Wednesday, 30 April 2014

8 Foods to Help Fight Allergies

Eating the right kind of wholesome natural food can support allergy relief in one way or another. For example, apples and onions contain quercetin, which is a natural antihistamine. Citrus fruits and green vegetables are high in vitamin C and contain hesperetin, which can help fight allergies and are anti-inflammatory. Remember, your daily diet is just as important, if not more so than your pills.


Courtesy of Natural Healthy Concepts: 8 Foods to Help Fight Allergies [INFOGRAPHIC]

Monday, 28 April 2014

10 Natural Remedies for Spring Allergies


It is the time of the year again - SPRING. With the blossoming flowers and great weather, it is a lovely season for some but a dreaded time for those with seasonal allergies. It is the A-C-H-O-O season!

While I do not suffer from seasonal allergies myself, I am allergic to dust mites and can certainly understand the misery of stuffy nose, non-stop sneezing and itchy eyes. Here are 10 natural remedies which I know about that you may find useful in alleviating some of those nasty allergy symptoms:

Neti Pot
Neti Pot Helps to rinse out the allergens and excess mucus from your sinus passages. Many allergy patients find this little pot greatly improved their breathing. Be sure to use sterile water or saline solution when using the Neti Pot .

Acupuncture
Acupuncture helps in relieving the allergic rhinitis by strengthening the body’s system, tonifying the Spleen and qi, supporting the exterior so that it’s not so vulnerable to attack by external factors, and scattering wind-cold. The treatment should help in easing your nasal congestion. Read here to understand more about how acupuncture works with allergic rhinitis.

Quercetin

Quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in many fruits and vegetables such as onions and apples. It is an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that Quercetin stabilize mast cells which secrete histamine, hence it is a potent natural antihistamine and can help to reduce your allergy symptoms. I have personally found it to be very useful in combating my allergy problem. Read here about my experience with Quercetin.

Green Tea

Green tea contains high level of antioxidant and is anti-inflammatory. It boosts your immune system and some studies have shown that it helps to fight allergies.

Elderberry

Elderberry has long been used as a natural remedy for various ailments. It is used to boost the immune system and fight off viruses and is a popular remedy for colds and flu. Elderberry is rich in antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. Being an expectorant, it helps relieve respiratory problems.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Did you know that Hippocrates, the father of western medicine used apple cider vinegar to treat a variety of ailments ranging from allergies, acne, high cholesterol, gout, indigestion to sore throat? It has an alkaline effect and helps to balance the PH level in our body. Many allergy sufferers have found that drinking diluted apple cider vinegar with local raw honey (see below) on a regular basis helps to improve their allergies tremendously. Be sure to use only raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar as it contains the Mother, which is made up of dark cloudy strands of enzymes that are beneficial to fight off infection. Read here to find out how to prepare this drink.

Local Raw Honey
Many people swear by taking a teaspoon of local raw honey a few times a day to fight their hay fever. Raw honey contains bee pollen. By eating the local raw honey, your body slowly adapts to the local pollen and stop making antihistamine to fight it off. Honey also has anti-inflammatory effects, which is beneficial to the body inflamed with allergies.

Probiotics
Bacteria living in the gut and the digestive tract are linked to our immune health. It is said that the gut houses 70% of your immune system. Thus it is important to balance the good bacteria (probiotics) with the bad to maintain a healthy gut. A daily dose of probiotics may help to manage your allergic response to pollens and other allergens.

Essential Oil

Essential oils have been used medicinally in history. Here are some essential oils which are good for allergies:

Lavender: calms, antiviral and has natural antihistamine properties

Eucalyptus: relieves respiratory symptoms and headaches, ease breathing and scratchy throats, antiviral

Lemon: cleansing, protect immunity, antiviral and relieve excess mucous

Peppermint: antiviral, ease breathing, fights infection, helps congestion, relieves headaches and opens airways

Turmeric
In ayurvedic medicine, turmeric has been used for hundreds of years to treat allergies. Clinical research and studies have shown that curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, has the power to block mast cells from releasing histamine. It is also anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce swelling in the sinus tissues.


This originally appeared as my guest post for happyacupuncturist.com

Monday, 14 April 2014

All About the Pollen Count

What is pollen count?
According to pollen.com, pollen count is the measurement of the number of grains of pollen in a cubic meter of air. 

Low pollen count - affect few individuals
High pollen count - allergic symptoms such as constant sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion and itchy eyes affect most allergy sufferers.

How is pollen collected?
1. A rod covered with a sticky substance is usually used and attached to the roof of a building.
2. For 24 hours, the rotating rod will be tested periodically at different times of the day for the amount of pollen adhered to it.
3. Samples are then taken and analyzed microscopically to determine how much pollen is in the air.

When is pollen count the highest?
1. Spring time when flowering happens
2. Early morning
3. Warm, dry, and windy weather

How to know the pollen count?
Pollen.com provides current allergy pollen levels for your local area and you can even view a four-day forecast online or sign up for allergy alerts. I have a widget on the right column of my blog (below labels) where you can type in your US zip code to find out about current pollen levels. Pretty cool!

Knowing when pollen count is high is important so you can avoid heading out during that time or if you must, take extra precaution such as wearing a good quality mask and other tips here. If you are staying indoors and would still love to enjoy the spring breeze without the sneezing, this window air screen designed for asthma and allergy sufferers looks like a great investment.

Source: pollen.com
Video: cnn


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Understanding Atopic Triad


The atopic triad consists of atopic dematitis (eczema), allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and asthma. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, atopic diseases have increased in frequency in recent decades and now affect about 20% of the population in developed countries.

What is atopy?
The U.S. National Library of Medicine defines atopy as a personal and/or familial propensity to produce IgE antibodies and sensitization in response to environmental triggers.

How does Atopic Triad (also known as Atopic March) work?

According to the Experience Journal of Boston Children's Hospital:
"These allergic reactions tend to happen in sequence during childhood. You often see a child who early in infancy develops bad eczema and maybe associated food allergies, and while that’s very likely to settle down after time, having bad eczema in infancy gives you about a 50% higher chance of developing asthma, so that by the time that kid is two they might be developing intermittent episodes of wheezing and coughing. Then a little later in life they might develop upper airway allergies, which is Hay fever. That progression is called the atopic march, and it’s very common for kids to follow."

What causes Atopic Triad?
  • Genetics: When one or both parents have anyone of these atopic diseases, it increases the chance of their child getting it.
  • Environment: change in weather, pollens, dust mites, mold, cigarette smoke etc
  • Lifestyle: stress, diet, lack of sleep

Impact of Atopic Triad
Atopic diseases cause a lot of discomfort and health issues all year round for those suffering from it. From dry flaky skin leading to eczema during the Winter to hay fever - constant sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes during the pollen season in Spring/Summer/Autumn. Those residing in tropical countries are not spared either. Sweating in the hot humid weather aggravates the eczema condition and also promotes growth of dust mites and molds which are allergens that can trigger an allergic flare up.

Living with atopic triad can be tiring, frustrating and heart-breaking if you are a parent. Jennifer from It's an itchy little world  shares her family journey on her blog, detailing how she copes with her two kids who suffer from the atopic triad. Awesome blog!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Common Causes of Rhinitis

source: ACAAI


This is a useful table from The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) summarizing 3 different types of rhinitis - allergic, infectious and non-allergic. Not all rhinitis are due to allergies and the most common type is infectious rhinitis which is your typical colds and flu. What is non-allergic rhinitis? Click on the source link to read more about these 3 types of rhinitis.

ACAAI has very comprehensive information about allergies and asthma. I strongly encourage you to visit their website if you or your love ones suffer from any of these two problems.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Tips for Eating Your Favorite Food If You Have Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS)


Spring time is here and if you have pollen allergies, some food may cross react with the pollen and trigger the oral allergy syndrome (OAS). The basic rule is to avoid eating those foods that make you unwell. But if its your favorite food or for some reason you cannot avoid eating them, Dr Renee has some tips for you:

  • Cook it: Cooking often breaks down or alters the trigger proteins so that the immune system doesn’t target them.


  • Peel it: Peeling fruits such as apples may help, because most trigger proteins are in the peel.

  • Can it: Canning also breaks down trigger protein