Shea Butter Found to Be Hypoallergenic

Shea butter can be found in a huge number of materials, ranging from diaper cream to types of paper. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers shea nuts (from which the butter is made) to be tree nuts- potential allergens.

The proteins in peanuts and other tree nuts are what cause the allergic reaction. In people who are allergic, the immune system considers the proteins to be dangerous and launches an attack, resulting in an allergic reaction. These can be both mild and severe, the latter often resulting in the failure of airways. Around two million Americans are allergic to some type of tree nut, but the number of allergy-linked deaths is small; around twelve each year.

The issue of shea butter arose when a pediatrician named Dr. Kanwaljit K. Chawla questioned the safety of most baby products. “I was looking up baby products and realized that many of the ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ products contained shea butter, including wipes, diaper creams, baby lotion and nipple cream for breastfeeding mothers. I saw that the FDA listed shea nut as something to avoid if you are allergic to tree nuts, but shea is in everything. How is it possible to avoid it?” She explained.

The nuts are mostly fat, but the doctor and her colleagues decided to run a few tests. They extracted the miniscule amount of protein found in shea nuts, and added it to blood samples taken from a number of people with known tree-nut allergies. The immune system did not respond, implying that although shea nuts should in theory trigger an allergic reaction, the immune system does not recognize it as a nut protein.

New Study of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Recent studies have shown that people who lead a healthier lifestyle as they develop are less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the main causes of sight impairment in older adults.

Exercise, a healthy diet and lack of smoking are all key factors. Combined, these habits, and the risk of AMD is lowered by over 70%. Julie Mares of the University of Wisconsin in Madison explained that “we don’t need to be passive victims of these ravages of old age. Relatively small things could make a difference.”

Mares recommends 10 hours of light exercise per week. This can include housework, gardening and walking. 8 hours of moderate exercise are just as effective.

Losing Stomach Fat

Excess fat on the stomach and sides doesn’t only look bad- it’s also unhealthy for your body. For example it can be bad for your posture. The muscles of your stomach and sides are a key factor in your body’s everyday movements, and when they are slackened and weak they are less efficient. It is important to keep these muscles active. Walking and running are two great ways to keep your body healthy and toned. You may not realize it, but your core muscles work along with your legs during these activities. If walking is not for you, though, or the weather does not allow it, here are some simple exercises which you can do at home:

The Side Bend: Stand up straight with your feet slightly apart. Bend your knees slightly, and slowly lower your entire upper body to the right, back to the center, and to the left. Repeat.

The Torso Twist: After your side bends, you can immediately proceed to this exercise. Stand the same way, and twist your upper body from side to side. Your torso and side muscles should be controlling the motion- be sure not to use your hips instead. Make sure to hold your back and shoulders straight.

The Side Crunch: Lie down on the floor (use a mat or a towel as a cushion) on your side. Put the arm that is closer to the floor over your waist, and with your opposite arm, reach up and touch your ear. Your elbows should be pointing up. Lift your shoulders and upper leg off the floor and hold. Switch sides.

Kroger Co. Recalling Pet Food

The Kroger Co. is recalling certain packages of dog and cat foods, as the products may be dangerous for pets’ health. The recall involves bags of Pet Pride Cat Food, Pet Pride Kitten Formula Food, Old Yeller Chunk Dog Food, Kroger Value Chunk Dig Food and more. The food is suspected to contain aflatoxin, a carcinogen produced by fungus which can be found in some corn. This carcinogen can be harmful to both humans and animals. Consumption could cause liver diseases in pets, which cannot always be remedied.

The Kroger stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio, North and South Carolina and Texas are all recalling these pet food items.

The Health Benefits of Potatoes

potatoIt is often forgotten that potatoes are in fact a very healthy vegetable. They are rich in complex carbohydrates which supply energy, but are relatively low in calories. One medium sized potato also contains around five grams of fiber, which is incredibly healthy for the digestive system. Potatoes are also rich in vitamins and minerals.

Potatoes contain the most potassium of all fresh fruits and vegetables, including bananas. One potato has over 800 milligrams, which is close to 20% of the ideal amount to be consumed on a daily basis. Potassium is necessary for body growth and cell maintenance. It’s also important for the functioning of the nervous system, as well as normal muscle contraction, including the heart muscle. It is also an electrolyte which helps to balance fluids in the body.

Potatoes are rich in Vitamin C and B6 as well, which boost the immune system and contribute to the healing of wounds and blood clotting.