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    Eat This To Fight Spring Allergies

    The weather is warmer, the birds are chirping, and the flowers are blossoming. But for you? That means your eyes are itchy, your nose is runny, and your head feels like it's under more pressure than a batter at the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, tie game, and a full count. For many, the first signs of Spring come with the riveting joy of being able to break out your shorts and sundresses—and finally being able to shed that winter weight. But for others, it's the blazing signal you're about to go to war against your allergies: nasal decongestant in one hand and a box of tissues in the other. If it's any consolation, around 35 million Americans will also suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever or an allergy to pollen. But besides popping an antihistamine pill every day and limiting your time outside as if you might melt in the sun, what else is a seasonal allergy sufferer to do? Well, it turns out that what you eat can have an impact on the extent to which you suffer from symptoms. Research has suggested that certain foods can help fight allergies naturally by controlling underlying inflammation, clearing out air passages and providing other relief effects. On the other hand, some can actually trigger allergy symptoms either by indirectly worsening symptoms or directly through oral allergy syndrome (OAS). OAS occurs when your body mistakes proteins in certain raw foods for the same allergenic proteins in pollen, confusing your immune system and making existing ailments worse. (So that's why my throat gets itchy when I eat carrots or apples!) While foods that cause OAS can affect you anytime of the year, certain foods that have proteins most similar to those in birch and grass pollen—the common causes of allergies in the spring and early summer—will worsen your spring symptoms even more. On the upside, cooking those foods neutralizes the offending proteins. So that's a plus. But if you're sick and tired of being sick, and tired, Eat This, Not That! has your back. We've put together a list of the surprising foods you're probably eating without knowing they could be making your nose runnier and your eyes itchier, and which foods you can replace them with to help part with that post-nasal drip. 1. SPICE IT UP, BUT LOWER THE HEAT EAT THIS: Fennel NOT THAT: Paprika We're always one to recommend spicy foods, like paprika, to enhance flavor and boost your metabolism, but if you're a seasonal allergy sufferer, it's best to steer clear of them during high pollen counts. That's because spicy foods create histamine in your body, adding to what's already an increased amount because of your allergies. Histamine is an inflammatory compound produced by cells when your body is undergoing an allergic reaction. It's the thing that causes the tissue in your nose to both run and swell (which makes it stuffy) and your eyes to itch. Fennel, on the other hand, has been found to act as a natural decongestant, offering allergy relief by stimulating the mucosal cilia to help break up congestion. 2. EASE UP ON DAIRY DRINK THIS: Almond Milk NOT THAT: Whole Milk When you're experiencing an allergic reaction, your body creates mucus to help get rid of the invading allergens. (Which is why your nose is constantly runny.) However, some foods, like dairy, can temporarily thicken this mucus, making it harder for it to travel out of your body, which causes the allergens to stay in your system. And while not all dairy causes excessive mucus production, studies have found that one type, in particular, A1 milk—which is rich in a specific type of casein protein—has been shown to stimulate mucus production on top of thickening it. Because many variables can influence the final amount of A1 in milk, while some milks can make mucus worse, others might not. Even so, if you're already suffering from a lot of mucus, making it thicker—even temporarily—is kind of a drag. So it's best to avoid dairy products just in case and pick up a casein-protein-free almond milk. 3. LOAD UP ON VITAMIN C EAT THIS: Strawberries NOT THAT: Oranges Beat the inflammation-causing histamines with a healthy dose of vitamin C. This vitamin indirectly inhibits inflammatory cells from releasing histamine, and studies have shown that high levels of vitamin C can help histamines break down faster once they're released, which may provide allergy symptom relief. On top of fighting histamines, vitamin C foods also reduce inflammation—key to combating allergy suffering. This is because vitamin C is an antioxidant, which means it can decrease levels of inflammatory free radicals. Pick strawberries over oranges when it comes to vitamin C. Ounce-for-ounce strawberries are actually higher in vitamin C, but that's not the only reason why to eat them over oranges. Oranges have been known to possess proteins that mimic grass pollen, which can exacerbate allergy symptoms even more in the late spring. 4. CRUNCH ON A CRUCIFER EAT THIS: Raw brussels sprouts NOT THAT: Raw broccoli and cauliflower Brussels sprouts can annihilate your allergy symptoms in two ways. For one, it's a member of the crucifer family, plants that have been shown to clear out blocked sinuses. This benefit could be linked to the sprouts' glucosinolate content. These compounds help prevent unwanted inflammation when they're converted to I3C—a compound that research has found to decrease the production of pro-inflammatory mediators on a genetic level. It's also high in vitamin K, a vitamin whose deficiency is associated with excessive inflammation. Even though broccoli and cauliflower are in the same crucifer family and possess the same advantages, they also could cause OAS and worsen allergy symptoms if eaten raw, and cooking these veggies can inactivate the enzyme which creates I3C. Be sure to eat brussels sprouts raw in a shaved brussels sprout salad or lightly steam them. 5. STAY SOBER DRINK THIS: Hot green tea NOT THAT: Beer, wine, spirits, and champagne It might be better weather for some happy hour drinks after work, but if you suffer from hay fever, you should take it easy on the alcohol. Beer, wine, spirits, and champagne all contain histamine and tyramine, two chemicals that set off allergy symptoms in your body. On top of making you more sensitive to pollen's effects, alcohol also dehydrates you, which makes your symptoms seem worse. Instead, go with a steaming cup of green tea. "This tea is teeming with histamine-fighting quercetin," says Kelly Choi, author of bestselling tea-based plan, The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse. Plus, it'll keep your system hydrated, which can help dilute the amount of allergens in your cells. Even better, the steam may help thin out mucus to ease congestion. 6. QUELL INFLAMMATION WITH QUERCETIN EAT THIS: Blueberries NOT THAT: Apples Allergy research has shown that bioflavonoids can provide relief by reducing inflammation. One bioflavonoid, quercetin, acts as a mast-cell stabilizer, which decreases the number of cells reacting to an allergen. Mast cells are responsible for releasing histamine during inflammatory and allergic reactions. While apples are a good source of the antioxidant, they also can cause OAS. And while cooking an apple may help kill off the proteins that mimic birch pollen, an article published in the journal Nutrition reported that foods prepared by boiling lost a significant amount of quercetin due to contact with heat and water. Instead, load up on blueberries if you're in the mood for something sweet, and add red onions (which are also loaded with quercetin) to savory dishes. 7. PUMP UP THE PROBIOTICS EAT THIS: Kefir NOT THAT: Sauerkraut Probiotics are thought to have anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects by improving the intestinal microbial balance, which is often skewed towards a higher prevalence of inflammation-related strains in allergic subjects, according to researchers. An Italian study published in the journal Pediatric Research, found that young children with allergic rhinitis who drank fermented milk with the probiotic strain Lactobacillus casei experienced fewer allergic episodes over the course of a year than those who took a placebo. Another fermented food, miso, was found to lower the prevalence of seasonal allergy symptoms by about 41 percent when participants ate just a teaspoon a day, according to Japanese researchers. You can get your daily probiotic intake from kefir, yogurt, or miso, but maybe nix the sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is made of cabbage—a food that can trigger OAS—and it's high in histamines, which worsen allergy symptoms. 8. MUNCH ON MAGNESIUM EAT THIS: Cashews NOT THAT: Hazelnuts and almonds Magnesium-rich foods, such as cashews, help relieve allergy symptoms because magnesium is a natural antihistamine. In fact, a study from Brigham Young University showed that animals deficient in magnesium had higher levels of histamine in their blood when exposed to allergens than animals with adequate magnesium levels. Not only that, but because magnesium helps with muscle relaxation (which is why it's great to eat before sleep), it can help ease the soreness in your body and throat. While many nuts are high in magnesium, be sure to steer clear of hazelnuts and almonds; both nuts contain proteins similar to birch pollen that may cause oral allergy symptoms. 9. BRING ON THE OMEGA-3s EAT THIS: Wild Pink Salmon NOT THAT: Tuna fish DHA and EPA, the two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, have been found to ease allergy symptoms through their anti-inflammatory properties. And even if you don't have allergies now, you're always at risk of getting them. As it turns out, you're at an even greater risk if your omega-6:omega-3 ratio is skewed more towards omega-6s. A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that adults who had a high content of omega-3s (and EPA, specifically) and low content of omega-6s in their blood had a decreased risk of getting allergic sensitisation and rhinitis compared to those with a high content of omega-6s. So eat your threes! Pick up wild pink salmon, which is high in EPA, over tuna fish. Even though tuna is high in EPA, it's also high in inflammation-causing histamines. 10. DIG INTO THE CAROTENOIDS EAT THIS: Boiled carrots NOT THAT: Raw carrots Carrots are superfoods that pack a powerful punch against allergies. That's because they're rich in the carotenoid department. (And by rich, we mean a single medium carrot gives you 203 percent of your DV of vitamin A.) One of the forms of vitamin A it possesses, beta carotene, has been linked to easing allergy issues in a study in the journal Public Health Nutrition. This study found that adults with low carotenoid stores were more likely to have allergy problems than those with high carotenoid levels. Raw carrots posses a protein that could trigger OAS, so if you do want to snack on them, be sure to boil them. Not only will boiling them kill off the allergen-mimicking protein, but it also will increase their carotenoid content. Add a healthy fat such as coconut oil or olive oil, to further extract these fat-soluble vitamins. By Olivia Tarantino via msn.com

    4 Ways to Fight Pain with Ginger

    The lingering effects from day-to-day physical activity can be debilitating. Soreness and pain can vary in intensity and are caused by a multitude of sources. Whether you are a runner, weight lifter, or casual exerciser you are sure to experience some type of pain from your efforts. This is mainly due to inflammation in your joints and muscles. Additionally, strenuous exercise will release proinflammatory cytokines that will work to suppress your immune system. This doesn’t mean you should stop your physical activity. Thankfully, there is a natural way to combat bad cytokines, inflammation and general pain. The answer lies in the ginger root. Multiple studies have been released proving the benefits of ginger to faster recovery and pain relief.  The first study in 2014 revealed that ginger did effectively lower harmful cytokines in endurance runners. Another study that followed in 2015 showed ginger will speed-up muscle recovery following weight-training. The latest study discovered that ginger aids pain caused by running or resistance training. What does this all mean to you? Your diet needs more ginger to help fight pain and decrease recovery time. The next question is how do you get it? Read on to find out.  

    1. Tea Time Tea is a perfect way to add ginger into a daily routine. Simply grate fresh ginger into some hot water and you’re good to go. To enhance taste, add some lemon juice and/or honey. Another benefit is that teas like this will also work to fight cold symptoms!
     
    2. Stay Smooth Smoothies are a fun and nutritious way to sneak ginger into your recovery and pain relief regiment. You simply add a tablespoon of fresh ginger to a smoothie of your choice and you’re instantly on your way to a more pain-free life. Melaina Huntti of yahoo.com recommends a great Ginger Recovery Smoothie recipe.
    Blend the following ingredients for one minute:
    • 1 cup almond milk
    • ½ of a banana
    • ½ of a pear
    • 1 cup of Greek yogurt
    • 1 and ½ cups of ice
    • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
    • And, of course, 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger
    Enjoy the deliciousness!  
    3. Supplement Your Recovery Taking ginger supplements is perhaps the easiest way to get ginger into your body. You can easily purchase ginger supplements online or at your local pharmacy. Just pop a ginger pill daily to ensure constant recovery aid.
     
    4. Stir It Up Easily the most delicious method to ingest ginger is through stir-fry. You can do this at home by whipping up some meats and veggies in peanut oil. Simply stir in some chopped garlic and ginger to make a delectable Asian-inspired dish. You can make a night out of it by going to your favorite local Japanese restaurant. The Japanese are known for using ginger in their recipes and these meals can provide ginger in a fun and appetizing way for the whole family!
       
    Whatever your method, if you are an active individual it is clear you need to add ginger to your daily diet. Your sore muscles and joints will thank you and you’ll be able to get back to the pain-free you even faster!
      By Pat DeRiso

    Tips For Fighting Your Cold

    It’s that time of year again! The leaves are changing and cold is in the air. I’m not just talking temperature, but disease. Unfortunately, along with apple picking and football comes an increased chance of catching a cold. Everyone is well aware of how annoying a cold can be and it's not always easy to shake-them-off. Let’s go over some at-home remedies to battle these symptoms this fall. The best defense is a great offense. By making smart lifestyle choices you can greatly increase your chances of avoiding getting sick in the first place! To bolster your health levels, be sure to incorporate regular exercise into your routine. Besides the obvious benefits, regular exercise can work to keep nasal passages from blocking. It is also suggested to make sure you do not have a vitamin C deficiency. To avoid this, be sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables into your diet. In addition, drinking plenty of water may seem like straight-forward advice. However, most people still fail to do so. Bring a water bottle with you wherever you go and make a conscious effort to sip periodically. Before you know it, this will become automatic for you! Maybe it’s too little too late for you and you have come down with some cold and flu symptoms already. Let’s take the fight to them!   REST. REST. REST. You may be saying, “Well that’s obvious”. The problem is, people simply do not rest enough. When you’re sick and you feel even the slightest bit tired, it is imperative you listen to your body. Take frequent naps and try for a 12-hour sleep overnight. Your body does its battling when sleeping. Be sure to send in the troops as often as possible by hitting the pillow!   Hot or Cold Therapy Depending on your personal preference, applying hot or cold therapy to congested sinuses can be extremely beneficial in easing pain and inflammation caused by cold and flu symptoms. Using gel packs that can be heated or frozen makes for an effective and targeted method for relief. Alternatively, for heat therapy you can use a damp washcloth heated in the microwave for around 50 seconds (test for safety before applying to skin). For cold therapy you can apply a bag of frozen vegetables.   Add a Pillow When sleeping or resting, it is recommended you add an additional pillow below your head. This will help with the overall drainage of nasal passages. It is important to keep your head elevated to achieve this. If the use of two pillows under your head is too much on your neck, try placing a pillow, blanket, or other similar items under the mattress to get a more gradual incline!   Blow Your Nose! Getting that mucus out of your nose is crucial to recovering from your cold. Believe it or not, there is a right way and a wrong way to blow your nose. Turns out, we’ve been doing it all wrong. The recommended method of blowing your nose is to cover one nostril and gently blow through the other. Most people tend to blow their nose hard. This is not recommended as it can cause earaches and other ailments. Whenever you have the sniffles, blow your nose. Fight the urge to sniff mucus back into your head and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after blowing your nose.   Get Steamy Hot showers can work wonders for cold and flu symptoms. The steam will relax you and effectively moisturize your nasal passages. This will break-up mucus and make for a faster recovery! To take steam therapy to the next level, follow these simple instructions. Boil water in a lidded pot for about 5 minutes. Remove the lid and place your head over the pot while draping a towel over your head to guide the steam to the desired area. Do this for about 15 minutes as often as possible during the day!   Hot Liquids The benefits of hot liquids such as teas and soups are threefold. They will work to relieve congestion in the nasal passages while helping to prevent dehydration. They will also soothe inflammation in membranes within the linings of your throat and nose. This is another tip that may seem obvious, but it is crucial that you make a conscious effort to consume these liquids. It is too easy to avoid it and assume cold water is enough. Don’t make that mistake and get some hot beverages as well!   For a Sore Throat - - - Get To Gargling One of the best methods for fighting a sore or scratchy throat is to gargle. This can work to moisten the throat as well as bring some temporary relief. For the best results, be sure to throw in at least a teaspoon of salt into some warm water. Do this as often as possible, but at least 4 times a day. In addition, it is recommended you drink sparkling water or club soda at least 3 times per day. These are just a handful of methods you can use at home to fight common cold and flu-like symptoms. Feel free to explore the sources below to learn more about how you can get back to your healthy self! However, it is always best to consult your doctor for best practices to address your personal health issues.   By Pat DeRiso Sources: webmd.com, PainHealthWeb