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    Alcohol, a few interesting facts..
    Avoid alcohol during allergy season. The worst drink you could possibly have? Red wine, because it actually stimulates histamine. While people with seasonal allergies are not allergic to alcohol itself, it can escalate symptoms. Alcohol dilates blood vessels, including those in your nose, causing the nasal passages to swell.

    Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease. Those who have asthma should avoid foods and drinks that have high concentrations of sulphites, such as beer or wine.

    A glass of wine could bring on an asthma attack, two new studies suggest. Those who are asthmatics should consider cutting back, says lead study author Seif Shaheen, M.D., Ph.D., researcher and senior lecturer at Guy’s, King’s and St. Thomas’ School of Medicine, King’s College, London.
    Sulphite allergies are a problem for some individuals and can lead to serious headaches. Winemakers have been adding sulphites to wine for millennia, and without the added sulphites the wine will not survive as long. The ATF (US), the governing body for wineries, allows wineries to call wine 'sulphite free' when the levels of sulphites are under 10 parts per million (ppm).

    Headaches and breathing problems can result from drinking red wine, and the culprits seem to be sulphites, histamine and possibly tannins. For some people it may simply be the alcohol, which is a well-known precipitant of migraine. ("Red Wine Headaches," Harvard Health Letter, June 2002)

    Alcohol makes the lung liable to injury and infection by producing a decrease in alveolar epithelial levels of glutathione, an antioxidant, as well as inhibiting the response to bacterial infection. In a recent study by Australian researchers of asthmatics, 42% have reactions to alcoholic drinks - wine being the most frequent cause. Asthmatic reactions generally appeared quickly and were moderate in intensity. Drinking alcohol dramatically boosts the risk of common gene mutation in smokers developing lung cancer.

    ..and the angels wept. Well, if you cant avoid it completely and probably don't want to, remember moderation.

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    Tea, bet you didn't know that
    A five-ounce serving of brewed tea contains 60 mg of caffeine. A similar serving of drip brewed coffee contains 115mg of caffeine.

    Tea is said to slow down digestion. Its daily intake causes indigestion as tannin impedes the action of "ptyalin", a digestive ferment of saliva. This effect disappears if milk is added to it, as the protein of milk precipitates tannin. Therefore black tea is more harmful than tea prepared with milk.

    There are caffeine free teas, the most popular being Rooibos or Redbush tea. A brilliant healthy alternative that is also very low in tannin, almost 0, and can be given safely to babies.


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    Coffee anyone?
    Maybe it's not that bad for you after all. Read on, and make you own mind up. The info is courtesy of familyhaven.com

    Caffeine is a pharmacologically active substance, and, depending on the dose, can be a mild central nervous system stimulant. Any pharmacological effects of caffeine are transient, usually passing within hours. Many other familiar foods also exert pharmacological effects. A glass of warm milk before bedtime is appreciated by some for the somnolent effects of tryptophan, and capsaicin in hot peppers is notorious for producing a burning sensation, that often evokes sweating.

    Caffeine does not accumulate in the body over the course of time and is normally excreted within several hours of consumption.

    The "half-life" of caffeine is the time it takes to eliminate one-half of consumed caffeine from the body. This varies among individuals, about three to four hours in healthy adults. Smoking increases the metabolism of caffeine, generally reducing the half-life to no more than three hours. Children also metabolize caffeine at a quicker rate.

    People differ greatly in their sensitivity to caffeine. When analyzing caffeine's effects on an individual, many factors must be weighed. The amount ingested and how often a person consumes caffeine are relative in evaluating caffeine's effects.

    With regular use, tolerance develops to many of the effects of caffeine. For example, a person who consumes caffeine on a regular basis may drink several cups of coffee in a few hours and notice little effect, whereas a person who isn't a regular coffee drinker may feel some stimulant effect after just one serving.

    Additionally, studies have shown that individuals who consume caffeine may increase memory and improve reasoning powers. Research indicated that those who consumed caffeine scored higher grades on motor skill tests, enhanced reaction times and improved auditory and visual vigilance.

    Contrary to popular belief, children, including those diagnosed as hyperactive, are no more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than adults. Plus, a 1984 study demonstrated that caffeine was not a cause of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

    Individuals tend to find their own acceptable level of daily caffeine consumption. Those people who feel unwanted effects tend to ease off their caffeine consumption; those who don't continue to consume caffeine at their own normal levels. In practice, the person who feels adverse effects such as sleeplessness learns not to consume caffeine before bedtime.


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    Diet drinks vs. Good old sugar

    I am all for progress. Bring on the videophone and honest politicians, but for heaven sake, leave our food alone. Remember the good old days of butter, sugar and cancer free tobacco. Then along came margarine, health fads and the pick of the bunch, sweeteners

    Sticking clear of products containing Aspartame (NutraSweet®, Candarel® etc), is no easy task. Investigation of labels will display the extent to which these products are used in drinks and our food. Any diet drink uses Aspartame or a variant thereof to replace the sugar. One in 16,000 people is sensitive to phenylalanine, an amino acid found in aspartame.

    I am not going to get into the debate on these pages. Suffice to say that the companies mentioned above have now launched major media campaigns explaining to the public just how safe aspartame is. Smell a rat, anyone?

    Here are a few recommended links for further reading. According to the authors, aspartame can make you very ill, and from evaluating the information we tend to agree. No smoke, no fire. If you are a diet fanatic, you probably ingest huge quantities of Aspartame. Please read the articles below.

    The Aspartame Controversy
    Diabetic website

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