Food Allergies

Millions of Americans suffer from the symptoms of food allergies and don’t know it. Common foods you eat can produce a variety of physical and mental symptoms. You can discover a lot by taking a food allergy test and finding out about your offending foods. If you suffer from food sensitivities, consider doing a detox diet. A detox will help to reduce the load on your immune system allowing your body to better respond to the immune challenges that allergies present.

WHAT ARE FOOD ALLERGIES?

There is plenty of confusion about the food allergy test, food allergies and food intolerance and this leaves the door open for misinterpretation. There are two types of food allergies and each requires a different approaches. Misunderstanding the different types may lead to unnecessary dietary restriction. Below is our Food Allergy 101 that should help clear up the confusion.

Food Allergy 101
A food allergy, sometimes called food hypersensitivity, is an immune reaction to an allergen in food, which is almost always a protein. For some reason your body thinks the otherwise harmless food protein is a threat to your body's well-being, and attempts to destroy it.

The first time you are exposed to the allergen, it may not be apparent that the body is defending itself against the food's protein. There will be none of the symptoms. The second and third times, however, things may be different. This is primarily due to your body producing antibodies, after your initial encounter with an allergen, against the allergen as a way to defend itself against subsequent "attacks."

Once your body produces the antibodies, you'll feel the effects of allergy. After eating, your immune system releases massive amounts of histamine and other chemicals in response to food allergens.

Some symptoms can occur suddenly and are more serious, producing symptoms as severe as breathing impairment, skin rashes or urticaria (hives), or even shock. People who react in this way to certain foods usually know from experience that they have a problem with true and severe food allergies. These are classified as immediate hypersensitivity reactions (IgE).

More often, however, unsuspected food allergies or food sensitivities produce a variety of milder, annoying symptoms, which linger for days after the food is eaten. A wide range of symptoms from headache to heartburn, arthritis to anxiety, rashes to restlessness, stuffy nose to suicidal feelings, and constipation to colitis, can result from the foods and drinks we like best or eat most often. These symptoms often recur producing chronic symptoms and are delayed hypersensitivity reactions (IgG).

You should talk with the NatureDrs if you or your child experience any of the following:

  • Abdominal pain and bloating, colitis
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma or wheezing
  • Chronic coughing
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Cramping
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Heartburn
  • Hives
  • Hyperactivity
  • Irritability
  • Itching and/or tightness in the throat
  • Itchy eyes
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea
  • Rashes (eczema)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sneezing
  • Swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue, face, or throat
  • Vomiting

Food intolerance is not based on an immune response. Rather it is based on digestive system difficulty or inability to breakdown a food. It usually creates a digestive irritation, but symptoms may be similar to food allergy symptoms, such as nausea, diarrhea, gas, bloating, headaches, vomiting, stomach pains or cramps, heartburn, or mental emotional symptoms. The most common form of intolerance is lactose intolerance where the body has difficulty digesting dairy or milk products.

Tackling Food Sensitivities

So now that you know, what can you do about it? Plenty.

  1. Do a detox. A detox will help to reduce the burden on your immune system and strengthen it. See the How to Detox page to help you select a detox that is right for you.
  2. Do a food allergy test. Consider beginning with an Allergy Elimination Diet and Challenge. This is a diet special diet where you a low allergenic diet for several weeks and reintroduced foods slowly.
  3. Work with a Naturopath to help you identify food allergies. For more information on how to work with NatureDrs contact us on the About Us page.

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