Allergies and Nutrition
Spring time is the season for allergies, thanks to the pollen or dust in the air. Asthma is characterized by lung airway inflammation due to an inappropriate immune response. There is no particular diet recommendation to ward off such allergies except to avoid anything that worsens the symptoms. Certain food additives have been linked to worsening the allergic responses. Chemicals added as preservatives, food colourings (especially tartrazine, the yellow colouring agent) and some flavouring agents have been found to cause/worsen asthma attacks in some people. Sulphites can also trigger asthma symptoms in some people. Used as a preservative, sulphites are found in wine, dried fruits, pickles, jams, sugar, frozen shrimps and beverages. Observational studies have reported associations between asthma and dietary antioxidants (vitamin E, vitamin C, carotenoids, selenium, polyphenols and fruit), polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFA (found in most vegetable oils), omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.
Currently there is insufficient evidence to support the use of nutrient supplements to complement conventional treatment. However, results of ongoing studies are awaited and additional research is required, particularly with regard to children. A good diet is an important part of the overall treatment plan. Making informed choices about what foods to eat and what foods to avoid may not cure asthma but it may improve the symptoms and overall health.
Food Safety during the Transition to Summer
As summer approaches, we find an increase in stomach upsets or diarrhoea. Warm temperatures are ideal for microbes to flourish and, hence, keeping food at safe temperatures is very important. Microorganisms can multiply very quickly if food is stored at room temperature. By holding at temperatures below 5 degrees C or above 60 degrees C, the growth of microorganisms is slowed down or stopped.
According to World Health Organization, the best way to keep food safe is to not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than two hours. All cooked and perishable food should be refrigerated immediately (preferably below 5 degrees C). Cooked food should be kept piping hot (more than 60 degrees C) prior to serving.