Fight inflammation with food

Nuts could help lower the impact of inflammatory disease.

The secret is Omega-3. A study has found that Omega-3 foods such as nuts may help lower a risk of dying from inflammatory disease by more a third.

Inflammatory diseases include inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Participants were surveyed about the amount of dietary Omega-3 fatty acids, nuts, and fish they ate, and were followed for 15 years.

Among other stats, the results found that women who ate the most Omega-3 had a 44% lower risk of dying from an inflammatory disease compared with women who ate the least.

It appears that doing something like increasing the your daily nut intake by just 1.4 g per day could reduce the risk of death by half.

Further research is needed to understand the role of Omega-3 fatty acids, nuts, and other foods to manage and treat people with inflammatory diseases. And, because new research emerges all of the time, it is worth talking to a doctor or nutritionist about what foods will support your health.

A cheaper salt therapy for asthma

I have come to accept my asthma as part of my life. It gets better, or worse and in periods, stays dormant waiting to pounce on me like a crafty cat.

I have, over the years, compared notes with other sufferers and have  come to believe that most of us (asthma sufferers) tend to have their hands (erm, I mean their noses) full of a cacophony of colds, sinuses and other breathing issues too. So, we learn to irritatingly negotiate our way through life; wheezing, sniffing, sneezing and semi breathing at turns. Laden with our inhalers, miles of tissues, and staying well away from the pollen, we stumble along with a fatalistic apathy that we came into this planet doomed with a curse from the God of breathing.

Of course we try various cures. It starts with our mum’s desparate remedies and, once diagnosed that our airways basically have a mean attitude of getting inflamed and closing down on us, we learn to live with it.

Fingers crossed and with inhalers at the ready we soldier on.

If I have touched a chord with any of you, let me share my latest efforts  of a therapy for my ongoing burden. Yes, salt inhalation therapy!

It'll cost less than a visit to the seaside
It'll cost less than a visit to the seaside

Salt inhalation has been around since the Greeks, when Hippocrates recommended it for respiratory problems. The only recent evidence, however, comes from the former Soviet Union; a 1999 Lithuanian study of 250 children and 500 adults found that salt therapy for an hour a day for two weeks improved respiratory results in nine out of 10 cases. Hitherto, it still remains fairly unknown in the Western world, though ‘taking in the sea-air’ was always known to be helpful.

Salt inhalation therapy traditionally came through ‘salt caves’, places that can be loosely described as bit like a salty igloos. There are salt drifts everywhere around the world, underfoot and lining the walls. Now, hairnets are donned and shoes covered to keep these caves free of dirt, while the sound of waves and seagulls played inside enhances the weird, seaside effect. But the reality is the salt is purely decorative as the supposed medical benefit comes from breathing in sodium chloride aerosol, which is piped into the therapy rooms by a microclimate generator. This mixes milled salt with a current of air. The theory is that by breathing this in, mucus in the respiratory tract is loosened and coughed up. However The Saltpipe, a handy apparatus manufactured in the UK, has now made it both, more affordable (for the price of a few prescriptions) and accessible whenever one needs it.

Evidence of benefits are pouring in as small, regular usage is creating significant changes in conditions of many, including me!

The UK’s biggest allergy show is coming soon – bigger and better – and GoodnessDirect will be there

We’re getting excited about the upcoming Allergy & Gluten Free Show this May. It’s the best chance for everyone affected by an allergy to get the latest information and up-to-date support. And tickets are free.

Here’s a behind the scenes peek at everything that’s going on…

News from the show floor…
The Allergy & Gluten Free Show 2011
Tom Treverton, Event Director

Come and see us...<br> 6-8 May, 2011
Come and see us... 6-8 May, 2011

Working on live events presents certain challenges. Like a number of other professions, months and months of hard work boil down to a brief moment in time, where all elements must seamlessly converge to deliver fantastic experiences for visitors.

Consequently, your working life becomes markedly improved when an event concept falls onto your desk that both energises and inspires. A concept craved for by the sector it represents, one that delivers genuine answers to questions as yet unanswered, and one that resultantly fulfils a ‘need’ sought after by a sizeable chunk of the UK population. The Allergy & Gluten Free Show is one such event.

This year’s show…
It’s taking place at London’s Olympia from 6 – 8 May 2011. This is the UK’s most comprehensive live forum on allergies, intolerances and autoimmune diseases (like coeliac disease), delivering the largest annual gathering of people with these conditions, as well as the leading health professionals that treat them.

We became involved in the show because we recognise the scale of its potential importance. In the UK, approximately one third of the population will develop an allergy at some point in their lives, with around 30 million estimated to have a food intolerance.

However, this major UK health issue is serviced by an alarmingly small number of experts. Poor NHS provision of skilled professionals means that supply does not meet demand, particularly at a primary care level (where insufficient training ensures sub standard advice).

The Allergy & Gluten Free Show 2011 is the only major exhibition designed to plug the knowledge gap, allowing members of the public to discover treatment and product solutions (thus taking control of their conditions) and health care professionals to access a high level of training to improve their service.

What you’ll find there…
First and foremost, this is a show for the public, and we are thrilled with the way the 2011 event is shaping up. Our objective is to make the show something that will both educate and entertain in equal measure; providing the best advice from prominent Consultants, charities, associations and brands, accessible via a diverse range of interactive content platforms.

Food is a massive part of the show. In addition to over 50% of the show floor being packed with ‘free from’ food producers, we are planning three days of…

  • Public seminars from healthcare specialists, including Consultants and Dieticians.
  • ‘Free from’ cooking demonstrations from top chefs.
  • Parent workshops (with strong dietary focuses).
  • Food related product and treatment demonstrations.

We are just weeks away now and the excitement is building amongst the organising team. Thousands more people are signed up to attend than at this stage last year, content programmes are almost complete and we already have more exhibitors than the show has ever attracted.

We are delighted that GoodnessDirect is one of the show’s partners, and will be exhibiting at the event (stand 42).

Indeed, via our partnership visitors to GoodnessDirect.co.uk can attend the show free of charge. To generate unlimited free tickets, visit www.allergyshow.co.uk/go/goodnessdirect. Simply enter a few details, click ‘submit’ and print out a personalised show ticket (worth £10!). his process can be repeated infinitely to produce additional tickets for friends and family.

See you on the show floor!

Tom Treverton, Event Director

Key details
Event: The Allergy & Gluten Free Show 2011
Date: 6 – 8 May 2011
Location: Olympia 2, London, W14 8UX
Tickets: Free, courtesy of GoodnessDirect at www.allergyshow.co.uk/go/goodnessdirect

Breast protection for babies at risk of eczema or allergies

The fatty acids from breast milk are key to healthy baby development. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is well known for promoting a healthy brain, eye, and nervous system for example. But other fatty acids in breast milk may also help protect from allergies.

The fatty acids in breast milk may protect children from allergies
The fatty acids in breast milk may protect children from allergies

Could the sharp rise in allergic diseases like asthma, eczema, food allergies and hayfever be explained by a shift in the fatty acid balance in our diets? It’s possible that the widespread use of vegetable oils and the a low intake of omega-3 fatty acids (mostly from fish) are contributing to inflammation in the body.

Does breast milk affect eczema?
310 mothers and babies were examined according to their various lifestyles, (particularly noting the eating of organic diets and extended breast feeding) to see how the fatty acid composition of their breast milk compared with mums who ate a more conventional diet.

Mums with an ‘alternative’ lifestyles had somewhat higher concentrations of the omega-3 fatty acids in their breast milk (EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DPA (docosapentaenoic acid), and DHA). They were also higher in ruminant fatty acids (derived primarily from dairy fat), including the all-important immune-enhancing fatty acid, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid).

By the time they were aged two, 31% of the babies had experienced eczema (almost half of these also had allergies). But (at one year) the risk of eczema and allergies was lowest among babies whose mothers’ milk was highest in omega-3. That risk was also seen to decrease as concentrations of ruminant fatty acids increased (regardless of the effect of the omega-3 fatty acids).

This suggests that ruminant fatty acids from dairy fat and organic dairy and, possibly, unpasteurized milk might have an effect on how much a baby can develop a strong immunity in early life.

How to protect your baby from eczema…

  • Breast-feed, if you can. For some women breast-feeding isn’t feasible, but it’s worth it for your baby’s health if you’re able to.
  • Eat more fatty fish. This is important during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Avoid high-mercury fish including albacore tuna and king mackerel.
  • Make it creamy. The latest study adds to a growing body of evidence of the inflammation-fighting potential of full-fat dairy products.

GoodnessDirect have a number of natural products for the treatment of eczema in babies including:
Green People Baby Salve Lavender

and Beaming Baby Organic Bubble Bath.

For children and adults try:
Comvita Medihoney Moisturising Cream,
Natraderm Shower Gel with Shea Butter,
Optima Allergenics Steroid Free Intensive Care Ointment

or HRI Clear Complexion.

Prebiotics and Probiotics could help tackle childrens’ asthma

By Kimberly Beauchamp, ND

A nutritional supplement combining pre- and probiotics may help prevent asthma in children with atopic dermatitis, a type of eczema.

In the first study of its kind, scientists have uncovered clues about how the health of the gut might affect immune system health to halt the progression of allergic conditions.

Itchy, wheezy, sneezy
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic, inflammatory, itching skin disorder that often starts during infancy. Up to 40% of children affected by atopic dermatitis will go on to develop asthma later in childhood.

The prevalence of allergic diseases (including atopic dermatitis, asthma, and allergic rhinitis) has increased over the past several decades. It’s been suggested that changes in the intestinal flora—that is, the “good” bugs that reside on your insides—could be responsible for the observed jump in these conditions.

It starts in the gut
Probiotics like acidophilus are living microorganisms with beneficial effects in the gut and throughout the body. They can help

  • boost immune function,
  • increase resistance to infection,
  • inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria,
  • and promote healthy digestion.

Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients, such as fructooligosaccharides, that provide fuel for probiotics to thrive on. Since pre- and probiotics work synergistically, together they are referred to as synbiotics.

Researchers from the Netherlands investigated the effect of a formula supplemented with synbiotics on 90 infants with atopic dermatitis. The aim of the study was to see if synbiotics could help prevent children with atopic dermatitis from developing asthma-like symptoms and the need for asthma medications.

  • For 12 weeks, the babies were either given a hydrolyzed whey formula with the probiotic Bifidobacterium brevis and the prebiotics GOS (galactooligosaccharides) and FOS (fructooligosaccharides), or a placebo formula without the synbiotics.
  • They underwent blood test for allergies, including those to cats, dogs, and dust mites at the beginning of the study and after one year.
  • Parents kept tabs on their children’s respiratory symptoms and reported them to the investigators.

Of the 75 children who completed the study, children in the synbiotic group were 20% less likely to have frequent wheezing and 28% less likely to have wheezing and/or noisy breathing during the follow up period than were children in the placebo group. Babies who received the synbiotic-enriched formula were also much less likely to have to start taking asthma medications. Over the course of the study, 15% of children in the placebo group developed an allergy to cats, whereas none of the children in the synbiotic group did.

“These results suggest that this synbiotic mixture prevents asthma-like symptoms,” said lead author of the study, Leontien B. van der Aa of Emma Children’s Hospital in Amsterdam. “The infants that were included in our study will be followed up to age five to six, when they are old enough to determine whether this synbiotic mixture also prevents the development of asthma.”

Goat’s milk. A healthier pint?

When I was young myself, my mum suggested I change my milk to goats milk to help with asthma and eczema. This wasn’t a scientific experiment, so I can’t say categorically, but I think it helped.

Delamere Dairy produce a goat’s milk range; award winning goat’s milk cheeses; yoghurt and butter which are stocked by GoodnessDirect. Goat’s milk is reputedly very good in cosmetics and cooking but, of course, many people use it if they are wanting to avoid casein or cannot digest lactose. Although goat’s milk does contain lactose it has been seen to be easier to digest than that present in cows milk and so is acceptable to some who would otherwise avoid it. Goat’s milk is also high in calcium, low in cholesterol, and in general much easier to digest than cow’s milk, so perhaps it’s not surprising that goat’s milk is more widely used around the world than cow’s milk. Cow’s milk is renowned for creating mucus, but not so goat’s milk. So if you are a catarrh sufferer try it out.

Check out the Delamere links for more info on all things goatish.

Autumn care

Autumn is my favourite season. Red leaves to kick about, eerie misty mornings, trees laden with apples, walking out in the fine crisp air, warm fires – it’s not difficult to see why.

It’s a great time for warming foods like apple crumble and pumpkin pie. And there’s a lot of goodness in the seasonal foods. Apples keep you full and lower your cholesterol. Beetroot helps reduce blood pressure, and it’s full of folate (crucial for cell growth), as are brussels sprouts and parsnips. Brussels have Omega 3 and lots of vitamin C and parsnips bring potassium and fibre (good for the heart). Cranberries also come packed with vitamin C and are a renowned antioxidant. Chestnuts are low fat, high in vitamin C and folate. And as for the infamous pumpkins, they do have lots of beta-carotine (vitamin A) which is thought to boost the immune system.

Immunity is certainly needed when autumn comes on. My asthma gets worse at this time of year, and my friend says her dad’s psoriasis is always more difficult in autumn too. What’s the reason?

In autumn the air dries out and dust and spores are blown about, I know this affects asthma and it seems the dry air affects psoriasis too. Both the skin and lungs are affected by dryness, so drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated (ginger tea is supposed to be very healing). Other illnesses like arthritis and eczema, not to mention the common cold and swine flu will get worse too.

Whatever ailment you live with the pestilent seasons are always more likely to cause trouble. But all those seasonal foods are going to be a great start in the fight against autumnal change, and make sure you still exercise and sleep well too – a brisk walk in the autumn air is great for both. Gain some contingency by investing in the health benefits of cider vinegar and echinacea; and selinium, vitamin C supplements, multivitamins or other immunity boosters, no doubt, will be useful too.

Some people might dread autumn as a sign that everything is dying, but for others it is a clarion call to the fight for life. Trees draw back in their sap and squirrels horde for the winter months – it’s a final chance to witness nature in all its glory before we too must wait through winter for new things to come. Everything is thrilling but the inner inclination is to withdraw and be close to those you love.

However you come through this autumn, make sure you wrap up warm, keep well and enjoy yourself!