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We have started the diet for blood types. I wonder if the diet is the best solution to staying healthy or if it has been proven wrong. The book is Eat Right for Your Blood Type by Peter D'Adamo. For our blood type B, we must never eat tomatoes, avocados, pomegranates, persimmons or even chicken! But turkey is allowed, along with rice, beans, greens, carrots, oranges and apples. We would like to know if this diet is correct in avoiding strokes, allergies and other health problems and living longer. Is there any scientific evidence that one should eat a special diet according to one's blood type?
- L.S., Tel Aviv
Dorit Adler, chief clinical dietitian at the Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem's Ein Kerem, replies:
I don't know of any research that supports the blood-type diet, so I certainly do not recommend it. The most healthful diet that has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke is based on wide variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lentils and is low in meats. Fat should come from olive oil and nuts, and one should also eat fish two or three times a week. This diet has been shown to reduce mortality even among the elderly. Tomatoes, avocados, pomegranates and persimmons are all very rich in protective nutrients and are therefore recommended as part of a healthful diet.
Olga Raz, chief clinical dietitian at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, adds:
The blood-type diet certainly doesn't itself improve health and the notion of eating according to one's blood type has not been proven. In addition, there is no connection between food allergies and blood type. But if a person sticks to the diet and loses weight, weight loss by itself can improve health, without any relation to the diet: The fact that people think about what they put into their mouths may prove beneficial.
My husband is 54, my daughter is 22 and another daughter 13. All have redness and clear acne-like sores on the back of their upper arms. I have four children who do not have this problem, but my husband and the two girls do. It's very unesthetic, and the girls can't wear short sleeves. I took them to the dermatologist, who prescribed an ointment that turned out to be a moisture cream. It didn't help one bit. Someone told me vitamin A can help. What do you recommend?
- W.O., by e-mail from the Negev
Dr. Julian Schamroth, a veteran Jerusalem dermatologist, advises:
You seem to be describing a very common skin condition called keratosis pilaris (KP), a condition that affects up to half of the population. It is extremely common in children and in teens and less so in adults. There is a strong genetic component to this disorder, and many members of a family are usually affected.
The condition is characterized by rough bumps on the upper arms and upper thighs, although almost any area of the skin can be affected. On the cheeks, it appears as very red, slightly rough skin, and it might even have the appearance of acne. Some people describe KP as "chicken skin" or "goose flesh." The roughness of the skin is due to build-up of a protein called keratin in the follicles. In extreme cases, a hair might be coiled up within the skin bumps.
Unfortunately, there is no effective cure, but it does tend to improve or fade with age. Topical treatments are generally ineffective, but your dermatologist might prescribe tretinoin or a cream containing lactic acid, urea or alpha-hydroxy acids. Sunlight might also result in some improvement. The condition does not affect the individual's health in any way.
Rx For Readers welcomes queries from readers about medical problems. Experts will answer those we find most interesting. Write Rx For Readers, The Jerusalem Post, POB 81, Jerusalem 91000, or fax your question to Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at (02) 538-9527, or e-mail it to [email protected], giving your initials, age and residence.