Suffering from allergies? These foods can help ease the symptoms

June 4, 2019 in Food

Although Spring is known as the season of renewal, for those of us who suffer from allergies, it can feel like quite the opposite. Allergies, also known as hay fever, is the result of the immune system overreacting to allergens such as plant pollen, which leads to lots of congestion, sneezing, and itching.

While treatment usually involves over-the-counter medicines, adding certain foods to your diet can actually help relieve symptoms like the nose-dripping and eye-watering. From reducing inflammation to boosting the immune system, there a bunch of foods you can add to your diet to ease your Springtime woes. A great example is ginger, which has been used as a natural remedy for thousands of years. By adding ginger to your meals or to your cup of tea, you can naturally reduce swelling and irritation in the nasal passages, eyes, and throat.

Salmon and other oily fish have also been shown to keep the sneezing away. Apparently, there’s some evidence that the omega-3 fatty acids from fish could bolster your allergy resistance and even improve asthma. If you’re on the hunt for more allergy-fighting foods, look no further.

This is the #1 Dietary Risk Factor for Death in the U.S.

variety of fruits and vegetables

Learn an easy way to live longer and save money by making a daily change in your diet. 

The Global Burden of Disease Study, published in 2012, is the most comprehensive and systematic analysis of causes of death undertaken to date, involving nearly 500 researchers from more than 300 institutions in 50 countries, and starting with almost 100,000 data sources. What did the researchers find? Here in the U.S., they determined that our biggest killer was our diet.

Number 1 on their list of the most important dietary risks was not eating enough fruit,responsible for an estimated 4.9 million deaths a year around the world.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists:

“If Americans ate just one more serving of fruits or vegetables per day, this would save more than 30,000 lives and $5 billion in medical costs each year.”

One antidote for individuals is easy, painless, and even pleasurable: exploit the multiple nutritional and protective benefits of fruits and vegetables.

How Plants Help Prevent Disease

One way plants protect us may be their antiplatelet effects. Platelets are what trigger the blood clots that cause heart attacks and most strokes. And beyond their obvious function in blood clotting, platelets are now considered to play a pivotal inflammatory role in the hardening of the arteries in the first place, and in allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, and even cancer.

Normally, under healthy conditions, platelets circulate in a quiescent, inactive state. But once they become activated, they can emerge as culprits in inflammation. Platelets transport a vast amount of inflammatory chemicals, and upon activation they release these chemicals, which can recruit the inflammatory cells that form the pus pockets within our arterial walls that can eventually burst and kill us.

This involvement of platelet activation in atherosclerosis development is well established. We’ve long recognized the platelets’ role in the final stages; however, a growing body of data indicates that platelets may also play an important role in the initiation and propagation of atherosclerosis in the first place.

How can we prevent the excessive activation of platelets? It’s generally recognized that platelet hyper-reactivity is associated with high levels of cholesterol circulating in the blood; so we can cut down on foods that have trans fats, saturated fats, and dietary cholesterol.

We can also eat more fruits and vegetables — ideally organic.

bowl of strawberries

For example, different varieties of strawberries have shown a significant antiplatelet effect in a petri dish and in people. How did researchers figure it out?

In my video, Inhibiting Platelet Aggregation with Berries, you can see a platelet in a resting state, packed with little round granule grenades of inflammatory chemicals, which fuse together and are released when the platelet gets activated.

Because resting and activated platelets look so different, we can just take blood from people and count how many are resting and how many are activated before and after people eat more than a pint of strawberries every day for a month. From just adding strawberries to people’s diets, there’s a small but significant drop in the percentage of activated platelets circulating throughout their bodies.

Other berries had a similar effect, even at a more modest two servings a day. Drinking orange or grapefruit juice doesn’t seem to help, but purple grape juice successfully reduces platelet activity on the same order that aspirin does.

Studies have shown that daily aspirin can reduce heart attacks and strokes; however, aspirin can also cause severe gastrointestinal disturbances and bleeding problems, and so should not be used for the primary prevention of heart attacks and stroke as the benefits don’t clearly outweigh the serious risks. It’s nice to have safe, side-effect free alternatives.

One of the ways plants help keep platelets in their place may actually be their aspirin content!

See the Aspirin Levels in Plant Foods video below:

Why would a plant make a human drug? It’s so cool, check out Appropriating Plant Defenses.

Is the Standard American Diet really so bad that we could save 100,000 people by just getting up to minimum fruit and veggie recommendations? Even cynics might be surprised: Nation’s Diet in Crisis. Even more plants may cut deaths even more, though. See One in a Thousand: Ending the Heart Disease Epidemic.

Berries are the healthiest fruits, shown to maintain our brain power (How to Slow Brain Aging By Two Years) and improve our immune function (Boosting Natural Killer Cell Activity). That’s one of the reasons we want to eat Antioxidant Rich Foods With Every Meal.

Why You Need to Eat Plants at Every Meal

As Dr. Greger’s video says:

We can’t just have a bowl of berries in the morning to meet our minimum daily antioxidant needs, and call it a day.

Each and every meal should contain high-antioxidant foods, which means plants because antioxidant-rich foods originate from the plant kingdom.

Why Are Heart Attacks and Strokes on the Rise in Young Adults?

Bradley Bale, MD & Amy Doneen, DNP, ARNPMay 8, 2019

After Luke Perry’s death from a massive stroke at age 52, many people asked how this could have happened. Wasn’t the “Beverly Hills, 90210” star too young for a stroke? And could this tragedy have been prevented? Perry joins a growing list of celebrities who have fallen victim to heart attacks or strokes before age 55, including Sharon Stone, Rosie O’Donnell, John Mellencamp and Bob Harper.

Rates of cardiovascular events are soaring in younger adults, particularly among women. In a study of more than 28,000 people hospitalized for heart attacks between 1995 and 2014, a whopping 30% (8,737 patients) were between the ages of 35 and 54. Another recent study found that between 2003 and 2012, stroke rates rose by 43% among 45- to 54-year-olds, and by 36% in the 18-to-34 age group. What’s behind this alarming trend? Here’s a look at how to protect your arterial health at every age with the BaleDoneen Method.

Are you at risk for a heart attack or stroke?

In a new study of more than 1.4 million young adults who were hospitalized for a heart attack, 92% had at least one of the following modifiable risk factors: high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol. The research was published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) in February.

Having even one of these risk factors also magnifies the threat of having a stroke at an early age, according to a study of stroke survivors ages 49 and under presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference in February. People in their 30s or 40s with at least two of these risks were ten times more likely to suffer a stroke than those with none.

The findings suggest that medical providers need to do a better job of screening younger patients for stroke risk, said Dr. Sharon Poisson, the study’s lead author. “People in their 20s and 30s aren’t typically thinking that high blood pressure or diabetes are things they need to worry about, yet they really do make an impact on stroke risk,” she told

When should you start screening for cardiovascular disease?

Yet many young people don’t know they are at risk until a heart attack or stroke occurs. In a 2015 study of young heart attack survivors ages 18 to 55, almost all of them had at least one of the risk factors listed above. Yet only 53% knew they were at risk before the event, and even fewer had ever discussed their risks or how to reduce them with their medical provider.

The study of young heart attack survivors also found that women were 11% less likely to be informed of their cardiac danger and 16% less likely to be counseled on risk factor modification, such as lifestyle changes, than men of the same age. An accompanying editorial stated that, “the rising epidemic of [cardiovascular disease] in younger women may be attributable in part to a lack of risk assessment and preventive therapy.”

As we recently reported, part of the problem is that most patients — and some medical providers — don’t know the right age to start screening for cardiovascular disease (CVD), the leading killer of men and women. In a recent national survey, 92% of patients thought, on average, that screening should start at age 41. Actually, the American Heart Association recommends that screening for cardiac risk start at age 20.

The best tests to screen for hidden cardiovascular danger

CVD, which claims more American lives each year than all forms of cancer combined, can start to develop when people are in their teens or early 20s. If undetected and untreated, it can silently progress until it becomes severe enough to cause a heart attack or stroke.

Since heart attacks and strokes can occur in seemingly healthy people with few — or none — of the traditional risk factors, the BaleDoneen Method uses laboratory and imaging tests to directly check each patient for signs of hidden arterial disease.

Here are some of the best ways for young people to find out if they are at risk for a heart attack or stroke:


Nearly 50% of Americans have elevated blood pressure, the leading risk factor for stroke, according to new guidelines from the American Heart Association.


Most patients assume that the standard cholesterol test checks for all forms of dangerous cholesterol that raise heart attack and stroke risk. Actually, most healthcare providers don’t test for a common inherited cholesterol disorder: elevated levels of lipoprotein (a), a blood fat that triples risk for heart attacks. This disorder, which can be detected with a $20 blood test, turned out to be the culprit in celebrity fitness trainer Bob Harper’s near-fatal heart attack at age 51.


It’s very common for people to be diagnosed with diabetes or insulin resistance (IR, a pre-diabetic condition) shortly after they have a heart attack. While these disorders may sound unrelated, IR is the root cause of about 70% of heart attacks. BaleDoneen and other studies show that the most accurate screening test for IR is the two-hour oral glucose tolerance test.


A waistline measuring more than 35 inches for a woman or more than 40 inches for a man is one of the leading indicators of metabolic syndrome (a dangerous cluster of risk factors that triples risk for heart attack and quintuples it for type 2 diabetes).


This 15-minute, FDA-approved test uses ultrasound to measure the lining of the largest artery of your neck — and can also detect arterial plaque (disease). In a recent study of 3.067 “healthy” adults under age 45 who were tracked for 16 years, cIMT measurements were shown to strongly predict risk for heart attack and stroke, independent of the person’s risk factors.


A landmark BaleDoneen study was the first to identify bacteria from periodontal (gum) disease as a contributing cause of CVD. That means your dental provider is a potentially lifesaving member of your heart attack and stroke prevention team. To find out if you have high-risk oral bacteria, the BaleDoneen Method recommends using available tests from companies that measure oral pathogens through DNA analysis, including OralDNA, OraVital and Hain Diagnostics. About 50% of Americans ages 30 and older have gum disease, which has been linked to increased risk for CVD, Alzheimer’s disease, and several forms of cancer.


As discussed more fully in the BaleDoneen book, Beat the Heart Attack Gene, about 50% of Americans carry genetic variants that greatly increase their risk for heart attacks and strokes at an early age. For more than a decade, the BaleDoneen Method has used a genetically guided precision-medicine approach, which has been shown in two recent peer-reviewed studies to effectively prevent, detect, treat and even reverse arterial disease, even in those with genetic risk.

This article was originally posted on

About the Author

Amy L Doneen, DNP co-founded the Bale/Doneen Method and the Heart Attack & Stroke Prevention Center. She is a principal instructor in the Bale/Doneen Method, training other medical, dental and healthcare providers across the country. She is the owner and medical director of the sought-after private clinical practice in Spokane, Washington; The Heart Attack & Stroke Prevention Center, which serves patients from all over the world.  Dr. Doneen is one of the nation’s leading specialists in preventing heart attacks, stroke and diabetes. She is co-author of the bestselling book, Beat The Heart Attack Gene.