About Food Allergies
About 90 percent of all food allergies area caused by only eight foods:
- Tree nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, pecans)
- Fish (such as salmon and cod)
- Shellfish (especially shrimp)
Symptoms of an allergic reaction include itching, hives, selling, wheezing, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and dizziness. The most serious reaction, anaphylactic shock, can cause death.
Some children with food allergies may become less sensitive to the food over time, but avoiding the allergen in the early years is extremely important. Some children never become less sensitive, and remain allergic for the rest of their lives.
Reading food labels carefully is the best way to avoid triggers that cause the reactions. Children with food allergies should carry an EpiPen at all times. EpiPens are injectable devices that deliver a pre-measured dose of epinephrine, which is used to treat anaphylactic shock.
Source: Food Allergy Initiative, April 2002
Sleepy after Lunch?
You may have heard that poultry such as turkey and chicken contain an enzyme, L-tryptophan, that can make you drowsy. It's true that L-tryptophan has a sedative effect, but when you consume it via poultry, you're not likely to become sleepy. For the sedative effect, you have to take L-tryptophan in pill form, on an empty stomach. (In fact, L-tryptophan used to be available as a supplement, but the Food and Drug Administration pulled it from the market in 1990 due to contamination.)
Bottom line: that chicken salad sandwich you had for lunch isn't what's making you drowsy. It could be that you ate a little too much and your blood has left your brain and traveled to your stomach to help the digestive process.
Source: Food and Drug Administration, April 2002
Everybody needs calcium in the diet to prevent osteoporosis-teenagers, adult women, adult men. Dairy products, broccoli, canned salmon, fortified orange juice, cereals and breakfast bars are good calcium sources. To find out how many milligrams of calcium you should have each day (based on your age), visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation's Web site http://www.nof.org/prevention/calcium.htm
Don't forget you also need Vitamin D to absorb the calcium. You can get this from direct exposure to sunlight for about 10 or 15 minutes a few times a week, and from foods like fortified dairy products, egg yolks, saltwater fish and liver.
If you have trouble getting enough calcium and vitamin D from food, supplements can help.
Source: National Osteoporosis Foundation, April 2002
Safe Memorial Day Picnics
You can avoid foodborne illness at your Memorial Day picnic by following these guidelines:
- Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
- Meat, poultry, fish and dairy products are most susceptible to contamination, so pay particular attention to the way you store them.
- Don't let food sit out for a long time. Serve it, eat it and put it away quickly.
And don't forget the all-important motto: when in doubt, throw it out.
Source: American Dietetic Association, April 2002
Women, Omega-3s, Heart Health
Researchers have known for some time that omega-3 fatty acids offer protection against heart disease, but there was limited information about omega-3s and women. A recent study has shown that women benefit as well as men.
The 84,688 women in the study enrolled in 1980, and ranged in age from 30 to 54. Those who ate fish, the most efficient source of omega-3s, regularly had a lower incidence of coronary disease and coronary death compared to women who rarely ate fish. For example, women who ate fish five times a week had a 45 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease than women who rarely ate fish.
Salmon, mackerel, sablefish and herring are the highest sources of omega-3s. Consider replacing some of your weekly chicken and beef dishes with these fish instead.
Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, 10 April 2002