Got Asthma?

So I found myself having a dialogue with my cousin, who by the way is extremely intelligent, very articulate and quite eloquent.  This dialogue went something like this…well before I explain the dialogue, let me just mention that I first noticed that he seemed to be often congested and sometimes sneezing and coughing.  I know he wasn’t sick and I also knew that he very much enjoyed public speaking.  Since I like my cousin I decided to get to the bottom of what was ailing him.  The dialogue went something like this…

I said, “Are you eating anything funny?”

He said, “What’s funny?”

I said, “What did you have for breakfast?”

He said, “A breakfast sandwich.”

I said, “Did that breakfast sandwich contain bacon?”

Well, of course it did and well, now you can guess where I’m going with this.  I know that I have mentioned sodium nitrate and nitrates previously, but I want to be somewhat more emphatic this time and let you know that there are certainly people who can be allergic to nitrates.  Now I believe that nitrates are harmful to all.  But there are certainly a number of people who, quite frankly, have an allergic reaction to eating cured meats such as bacon, ham, salami, turkey and on and on and on.  The problem with having an allergic reaction is that the person who has had the reaction, does not realize their body is reacting to the cured meats.  I’m afraid they simply might think that they have a cold, that they have developed asthma or maybe they have hives from stress.  At this point, let me share with you the four symptoms of an allergic reaction to nitrates:

  • Headaches that routinely occur after the consumption of foods that contain nitrates can be a sign of a nitrate allergy.  These headaches may be mild, or they may be severe.  However, headaches can be caused by a wide number of different issues, and headaches alone do not point towards an allergy to nitrates.
  • Hives are outbreaks of red or pale bumps or welts on the skin.  If you have a nitrate allergy, they can appear suddenly after consuming nitrates, and they may show up on any part of the body.   Hives range in size from a pencil eraser to a dinner plate, and in most cases, they will subside in a few hours to a day.
  • Rhinitis is an inflammation or irritation of the nasal passages, and exposure to nitrates, when you are allergic to them, may cause a flare up.  Sneezing, itching and a runny nose are all signs of rhinitis as is a feeling of blockage or congestion.
  • Asthma is an inflammation of the lungs or breathing passages; and though it is usually considered a chronic issue, the term also includes cases where asthma occurs due to an allergy.  If you experience congestion in the chest, difficulty with breathing or coughing after you consume foods with nitrates, it might point to a nitrate allergy.

Now, this story has a happy ending.  My cousin is thrilled to pieces that we have discovered the root of his congestion.  But what if we had not?  What if it had gone undetected for many, many more years?  Would it have led to lung issues?  What about all those people suffering from sinus infections?  Why is asthma so common?  Are hives really from stress or are they a reaction to something you’ve eaten?  Let me clarify for a moment, I am not 100% sure of the answer to these questions but I am most certain that if I ate a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast and ate a salami, ham and mortadella sandwich for lunch; and then felt congested I might decide not to do that to myself again.  Have you ever considered why is everyone so sick?  Why are we all walking around with asthma and sinus infections?  Well since you might think this is just my opinion, here’s a suggestion for you.  If you live with any of these symptoms remove anything with nitrates from your diet for four to six weeks and see how you feel.  You might just keep the oink out of your life permanently!

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