A food allergy occurs when the body has a specific immune response to certain foods. Sometimes, the body’s response can be severe or life-threatening. Food allergies are a growing food safety and public health concern, according to the CDC. It is also estimated that between 4 and 6 percent of US children are affected by some type of food allergy. Among other things, Food Allergy Action Month was created to spread awareness about what food allergies are, how to recognize them and how to help someone who is having an allergic reaction. Common symptoms of an allergic reaction to food include the following:
- A tingling sensation in the mouth
- Swelling of the lips, tongue and throat
- Itching, hives and a rash throughout the body
- Cramping, diarrhea or vomiting
- Wheezing and difficulty breathing
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Loss of consciousness
Food Allergy Basics
- A food allergy is an immune response to a food the body mistakenly believes is harmful, known as an allergen.
- When an allergen is eaten, the immune system releases massive amounts of chemicals, including histamine, that trigger a cascade of symptoms that can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin, and/or cardiovascular system.
- There is no cure for food allergies.
- The prevalence of food allergies appears to be increasing among children under the age of 18.
- Although food allergy desensitization is being studied, this is not yet a proven treatment, so strict avoidance is the only way to prevent an allergic reaction.
- Managing a food allergy on a daily basis involves constant vigilance.
- Trace amounts of an allergen can trigger an allergic reaction in some individuals.
- Unfortunately, food allergy deaths do occur, even among persons with a history of mild reactions in the past.
- 9-1-1 must ALWAYS be called with every anaphylactic reaction.
Sources: Zywave and foodallergyawareness.org.
Intermittent Fasting: What It Is and Why People Are Doing It
Intermittent fasting is a health trend that has been growing in popularity. Intermittent fasting can look very different from person to person, but the two most popular approaches are:
- 5:2 approach: In this approach, you restrict your calorie consumption to 25 percent of your daily needs twice a week and eat normally the remaining five days of the week.
- Eight-hour approach: In this approach, you fast for 16 hours a day, eating only during an eight-hour time period.
Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can have powerful benefits on your body and mind, and it can help with weight control. Other studies state that it can also protect against Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
As with any diet plan, it’s important to talk with your doctor before you start.
Three Tips for Intermittent Fasting Success
If you and your doctor decide that intermittent fasting is right for you, keep these three tips in mind to help you succeed.
- Stay hydrated.
- Avoid temptations like junk food or sugary beverages.
- Get plenty of sleep.
Your Body May Need a Break, Here’s Why
When it comes to exercising, there’s a difference between pushing yourself to your limits and overexerting yourself. Oftentimes, this difference is very small, which is why it’s so important to know when your body needs a break:
- You’re always tired. If you’re constantly fatigued, even after getting enough sleep, chances are you’re working your body too hard.
- You’re always sore. A little bit of muscle soreness that occurs 24-48 hours after your workout isn’t necessarily a bad thing—it means your workout was effective. However, extensive or prolonged soreness means you’re overtraining your body.
- You’re feeling stiff. Doing the same exercises, particularly running on hard surfaces, can wreak havoc on your joints. This is especially true if you don’t give yourself enough time to recover. That’s why having a rest day is so important.
For more information, talk to your doctor.
Conscientious Cuisine: Baby Greens with Blackberry Vinaigrette
This elegant salad is a blend of spinach, arugula and other baby greens. These dark, leafy greens offer a range of nutrients including fiber, folate and cancer-protective
carotenoids. A rosy blackberry vinaigrette adds bright color, sweet flavor, and ellagic acid, a cancer-fighting compound found in berries. Pair with a simple glazed
salmon for a beautiful meal for two.
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blackberries (defrost if frozen)
- 2 tsp. coarsely chopped shallots
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp. agave syrup
- 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 4 cups lightly packed mesclun salad mix (spinach, arugula, or other baby greens)
- 2 slices (3/4-in.) reduced-fat fresh goat cheese
- 1 cup whole blackberries (can also include a few red raspberries)
- 3 tbsp. chopped walnuts or almonds (optional)
1. Place all dressing ingredients in bullet-style blender or mini food processor and whirl until dressing is creamy and smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Let dressing stand in refrigerator for up to 24 hours before using. Makes 1/2 cup dressing.
2. Divide greens between 2 salad plates. If using cheese, set a slice in center on top of greens, then drizzle 2 tablespoons of Blackberry Vinaigrette over salad before
serving. Or, drizzle on dressing, then sprinkle nuts and berries on top. Reserve remaining dressing for another use. It keeps covered in refrigerator for 3 days.
Makes: 2 servings.
Nutrition: 150 calories, 11 g total fat (4 g saturated fat), 9 g carbohydrate, 3 g dietary fiber, 4 g protein, 99 mg sodium.