Is There Really A Chocolate Allergy?

Nov 24

Is There Really A Chocolate Allergy?

Its hard to find someone who doesn’t like chocolate, but to understand what causes chocolate allergy symptoms we need to understand where chocolate comes from and how early pure unsweetened chocolate has evolved into what is today called chocolate.

Where is Chocolate From?

Chocolate comes from the cacao tree and is made from its seeds. The Cacao tree is native to Central America where chocolate has been consumed for thousands of years. Almost all early Central American cultures consumed chocolate either as a drink or in its pure unsweetened form. Chocolate was even used by some of these cultures like the Aztecs as a currency. The use of chocolate spread through Europe after the Spanish defeated the Aztecs. Unlike early chocolate consumption which  was unsweetened, sugar was added to create sweetened chocolate. Of course other ingredients slowly made their way into chocolate to add to taste and texture. Many so called chocolate allergy symptoms can be attributed to these added ingredients and the processing of modern chocolate.

Chocolate Allergy

The worst thing that someone with a sweet tooth can get is a chocolate allergy. Most of the allergies and intolerances are caused by ingredients as mentioned, allergies to cacao do occur but they are somewhat rare. The ingredients in chocolate  are among the leading allergy causing foods and include milk, peanuts, other nuts, wheat, corn, berries, egg and soy. Another problem is that much of the chocolate that is consumed is eaten by children and they are more susceptible to many food allergies and intolerances

Peanut allergies are a serious problem with chocolate and chocolate that does not contain peanuts will often be labeled as containing possible traces of peanuts. This is because though this chocolate may not directly contain nuts it may be made with equipment that was previously used with peanuts and even though the equipment has been cleaned it can still contain trace amounts of peanuts. Even if chocolate is made with equipment that is peanut free if peanuts are used else where in the building cross contamination can occur. Many large chocolate companies now go to great lengths to make sure their chocolate that is labeled peanut free contains no trace amounts. Chocolate companies have recognized that there is a large peanut free chocolate market.

Chocolate Allergy Symptoms

Symptoms from a chocolate allergy or chocolate ingredients related allergy can occur in minutes or hours after consumption. They may include rashes, hives, headaches, respiratory problems, and other immune related responses. Chocolate intolerance caused from ingredients are usually more intestinal like stomach aches and diarrhea.

Chocolate Allergy Prevention

The first step to avoiding a chocolate allergy is finding out which ingredient is causing your chocolate allergy symptoms, or if cacao is responsible. Your doctor will be able to diagnose this from a challenge test or some other form  of allergy testing. After your chocolate allergy is more accurately diagnosed as long as cacao in not at fault you may not have to avoid chocolate all together but instead can try buying chocolate without the ingredient that is responsible for your symptoms. If dairy is causing your problem, dairy free chocolate is available. Just about any type of chocolate can be found at health and specialty stores including wheat free, gluten free, egg free, soy free, and peanut free. If you want to avoid symptoms reading labels is very important and do not be afraid to ask questions most staff at health food stores are very familiar with allergy products. Lastly when buying any chocolate it may be worth spending a little more on quality as cheaper chocolate often contains more impurities.

Read More

Feather Allergy

Nov 16

Feather Allergy

Some people have reactions when they are exposed to various bird feathers. Feathers can be found in many consumer items like pillows, jackets, comforters, sleeping bags and various other comfort items. Feather allergies and sensitivities are more likely to be caused by decomposing feathers not feathers that have recently been plucked. True allergic reactions to feathers are considered to be very rare as most often it is not the bird feathers themselves that are responsible for allergy symptoms but other allergens. Feathers can contain dander and their shape and structure make them a magnet for dust mites, this is particularly problematic since they are often used in pillows, comforters and other bedding’s. Also as feathers decay they become more susceptible to mold.

When buying or shopping for items with feathers usually you will encounter the word ‘down’,which refers to a type of feather used. Downs feathers are very fine interior feathers and many species of birds have them but down from geese is probably the most popular.

Birds That May Cause A Feather Allergy

  1. feather
  2. Goose
  3. Chicken
  4. Duck
  5. Canaries
  6. Parrots
  7. Turkeys

When buying or shopping for items with feathers usually you will encounter the word ‘down’,which refers to a type of feather used. Downs feathers are very fine interior feathers and many species of birds have them but down from geese is probably the most popular.

Feather Allergy Tips

  • Avoid using or storing any items with feathers like comforters,sleeping bags or other feather related items, especially in the bedroom.
  • Do not buy any type of bird as a pet.
  • Feathers that have been treated or washed are less likely to cause allergy symptoms.
  • Regardless of feather allergies or not you should not pick up any loose feathers you may find on the ground and of course never touch a dead bird due to the risk of possible disease transfer and other health hazards.

If you are experiencing allergy symptoms after being exposed to bird feathers its best to consult a allergist to determine the exact cause of your symptoms.

Read More

Analyzing weight loss medical treatments by using drugs

Nov 03

Weight loss has so many myths surrounding itself that unfortunately one does not know whom to believe and whom not to believe. The innumerable medical treatments, diets, drugs, exercises, surgeries, ayurvedic treatments etc have made the consumer confused and indecisive on what is the best treatment for him.

No matter what your body constitution and medical history, you should remember one thing that weight loss is not a solution. Who claims otherwise is making a fool out of you. And even if you do end up losing weight in just a few days, for some serious medical complications as it is not healthy to lose large amount of weight quickly.

The body has to be respected and given time to shed the excess weight. Only then would the weight loss be termed healthy and you would be able to sustain it. Those people who wish to look slim for just a few days and then bloat up again are those who preferred taking the short cuts to weight loss.

Unfortunately for the consumer, weight loss treatments are an enormous business opportunity for business conglomerates. Keeping all ethics aside, they look at weight-loss drugs as a cash cow that they wish to milk to the maximum. Every publication you read and every second commercial you come across is speaking about a “wonder drug” that would melt away all your fat. So how do you decipher which drug is effective and whether it would really deliver the results they are promising?

Before you take weight-loss drugs try to understand what these drugs really are:

  1. Drugs that reduce your appetite– These drugs target your craving for food by suppressing your appetite. Thus you feel less hungry so automatically your food consumption reduces.
  2. Drugs that increase your body’s metabolism– These drugs increase your body’s metabolism so that your body is able to burn fat faster and minimize the fat storage in the body.
  3. Drugs that block all fat absorption in the body– These drugs prevent the fat from getting stored in the body.

There are a few drugs that have been approved by the FDA and other medical councils but the only catch in these drugs is that their results are short term and some people may complain of side effects too.

Obviously you cannot have these drugs for ever, so as soon as you stop the drug your body comes back to its normal state and your weight gain begins. Drugs can help you only if they are not the only weight-loss option you have opted for. If you can supplement your weight loss drugs with adequate exercise to maintain the weight loss then you can try out these drugs. The aim should be to bring down the weight to the desired level and then continue work-outs to keep it there even when your body no longer has the support of the drugs. Whether you do work-outs, yoga, aerobics or whatever method you choose, you need a back-up plan with weight loss drugs.

Read More