Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Allergies and Omega3, other supplements :: The New Straits Times Online........

The New Straits Times Online........

ALLERGIES plague many of us and cause sneezing, itchy eyes, and congestion, or asthma. So what do we do? We resort to popping prescription and over-the-counter drugs which suppress the allergy symptoms but don’t actually prevent them.

Some people may take more extreme action: they rip up their carpeting, install expensive air-filtration systems. Some even move to a different climate in a desperate and often futile attempt to “run away” from their allergies.

However, experts say that a simple strategy to alleviate and prevent allergies/asthma is to eat a nutritious diet (along with proper exercise and rest, of course).

They say proper nutrition can alleviate or prevent allergies and asthma in four ways:

Help control underlying inflammation of air passages.

Dilate air passages.

Thin mucus in the lungs.

Prevent food-allergy reactions that trigger asthma attacks.

So include the following foods in your diet to try and get allergy relief the natural way:

Cold-Water Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids from cold-water fish, such as salmon, sardines and tuna, may protect against the overproduction of certain antibodies that can trigger allergies. To get the most benefit, either bake or poach the fish. Eat two or three servings per week.


Yogurt — or at least the active cultures it contains — is not only good for your gut, but it can also help skin allergies. But check the container for the words “live active cultures” to be assured of a bacterial boost.

Green Tea

According to Japanese researchers, the green tea compound methylated epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), may be anti-allergenic. “Green tea appears to be a promising source for effective anti-allergenic agents,” said the study’s chief investigator. “If you have allergies, you should consider drinking it.”

Canola Oil

Canola oil is a source of allergy-fighting omega-3 fatty acids. Other sources include soybean oil, flaxseed oil, walnuts and wheatgerm. Virgin olive oil is another great cooking ingredient as it is monosaturated fat.

Magnesium-Rich Foods

Some studies have demonstrated that people with asthma are magnesium deficient. Magnesium-rich foods include spinach, navy beans, pinto beans, sunflower seeds, tofu, halibut, cashews, artichokes and black-eyed peas.

Fruit and juices

Vitamin C acts as a natural antihistamine so consume plenty of citrus fruits. Or drink juice to get a powerful boost of antioxidants. Be sure you’re purchasing 100 per cent fruit juice, and not a cocktail that includes a bulk of corn syrup.

Also an apple a day will keep the allergies at bay. A British study of 2,512 middle-aged men showed that those who ate five apples a week had significantly higher lung function than those who ate no apples. Experts believe apples contain healthy compounds, including antioxidants that improve lung health.

Zinc-Rich Foods

Some studies have demonstrated that people with asthma are zinc-deficient. Zinc-rich foods include tofu, lean ground beef, lean ham, oysters, crab, and the dark meat of turkey and chicken.

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