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Food Allergies, Asthma, and the Environment

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sneeze by William Brawley via Flickr

It’s not just your imagination – food allergies and asthma incident rates are on the rise. In fact, they’ve been increasing for more than a decade. While there are many possible culprits, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the environment – and how we care for the environment – is having a major impact on our health.

The Rise of Food Allergies

“The latest surveys show that the rates of allergy are increasing throughout the world, affecting up to 30-35% of people at some stage in their lives,” Allergy UK explains. “This increase was initially seen in countries such as the UK, Europe and USA, but can now be found in all countries undergoing industrial development.”

There are a variety of opinions regarding why allergies, and food allergies in particular, are on the rise.

Here are a few of them:

1. Dietary Changes

It’s no secret that our diets have changed over the years. We’ve transitioned from primarily fresh diets to diets with more processed foods. Some believe that our increase in food allergies is related to our increased presence of allergenic food items, like peanuts, in our diets. However, there isn’t enough evidence to prove this theory.

A better theory is that we’re not getting enough of the nutrients we need – or are consuming the wrong ones altogether. As Allergy UK notes, “A number of research teams are investigating whether reduced levels of nutrients – in particular vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids (in fish) or antioxidants – might contribute to the development of allergy.”

As for the growing number of lactose intolerant people, there may actually be a misconception about this condition. While millions of people say they suffer from lactose intolerance, only a very small fraction actually does. The rest may have an intolerance to the A1 protein in cows. Switching to milk from cows with only A2 protein can make a major difference.

2. Hygiene Hypothesis

A second theory is that our environments have become so clean and sanitary that we aren’t exposed to as much bacteria, germs, and micro-organisms as we were in the past. Frequent hand washing and the use of other sanitizers actually weaken our immune systems. So, when we do come into contact with these microbial agents, we’re more likely to develop an allergic tendency.

3. Increased Exposure

Finally, there’s another branch of research that believes our present environment exposes us to a number of ingredients that are derived from nuts at a very young age. These ingredients are found in cosmetic products, lotions, and creams. When applied to the skin, some believe these items can cause the development of an allergy.

Increasing Asthma Rates

It’s also important to discuss the rise in asthma rates, which have really increased over the past decade. “Allergy and asthma result from a complex interplay between an individual’s genetics and the environment,” asthma expert Marc Riedl explains. “In much of the world, the environment in which humans live and develop has changed rather rapidly and profoundly since the industrial revolution.”

Some of the potential interplays between asthma and our environment include air pollution in highly congested cities, the hygiene hypothesis, increased rate of C-section births, and the presence of smoking.

“If we want to reduce the national or global prevalence of asthma, we likely need to tackle large public health issues such as air pollution levels, obesity rates, and perhaps the overuse of antibiotics,” Riedl says.

Where Do We Go From Here?

The increase of food allergies and asthma is certainly something that needs to be discussed in tandem with environmental changes and global conditions. While it’s virtually impossible to eradicate these issues, the more we know, the better our future generations will be.

 

Environment

Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage

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water conserving

While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.

If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.

Repair and Maintain Appliances

Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.

Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.

When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.

Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full

It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.

The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.

Recycle Water in Your Yard

Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.

You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.

Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants

Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.

Install Water-Saving Features

The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.

There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.

Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City

Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.

If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.

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Environment

Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism

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When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.

After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.

How was it started?

It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.

How to go about it?

So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.

If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.

What can be learned?

Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .

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