Good Food a Good Asthma-Management Tool

Vegetables and fruits provide a wide array of antioxidant and other nutrients that might help reduce inflammation, writes Maureen Williams, ND

‘Five a day’ is surely good advice for people wanting to improve their long-term health, but, for people with asthma, the effects of eating lots of fruits and vegetables may be more immediate. A study found that the lungs of people with asthma functioned better when they ate a diet high in vegetables and fruit, compared with people on a diet low in vegetables and fruit after just two weeks. The same study also found that taking an antioxidant supplement for 12 weeks was not as effective as eating a high-antioxidant diet.

Comparing diets and supplements

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, included 137 adults with asthma. They were assigned to one of three groups:

  1. A high-antioxidant-diet group, who ate 5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruits every day
  2. A low-antioxidant-diet-plus-supplement group, who ate no more than 2 servings of vegetables and 1 serving of fruit per day and took a daily supplement
  3. A low-antioxidant-diet-plus-placebo group, that ate the same diet and took a daily supplement of no nutritional value

After the first two weeks eating their assigned diets, participants added either an antioxidant supplement (a tomato extract providing 45 mg of the antioxidant, lycopene, per day) or placebo for an additional 12 weeks.

Eat your antioxidants for the best effect

Several important differences were found:

  • Breathing tests showed that respiratory function worsened in people on the low-antioxidant diet after two weeks, but was unchanged in people eating the high-antioxidant diet.
  • Asthma symptoms were more likely to increase in people on the low-antioxidant diet than people on the high-antioxidant diet.
  • Levels of CRP (C-reactive protein, an inflammatory chemical in the blood) increased by week 14 in people on the low-antioxidant diet, but not in people on the high-antioxidant diet. (There are health advantages to decreasing inflammation.)
  • Taking the tomato-extract supplement had no impact on the negative effects of being on the low-antioxidant diet.

“We found that a low-antioxidant diet led to a reduction in lung function and an increased risk of asthma exacerbation compared with a high-antioxidant diet,” the study’s authors said. “Whereas antioxidant supplements and dietary manipulation both increased antioxidant concentrations [in the blood], clinical improvements were evident only after the high-antioxidant diet, which suggests that whole food interventions are most effective.”

Eating for better asthma control

Vegetables and fruits provide a wide array of antioxidant and other nutrients that might help reduce inflammation and manage inflammatory conditions like asthma.

In addition to lycopene, here are some of the many antioxidants from vegetables and fruits that might benefit people with asthma:

  • Vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for keeping all kinds of inflammation at bay, and supplements have been found to be helpful in treating asthma, especially exercise-induced asthma.
  • Beta-carotene. In the same family as lycopene, beta-carotene is an antioxidant that gives plants yellow, red, and orange color. People with asthma have been found to have low blood levels of beta-carotene.
  • Quercetin. This flavonoid is found in many fruits and vegetables and might help to control the release of histamine in people with allergies and asthma.
  • Proanthocyanins. This family of plant compounds gives blue, red, and purple color to flowers and fruits. They are strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, and studies have suggested that certain plant extracts that are high in proanthocyanins may aid in asthma management.

(Am J Clin Nutr 2012;96:534–43)

Maureen Williams, ND, completed her doctorate in naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle and has been in private practice since 1995. With an abiding commitment to access to care, she has worked in free clinics in the US and Canada, and in rural clinics in Guatemala and Honduras where she has studied traditional herbal medicine. She currently lives and practices in Victoria, BC, and lectures and writes extensively for both professional and community audiences on topics including family nutrition, menopause, anxiety and depression, heart disease, cancer, and easing stress. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.

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I remember the first time I learnt about beeswax.

It’s amazing how many uses it has…

Lip balm, polish, crayons, sealant, waterproofing and lubricant to name a few.

But the really interesting thing for me is that burning beeswax candles is believed to ionise the air and rid it of pollutants and so it’s useful to people with skin and breathing sensitivities.

Beeswax also burns very slowly and produces a honeyed scent and, of course, it’s a natural substance straight from mother nature.

Candles Naturally make beautiful coral like beeswax candles with attention to environmental sustainability. The coral structure glows like a lantern while the wax burns down inside, leaving the elegant structure of the shell behind.

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The company makes a lot more besides beeswax candles too, including Coconut Shell Candle with essential oils made from sustainable soy oil, which burns for approximately 40 hours!

It’s getting easier to buy unpasteurised milk

Unpasteurized milk is lauded by its supporters for its superior quality.

It is argued that raw milk has more vitamins, beneficial enzymes and ‘friendly’ bacteria. 25% of milk’s vitamin C is said to be lost through pasteurisation.

fresh milkIt is also believed to be easier to digest and, apparently, studies show it can reduce allergies such as asthma and hayfever. Some even believe the saturated fat found in the cream is good for you.

But surely the best arguement is that it tastes better? When pasteurised milk is heat treated it loses its flavour.

Now, while it is still difficult to get hold of unpasteurised cow’s milk, it is possible to get raw, active, unpasteurized goat’s milk – just like real milk should be!

You can try a brand known as Chuckling Goat. The taste is mild and sweet, and not ‘goaty’ at all.

There was a time when unpasteurised milk was understandably risky, because of bacterial infection, but hygienic methods have substantially improved since the days of Louis Pasteur.

Chuckling Goat are licensed to sell raw goats milk; both the goats and their milk are regularly and rigorously tested to ensure stringent standards of safety and purity.

For more information on raw milk visit raw-milk-facts.com

The ‘free from’ times, they are a changing… for the better!

Everyone’s getting excited about this year’s Allergy & Free From Show this May. It’s the biggest event yet for everyone affected by an allergy or intolerance with the latest products, information and up-to-date support.

Tickets are free so come and see us there.

Tom Treverton, Event Director at The Allergy & Free From Show, tells us how it’s going…

As our team enters the home straight towards this year’s Allergy & Free From Show (18 – 20 May, Olympia, London), our third edition as organisers, the excitement in the office is really building.

This is an event that we all love working on. Since we took it on in 2010, year-on-year growth (in terms of visitors, exhibitors and sponsors) has been staggering. 2012 is set for another record year; pre-show ticket registrations are already 4,000 higher than they were at this stage in 2011 (and last year’s show ultimately attracted over 10,000 visitors!).

Naturally, these kinds of trends will make any event organiser very happy, though they are certainly not the only reasons we enjoy working hard to progress this show each year.

Another massive reason: this is an extremely important event to our visitors, because it’s the only UK public-facing show that exists for people living any kind of ‘free from’ life, for reasons of health (i.e. due to allergies, intolerances, coeliac disease, chemical sensitivities) or lifestyle. Our job is to provide the best possible live forum, where visitors can discover product / treatment solutions and take control.

In direct contrast to the woefully inadequate UK provisions of skilled healthcare professionals in this space (supply still nowhere near demand!), we are constantly amazed by the incredible number of fantastic ‘free from’ products that are emerging – seemingly on a daily basis – and are becoming part of the show! These are positive changes; this constant influx of improved products and new choices can only enrich the visitor experience.

We’ve instigated a few changes of our own. The show will take residence in the larger, recently completed West Hall at Olympia, London. We’ve also tweaked our show name, replacing ‘gluten free’ with ‘free from’, in order to better reflect what the show has become. Yes, we are (and will always remain) 100% committed to serving those that need to exclude gluten from their diets, BUT we also exist for those living free from… nuts, dairy, eggs, soya, wheat, pet hair, dust mites and pollen (to name just a few!).

A final change… there will be two editions of the show in 2012! Alongside the London show in May, we are launching a northern edition of the event, taking place later in the year in Liverpool from 27 – 28 October. We can’t wait to replicate the buzz of the London show on Merseyside.

The UK ‘free from’ market is rapidly maturing, and is undoubtedly one of the best on the planet. We relish working on a show that’s right at the heart of that market and delivering a multi-sensory, exciting live event that places the leading brands alongside the thousands of people that are looking to discover them!

See you on the show floor!

Tom Treverton, Event Director, The Allergy & Free From Show

London show: 18 – 20 May 2012, West Hall, Olympia, London
Liverpool show: 27 – 28 October, BT Convention Centre, Liverpool.
Tickets: Access FREE tickets for either show at www.allergyshow.co.uk/go/goodnessdirect
Exhibiting enq: Bruce@f2fevents.co.uk / +44 (0)1442 289927
Website: www.allergyshow.co.uk

Free tickets to The Allergy and Free From Show: 18-20 May 2012

Got an allergy? Is your diet Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Casein Free, Lactose Free, Wheat Free, Yeast Free?

The Allergy & Free From Show 2012 has teamed up with GoodnessDirect to give you unlimited FREE tickets (worth £10 each)!

Taking place from 18 – 20 May at London’s Olympia, this is Europe’s largest public event dedicated to delivering solutions for free from lives. If you suffer from asthma, eczema, sensitive skin, hay fever, chemical sensitivities, food intolerance, coeliac disease or other allergies or intolerances then this is for you.

Last year’s event was an enormous success…


This year there are more free from features and exhibitors than ever before:

  • Try and buy the latest free from foods, skincare and household products
  • Consultations, seminars and workshops with the UK’s top Allergists, Dieticians and other specialists
  • Free from cooking demonstrations
  • Charities, support groups and thousands of like-minded attendees

And a host of additional exciting content!

Come and see us there (Stand 135) for free…

Book unlimited free tickets for you, your friends, family and colleagues at www.allergyshow.co.uk/go/GoodnessDirect

Did you know elderberry juice was so powerful?

Who knew that elderberry juice had so many benefits?

Not only does it contain vitamins A, C and B, it also feeds you a healthy dose of antioxidants.

This seems to have a good effect on the immune system as Elderberry Juice is renowned for its ability to treat illnesses like the flu, common colds, sore throats and other infections.

Its ability to reduce mucus also seems to help with asthma, coughs and bronchitis.

pure elderberry juice
Finally, a pure organic elderberry juice

What is more elderberry juice is also documented as helpful for treating serious diseases like AIDS and diabetes. It helps lower cholesterol levels and maintains a healthy digestive system. It has anti-viral, anti-histamine properties and is thought to deal with many other ailments from yeast infections to skin problems.

Sceptical?
I’m wary of listing illnesses as if one herbal remedy could be a cure-all, but the information available about elderberry juice is pretty impressive.

If you are interested Biona have produced a pure organic elderberry juice. While you can find elderberry syrup, this currently seems to be the only completely pure elderberry juice widely available on the UK market.

Alternatives to milk

Possibly 75% of people around the world are lactose intolerant – which might go some way to explaining why there are so many alternatives to milk.

But there are numerous other reasons too, it might be simply be beneficial to health, or autism related, or asthma, or galactosaemia, or a sensitivity to casein or one of many other problems with drinking milk.

Whatever your reason it’s important to make sure you’re still getting the calcium, iodine and vitamins that you need.

Here are some of the alternatives…

Goat’s milk
Rich in nutrients and easier to digest (even though it still contains lactose). It has less casein but almost as much fat and calories as cow’s milk. However, it can cause a vitamin B12 deficiency in children.

Sheep’s milk
Sheep’s milk has twice as many minerals, eg. calcium, phosphorus and zinc and the vitamin B-complex, as cow’s milk. But it is also higher in calories and fat. Like goat’s milk, it is easily digested. And it’s also a good source of iodine, which helps if you suffer with thyroid problems.

Camel’s milk
Five times as much Vitamin C as cow’s milk. Helps with diabetes. Contains some lactose. Not easy to source.

Buffalo’s milk
Higher in calcium, protein and iron and contains more vitamins and minerals (including calcium and iron) and 43% less cholesterol than cow’s milk. But it also has twice as much fat and still contains lactose. Not easy to source.

Hemp milk
Half the amount of protein of cow’s milk, and calcium is often added. Rich in Omega 3, minerals and vitamins, hemp milk also has a creamy consistency. No lactose.

Quinoa milk
Quinoa is a very digestive food and nutritionally well balanced. It’s protein contains all essential amino acids and it is rich in unsaturated fatty acids. No lactose.

Spelt milk
A good source of fibre and B-complex vitamins. Cholesterol free. No lactose.

Oat milk
Rich in fibre, lowers cholesterol and low-GI. It’s actually the preferred energy drink of many athletes. A pleasant milky taste. No lactose.

Barley milk
Has a higher phosphorus and potassium content than regular milk. Helpful in repairing the body, though it doesn’t contain calcium. No lactose.

Kamut-wheat milk
Highly recommended for its milk-like taste. No lactose.

Millet milk
Lower in fat, higher in fibre and less calories than cow’s milk. Rich in protein and minerals. No lactose.

Rice milk
Compared to soya, rice milk is considered closer to cow’s milk in taste and texture. It is naturally sweet, low in fat and high in fibre. But it’s also low in calcium and protein. No lactose.

Soya milk
Soya milk is high in protein so it’s useful for cooking with. It is also comparatively cheaper than other milk alternatives due to its ubiquity. However, some avoid it because it can raise estrogen levels. No lactose.

Almond milk
Tastes great, and has some of the lowest calorie counts of all milk alternatives. No lactose.

Hazelnut milk
A thicker consistency. It also provides calcium and sulphur. No lactose.

Coconut milk
Lots of phosphorus, iron, magnesium and fibre makes coconut milk a superfood. It’s low in calories, boosts immunity and has a distinctive creamy taste.

Cashew nut milk
Delicious but not easy to find. Just as well it’s easy to make… Cashew’s are a good source of copper and magnesium.

Raw milk
The argument is that pasteurisation destroys some of the goodness in milk which would actually make it digestible for people with gut problems. It remains to be seen whether ‘green top milk’ is actually helpful for people with psoriasis and high blood pressure.

UV milk
Possibly the milk of the future: milk that is treated by UV instead of pasteurisation?

Lactose-Free milk
Or, of course, you could take the lactose out of the milk

You can also make milk from peas, peanuts, or seeds!