100 patients with stomach ulcers (86 of whom had not improved with conventional drugs), after 6 weeks 90% of the patients improved, with ulcers completely disappearing in 22 people. Licorice gel applied to the skin is known to relieve the itching associated with eczema, while gargling with DGL in warm water can stop the pain of canker sores and other mouth problems.
One of the most anti-inflammatory spices around, turmeric contains the powerful compound curcumin, which is responsible for its inflammation fighting super powers. Rats who were suffering from neuropathic pain were given curcumin. Shortly afterward, they were described as exhibiting a decline in behaviors associated with pain. Researchers, looking at the effects of curcumin in obesity, suggest including curcumin (turmeric) as part of a healthy diet, given its low cost, safety and proven efficacy.
Black pepper contains piperine, a chemical which helps to counteract pain in the body. In fact, piperine extracted from black pepper can be mixed with other ingredients to make an analgesic cream for pain relief. This inexpensive seasoning is thought to reduce the perception of pain, inflammation and even arthritis.
A Word of Caution
Even though herbs and spices are natural products you can find in the store or garden, don’t underestimate their potency and never consume them in excess. If you suffer any medical conditions, are pregnant or are taking any medications, it’s important to consult a professional before using herbs and spices to treat ailments.
Article by Jayne Leonard
Ease Your Headaches Naturally
Anyone who’s ever had a headache (and that’s 90% of the entire population, according to some estimates) knows that they can range from nagging to debilitating. The most common type is a tension headache, a mild, constricting feeling around your head that’s often caused by holding your neck in a tight position. Migraines, on the other hand, tend to be both intense and recurring. Medication is one way to treat your discomfort, but there are also plenty of natural ways that can help relieve headaches.
Migraine headaches are often a sign that your body needs a break, says Elizabeth Loder, MD, chief of the headache and pain division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and President of the American Headache Society. “Many people are very busy and are reluctant to take the time, but if you consider the trade-off of spending 10 minutes to close the blinds, lie down, and relax when you feel a headache forming, that might be better use of your time than being incapacitated later on after it gets worse,” she says.
Eat Small, Frequent Meals
If you haven’t eaten anything in a while, that aching or fuzzy feeling may be a result of low blood sugar. In this case, eating something right away could nip the nagging sensation in the bud. Some research suggests that foods rich in magnesium, such as spinach, tofu, olive oil, or sunflower or pumpkin seeds, may be especially helpful.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine practices, applying pressure to a point on the hand between the thumb and index finger can help achieve migraine relief. Simply squeeze the indentation between the two digits with the thumb and index finger of your opposite hand and massage in a circular motion for five minutes, then switch hands. “It’s certainly a harmless thing to try, and at the very least it’s a distraction from the pain,” says Dr. Loder, who adds that it may also he helpful to rub ice on this spot for a few minutes. You could also try acupuncture. The technique, which uses long needles inserted into the skin to stimulate trigger points throughout the body, has been shown to help prevent migraines as well as frequent tension-type headaches.
Headache is one of the first signs of dehydration. To make sure you’re drinking enough fluids, try to consume them throughout the day, rather than just guzzling them down at meal times or during periods of heavy physical activity, suggests Dr. Green. Institute of Medicine guidelines say that adults should consume between 11 and 15 cups of water a day, but that also counts liquid from other sources—like low-calorie liquids (tea and skim or low-fat milk, for example) as well as fruits and vegetables. Even moderate coffee consumption contributes to your daily fluid intake; a 2014 study published in PLoS One debunked the long-standing theory that its caffeine content contributed to dehydration.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Being significantly overweight may increase a person’s chances of having recurring migraines, according to a 2013 study from Johns Hopkins University. The finding was especially true for women, white people, and those 50 and younger. “We also know that being obese can turn episodic headaches into chronic headaches,” says Dr. Green. “It’s one of the major risk factors we worry about.” Losing weight through diet and regular exercise—or keeping your weight healthy if you’re already there—can go a long way in preventing headaches from happening more frequently.
Take Computer Breaks
Eyestrain on its own isn’t usually a cause of bad headaches, says Dr. Loder, but she believes that spending long hours in front of a computer can make people more susceptible to them. “It hasn’t been well studied, but having talked with many patients, I believe that very prolonged and intense periods of mental concentration can contribute to headaches,” she says. Paying attention to ergonomics at your workspace can help reduce strain on the neck, she says, and taking frequent breaks—every 30 minutes or so, to stretch and look away from your computer screen—can reduce eyestrain and muscle stiffness.
Some research has suggested that certain dietary supplements and vitamins may be helpful in preventing recurring headaches, although different options seem to work for different people. Daily doses of butterbur (also known as Petasites root) were shown to cut migraine frequency in half in one Albert Einstein College of Medicine study; similar results were also found for vitamin B2, or riboflavin, in a German clinical trial. Coenzyme Q10, a vitamin found in meats and seafood, and the mineral magnesium have also been shown to decrease headache frequency. Before taking any new supplement, however, talk to your doctor to be sure it’s safe for your specific medical situation.
Relieve Your Heartburn Naturally!
If you’ve ever experienced the burning pain of heartburn then I certainly don’t need to tell you that when this digestive dragon rears its ugly head your number one priority is quick and effective relief.
But what if you don’t want to take costly side-effect ridden prescription medications or load up on mainstream drugstore remedies that often do more harm than good?
The good news is that there are alternatives!
In fact there are a number of proven all-natural home remedies that will have you dousing the flames of your heartburn in no time. Here are five of my favorites:
1. Ginger is proven to be one of the most powerful natural remedies for heartburn. Drinking warn ginger tea should help alleviate heartburn in two different ways. First ginger has the capacity to absorb acid from the stomach and second it has nerve-calming effects. Furthermore, ginger is a harmless natural herb with a broad dosage range. In other words it’s safe to consume it regularly to prevent your heartburn from recurring.
2. Aloe vera juice is widely used in Europe as a natural home remedy to ease heartburn. This green juice is highly alkaline, thus it can neutralize excess of stomach acid. The natural juice, with no additives, can been used to calm an irritated esophagus. However, moderation is key here. High doses of aloe vera juice can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain and electrolyte imbalance.
3. Cabbage juice is an oldie but a goodie when it comes to preventing recurring heartburn pain. The juice is a natural anti-inflammatory and is a source of lactic acid making it a natural for all kinds of digestive troubles. You can easily make the juice in your blender or juicer in your own kitchen just check a search engine like Google for a number of easy to follow recipes. To get the best results drink the juice in the morning on empty stomach.
4. Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a natural antacid. In fact it’s among the oldest and most well known home remedies for heartburn. It can act rapidly to neutralize excess acid in the stomach giving almost instant relief from heartburn pain. Try about a half a tablespoon dissolved in a glass of water. If you find this dosage doesn’t work as effectively as you would like increase the amount of baking soda you use next time.
5. It may at first seem counter intuitive but many heartburn sufferers swear by apple cider vinegar as a highly effective method of heartburn relief. The reason it works is that for a number of sufferers the problem is not excess stomach acid but too little stomach acid. To give this one a try simply stir about 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into 1/2 cup of water. However be prepared to stop taking it if you turn out to be someone who does suffer from excess acid and you don’t find relief or even feel more pain.
Remember, everyone is unique therefore individuals will respond differently to each remedy. An approach that works wonders for a friend might not work as well for you. Therefore, be prepared to experiment a bit to find out what the best solutions are for you.
By: Jenny Thompson
Need Help Lowering High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure is a dangerous condition that can damage your heart. It affects one in three people in the US and 1 billion people worldwide. If left uncontrolled, it raises your risk of heart disease and stroke.
But there’s good news. There are a number of things you can do to lower your blood pressure naturally, even without medication.
Here are 5 natural ways to combat high blood pressure:
1. Exercise is one of the best things you can do to lower high blood pressure. Regular exercise helps make your heart stronger and more efficient at pumping blood, which lowers the pressure in your arteries. In fact, 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, such as running, per week can help lower blood pressure and improve your heart health.
Bottom Line: Walking just 30 minutes a day can help lower your blood pressure. More exercise helps reduce it even further.
2. Salt intake is high around the world. In large part, this is due to processed and prepared foods. For this reason, many public health efforts are aimed at lowering salt in the food industry. In many studies, salt has been linked to high blood pressure and heart events, like stroke.
Bottom Line: Most guidelines for lowering blood pressure recommend lowering sodium intake. However, that recommendation might make the most sense for people who are salt-sensitive.
3. Drinking alcohol can raise blood pressure. In fact, alcohol is linked to 16% of high blood pressure cases around the world. While some research has suggested that low-to-moderate amounts of alcohol may protect the heart, those benefits may be offset by negative effects. In the US, moderate alcohol consumption is defined as no more than one drink a day for women and two for men. If you drink more than that, cut back.
Bottom Line: Drinking alcohol in any quantity may raise your blood pressure. Limit your drinking to no more than one drink a day for women, two for men.
4. Potassium is an important mineral. It helps your body get rid of sodium and ease pressure on your blood vessels. Modern diets have increased most people’s sodium intake while decreasing potassium intake. To get a better balance of potassium to sodium in your diet, focus on eating fewer processed foods and more fresh, whole foods.
Bottom Line: Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, which are rich in potassium, can help lower blood pressure.
5. If you’ve ever downed a cup of coffee before you’ve had your blood pressure taken, you’ll know that caffeine causes an instant boost. However, there’s not a lot of evidence to suggest that drinking caffeine regularly can cause a lasting increase. In fact, people who drink caffeinated coffee and tea tend to have a lower risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure, than those who don’t. Caffeine may have a stronger effect on people who don’t consume it regularly. If you suspect you’re caffeine-sensitive, cut back to see if it lowers your blood pressure.
Bottom Line: Caffeine can cause a short-term spike in blood pressure, although for many people it does not cause a lasting increase.
Take Home Message:
High blood pressure affects a large proportion of the world’s population. While drugs are one way to treat the condition, there are many other natural techniques that can help. Controlling your blood pressure through the methods in this article may, ultimately, help you lower your risk of heart disease.
Article By Kerri-Ann Jennings, MS, RD
Food Tips For Diabetics
A diagnosis of diabetes often comes with recommendation from your doctor to improve your diet. While eating a healthy diet is important for everyone, it is especially important for diabetics. Here are a few suggestions to help with your food choices:
1. Use brown rice and whole wheat pasta. Look for 100% whole wheat flour and breads, and other whole grains like oats and barley. Make the switch simple. For instance, if you’re short on time, pop a packet of pre-cooked frozen brown rice into the microwave.
2. Fill Up! Aim for at least 8 grams of fiber per meal, especially when you eat carbohydrate-rich foods. It will help manage your blood sugar, keep you feeling full, and be good for your heart health. That’s extra important because diabetes makes heart disease more likely.
3. Replace Some Carbs With Good Fat: Monounsaturated fats — nuts, avocados, olive oil, and canola oil — can help lower your blood sugar. Just avoid huge portions so you don’t take in too many calories. Add nuts and avocado to salads and entrees. Look for salad dressings, marinades, and sauces made with canola or olive oil. You can also cook with these two oils.
4. Foods That Won’t Spike Blood Sugar – Good choices that aren’t likely to cause a big rise in your levels include lean meat, poultry, fish, avocados, salad vegetables, eggs, and cheese. Add these items to your plate to help balance the foods you eat that have carbs.
5. Go Lean! Choose recipes with less saturated fat. Maybe skip that cream sauce and look for lean cuts of meat, skim or low-fat dairy, and vegetable sources of protein like beans, lentils, or nuts.
Bottom line is, it’s okay to be picky. Choose the right foods to keep your diabetes in check. Also, try to cook at home instead of going out. It’s easier to keep track of what you eat when you make your own meals. Use these ideas as motivation when you’re whipping something up in the kitchen.
These helpful tips bought to by www.webmd.com