Stock up on Apples, berries and cherries, all of which contain quercetin, a compound that stops your body from releasing histamine and minimizes allergic reactions in the same way that over-the-counter antihistamines like Benadryl do. Also load up on tuna and salmon; they're rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce the swelling and inflammation that often accompany an allergic attack.
Steer clear of Dairy products, eggs, peanuts and nuts, soy, wheat and shellfish. They are such common sources of food allergies, in fact, that an elimination diet might be the best way to go. To determine if you're allergic to any of these items, drop one a week, and note which omission if any causes symptoms to abate. Also, check the labels on processed, dried or smoked foods. If you see allergy-inducing preservatives like sulfite, tartrazine or benzoate listed, you might want to put them back on the shelf.
Stock up on Fiber-rich fruits and veggies like berries, artichokes and squash. Constipation is a more common cause of back pain than most people realize, so you want to do everything you can to ensure it isn't contributing to yours! And to build bone strength in your spine, get your calcium via dark leafy greens like spinach and collard greens, and low-fat dairy.
Steer clear of High-calorie treats, and anything containing trans fats. In addition to the many other problems it causes, extra weight puts a strain on back muscles.
HIGH BLOOD SUGAR
Stock up on High-fiber foods like brown rice, oatmeal, whole-grain breads and carrots. They will keep sugar levels in check, as opposed to sending them skyrocketing. To stay full longer, combine fiber-rich fare with a lean protein source like a skinless chicken breast. And don't forget the fortified low-fat or skim milk; its calcium and vitamin D content can slash your diabetes risk by 23 percent if you drink it regularly.
Steer clear of Fatty red meat, full-fat dairy products and anything that's deep-fried, particularly if your doctor has told you youre prediabetic; these foods can cause insulin resistance, which increases your risk of developing full-blown diabetes.
Stock up on Turkey, tuna, chicken, eggs and almonds, which contain tryptophan, an amino acid that your body converts to serotonin (the feel-good hormone) and melatonin (the feel-sleepy hormone). For super-fast results, combine a tryptophan-rich food with one that's loaded with complex carbs, like whole-grain crackers, low-fat yogurt or fruit. The carbs help speed tryptophan to your brain!
Steer clear of Everything containing caffeine. If you've already cut your coffee and tea intake, note how much chocolate you're regularly eating, and try to avoid overdoing it after about 4 p.m.
Stock up on Riboflavin-packed foods like broccoli, spinach, kale, yogurt, eggs and low-fat milk. A genetic defect that keeps cells from storing energy may make you migraine-prone, and riboflavin is known to replenish energy reserves. And if you tend to get migraines before your period, magnesium deficiency may be to blame. Compensate with spinach and brown rice, both of which are rich in the mineral.
Steer clear of Red wine, aspartame, MSG and processed deli meats, whose nitrate content causes an expansion of the vessels supplying blood to the brain, leading to migraine pain.
Stock up on Spinach, lentils and peas, which contain folate, a B vitamin that people suffering from depression often lack. Cover all your bases by adding chicken, turkey, bananas and dairy products to your shopping list; their high tryptophan content helps increase serotonin production.
Steer clear of Foods heavy in saturated fats: They'll only make you feel more sluggish. And skip the aspartame (Equal or Nutra-Sweet); it can cause headaches and fatigue, as well as a drop in serotonin.
Stock up on Blueberries, strawberries, broccoli and tomatoes. Their vitamin C content inhibits production of the stress hormone cortisol. And don't skimp on the turkey, tuna, sunflower seeds and bananas, either; all are high in vitamin B6, which boosts serotonin levels.
Steer clear of Sugary foods like candy and cookies. The boost they give you is short-lived, and usually followed by a sluggish, cranky low. And while coffee might seem like a good idea, limit yourself. Too much will only leave you jittery and sleep-deprived.
Sources: Winnie Yu, author of What to Eat for What Ails You; Joy Bauer, author of Joy Bauer's Food Cures; and Michael Coleman, executive director of MAGNUM, the National Migraine Association.