Food Allergy

“Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.”

~ Hippocrates

Did you know that conditions like rhinitis, sinusitis, rash, asthma, arthritis, headaches, dizziness, and irritable bowel syndrome may have a close association with food allergy and could very well be the result of it?

Food is a common trigger of allergic reaction but many people are unaware of it, let alone know which foods are the offending ones. If you think that your body is reacting abnormally to certain type of foods, it would be wise to get yourself tested by an allergist to find out whether your body simply disagrees with offending foods, i.e., food intolerance or if you are actually allergic to them.

Most, but not all, food allergies show in the early years of childhood and often disappear by teenage years.

What is Food Allergy?

An allergic reaction occurs when our body’s immune system mistakenly believes a certain food is harmful and overreacts in response. Then hell breaks loose. Along with the swelling of the eyes and mouth, twisting stomach cramps, wheezing, itchy skin rash, and vomiting, you feel like fainting with sudden weakness.

You can be allergic to any food. However, the following lists eight types of food that are the main culprits: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, mussel, oyster, shrimp), peanuts, tree nuts (e.g., almond, walnut, cashew, pecan), wheat, and soy.

As with sinusitis, rhinitis or hay fever, and asthma, food allergy is a condition often developed from multiple factors. They include genetic predisposition, stress, poor nutrition, pollution, overexposure to certain foods, and overuse of certain medications.

Causes:

  • Genetics (inheriting allergies)
  • Repeated exposure to the same foods
  • Frequent use of antacids and antibiotics
  • Tobacco smoke and other air pollutants
  • Excessive cleanliness/germ free environment, known as “hygiene hypothesis”

Signs and Symptoms:


  • Itchy, red rash on your skin
  • stomach pain, bloating, and cramps
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Swelling of lips or face
  • Fainting
  • Sudden weakness

Conventional Treatments:

  • Antihistamines (Benadryl) bring quick relief of symptoms.
  • H2 Blockers (Zantac, Tagamet), used for acid indigestion, are effective.
  • Epinephrine is a powerful injection in case of a severe allergic reaction.
  • Inhalant medication, used for asthma, can be used to treat breathing difficulty and tightness of chest.
  • Corticosteroids are used to prevent recurrences.

Holistic/Alternative Treatments:

  • Colon cleansing can relieve bloating and tension.
  • Yoga is proven to be beneficial supplement to food allergy relief. Try following poses to help various symptoms of allergy: seated forward bend, wind-release position, thunderbolt, fish, and headstand.
  • Acupuncture is widely used to treat indigestion, constipation, pain, and swelling.
  • Massage is known to relieve nausea, bloating, and diarrhea by boosting the immune system.
  • Hypnotherapy can reduce stress and change negative thought patterns that contribute to health problems.

Natural Home Remedies:

  • Try following herbs: Primrose, chamomile, peppermint, flaxseed, and dandelion. They are all known to be effective for food allergy relief.
  • Irish moss, in tea form or capsules, reduces inflammation, gas, bloating, and heartburn. Marigold (sold as calendula tea) has anti-inflammatory compounds that relax stomach muscles and reduce swelling.
  • Soothing essential oils like eucalyptus, chamomile, peppermint, rosemary, and lavender may be helpful but beware their scent may trigger bronchial spasms.
  • Take daily dose of vitamin C, folic acid, acidophilus, zinc, omega-3/omega-6 essential fatty acids, and selenium.
  • Use Chinese herbs, such echinacea to reduce inflammation, licorice for cough, astragalus to strengthen immunity, cayenne for bloating, ginger root for skin rash, and ginseng to aid digestion.
  • Ayurvedic herb, chyavanprash, has been used to remove toxins and cure indigestion. Triphala is used for detoxifying and guggula thins mucus.
  • Consider these homeopathic remedies: allium cepa, euphrasia, adrenalinum, sabadilla, natrum sulphur, and lycopodium. All shown to relieve allergy symptoms. You can buy these at the health food stores. Euphorbium nasal spray is good for relieving nasal congestion.
  • Practice daily meditation or other relaxation techniques, such as guided imagery, breathing, and tai chi.
  • Relieve nasal congestion with nasal cleansing methods.

Prevention:

  • Identify offending foods and eliminate them.
  • Take probiotics to maintain healthy balance in the intestines.
  • Avoid cooking areas when visiting others’ homes.
  • Inform people that you have food allergies.
  • Read food labels carefully.
  • Good ventilation, especially in the kitchen, to reduce airborne allergens.
  • Be aware of your environment for risks and be prepared to respond properly.
  • Carry an inhaler at all times in case of an asthmatic attack.

A brief note on anaphylaxis

It is the most severe type of allergic reaction. The causes may be food, medication, or insect bites among others. Symptoms include skin itching, swelling of the throat, mouth, and eyes, nasal congestion, sneezing, and nausea. At its worst, you can experience an anaphylactic shock, resulting in unconsciousness or even death. Food allergy is one of the main triggers of this frightening occurrence.

Stopping Emotional Eating

 

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