Allergy, Digestion | March 24, 2017 | Author: Naturopath
Do you suffer from any of the following conditions: digestive problems, headaches, sinus trouble, mouth ulcers, low energy, feeling run-down, mood swings, itchy skin, joint aches, flu-like aches and pains?
Health problems such as these may be reactions to a specific food or foods eaten frequently, but they are often overlooked and poorly understood by doctors. You may not even realise you have food sensitivities until the trigger foods are removed from your diet.
Food sensitivity, also called food intolerance, is an adverse reaction triggered by substances in foods.
So what is the difference?
Food allergy is an immune system reaction to food that can sometimes be life threatening, as in the case of anaphylaxis. Its onset is usually rapid and duration is brief, a matter of hours. Food sensitivity, on the other hand, does not involve the immune system, and does not cause severe allergic reactions. Reactions are usually delayed, and may occur several hours to up to 3 days after eating the offending food.
Even a small amount of the food can trigger an allergy with people with food allergies, while people with food intolerance may not have symptoms unless they eat a large portion of the food or eat the food frequently.
Histamine intolerance. Histamine is a biogenic amine, meaning it belongs to a class of compounds that are derived from amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.Histamine is naturally present in many foods, including aged cheese, fermented soy products, sauerkraut, wine, vinegar, and processed meat.
Some people experience a reaction following ingestion of histamine-rich food, which is thought to be due to reduced activity (or lack) of the enzyme diamine oxidase that has the role of breaking down ingested histamine. Typical symptoms of histamine intolerance include hives, swelling, sneezing, runny or blocked nose, headache, rashes, itching, flushing, vomiting or abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and irregular heartbeat.
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Food additives. Food additives such as preservatives, artificial colours and flavourings can cause reactions in some individuals.
For example tartrazine, used as artificial colouring, and sulphites, used as preservatives in some drinks and foods, such as beer and wine and dried fruit.
Common reactions include asthma symptoms in those with underlying asthma, hay fever, and hives.
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Testing for food sensitivity is controversial because scientific evidence is still lacking.
If you suspect you are experiencing symptoms that are caused by food, you can identify culprit foods in one of the following ways:
An elimination diet should always be managed under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner, to be sure your diet is not nutritionally deficient, and to help you find healthy substitutions. You may be asked to eliminate all suspect foods from your diet until you are symptom-free, usually for a period of two to four weeks. You then reintroduce food one at a time, to see which foods may be triggering symptoms.
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