CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) -
1. My allergies are starting early. Are there any natural remedies to help?
Experts are predicting a bad allergy season. If you get drowsiness and dry mouth from over-the-counter allergy pills, there are some natural remedies that can ease allergy symptoms with out the side effects.
Experts at Cedar Sinai Medical Center and Swiss researchers recommend taking Butterbur. This is a perennial shrub that is believed to block histamines. Studies show it can work as well as Allegra or Zyrtec with less drowsiness.
Whatever brand of Butterbur you buy, make sure the label says that it is "PA free". PA stands for a compound in Butterbur that can cause side effects and damage your liver.
A recommended brand is Petadolex. You could also try Stinging Nettles. It is a flowering plant that has been used for centuries to relieve allergy symptoms. Since 1990 formal studies have mixed results. Some show a good effect from Stinging Nettles and some show no effect.
A third plant to try is Spirulina. It is a blue-green algae. A study done at the University of California Davis found 2 grams of Spirulina every day for 12 weeks reduced allergy symptoms better than a placebo.
2. Are the calories on menus and web sites for restaurants accurate?
Consumer Reports recently tested 17 restaurant foods from 12 chains to see if the calories claimed by the restaurant matched the actual calories in the food.
All but 2 of the meals tested had accurate calorie counts. However, the serving size may be different than the size published and therefore you may get more or less calories than claimed.
In three Olive Garden restaurants, Fettuccine Alfredo weighed roughly 14 to 22 ounces. Portion sizes also varied widely at Applebee's, Denny's, and Red Lobster.