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Yoga and Lower Back Pain

In a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Boston Medical Center researchers found that yoga classes specifically designed for chronic lower back pain (my italics!) helped patients feel better. In light of this those with non-specific Lower Back Pain might also be interested in this podcast which features Stuart McGill (regarded as the God of Lower Back Pain) discussing yoga and lower back pain

Yoga and Lower Back Pain

The post Yoga and Lower Back Pain appeared first on Whole Life Fitness.

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How to naturally boost production of the histamine degrading DAO enzyme

Variety of dietary supplements, including capsules of Garlic, Evening Primrose Oil; Artichoke Leaf; Olive Leaf; Magnesium and Omega 3 Fish Oil. Selective focus. Taken in daylight.We’re told that diamine oxidase’s (DAO) job is to make sure histamine is broken down when it’s no longer needed for things like healing, digestion, and wakefulness. Studies show its activity varies more in women that men, possibly due in part to histamine’s role in causing uterine contractions and miscarriage. While DAO production does decline as we age (especially in women), there are nutrients proven to give it a boost. Read on to find out what they are and how we can get them from whole foods rather than supplements. 

Research tells us that DAO is highest during the luteal phase that is right after ovulation and up to menstruation, which is why low serum DAO levels in post menopausal women “should be interpreted with caution”.

While there remains some controversy as to how diamine oxidase is linked to excess histamine, for the purposes of this post I’m just looking at studies speaking of how we can boost this enzyme.

A recent study confirmed what I’ve been writing about for the last few years regarding DAO and nutrients,

and because I’m a fan of getting as many nutrients as possible as food rather than supplements, I created my nutrient and antioxidant dense cookbooks. Check out the books and read about how antioxidants fight histamine inflammation here.

DAO boosting nutrients

Please bear in mind that some foods are only high histamine because of bacteria contamination or spoilage. Any kind of virus or bacteria will stimulate an inflammatory release of histamine. This is why fermented foods are so problematic for us. 

Vitamin B12

Liver (I also suggest grass fed – this appears as high histamine on some lists)

Salmon (fresh gutted fish or flash frozen at sea is not considered high histamine)

Grass fed beef (you can do regular beef but that would be inflammatory, the grass provides the animal with omega 3 fatty acid)

Eggs (duck and chicken, but they can also be inflammatory. I buy flax seed or pastured chicken eggs only)

Chicken (inflammatory so I don’t eat it, pastured may be less so)


Sunflower seeds (some websites list these as high histamine)

White beans

Mung beans

Grass fed beef


Brown rice


Eggs (uncooked egg white is a histamine/mast cell trigger. Ask your doctor if duck eggs might be alright for you)

Long chain/Omega fatty acids

Olive oil is an excellent source of long chain fatty acids. It’s also higher in the monounsaturated fat than vegetable oils, which means it’s less prone to oxidation (we don’t want that which is why we eat antioxidant foods like blueberries).

I eat about a pound of salmon a week for the omega 3 fatty acids. I prefer not to take supplements due to the oxidation of the oil. If you take them, make sure to add in an antioxidant or buy one that comes with it in the capsule.


I’ve left out dairy because it’s highly inflammatory and casein is a mast cell trigger

Sesame seeds (listed on some sites as high histamine)

Collared greens

Mustard greens

Beet greens



Salmon (wild caught is best if possible because farmers sometimes use antibiotics and food dye pellets to colour the salmon)

Sardines (I eat them fresh only, and I mean really fresh because they are rarely gutted)


Grass fed meats and poultry (if you can find it)

White beans





White fish




Read the histamine magnesium post here.


Pumpkin seeds

Kefir (fermented foods are considered high histamine)

Black beans


Banana (high histamine, never had a problem with them myself but always be careful please)

Cacao (not high histamine but can liberate histamine from mast cells)

Learn how to create your own personalised healing plan here.

It’s finally here! Man Food – a high nutrient antihistamine and anti-inflammatory ingredient filled book geared towards guys, women who love to work out, yoga like they mean it, or just load up on healing nutrients. Features my personal shopping list of antihistamine and anti-inflammatory foods.

The Anti-cookbook and all liquid Anti-Detox Book, don’t treat any conditions, but feature a plethora of the high nutrient antihistamine and anti-inflammatory ingredients that have been instrumental in helping me feed myself on a limited diet. The Anti-cookbook features a four page list of antihistamine and anti-inflammatory foods and comes in regular and Paleo


Miyoshi, Makoto, Manami Ueno, Mari Matsuo, Yasuhiro Hamada, Michiko Takahashi, Masashi Yamamoto, Ikuko Yamamoto, Reiko Mikajiri, Satoko Tabuchi, Kumiko Wakida, Misa Yamanishi, Midori Hirai, and Makoto Usami. “Effect of dietary fatty acid and micronutrient intake/energy ratio on serum diamine oxidase activity in healthy women.” Nutrition 39-40 (2017): 67-70. Web.

“Phosphorus Helps Your Body Detox & Strengthen.” Dr. Axe. N.p., 09 May 2016. Web. 20 June 2017.

Publications, Harvard Health. “The A list of B12 foods.” Harvard Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 June 2017.

Calcium. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 June 2017.

“The histamine-(in)fertlity link | Healing Histamine.” Healing Histamine | Histamine Intolerance Diet Foods Recipes. N.p., 11 Dec. 2014. Web. 20 June 2017.

Hamada, Yasuhiro, Yurika Shinohara, Miyuki Yano, Mari Yamamoto, Misa Yoshio, Kumiko Satake, Akiyo Toda, Midori Hirai, and Makoto Usami. “Effect of the menstrual cycle on serum diamine oxidase levels in healthy women.” Clinical Biochemistry 46.1-2 (2013): 99-102. Web.

“Functional Foods Fact Sheet: Omega-3 Fatty Acids.” N.p., n.d. Web. 20 June 2017.

“Top 10 Magnesium Rich Foods Plus Proven Benefits.” Dr. Axe. N.p., 28 Mar. 2017. Web. 20 June 2017.

 “Chemical Characteristics.” Chemical Characteristics | The Olive Oil Source. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 June 2017.
“Whole Grains.” Zinc Grocery List | The Dr. Oz Show. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 June 2017.

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Study finds long-term sustained effect of biological psoriasis treatment

Biological treatment of psoriasis shows a good efficacy in clinical trials. Since most analyses have focused on short-term outcomes of single biological agents, little has been known about long-term…
Eczema / Psoriasis News From Medical News Today

50% more people have hay fever this year

I think you’ll all agree, this year has been an incredible summer so far. I love England in the sun, it’s like being on holiday and the feeling of the sun warming the skin is one of my favourite things. But if that warm, dry weather brings with it clouds of pollen, spring and summer can be miserable for those who have hay fever.

I’ve noticed that just in my circle of friends and allergy community many of us have seen a worsening in symptoms, terrible hay fever and also loads of people getting it for either the first time or the first time in years.

A recent study revealed that there has indeed been quite a staggering rise.

Read ‘Spike in summer hay fever cases’,

The article begins by stating that, “Hay fever cases in England have reached their highest level so far this year, and are just under 50% higher compared to this time in 2016, the latest weekly figures from the Royal College of General Practitioners’ Research and Surveillance Centre show.”

That’s a 230% increase… but what’s the reason?

  1. Warmer drier weather for the seasons means more pollen
  2. Hay fever seasons seem to be extending, trees pollinate more for longer
  3. Very little rain to soak up the pollen – so it’s dry and stays on the surface to blow around
  4. More city landscaping, trapping pollen on hard surfaces
  5. Trends toward more decking and hard floors in gardens – pollen is absorbed into soil
  6. Council planting strategies favour high pollen trees over fruiting (less mess to clear up)
  7. Five year trends do see spikes in symptom cycles like this
  8. And I could go on…

I plan to produce a blog about why this is happening shortly, the article above, whilst intetesting, doesn’t offer any insight into why this phenomon is occuring. If you’re like me, you want answers, you want to understand why, so you can at least reassure yourself you’re not to blame. Your super immune system is just over reacting again in a quite spectacular way. It’s being quite clever really so do be proud of your body. It’s trying to help you out, it’s just failing rather miserably to do so…

I learnt loads about this last year when I was on Country File Diaries in a hay fever special. You can read the top 20 things I learnt here in 20 things you can do to reduce your hay fever...

So there could be many factors, leaving us still with no real cure or treatment. Anti histamines and sprays and eye drops do help but they only take the edge off the symptoms.

For more help, tips and ideas to help you reduce your symptoms, please read my other hay fever blogs here.
For those who crave an active outdoor lifestyle it’s time to man up and get out there. Go prepared and take whatever precautions you can because this super pollen is nasty and it’s out to get you!

Please also listen to me on 5 Live talking to Sam Walker and Chris Warburton on Sunday Breakfast about this very phenomenon.

Has your hay fever been worse? or have you or your child just got it for the first time this year?

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Fennel leaf and mint cream cheese dressing – low Fodmap

Just the ticket to dress thinly sliced cucumber for a fresh salad or sandwich filler. The cream cheese is lactose free but not cows milk protein free. If you have a small amount (less than two tablespoons) you could use standard cream cheese dressing as this is entirely suitable in that portion size for the low fodmap diet – this dressing is also gluten free.


2 Tablespoons of low lactose cream cheese

2 shoots of Fennel leaves

2-3 mint leaves

Grated lemon rind

1/2 grated cucumber



Chop the fennel and mint leaves finely

Grate the rind of 1 lemon

Mix with the low lactose cream cheese

If the dressing is too thick you can add a little water to thin down the dressing, if needed.

Serve as a sandwich filler with cucumber or as a dressing on half a finely sliced cucumber as a salad. Serves 1-2 depending on it’s use.


A word about the flowers: these have not been fodmap tested but fodmap and food intolerance is all about the portion size you have and very small amounts are not likely to be an issue, however if you do wish to avoid using them that is also OK – they are not integral to the dish. These flowers used to dress the dish are borage and calendula (pot marigold) flowers, which are edible – (only use calendula petals in small amounts). There are lots of anecdotal reports of the benefits of these flowers – I have used them simply because they are pretty. If you do forage for these ensure you know what you are looking for, take care about where you are gathering – some flowers may have been treated with insecticide so it is best to avoid those – and do wash them thoroughly before use.

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Negative food experiences make future histamine reactions more likely 

Conditioned taste aversion is a survival mechanism whereby animals learn to associate taste with a food that has made them sick; usually because it’s toxic or spoiled. In some cases the conditioned association between a food and sickness is so strong that the amygdala, the primitive part of the brain whose role it is to identify whether something is dangerous, can send the danger signal based on just the smell of a food alone. Sound familiar? Read on…references always at the bottom of post.

Chemotherapy has taught us a lot about taste aversion. Patients undergoing treatment who experience extreme nausea or sickness during it may develop a long term aversion to foods eaten during those months.

Granted, that’s an extreme example,  but some of us (myself included) have experienced years, if not decades of nausea (and worse) as a result of excess histamine or negative food reactions.

Histamine, dopamine, acetylcholine and serotonin are involved in the control of nausea and vomiting.

I stashed Motilium, a dopamine agonist that prevents nausea/vomiting in my handbag, by my bedside, and in my car for years. Really years. Took it pretty much every day.

As a kid I projectile vomited regularly. As an adult too really. Most memorably it’s happened while walking down the street, behind a curtain at a black tie function (while sober), and many others.

I think I may have, like chemotherapy patients, developed a conditioned taste aversion to foods (which triggered  major nausea every time I ate), or my inflammation bucket was so very full (read more about the bucket theory here) that it kept spilling over no matter what I ate.

So how does behavioural conditioning like taste aversion actually work?

Exciting research by scientists and those studying behaviour have shown that our beliefs affect the immune system. For example, they have found that placebos work (when they do) because people believe their doctor. They have faith that the medicine will heal them.

But a more exciting discovery was made in the last few years: that the immune system can be conditioned to  respond in a certain way by association with a subconscious stimulus. In her fascinating book CURE, investigative reporter Jo Malone interviews doctors and researchers at the cutting edge of the field of psychoneuroimmunolgy. They believe, and have proven, that behavioural conditioning can reproduce the effect of certain medications on the immune system, regardless of whether the patient believes it will heal them.

The scientists came up with variations on: giving an open placebo pill to patients (that’s there someone knows the pill is sugar/an inert substance), with a real medication, paired with a certain piece of music, and a liquid with an incongruous taste (ie a red drink that tastes like banana), at the same time in the same place. A few weeks and the medication would be reduced (or eliminated depending on the severity of the patient’s condition) but the rest would continue (music, drink, open placebo).
They found that the immune system continued to behave as it did when given the full dose of the real medication.

So despite the patient being fully aware that the medication was removed, their immune system had been conditioned to behave in a certain way.

Researchers have proven this in particular with asthmatics and measuring histamine released when the patients were stressed by believing they were being exposed to an allergen.

That’s how powerful conditioning can be.

That’s also how negative conditioning could be tripping us up.

If our immune system has been conditioned to respond to certain foods by releasing massive amounts of histamine, then this could keep going on even if the original issue has resolved.

Let’s say you were going through a time of immense stress, or eating while stressed at your desk always, or struggling to keep your cool with kids at your hem while cooking and eating, or had unpleasant family meal times, or were sick for a time, whatever, and your immune system came to associate stress with food and sickness.

That’s why when people ask me how I’ve managed to add so many foods back to my diet, including higher histamine ones, I attribute most of my gains to getting my diet right, but also fixing how my brain processes my body’s response to food and stress. I discuss my approach to healing this here and here.

It’s finally here! Man Food – a high nutrient antihistamine and anti-inflammatory ingredient filled book geared towards guys, women who love to work out, yoga like they mean it, or just load up on healing nutrients. Features my personal shopping list of antihistamine and anti-inflammatory foods.

The Anti-cookbook and all liquid Anti-Detox Book, don’t treat any conditions, but feature a plethora of the high nutrient antihistamine and anti-inflammatory ingredients that have been instrumental in helping me feed myself on a limited diet. The Anti-cookbook features a four page list of antihistamine and anti-inflammatory foods and comes in regular and Paleo.


“Conditioned taste aversion.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 21 May 2017. Web. 15 June 2017.

“Classical Conditioning (Pavlovian Conditioning).” SpringerReference (n.d.): n. pag. Web

Bernstein, Ilene L. “Conditioned food aversions as a consequence of cancer and its treatment.” PsycEXTRA Dataset (n.d.): n. pag. Web.

Bernstein, Ilene L. “Conditioned food aversions as a consequence of cancer and its treatment.” PsycEXTRA Dataset (n.d.): n. pag. Web.

“Domperidone.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 12 June 2017. Web. 15 June 2017.

Dark, Kathleen, Harman V. S. Peeke, George Ellman, and Mary Salfi. “Behaviorally Conditioned Histamine Release. Prior Stress and Conditionability and Extinction of the Response.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 496.1 Neuroimmune I (1987): 578-82. Web.

“Chemoreceptor trigger zone.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 13 June 2017. Web. 15 June 2017.

Wager, Tor D., and Lauren Y. Atlas. “The neuroscience of placebo effects: connecting context, learning and health.” Nature Reviews Neuroscience 16.7 (2015): 403-18. Web.

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