Dairy Consumption is a Trigger for Severe Allergy Symptoms

It’s springtime again and unfortunately, many allergy sufferers are beginning to feel the affect of the warm weather.  Mother Nature’s blossoming flowers, trees, and shrubs are releasing allergens such as pollen and ragweed into the air, which causes a chain reaction of  sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and nose blowing misery for 50 million people in America.   And what’s even worse, these beautiful, blossoming frenemies have catapulted allergies to the 5th spot among chronic diseases.

 

Now granted, this data does sound alarming, but as with all statistics, there are always variables that can skew the numbers so to speak.  So what do these numbers really mean? Ok- there are many people who really do suffer miserably with allergies, but the good news is that many of them are only slightly allergic to common allergens such as pollen and ragweed.  Furthermore, the severe symptoms that they experience are possibly caused by certain triggers such as dairy.  So, if they avoid dairy during allergy season, their allergy symptoms might be mild or even better, might just simply go away. Now that’s data that can make everyone, especially allergy sufferers, breath more easily.

 

 

Milk does the Body Good- Well not Always!

 

CUSH No Dairy

Research has shown that dairy can actually trigger many of the allergic symptoms that people experience during the spring. Sorry dairy lovers, but you just might have to give up dairy based milk and cookies, milk shakes, and even cheese until the allergens die down in the air. 

 

It turns out that many seasonal allergy sufferers just might be harboring an undiagnosed sensitivity to dairy. If the body has a sensitivity to dairy, it will be in a heightened attack mode after you have consumed it. Simultaneously, if seasonal allergens are introduced during this time, your body will overreact because it is already on high alert.

 

Conversely, if you don’t consume dairy during allergy season, your body will not be on high alert. Therefore, when allergens like ragweed and pollen are introduced, your body will see them as a minor problem and respond mildly to them-if it responds at all.

 

The Milk Experiment

 

When I first told my husband Joe this (he used to suffer horribly from allergies), he rolled his eyes and refused to entertain the concept of removing dairy from his diet.  After all, I had just started studying nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition so his scientific brain dismissed the message as silliness.  I’m sure he was asking himself what could  she possibly know as a new student?

 

So, I had to speak to him on his level and I asked him to conduct his own scientific experiment.    I told him to just try it for one week, which was huge because he loves milk and did not want to part with it.  But alas, he acquiesced and the rest is history, as they say.

 

Joe was totally blown away with the results.  His allergy symptoms of severe head aches (so severe he would often be bed ridden) simply went away.  And so did all of the constant nose blowing and watery eyes that annoyed the both of us to no end.

 

That was 6 years ago and he remains pretty much allergy free when he doesn’t consume dairy during the allergy season.  In addition (and perhaps most importantly), he trusts homeopathic medicine and often asks me for natural remedies to cure whatever ails him.  I guess you can say that this little experiment turned out to be a win-win for both of us:  The money we saved on medicine during allergy season-$100.00.  Getting my husband to embrace homeopathic remedies-now that was priceless!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Sleep Your Way to Good Health

Are you one of those self-proclaimed night owls that will do just about anything to stay up late?  Or perhaps like me, you really do have a lot going on during the day, especially if you have children. So when you finally get them to bed, you get your “second wind” so to speak. 

 

Believe me-I get it!  However, while staying up late might be good for our “to do” lists, unfortunately, it’s not so good for our health.

 

Scientists now know that to achieve optimal health, you have to get proper sleep that includes both, the number of hours you sleep and the time frame of when you actually start to count those hours, i.e. the time you actually go to bed.

 

The Eight Hours of Sleep Rule-Is it Enough?

 

For years, we’ve been told that we should get eight hours of sleep each night to remain healthy.

 

But is that really all that we need to do? 

 

While eight hours of sleep sounds good, it means absolutely nothing if you’re not in bed by 10:00 PM and starting the clock towards your eight hours of sleep.

 

Sleeping the Ayurvedic Way

 

Getting eight hours of sleep between the hours of 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM should be one of the first things listed on your  “how to get healthy” list, according to Ayurvedic medicine.   And before you dismiss this as strange science, take a look at the compelling scientific facts that supports the notion of going to bed by 10:00 PM. 

 

Internal Clocks and Third Eyes-Seriously?

 Third Eye

 

Our bodies have a small pea sized organ called the pineal gland, and its main function is to detect environmental light via the optic nerve found in our eyes.  If it’s bright light (hopefully from the sun) the pineal gland communicates to the brain that we should awaken.  Conversely, when the sun begins to set, it communicates to the brain that we should begin to sleep.  This is why some scientists refer to it as a “third eye“ and others refer to it as an internal clock.   

 

But more importantly, this very critical gland ensures that we are in sync with our environment, and if that environment consists of natural sunrises and sunsets, we can remain healthy by following those natural cues of when to go to sleep.  And speaking of natural cues, this should also be a reminder that we are a part of a large cosmic universe that has a natural order.  Furthermore, being in harmony with our universe can create a beautiful, rhythmic melody of good health.

 

Circadian Rhythm and The Sleep Process

 

When the sun begins to set, the pineal gland begins to sense the change and secretes melantonin to prepare you for sleep and healing.  This process is called the circadian rhythm. 

Circadian Clock
Circadian Clock Chart

 

Usually by 9:00 or 10:00 PM, our bodies have produced an adequate amount melantonin that’s necessary to begin the healing process of repairing damaged DNA and eliminating free radicals from your body.

 

All that you need to do to benefit from the natural healing effects of melantonin is to be in bed by 10:00 PM and you’ll be on your way to a healthier you by the next morning.

 

References:

The Pineal Gland and Melantonin

Sleep Foundation

Immune Health Science

National Institute of General Medical Science

How to up Your Vitamin D Levels and Reclaim Your Health

Although there have been numerous news reports covering the fact that there’s a vitamin D deficiency epidemic in America, very few people seem to be listening.  If you happen to be one of those people- I’m giving you a friendly nudge to wake you up.  This is a serious topic so I won’t beat around the bush. Here’s the deal- if you suffer from any of the illnesses listed below, you just might be deficient in vitamin D.

 

Musculosketal Disorders: Osteoporosis, Rickets, Aching bones, Soft Bones, Bones that fracture/break easily

Autoimmune Disorders: Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Type 1 Diabetes, Grave’s Disease, Multiple Schlerosis

Hair and Skin Disorders:  Hair Loss, Eczema, Psoriasis, Hyperpigmentation

Mental Health Disorders: Depression

Oral Health: Peridontal Disease, Dental Caries

Women’s Health:  Infertility, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Respiratory: Asthma, Pneumonia, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Cancer: All Cancers

 

That’s a long list of illnesses, I know. But guess what! I could have named a whole lot more, however, I think you get the  point of just how important vitamin D is. And just to clarify, vitamin D deficiency might not cause all of those diseases directly.  Medical doctors say that having one automimmune disease will more than likely lead to another autoimmune disease or another example is if you have high blood pressure, it’s highly possible that you will also develop diabetes. 

 

Now having said that, if you do suffer from one of the above illnesses and/or your vitamin D levels are low, don’t despair.  There are numerous ways to increase your  levels and they are pretty simply to do.

 

For example, you could just spend a little bit of “me” time basking in the sun because it naturally provides you with vitamin D. Or, if the idea of basking in the sun doesn’t work for you, you could always eat your way to optimum levels (but that might be a whole lot of eating), which leads me to the third option.  You could take a vitamin D supplement.  I highly recommend the first and last options-but, I’ll discuss all three.

 

vitamin-D
Vitamin D Sources

 

Make Beautiful Babies With Exercise, Nutrition, and Sleep

Most women today are fully aware of the benefits of  nutrition and exercise prior to conception.  But is that enough? Well, perhaps not!  If you’re till having trouble conceiving naturally, research suggests that skipping out on your eight hours of sleep just might be the culprit that’s putting the kibash on your family planning.

 

Hormonal Effects of Sleepless Nights

Although most people need seven to nine hours of sleep each night to function well the next day, the National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) 1998 Women and Sleep Poll found that the average woman aged 30-60 sleeps only six hours and forty-one minutes during the work week. Without adequate sleep, you can’t achieve optimal health and wellness-let alone create a proper environment for a fetus.

 

A lack of sleep greatly impacts one of your body’s most important systems (especially for making babies), the endocrine system.  That’s right-not getting enough zzzs will cause your endocrine system to malfunction.  When that happens, your ability to conceive can decrease drastically and ladies, not having a properly functioning endocrine system is like not having water for your beloved plants-nothing can grow.

 

Oh Endocrine-Friend of Mine

Your endocrine system plays one of the most important roles in terms of regulating ovulation.  The endocrine system controls all of the hormones in your body, which means that women (especially those who are trying to conceive) are adversely impacted when it fails to produce the necessary reproductive hormones like leptin.  Generally when we think of leptin, we might think of it in terms of regulating your appetite and weight, which is important to help you reach your body image goals.  However, if you’re trying to conceive, you also need leptin to help you reach your fertility goals.

 

Leptin the Fertility God

If you are not sleeping adequately, your leptin levels will decrease, which could lead to  irregular ovulation; as well as, irregular or decreased menstrual cycles.

 

Dr. Randy Morris, a reproduction and infertility doctor located in Chicago, cites the following study: Researchers in Boston studied 14 female athletes who had stopped their menstrual cycle five years prior to the study. Their body fat was 40 percent less than the average woman. Eight of these women were given leptin, while the remaining women acted as controls. After just three months of treatment, women who received leptin supplements resumed their menstrual cycle and their ovaries began to function normally. Leptin also improved bone density bone markers in their blood. Conversely, there were no changes found in the menstrual cycle or bone density bone markers of the control group.

 

Needless to say, this study proves that women who are trying to conceive must ensure that they have adequate leptin levels-ideally by getting the proper amount of sleep.

 

Increasing Your Leptin Levels

If you are having problems conceiving, speak with your OB/GYN and put yourself on an adequate sleep regimen to restore your endocrine system. The following tips should be helpful in getting you back to sleeping like a baby:

 

  • Try to get in bed by 10:00 PM. Your body-more specifically, your adrenal system does the majority of its recharging between the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m,
  • Don’t snack on sugary foods before bedtime because it raises your blood sugar level, which can inhibit sleep,
  • Make sure your room is cool and below 70 degrees, (I sleep like a baby at 68 or 69 degrees)
  • Stop watching mood altering television programs,
  • Try to avoid situations and people who upset you,
  • Get into a good cardiovascular work-out routine, which will regulate your adrenal glands. Insomniacs have a significant higher level of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenocorticotropic (ACTH), and
  • Avoid consuming caffeine after 12:00 PM.

 

Check out Gretchen’s Story


Reference:

 

 

References:

 

Morris, Randy S. MD. (June 2008). Could Leptin be the Next Fertility Medication. IVF1. Retrieved January 24, 2013 from http://www.ivf1.com/leptin/

 

(n.d.) Women and Sleep. National Sleep Foundation. Retrieved January 24, 2009, from
http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-topics/women-and-sleep