Thursday, May 18, 2006

health magazine: FYI: Nothing to sneeze at

Sneezing and wheezing but prescription and over-the-counter meds leave you groggy? The folks at Women's Health magazine have alternatives.

• Sublingual immunotherapy. The therapy involves prescription-only drops that include extracts of the plants you're most allergic to. The drawback is that you have to take them daily for up to five years.

• Stinging nettle. The plant contains a histamine that may help your body acquire a tolerance to the things that make you sneeze. The stinging nettle capsules are available over-the-counter, and you'll need to take two every four hours during allergy season.

• Local honey. Since honey contains pollen, eating it may help your body build up a tolerance. Honey straight from the hive also contains enzymes known to reduce inflammation and that have antibiotic properties. Use the honey to sweeten your tea or chew on some honeycomb.

• Acupuncture. Some experts believe acupuncture strengthens the immune system. Try one or two sessions a week during the allergy season.


A study by UC San Francisco revealed that part of the problem in fighting childhood obesity is perception: Some moms fail to recognize that their children have a weight problem.

Latina mothers of preschool-aged children frequently have inaccurate perceptions of their children's body mass index, and believe they are healthy when they are overweight, UC San Francisco researchers said.

The study findings were presented at the Pediatric Academic Society's annual meeting recently in San Francisco. Researchers said the problem is not restricted to the Latino population. It is important for pediatricians to talk with parents and children about weight concerns.


If you're doing dozens of crunches every day and still not getting flat abs, you may want to change your diet. According to Fitness magazine, a number of foods make take you where exercise can't. Here are five choices:

• Almonds. Packed with protein, fiber and vitamin E; 23 almonds a day is your goal.

• Soy. Rich in antioxidants, fiber and protein; snack on edamame and add some tofu to a smoothie.

• Apples. Large apples are nearly 85 percent water and contain fiber and cancer-fighting compounds; have one or two a day.

• Berries. Packed with fiber, berries can actually help reduce the amount of calories you absorb; eat a half-cup daily of raspberries, blueberries or strawberries.

• Vegetable soup. Studies show that people who ate broth-based soup twice a day were more successful at losing weight than those who consumed the same amount of calories in snack food.

-- Compiled by Joan Morris