Household Mold Causes Childhood Asthma?

Three specific species of mold were more common in the homes of babies who later developed asthma. The finding highlights the importance of preventing water damage and mold growth in households with infants.

 Penicillium variabile, one of the mold species most associated with asthma.Image by David Gregory and Debbie Marshall, Wellcome Images. All rights reserved by Wellcome Images.

Childhood Asthma

Household MoldMore than 6 million children in the U.S. have asthma. Genes are known to play a role, and so does the home environment. Childhood asthma has been linked to indoor mold growing in a child’s home as a result of moisture problems such as water leaks.

The connection between mold and asthma, however, is complicated and not fully understood. Asthma is often associated with allergies, and molds spread by releasing tiny spores into the air, which can cause allergic reactions.

A team led by Dr. Tiina Reponen of the University of Cincinnati has been investigating the relationship between mold and childhood asthma. Between 2001 and 2003, they collected dust samples from 289 homes with infants who were an average of 8 months old. At age 7, the kids had allergy skin tests and tests for asthma.

The study was funded by NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Testing for Mold and Asthma

The researchers analyzed the original samples of house dust for concentrations of 36 different species of mold. The molds are on the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index, or ERMI, which was developed by the EPA to measure how moldy a house is.

In the August 2012 edition of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the team reported that 69 of the children (24%) had developed asthma. The ERMI score of a baby’s home predicted whether the child would have asthma at age 7. ERMI values range from about -10 to 20. For a 10-point increase in ERMI, a child’s risk of asthma increased 80%.

Three particular species of mold were most associated with asthma:Aspergillus ochraceusAspergillus unguis and Penicillium variabile.

Read more at NIS Research Matters

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Healthy Foods to Help You Gain Weight

Overweight and obesity problems plague two-thirds of the American population, but there are also people who have exactly the opposite problem – they are much too thin. Some people are underweight due to medical conditions or eating disorders, while others are just naturally thin. If you are someone who needs to put on some extra pounds, your goal would be to increase your calorie intake every day by eating healthy foods to gain weight and build a more muscled physique.

Being underweight can be a problem but it doesn’t mean that you want to become fat and flabby. You need healthy foods and exercise to help you build strong muscles and a bigger body. Avoid foods that are high in saturated fats; they may make you gain weight quickly but are bad for your health. The following foods will help you gain weight and increase muscle mass while providing the calories, vitamins and minerals your body needs.

Healthy Foods to Help You Gain Weight

Healthy Foods to Help You Gain Weight

Healthy Foods to Help You Gain Weight

Pasta and Other Carbohydrate Sources – Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy and should provide up to 65% of your total caloric intake. One cup of cooked pasta contains approximately 200 calories. Pasta topped with marinara sauce and shredded cheese is a great source of carbohydrates, protein, calcium and lycopene.

Other excellent sources of carbohydrates are bagels, potatoes, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, sweet potatoes and yams. If you are trying to gain weight, you need plenty of carbohydrate-rich foods to supply your body with energy. Provide your body with enough carbohydrates for energy, otherwise it will break down muscle tissue and use it for energy.

Dried Fruits – Raisins and dried berries, apricots, pineapple, cranberries and mango are packed with calories, vitamins and minerals. Dried fruits, without the water content, are more calorie-dense than fresh fruits. A half-cup of raisins has over 200 calories while a cup of fresh grapes has only about 60 calories. Snack on raisins and other dried fruits to help you gain weight more quickly.

Nuts and Seeds – Nuts and seeds are some of the healthiest foods to gain weight. Polyunsaturated fats in nuts and seeds provide healthy calories. Walnuts, almonds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and pecans offer a variety of flavors for a delicious, nutritious and calorie-dense snack.

Lean Meats and Other Protein Sources – Your body needs quality protein to build muscle mass. If you want to gain weight and maintain or add more muscles, you need high-protein foods such as lean meats, poultry, eggs, salmon, tuna, cottage cheese and tofu.

Avocado – Avocados are nutrient-dense and calorie-dense. A single avocado provides over 200 calories of nutrition. Avocados are rich in healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, potassium, B vitamins, and folic acid. Enjoy this wholesome fruit in sandwiches, salads and guacomole.

Healthy Fats and Oils – One of the quickest ways to boost your calorie intake is by adding extra fat to your food. Choose healthy fats and oils, and stay away from saturated fats. Olive oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil, and grape seed oil are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on your pasta, salads, vegetables and other foods to gain weight in a healthy and natural way.

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Best Way to Gain Weight

Looking for the best way to gain weight? You are not alone. While millions of people are working hard to try and lose weight, it may come as a surprise to many that some people need to gain weight.  For underweight individuals, adding extra pounds can be a challenge but not a real problem unless you are grossly underweight.

There are different ways to bulk up your physique but the best way to gain weight is always the healthy and natural way.

Many people are skinny because of hereditary factors.  Others are underweight and need to add extra pounds due to lack of appetite, illness, or eating disorders.  The only way to gain weight is by consuming more calories than you burn every day.  You can increase caloric intake by eating larger quantities of food or choosing calorie-dense foods.  It’s always best, however, to eat nutrition-rich foods rather than junk foods.

Count Calories and Nutrients, Too

Best Way to Gain Weight

Best Way to Gain Weight

Healthy foods offer the best way to gain weight.  Choose foods not only for their caloric contribution but, more importantly, for the nutrients they provide.  Eat foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.  Each serving must be loaded with good nutrition as well as calories.  Foods that are high in calories and nutrients include nuts, avocados, dairy products, meats, eggs, and poultry.  Don’t forget to include healthy fats in your diet.

Eat a Balanced Diet to Gain Weight

Your body needs large quantities of carbohydrates, protein and fats, with carbohydrates being the primary energy source.  According to the Food and Nutrition Board, 45 to 65 percent of your total caloric intake should come from carbohydrates, 20 to 35 percent from fats, and 10 to 35 percent from proteins.  The best sources of carbohydrates are potatoes, corn, brown rice and pasta.  Good protein sources include meat, fish, beans, tofu, and poultry.  Healthy fats from olive oil, nuts and seeds provide the extra calories you need to gain weight.  Butter, whole milk and cheese also add more calories.  Don’t forget to include colorful fruits and vegetables and leafy greens in your daily diet.  They provide the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants you need for proper metabolism, higher energy levels, and a stronger immune system

Exercise to Gain Weight

You need to do strength-training exercises in order to convert protein and extra calories into muscle mass.  When trying to gain weight, the best way to do this is to eat protein-rich snacks after weight training.  Proteins provide the amino acids needed to repair and build body tissues and make the muscles grow.

Supplements to Gain Weight

People who are trying to gain weight can benefit from muscle-building supplements.  Creatine supplements contain a mixture of amino acids essential for muscle-building.  A number of studies, however, indicate that creatine may be linked with liver and kidney damage.  It may not be the best supplement for weight gain.  Whey protein, on the other hand, is loaded with amino acids that the body can easily absorb and utilize to build bigger and stronger muscles.  Whey protein is a safe and natural supplement that can be added into shakes and taken before or after your workout.

Rest and Recovery to Gain Weight

The best foods and exercise regimen will not do you any good if you do not give your body time to recover.  The body repairs itself and builds muscles while you are resting and sleeping.  Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.  A combination of nutritious foods, exercise and rest is still the best way to gain weight and build muscle mass.

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