Alternative Treatments for Asthma

Asthma sufferers may lessen their need for chemical treatments prescription medications (steroids) and inhalers through lifestyle and dietary changes and nutritional supplements.
-Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke, indoor and outdoor pollution, and common allergens such as dust (see Allergies)
-Avoid food additives and processed foods. The diet should emphasize whole, organic foods as much as possible. Focus on decreasing refined carbohydrates like sugar and heavily processed starches; hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils (which interfere with fatty acid metabolism); artificial food additives, flavorings, and sweeteners; fried foods; and pork.
-Avoid nitrates/nitrites and sulfites. Many asthma patients are sensitive to these substances and should avoid foods containing such additives. This may include deli meats and cheeses, hot dogs, bacon, wine and beer. Individuals who know they are sensitive to sulfites may benefit from supplements of both vitamin B12 and the mineral molybdenum. Both help in the oxidation and metabolism of sulfites and may help decrease an inflammatory reaction to sulfites exposure. In addition, vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to some forms of asthma.







-Include a balance of aerobic exercise, resistance training, and stretching or yoga in your workout routine. Try to avoid exercising in cold, dry air, and always warm up with at least 10 minutes of lower-intensity exercise. Stress management techniques including biofeedback and meditation are recommended.
-Supplement with omega-3s. Fish oil and flaxseed oil, both excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, may help decrease inflammation.
-Get plenty of antioxidants through diet or supplements. They decrease free radical activity, which tends to stimulate inflammation. This includes vitamins A, C, and E, quercetin, bioflavonoids (hesperidin and rutin), N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), and bromelain. Bromelain, which comes from the stem of pineapple, is an enzyme that when taken without food, has powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
-Try taking magnesium, which has a broncho-dilating effect. Magnesium stores have been shown to be low in individuals with asthma.

Exercise fights Stress, Anxiety and Depression

Regular aerobic exercise can bring remarkable changes not just to your body, your metabolism, and your heart, but also to your spirits, reports the February 2011 issue of Harvard Men’s Health Watch.
Aerobic exercise is the key for your head, just as it is for your heart. It has a unique capacity to exhilarate and relax, to provide stimulation and calm, to counter depression and dissipate stress. Endurance athletes commonly experience the restorative power of exercise, and this has been verified in clinical trials that have used exercise to treat anxiety and depression.
How can exercise contend with problems as difficult as anxiety and depression? There are several explanations, some chemical, others behavioral. The mental benefits of aerobic exercise have a neurochemical basis. Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.
Behavioral factors contribute to the emotional benefits of exercise. As your waistline shrinks and your strength and stamina increase, your self-image will improve. You’ll earn a sense of pride and self-confidence. Your renewed vigor will help you succeed in many tasks, and the discipline will help you achieve other lifestyle goals. Exercise and sports also provide opportunities to enjoy some solitude or to make friends and build networks.
Harvard Men’s Health Watch notes that you should exercise nearly every day. That doesn’t necessarily mean hitting the gym. But it does mean at least 30 minutes of moderate activity. And if you need more help with stress, consider autoregulation exercises involving deep breathing or muscle relaxation.






Tips to Increase your Good Cholesterol

Thanks to powerful cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, driving down low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, has been the primary approach to improving cholesterol levels. But there’s more to the story of cholesterol and cardiovascular risk than LDL alone. Another key player is high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good” cholesterol. Higher levels of HDL are associated with lower cardiovascular risk. The good news about this good cholesterol is that simple lifestyle changes can help boost HDL.
HDL removes LDL from artery walls and ferries it to the liver for processing or removal. HDL also fights potentially dangerous inflammation and clot formation. According to a recent review of research on HDL, there’s some evidence that increasing HDL can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke—even without changes in LDL.
Here are some tips to boost your good cholesterol. Most of these strategies also improve health in other ways.
1-Get aerobic exercise. Moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise can boost HDL by 5% to 10%. Aim for five 30-minute sessions per week.
2-Lose weight if you need to. If you’re overweight or obese, you can boost your HDL level by about 1 mg/dL for every seven pounds lost, although any amount of weight loss will help.
3-If you smoke, quit. HDL levels rise by as much as 15% to 20% after you quit.
4-Eat a healthy diet. Avoid trans fats, which increase bad cholesterol and decrease good cholesterol. Avoid highly refined carbohydrates, such as white-flour products.
5-Consider medications. Niacin, available over the counter, is the most effective HDL-raising medication available. Niacin can be strong medicine — work with your clinician if you want to try it.