Do you suffer from seasonal allergies? These occur when the immune system misinterprets a typically nontoxic substance such as pollen, grass, or mold as a harmful invader. The immune system then responds to this perceived threat by releasing histamines. Histamines produce a whole host of reactions including sneezing, nasal and respiratory congestion, itchy eyes, and increased mucous production.
Here are 6 surefire steps to bring you allergy relief:
- Reduce stress in your life.
Stress and anxiety can make allergies last longer and become stronger. Stress depresses our immune system by stimulating the continuous release of proinflammatory cytokines. Take action and decrease stress in your life by consistently getting 8 hours of sleep and practicing a mind-body relaxation technique like meditation or yoga, and eliminating inflammatory foods like dairy, fried processed, and refined foods.
- Make your own sinus rinse. (It’s easy.)
Nasal saline sinus rinses are a powerful way to decrease inflammation and the risk of infection in the nasal passages and sinuses. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology recommends the following recipe:
In a clean container, mix 3 heaping teaspoons of iodide-free
salt with 1 rounded teaspoon of baking soda.
Store in a small airtight container.
Add 1 teaspoon of the mixture to 8 ounces (1 cup) of lukewarm distilled or boiled water.
Use fewer dry ingredients to make a weaker solution if burning or stinging is experienced.
For children, use a half-teaspoon with 4 ounces of water.
- Boost your zinc intake.
People with low levels of zinc are more likely to suffer from allergies. Eat foods like cremini mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, spinach, and venison to increase your intake of this important mineral. Other good sources include: asparagus, chard, scallops, lamb, beef, maple syrup, shrimp, green peas, yogurt, oats, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, turkey, miso, and spelt.
- Drink green tea.
A type of polyhenol in green tea called catechin is effective in reducing allergy symptoms. Catechin decreases excessive levels of histamines, which cause a battery of allergy symptoms including sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes. Sip on green tea throughout the day to combat excessive histamine release.
- Say hello to foods with quercetin.
The bioflavanoid quercitin has been called a “secret weapon” in combating excessive histamine. Foods rich with quercetin include: onions, capers, broccoli, leafy greens, cranberries, apples, and raspberries.
- Eat foods to support healthy mucous membranes.
Vitamin A helps strengthen the integrity of the mucous membranes. Increase Vitamin A-rich foods in your diet such as cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, persimmon, pumpkin, beet greens, carrots, collards, parsley, spinach, winter squash, green onions, and apricots to make your mucous membranes healthier.
Balanced protein intake better for health
Researchers suggest that excessive consumption of protein for building muscle mass could have a negative impact on the body. However, wide-range of protein is best to maintain balance. Amino acids have long been touted by the fitness and bodybuilding communities for their muscle building benefits. From ultra-bulk protein powders to lean mass-promoting snack bars, there’s no shortage of products available for those seeking a muscle boost.
However, protein’s popularity has also meant that less attention has been paid to researching its potentially negative side-effects.
According to the study published in the Journal of Nature Metabolism, excessive consumption of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) may reduce lifespan, negatively impact mood and lead to weight gain.
BCAAs stands for branched-chain amino acids. It’s a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine, and are most commonly found in red meat and dairy.
BCAAs great for adding muscle mass, but science says you could pay for it later.
Researchers have investigated the complex role nutrition plays in mediating various aspects of metabolic health, reproduction, appetite and ageing.
“While diets high in protein and low in carbohydrates were shown to be beneficial for reproductive function, they had detrimental effects for health in mid-late life, and also led to a shortened lifespan,” one of the researchers, Dr Samantha Solon explained.
“What this new research has shown is that amino acid balance is important. It’s best to vary sources of protein to ensure you’re getting the best amino acid balance.”
The current research examined the impacts that dietary BCAAs and other essential amino acids such as tryptophan had on the health and body composition of mice.
“Supplementation of BCAAs resulted in high levels of BCAAs in the blood which competed with tryptophan for transport into the brain,” explained one of the researchers, Professor Stephen Simpson.
“Tryptophan is the sole precursor for the hormone serotonin, which is often called the ‘happiness chemical’ for its mood-enhancing effects and its role in promoting sleep. But serotonin does more than this, and therein lay the problem,” he added.
Dietitian and public health nutritionist Dr Rosilene Ribeiro recommend eating a wide range of proteins.
It’s important to vary protein sources in order to get a variety of essential amino acids, through a healthy and balanced diet rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals.
BCAAs are essential amino acids present in protein-containing foods, with red meat and dairy being the richest sources. Chicken, fish and eggs are also nutritious sources of BCAAs.
Vegetarians can find BCAAs in beans, lentils, nuts and soy proteins.
Know the severity of falling sick in the morning
While sickness comes irrespective of the time, the severity of afflictions ranging from allergies to heart attacks differs in the morning from that in the night highlighted a new study. The study was published in the Journal Trends in Immunology which compiled studies, predominantly in mice, that looked at the connection between circadian rhythms and immune responses.
The body reacts to cues such as light and hormones to anticipate recurring rhythms of sleep, metabolism, and other physiological processes. The numbers of white blood cells, in both humans and mice also oscillate in a circadian manner.
Taking into account the above-mentioned facts, researchers in the study found that:
Heart attacks in humans are known to strike most commonly in the morning, and research suggests that morning heart attacks tend to be more severe than at night.
In mice, the numbers of monocytes, a type of white blood cell that fights off bacteria, viruses, and fungi –are elevated in the blood during the day. At night, monocytes are elevated in infarcted heart tissue, resulting in decreased cardiac protection at that time of day relative to morning.
Parasite infections are time-of-day dependent. Mice infected with the gastrointestinal parasite Trichuris muris in the morning have been able to kill worms significantly faster than those infected in the evening.
Allergic symptoms follow a time-of-day dependent rhythmicity, generally worse between midnight and early morning. Hence, the molecular clock can physiologically drive innate immune cell recruitment and the outcomes of asthma in humans, or airway inflammation in mice, the review notes.
“Investigating circadian rhythms in innate and adaptive immunity is a great tool to generally understand the physiological interplay and time-dependent succession of events in generating immune responses,” said senior author Christoph Scheiermann, University of Geneva.
ICMR develops affordable quick test kits for diagnosing genetic bleeding disorders
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has developed a cost-effective and rapid point-of-care test kit for diagnosing genetic bleeding disorders such as haemophilia A and Von Willebrand disease (VWD).
Diagnostics which are currently available require special equipment and are expensive.
“Both Haemophilia A and VWD are under diagnosed disorders in our country. There are only handful of comprehensive diagnostic centres for bleeding disorders,” an official at ICMR said.
“Lack of awareness and diagnostic facilities, high cost of tests are some of the factors for under-diagnosis of bleeding disorders in our country,” he said.
According to the ICMR, the kit is the world’s first point-of-care test for specific diagnosis of any common bleeding disorder and costs less than Rs 50 in comparison to existing conventional test that cost around Rs 4,000 to Rs 10,000.
The newly developed kit would help in diagnosis within 30 minutes of blood sample collection. Also, this will be available at any level of health care system including primary health care centres (PHCs) since it does not require any special expertise or infrastructure.
Worldwide, incidence of Haemophilia A is 1 per 10,000 male births and that of VWD is around 1 per cent of the general population.
“In India, there is no epidemiological data. We may have roughly 80,000-1,00,000 severe Haemophilia cases in our country, but the total number registered with Haemophilia Federation India (HFI) is only around 19,000,” the official said.
Patients with severe Haemophilia A or VWD can have life threatening spontaneous or post-traumatic bleeding like brain haemorrhage and gastrointestinal bleeding. In emergency medical setting, it is important to have a quick diagnosis of bleeding disorders for treatment.
This rapid test kit can be used for the diagnosis of menorrhagia cases/ post-partum haemorrhage (PPH), gynecological complications among others.