Cleanse and Lose Weight Naturally

Food Allergy and Intolerance

EGGSIN~1 copyFood Allergy and Intolerance

Food allergies and food intolerances are on the increase. It is estimated that up to half of the UK population could be affected.

Many people believe they have a food allergy, when in fact they have a food intolerance. Food intolerances are far more common.

The terms food allergy and food intolerance are often used interchangeably, but in fact they are two different things and should not be confused. They are both food sensitivities, but food allergies concern the immune system, whilst food intolerances have an effect on the digestive system.

For optimal health, it is key that you identify foods you are intolerant or allergic to, and take steps to avoid the culprit foods, which adversely affect your health.

Food allergy and food intolerance reactions cause inflammation. Research has shown that inflammation is strongly linked to body fat and obesity.

What is a Food Intolerance?

Food intolerance normally involves the digestive system rather than the immune system, as in food allergies. Symptoms are delayed and not life threatening.

There is no allergic reaction with food intolerance. It is often foods that are consumed regularly that create a problem and give rise to digestive upset. Any food can become a problem, but it seems some foods are more problematic than others.

A person with a food intolerance can normally eat a greater quantity of a culprit food, than a person with a true food allergy, before experiencing symptoms. Someone with a true allergy can adversely react to a single drop of milk or a trace of food left in a cooking utensil.

It may be more difficult to determine a food intolerance without testing, because the symptoms may not start to show until 48, or even 72 hours after the food was consumed. With a true allergy, the reaction is commonly seen within minutes.

Also, a food intolerance is often hard to detect because the offending food(s) are eaten so frequently, sometimes daily, so a person may not see the link between the food and symptoms. An individual can be intolerant to several foods they regularly consume. This is why it is so important to test for the foods causing you a problem.

Most people suffering with food intolerances have symptoms, which vary from one day to the next, with differing degrees of severity.

Stress can also exacerbate these fluctuations, making a person more sensitive to foods they are eating.

 Common Symptoms of Food Intolerance

  • Bloating
  • Weight Loss/Gain
  • Indigestion
  • Fatigue
  • Upset stomach
  • Anaemia
  • Flatulence
  • Migraine/headaches
  • Stomach cramps
  • Sinus and mucus problems
  • Diarrhoea
  • Mental symptoms
  • Heartburn
  • Arthritis
  • IBS
  • Crohns disease
  • Constipation
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Skin rashes and itching
  • Muscular aches

BreadFood intolerances can cause a lot of anxiety and emotional distress, as well as physical discomfort. This often manifests as a lack of self-confidence to socialise. However they are rarely life threatening. Having said that, if not curbed, food intolerances can set in motion, a deterioration of health over time.

It is important to remember that inflammation is produced from eating foods you are intolerant to. These foods damage the lining of the gut. This gives rise to intestinal permeability, which results in further digestive and health difficulties. As previously mentioned, inflammation is also linked to weight gain and obesity.

Therefore, it is essential to get tested for problem foods and employ a plan of action, to restore balance and health in the digestive tract.

Also bear in mind that food intolerances can often be reversed, whilst food allergies are usually non-reversible.

What is a Food Allergy?

A true food allergy is when a person’s immune system mistakenly sees the food as a hostile invader and produces anti-bodies to defend the body. It is normally a sudden reaction and is mostly caused by the production of anti-bodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE) . These are known as IgE –mediated reactions.

These anti-bodies migrate to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction. Histamine is the main culprit in allergic symptoms, which is why doctors often prescribe anti-histamines to treat certain allergic reactions.

Food allergies are less prevalent than food intolerances and can be life threatening in some cases. Consuming even microscopic amounts of a food, touching, or just inhaling a food triggers them.

peanutsSome people experience very severe reactions with the most serious, being anaphylaxis, which could be fatal without an EpiPen (epinephrine) autoinjector.

Equally, there are allergies that are not sparked by IgE anti-bodies, but are provoked by a type of white blood cell, called a T-cell. These allergic reactions are often slower to manifest and often less severe.

 Symptoms of Food Allergy

  • Skin problems, often seen on the skin
  • Tiredness
  • Hives, itchiness, swelling of skin
  • Pallor
  • Atopic eczema
  • Weakness
  • Breathing problems, may occur with skin and digestive upset
  • Runny nose and eyes
  • Loose and frequent stools/diarrhoea
  • Blood or mucus in the stool
  • Nausea
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Redness of the anus
  • Dizziness
  • Anaphylaxis

Oral Allergy

Some people experience a type of allergic reaction to certain foods that are limited to the mouth and throat. Symptoms include tingling, itching, swelling of the mouth, lips and throat. This is commonly seen after eating fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts and may be mistaken for anaphylaxis.

Swelling in the mouth and throat can restrict breathing, so could potentially be serious, but this is rare.

Common Foods which cause Allergies

  • Milk
  • Shellfish and other seafood
  • Eggs
  • Wheat
  • Nuts (especially peanuts)
  • Soya
  • Fruit
  • Fish
  • Seeds