Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Does Obesity Cause Allergies?

Obesity has been a challenge in the US for the last couple decades, due to fast food, poor eating habits and a lack of exercise. There are dozens of diets and diet pills available for anyone who wishes to lose a few pounds, but these "fad diets" offer nothing more than a way to drop a few pounds, then gain them back when you return to your normal way of eating. Maintaining a healthy weight for children and adults must be done by adhering to a healthy eating plan, and it must be a way of life, not a short term solution.

Obesity, or being overweight causes many stresses on the body. First of all, fat cells cause inflammation. When inflammation is present in a persons body, it causes the systems that are used to fight off disease and inflammation to work overtime. This leaves less of the bodies defenses available to fight off things like the common cold, viruses and bacteria, and allergens. When the body is fighting chronic inflammation, it doesn't have the extra ability to tell your cells that the pollen that you just inhaled is not a problem, therefore it sees it as an intruder and tells the body to get rid of it right away. This causes the standard allergy symptoms like, sneezing, itchy & watery eyes, etc. These symptoms are the body's way of cleaning or flushing out the intruders. Chronic inflammation such as obesity can also cause the body to see foods that are eaten frequently; such as wheat or gluten as intruders. This reaction causes food sensitivities and food allergies.

Obesity is considered one of the main causes of type 2 diabetes, which causes even more inflammation and affects blood vessels and arteries. Type 2 Diabetes is characterized by obesity, overproduction of glucose by the liver, and ineffective utilization of available insulin. The problem for type 2 diabetics is not insufficient insulin production, but rather insulin resistance. In other words, the body is making plenty of insulin, it is just unable to utilize it due to a history of poor nutrition. Also, individuals, whose close relations -- mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, etc. -- have developed type 2 diabetes, have a much greater risk of developing the disease themselves. Not only because of genetic factors, but eating and lifestyle habits are passed down through generations too! Heredity is only about 10-15% genetic and 85-90% habit. Type 2 Diabetes, which is also considered insulin resistance, can typically be controlled by a change in eating habits and proper exercise.

If you have a history of Diabetes in your family, you can help protect yourself by avoiding processed foods. This includes refined or enriched bakery products, all refined sugar, saturated, hydrogenated or partially dehydrogenated fats, luncheon meats, dairy products, all soft drinks, chocolate, chips and crackers. Table salt should be kept to a minimum. Diet soft drinks are also known to engage the pancreas, which is where insulin is produced. Diet soft drinks are not a solution for diabetics. Eat more fiber. Vegetables and fruits are a great source of fiber, and are much better choices for people with diabetic tendencies. Get plenty of exercise, which has been proven to reduce glucose levels. A good place to start is by getting at least 200 minutes of aerobic blood pumping exercise a week.

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