Foods That Could Trigger Dermatitis

Dermatitis a heartbreaking condition. Otherwise know as eczema, it is characterized by inflammation of the skin resulting in redness, itchiness, blistered and sometimes thickened skin.  Symptoms can become painful and may result in oozing and scarring. Moreover, dermatitis most commonly begins in young children.

If dealing with this condition doesn’t sound challenging enough, there is yet another obstacle to sufferers.  Many people and dermatologists don’t believe that food has anything to do with causing eczema. Commonly,  when food allergy tests come back negative, it is assumed that the foods are not connected to itchy skin  The truth is that certain foods can cause very severe dermatitis flare ups.  The good news?  By eliminating certain foods you can improve your dermatitis by up to 95%.  Although different people are affected differently, these are some general guidelines of foods to avoid If you suffer from this condition:

Woman drinking milk

Dairy
When referring to dairy, we are usually talking about milk, cheese, whey and yogurt from grazing animals, that is goats, cows and sheep.  Raw, or unpasteurized, milk may be easier to digest and has even been known to even clear up dermatitis because of its probiotics and enzymes, but it may have the opposite effect if you are sensitive to casein protein.  Your best bet is avoiding commercial dairy altogether and use raw dairy with caution.

Gluten
if you have been to your favorite supermarket or restaurant lately, you may have noticed a large number of foods labeled ‘gluten free.’  If you are a suffering from dermatitis, this may be something you want to take notice of.  Wheat, rye, einkorn, faro, kamut and spelt are gluten based grains.  They are commonly found in spices, oars and lentils.  Luckily, with the recent attention being paid to the potential dangers of gluten, you can easily find substitutes.  You may be familiar with wholegrain substitutes like quinoa and you can even make your favorite desserts and pancakes with buckwheat or teff.

Woman holding an egg

Eggs
Eggs are hard to avoid.  They seem to be an essential ingredient in so many baked goods.  Unfortunately, they can be big triggers of dermatitis.  Chicken eggs are the worst offenders, and in some cases quail, goose and duck eggs can be eaten with no negative effects, but when in question, it is best to be safe and avoid eggs altogether.  Chia and flaxseed and safe substitutes.

Soy
Nowadays, you can find products touting the inclusion of soy because of its nutritional benefits.  Tofu, soy milk, seitan, miso tempeh and edamame are products that usually make no secret of their soy content.  However, for those with dermatitis, soy may not be so desirable.  While it is easy enough to avoid products that advertise soy, it is the hidden soy that you really must be wary of.  Watch out for ingredients like vegetable oil, vegetable protein, vitamin E and eggs from soy fed chickens.

Peanuts and Tree Nuts
Because many people have dietary issues with peanuts, most food containing nuts are clearly labeled and easy to avoid, but also note that many Asian dishes contain peanuts, so be careful when dining out.  Tree nuts include almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, pine nuts, pistachios and Brazil nuts, so be careful with ice cream and candy.

As previously mentioned, different people can tolerate different foods.  The best thing to do is keep a diary of the foods you eat and keep in mind that reactions can occur from food eaten up to four days before an outbreak.  Begin by eliminating the foods that you believe are problematic and see how your skin reacts.  Once you begin to realize how certain foods effect you, you can start to plan for a more comfortable life.

Benefits of Topical Vitamin E

Vitamins

With the recent inundation of skin products on the market, some of the more natural options are sometimes overlooked. Vitamin E is a necessary part of the skin’s antioxidant defense. It is remarkably safe and can be taken in quantities as high as 3200 IU per day, more than 100 times the US RDA. Vitamin E is a necessary part of the skin’s antioxidant defenses.  It has been shown to have an oxygen sparing effect on the heart, break sown blood clots and prevent more from forming  and promote healing of skin with less scar tissues and protect against UV rays and free radical damage.

It should be mentioned that Vitamin e in its most natural form is called D-alpha with mixed natural tocopherols.  There  are synthetic versions that are cheaper and less effective so if you want the real thing, look for D-alpha tocopherol on the label.

Uses of Topical Vitamin E

On Burns
You can drip Vitamin E on burnt skin by applying oil directly  or splitting the Vitamin capsule open.  Vitamin E is capable of healing even 3rd-degree burns.  Twice daily applications are recommended and skin should be dry before applying.  The burn should heal with less scarring and inflammation.

For sunburns, you can mix some 400 IU capsules with olive oil.  Not only will your burn fade painlessly, but it will minimize peeling.  Individuals also credit Vitamin E with hemorrhoid relief.

As A Night cream
Dab a little vitamin E oil under your eyes after you remove your makeup. Your under eye skin will be super strong.  It also reduces the chance of cheek wrinkle, which is a large fold that appears when you move the cheek toward the eye. Vitamin E also  safeguards the eyes from dark circles.

As An Anti-Aging Product
The anti-aging effects of natural products are generally slow, so persistence will pay off in the use of vitamin E as an anti-aging product.  In the form of gamma tocotrienol , Vitamin E can reverse damage from UVB radiation and free radicals, causing reduction of brown spots.

Apply After A Shower
Absorbs in minutes for skin like a baby! Vitamin E oil usually contains coconut oil, making a dynamite duo for dry skin, but as an added bonus Vitamin E also helps your skin to produce its own oil.  Vitamin E regulates the function of oil releasing glands, making it a perfect moisturizer.

Heals Any Scars
Vitamin E is known for its ability to heal injured skin tissues, You can apply it on pigmentation scars,  acne scars or scars made by cuts, wounds or surgery.

Gets Rid of Dry and Dull Skin
Take the ‘gets rid of’ part literally,  not only can it reduce dryness and flakiness,  after regular application Vitamin E concentration may actually reach a point in which it will keep working after discontinuing use.

Smooths Tangle Free Hair No more ouch!  Your days of yanking and pulling are over. Add vitamin E to a regular shampoo makes hair texture silky and smooth. In addition, Vitamin E nourishes the scalp keeping it healthy and moisturized, preventing dandruff.

There is no denying that there are some great products out there, but sometimes the best solution is the simplest.   Vitamin E is  harmless and  easily accessible at pharmacies.

Prepping Your System For Cold and Flu


Woman receiving a flu shot.
Just the other night, Adele had to cancel one of her shows because of a cold.  She posted a video of herself red eyed and teary eyed apologizing to her fans and assuring them that it was absolutely necessary to take the night off so that she would be able to carry on with her tour and that she would make it up to them.  Poor Adele!  Poor fans!  If only Adele had prepped her immune system!

 Now that the summer is more or less in the can, we all need to start thinking about winter fun and kissing is no fun with a runny nose!  But take heart!  With a little preparation, you can keep your winter fun and healthy!

Get Your Flu Shot
The CDC recommends a flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older. Because flu season usually occurs between October and May, it is best to so it by October, but better late than never!  Hate needles?  This year the shot will be offered in nasal sprays and needle-free forms.  Even if you don’t have a primary care physician, you can get a flu vaccine in a health department, pharmacy, or urgent care center.

Make Sure You’ve Got The Gut
Your gut helps your body digest food, as well as regulating your metabolism, hunger, weight and immune system. Dr. Frank Lipman of  the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York  says, “…probiotics keep your gut humming.”  Probiotics are bacteria that help reduce inflammation and prevent infection and may also reduce the severity of cold and flu.  Fermented foods, such as unpasteurized sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir are all good for probiotic health.

Healthy women drinking orange juice

Think Zinc!
When we get hit by colds and flu, most of us reach for the Vitamin C, as we should.  Vitamin C is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects and antibiotic quality. But, studies show there’s a new nutrient on the block.  Zinc has immune boosting and protective effects that can stop the replication of cold cells.  If only Adele had taken 25 mg of zinc per day, she might have been belting it out the other night.  Zinc can be found in pumpkin seeds, Spinach, oysters, nuts, and beans.

Use Lavender Oil as a Hand Sanitizer
Lately, we have added hand sanitizer to the list of things we don’t want to leave out home without.  However, hand sanitizers contain triclosan, which has been shown in studies to cause hormone disruption in animals.  Dr. Lipman says,”The antibacterial craze has created harsh products loaded with toxins that increase the risk of creating resistant bacteria (and) over-dry and crack the skin, making transmission of viruses ….easier.”  Lipman advises using plain old soap and water and try lavender oil as a hand sanitizer and moisturizer.

Get Your Z’s and exercise
Exercise boosts your immune system.  If you feel well enough, you can even try and get some stretches in while your blowing your nose!  Research shows that moderate exercise leads to fewer colds, but don’t skimp on sleep! Sleep is essential for a strong immune system.  Aim for at least 7 hours and go for a 20-minute power nap if you fall short.

Keep Surfaces Clean
The easiest way to get to the flu is to touch a contaminated object and then put your fingers near your mouth and eyes.  Surfaces with the most germs include phones, computers, and desks,  Tea tree oil makes a great disinfectant cleaner.  it has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that has been shown to treat psoriases, nail fungus, and acne.

If only Adele had known!  But you do and Adele would probably want you to do everything you can so you can stay healthy this season.  So sleep, eat well, exercise, take your zinc and your flu shot and you can be belting it out with Adele all winter long!

Great Diet, Great Mood

Woman having lunch

You’re going out to eat at your favorite restaurant, “Big Food.”  You are very excited.  You have an excuse to put on that forest green slinky dress that has been festering in your closet for the last few months and your thinking of burgundy stilettos and and pewter clutch.  Jewel tones, nice contrast, but not too Christmassy.

Into the car you go in a great mood.  You get to the restaurant and obsess over the menu.  Too much choice!  You should really pig out!  Isn’t that what restaurants are for?  You deserve it!  You’ve been working hard on your body!  Everyone will be asking, “Where does she put it?” and looking at you with envy.  You decide.  You’re going to have the Seafood Pasta Alfredo and the Double Decadent Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake a la mode.  You come back home with a sugar high and reminisce about your evening, when it hits you.  Suddenly, you feel terrible!  You’re stomach hurts and its straining against your dress.  Your mouth is dry and your breath smells!  You’re good mood slowly evaporates as you watch the skinny Bachelorette on TV.

Ok, now everyone is entitled to pig out now and then, especially if you exercise regularly, but we do often find that as happy as we were before we went out, we are equally depressed after a huge heavy meal.  So let’s talk about some choices we can make so we can start happy and end happy.

Lentil soup

Appetizers

Triple Bean Salad
How about this for a starter of side: garbanzo beans, kidney beans and black beans with some vinegar and oil.  This Contains selenium, a micro mineral that protects against free radical damage, lower inflammation and helps patients with moderate depression.

or

Ginger Lentil Soup
Carrots, onion, ginger, olive oil, lentil and tomatoes, now you’re talkin’.”  Full of protein and fiber, this soup contains 25% of your daily folate needs.  Low folate is associated with depression so eat up and get happy!

Main Course

Spanish Shrimp and Farfalle
With farfalle, large shrimp, olive oil, cinnamon and pimiento stuffed olives, you can’t go wrong with this dish. carbohydrate-rich, it increases level of serotonin and elevates your mood.

or

Yogurt and Spice Grilled Chicken Skewers
Spicy chicken, low fat yogurt and reduced fat cream cheese in honey mustard make this a dish to remember. Protein rich foods keep you alert and energized. Dig in!

Banana smoothie

Dessert (the big finish)

Blackberry Banana Smoothie
Who needs a milkshake?  You will be in a great mood after you eat this antioxidant-rich smoothie with bananas, blackberries, low fat yogurt and light coconut milk.  Better than coffee for maintaining a good mood!

or, how about some…..

Deep Dark Chocolate Biscotti
The best for last!  With whole wheat flour, flaxseed, baking soda, dark brown sugar, dark chocolate chips and unsalted almonds, you’re not giving up anything.  Antioxidant-rich, these healthy ingredients will help you avoid the lows associated with processed food and high sugar content.

Eat well and prosper!

A Cautionary Tale of Caffeine

Woman drinking coffee

Everyone seems to have their “mother’s little helper.”  Their little vice that perks them up on those days when their ordinary emotional hygiene practices are just not working.  For some its alcohol, for others prescription drugs,  maybe  marijuana, for some stronger drugs.  Considering all that is available, it would seem that caffeine sort of pales in comparison. It’s legal, requires no prescription and in fact, it is available all over the place and its accessibility is growing.  We can’t walk five blocks without passing a Starbucks, or some other similar gormandizer, and if we don’t, we can always find some Red Bull or Rock Star at the convenience or grocery store. Indeed the ways we get out caffeine are getting more creative by the day; there is talk of a caffeine patch, caffeine gum and caffeine mixed with alcohol.  In the midst of all this madness, it becomes almost impossible for us to imagine that a product with so much hype may also be bad for us, but listen to this:

How Does Caffeine Work?
Caffeine usually begins to take affect 15-45 minutes after ingestion and peaks after 30-60 minutes.  The immediate effects are increased heartbeat, respiration, metabolic rate, production of stomach acid and urine.  It also relaxes muscles, especially the bronchial muscle.  This brings about a “lift”  which causes the user to feel awake and confident mentally and physically.

When Caffeine Turns Dark
After consuming caffeine for a while, users develop a tolerance which means they will need higher doses to get the same effect.  If they do not receive the higher dose, they may experience caffeine withdrawal.  They may develop a throbbing headache, drowsiness, irritability, nervousness to depression.

The Caffeine Overdose
If someone drinks about 7 cups of coffee (250-750 mgs of caffeine) they may become restless, nauseous, experience irregular heart beat, and sleep disturbances.  Anything over that can cause symptoms similar to an anxiety attack, with delirium, ringing ears and diarrhea.  Long-term drinking of coffee can result in heartburn, ulcers, heart problems and fibrocystic breast disease.

A Scary Story
Since caffeine is known to increase metabolism, act as a diuretic, and suppress hunger, it is often  found in weight loss supplements.  Much of the time, caffeine will not be listed as an ingredient in the supplement, instead, it will appear under the guise of an herbal dietary substance, such as guarana.   A 38- year old woman was taking a dietary supplement known as Zantrax 3 a “power packed pill”  featuring niacin, caffeine, and various herbs.  After taking the pill for three months, the woman began to experience blurry vision and suffered a seizure. The MRI showed a possible atrophy in the right frontal lobe of her brain.  After discontinuing Zantrex-3, the patient experienced no more seizures.

Note that reactions to caffeine can vary, and many people swear by it, but it is important that we are aware of when we are consuming it and the variety of foods and pharmaceuticals that contain it.

Wine’s Relaxing Properties

Woman drinking wine

Man’s love affair with wine goes way back. In the 1700’s,  Benjamin Franklin was quoted as saying, “The discovery of a wine is of greater moment than the discovery of a constellation.  The Universe is too full of stars.”

Although, other beverages are celebrated,  it seems that wine has a meaningfulness  that other drinks don’t.  Wine is a drink that turns an evening into an occasion and is also the drink of passion and philosophical conversation.

Some attribute the relaxing power of wine to its alcohol content.  Indeed many people believe that wine has just the right amount of alcohol to loosen our tongues without the more undesirable effects of stronger alcoholic products, and this is true to a point.  The alcohol content of wine is indeed a bit lower than that of beer and other liquors,” just the right amount to make you tipsy.”  But let’s consider some other causes.

Social Effects
You’re at a party, you don’t know to many people, you’re still a little wound up from a busy day and you’re  feeling sort of invisible. You go to the bar and get yourself a glass of wine.  About halfway through the glass, you begin to perk up.  You start checking out the people at the party.  That guy in the glasses is pretty cute.  You blush. He walks over.  You can fill in the rest.  What happened? What is in this miraculous potion and how did it make my night 10x better?

Wine works in part as a muscle  relaxant.  As the facial muscles loosen, our pupils dilate, causing us to react positively, especially to a partner.  Apparently, not only do dilated pupils show a positive response in someone, they  also make them more appealing to look at.  (Dilated pupils, who would have thought it?) According to a study by the University of Bristol, sober people rated wine drinkers before and after a drinking.   The results showed that people’s looks seem to improve after they consume the grape liquid. The ratings were higher for the post wine drinkers. The natural blush that comes with wine may increase the attractiveness  factor.  But, before you guzzle the whole bottle, hoping to turn into Megan Fox, note that researchers do warn that more than one glass causes the opposite effect, so keep it down to one!

The Great Unwind
Let’s try another scenario.  Tensions are high at work.  Deadlines are mounting and the pressure is on.  By the time you get home, you are abuzz with nervous energy.  You need to take your mind off work or you fear you are headed for a sleepless night.  A sleepless night equals an unproductive day.  Just the thought of not being able to sleep adds to your stress.  You go for the Moscato.  Minutes later, you are miles away.  You can handle it whatever they throw at you.  Piece of cake.  You have it all figured out.  You will sleep tonight.

Wine calms your nervous and has positive effect on your sleep, if you make sure not to drink it too close to bedtime or to overdo it. David L. Katz of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center says, “One glass of wine at dinner is apt to have a calming effect without impairing sleep.” But drinking more can affect your metabolism, so net affect  can be negative if the drinking occurs too close to bedtime.

The Melatonin Factor (red wine only)
Did you know that grape skins, which are removed in making white wine, are full of melatonin?  You may have heard of melatonin being used as a healthy alternative to sleeping pills.  Melatonin is the hormone that regulates our body clocks and tells us when to go to bed.  According to researcher Dr. Marcello Iriti, the melatonin content in wine could help keep out circadian rhythms in check. The most melatonin enriched wines include Merlot, Cabernet and Chianti.

So, here’s to you!  But keep it classy!  One glass will do the trick!

How Is Your Emotional Hygiene?

Sad woman

Oh, how we love the celebrity meltdown.  A little glimpse behind the glitter, when we get to see celebrities acting on their not so very best behavior.  Probably among the all-time favorites would have to be Mel Gibson making  anti-semitic remarks to a reporter or the later release of a taped phone call of a misogynistic tirade against then fiancee Oaxana.  Or, can we forgot (although he may want us to) Keifer Southerland ,who headbutted a reporter at the 2009 Met Gala Costume Party causing him to fall into Brooke Shields.  Or Meatloaf’s unwarranted attack on Garry Busey in an episode of “The Apprentice” when the singer accused the actor of stealing his art supplies.  The “stolen” bounty was later found in a corner.

Yes, we do love to see the celebrities misbehave and it becomes the source of gossip and glee in the media and at the office water cooler for a few minutes.  But delight in it though we may, loss of temper is a very real problem and that, along with depression can be very detrimental in forming close relationships and can lead to excess stress and long-term unhappiness.  Unfortunately, while most people tend to practice physical hygiene religiously, many of us neglect our emotional hygiene, even though it is at least equally as important.

Be Your Own Best Friend
You may have heard the expression, if you can’t love yourself, you can’t love anyone else. This may sound trite, but it does make sense.  Make a list of things you like and make a point of doing them.  In fact, block them into your schedule. Spend a day at a hotel blasting the ac and ordering room service.  Go to the spa or get your hair done. This will make you a very fun person.  You will be happier with yourself and everyone will want to hang out with you.

Clear Out Resentment
Resentment is a negative fantasy and a date of time.  It focuses on the past and accomplishes nothing.  Instead, use the energy to make positive changes for the future. Don’t dwell, do something!  Get yourself out of that rut.

Swear off Guilt
Seriously, get over it. Yeah, you might have done something wrong in the past, but  it’s time to forgive yourself. A lot of people spend time awfulizing, that is doting on the negative things in  life and dramatizing them.  Save the drama for your mama!  It is more healthy to analyze what you did that caused the guilty feelings and work on how to prevent it from recurring.

Maintain Happiness
Be thankful for what you have, be it friends, family, a job, your looks or your health.  Be generous. Remember, it is better to give than receive.  If you don’t believe it, try it.  Live your life ethically, you need to respect the face in the mirror.  Set aside time for yourself and spend time with people you love.  A good support system is a necessary part of emotional hygiene.

Monitor Your Feelings
A very essential component to emotional hygiene is being able to identify your emotions and finding the root of them.  When we become stressed, we have a tendency to push ourselves further.  We fail to think rationally and often do things we regret.  When things heat up, cool off.  Take a walk, write in a journal, take a moment to assess.  The mere act of identifying the emotion will serve as a sort of “counting to ten”, giving you time to regroup instead of acting rashly.

Sip Coffee For Your Health

Woman sipping coffee

No doubt about it. Coffee is the new black.  These days your look is not complete until you are equipped with at least a small white cup in your hand with the telltale lid.  And for a bolder look, you may choose something with whipped cream on top in that cute little bubble cap.  Not only is coffee look, its a lingo.  Quelle  horreur  if you can’t throw the words macchiato and latte into a casual conversation. ( Ex.  While drinking vanilla non-fat latte, the cutest guy came in the shop…)  You get the picture.  What is it about coffee?

Drinking coffee has always been a social activity.  The beat poets gathered at coffee houses in the  1960’s on the Lower East Side of Manhattan to talk about peace with Bob Dylan. Philosophers gathered at coffee houses in Greece with Socrates to debate.  Why is coffee such a social drink?  It  takes a long time to drink.  Hot or cold, no one really chugs coffee.  Also, coffee makes people talkative.  So there you have it, empty time and a loose tongue.  The perfect recipe for conversation.

For years, we have loved our coffee.  But for a while, coffee got a bad rap.  The acidity was bad for your stomach; the caffeine was bad for your nerves, coffee could lead to stroke or heart disease. It seemed to make sense; nothing we enjoy this much could possibly be good for you.  But then….. things changed.  All of a sudden, knowledgable medical professionals started revealing evidence that this caffeinated liquid was actually good for you!  Could it be?  Let’s have a look at all some of the reasons you can feel good about getting your java fix.

Coffee can Make You Smarter and Boost Your Energy
Caffeine blocks inhibitory neurotransmitters in your brain and increases dopamine and fires up your neurons.  Studies she that this improves memory, mood, energy levels and reaction time.  Drink coffee before you take your SATs!!

Coffee can Burn Fat
Caffeine boosts the metabolic rate by 3-11%.  Studies show that it can increase fat burning by 10% in obese people and 29% in lean people.

Coffee is the Biggest Source of Antioxidants in the Western Diet
Sort of sad, but true, studies show that most people get more antioxidants from coffee that fruit and veggies combined!

Coffee Drinkers Have a Lower Risk of Some Kinds of Cancer
One study showed that coffee drinkers have up to a 40% lower risk of liver cancer.  Another study of 489,706 people found the those who drank 4-5 cups of coffee per day had a lower risk of colorectal cancer. Liver and colorectal cancer are, respectively, the third and fourth leading cause of cancer death in the world.

and last but not least….

Coffee Makes You Happy
A 2011 Harvard study showed women who drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day had a 20% lower risk of depression and another study polled 208,424 individuals and found those who drank 4 or more cups o coffee were less likely to commit suicide.

So, be cool, smart, thin and healthy! Keep drinking that java.

Five Ways To Up the Resveratrol In your Diet

Woman reading a book and having red wine

You may have observed that wine is becoming a popular guest on morning celebrity talk shows. You may have seen Neil Patrick Harris chugging wine with Meredith Viera or Meredith Viera chugging wine with Ellen Degeneres or Hoda and Kathie Lee chugging wine with each other.

In the past decade or so, wine, especially red wine has received a lot of attention. It has been associated with heart health and health experts have even gone so far as to recommend moderate amounts of red wine as a part of a healthy diet. Because it straddles the border between edgy and safe, and because of its relatively low alcohol content, red wine seems to be the perfect drink of the morning talk show host. It says, “Look, we know how to have fun, but we do it responsibly.” I wonder if they know about resveratrol.

Red wine is perhaps the best-known source of resveratrol. Resveratrol is a member of a group of plant compounds called polyphenols. Polyphenols are known to have antioxidant properties which fight cancer and heart disease. But, perhaps resveratrol is most valued for its anti-aging properties and its potential to fight obesity. in a study on rodents, mice were split into two groups. One was fed a high-calorie diet and given resveratrol, the other was given a healthy diet, but no resveratrol. Not only did the resveratrol fed mice live longer, they were also protected from obesity-related health problem because, get this, Resveratrol mimics caloric restriction. (Give me some right now!!!)

Ok. Ok. Here are some ways you can up the resveratrol in your diet;

Blueberries on a wooden table

Blueberries
Although red grapes have significantly more, resveratrol is also present in blueberries along with antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamins C and K and manganese.

Red Grapes
If alcohol isn’t your way to go, no problem. Red grapes don’t need to be fermented to have the antioxidant property. The skin of red grapes is loaded with resveratrol and also potassium, vitamin K, C, and B1. Remember, the Greek Gods ate these all the times, and they lived forever and looked pretty good doing it!

Peanut Butter
Who doesn’t love peanut butter? It goes with everything: apples, chocolate, celery, jelly, marshmallows, you name it! Peanut butter contains up to .13 mgs of resveratrol per cup and is also a great source of niacin and manganese.

Itadori Tea
You may have heard of this as a traditional herbal remedy used in Japan and China to combat strokes and heart disease. According to The Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, studies show that, “For people who do not consume alcohol, Itadori tea may be a suitable substitute for red wine.

Dark chocolate

Dark Chocolate
Oh, wow dark chocolate, peanut butter and red wine. Can this really all be good for you? In moderation. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants. iron, copper, manganese, and, you guessed it-resveratrol.

But, a word to the wise.

As tempting as it may be to raise a glass with your favorite tv personality, try to hold off drinking before noon.

Beating Sneaky Causes of Inflammation

Woman looking in the mirror

Most of us will be most familiar with inflammation in the form of a sore throat, runny nose, or scraped knee.  These are examples of acute inflammation, a healthy  sign of the body’s attempt at self protection and the beginning of the healing process. Chronic inflammation, however, is a very different story. In Latin, “inflammatio” means, “I set alight, I ignite.”  This who suffer from chronic inflammation will testify that this derivation is very appropriate.  Chronic inflammation has been described as ” a fire that never goes out.”

What is Chronic Inflammation?
Chronic inflammation means long term inflammation which can last from several months to several years.  It  occurs when the body fails to eliminate whatever was causing the inflammation in the first place or when the immune system mistakes healthy tissue for harmful pathogens.  The result is a constant activation of the immune system that results in the release of damaging chemicals in your body.  Examples of chronic inflammation include asthma, peptic ulcer, tuberculosis, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic periodontitis, Crohn’s disease and chronic hepatitis.

How Can You Tell if You Have Chronic Inflammation?

  1. You have a spare tire around your waist
  2. You have high blood glucose level
  3. You have digestive problems like gas, diarrhea, bloating and constipation
  4. You’re tired all the time
  5. You have eczema or psoriasis or your skin is red  and blotchy
  6. You have allergies
  7. Your face is puffy
  8. You have gum disease
  9. You’re depressed, anxious or have brain fog
  10. You have erectile dysfunction

What Can You Do About It?

  1. See a doctor.  A doctor will be able to diagnose the problem properly and prescribe appropriate medicine and let you know about any precautions you should take.
  2. Diet, diet, diet:  It always comes down to eating right.  Eat foods that are typical of the Mediterranean diet; cold water fish, fresh fruits, cruciferous veggies, small servings of nuts, very little red meat, and  moderate glasses of red wine. FYI: Avocados are loaded with compounds that reduce inflammation. A 2013 study shows that people who ate a hamburger with avocado had lower CRP levels  four hours after eating than those who did not.
  3. Anti-Inflammatory drugs:  Over the counter drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen can be used to treat swelling and more chronic conditions like arthritis and back pain.  In prescription strength, they are known as NSAIDS which block cycloosygense, the agent that causes swelling. Corticosteroids can be used to treat asthma.
  4. Supplements: Although they may sound like something the three witches in Macbeth might have added to their pot, or the next trend in celebrity baby naming the following have all been associated with anti-inflammation:  Cat’s claw, devil’s claw, turmeric, mangosteen, frankincense,  and willow bark.