WHAT ARE FOOD ALLERGIES AND INTOLERANCES?
Millions of Americans suffer from the symptoms of food allergy or intolerance and don’t know it. Common foods eaten by most people can produce a variety of physical and mental disorders. Much has been learned about treating food allergies/intolerances, once they’ve been discovered. With great patience and good detective work, many people are able to discover the offending food items. In other cases, you may want to confer with a physician regarding this problem.
A wide range of symptoms from headache to heartburn, arthritis to anxiety, rashes to restlessness, stuffed nose to suicidal feelings, and constipation to colitis, can result from the foods and drinks we like best or eat most often. These symptoms most likely indicate food intolerance. Other reactions 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.
More often, however, unsuspected food intolerances produce a variety of milder, annoying symptoms, which linger and recur. Such symptoms as sinus congestion, headaches, chronic fatigue, skin rashes, asthma, and colitis are fairly common physical reactions. Mental and emotional problems are common as well because the brain and nervous system are part of the physical body, susceptible to physical as well as psychological influences. Depression, anxiety, irritability, and hyperactivity in adults or children are often caused by chronic food intolerance.
HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOU HAVE A FOOD ALLERGY OR INTOLERANCE?
The most accurate (and probably the most difficult) method of detection involves removal of all foods that commonly create problems, and then slowly and individually, the individual foods are reintroduced every fourth or fifth day, watching for the return of symptoms. This method is referred to as the Allergy Elimination Diet and Challenge.
You can start by reading or talking to people who know more about the subject. Dr.Mandell’s Five-Day Allergy Relief System by M. Mandell is one book that is practical, informative, and easy to read. Other books include Food Allergies by N. Orenstein and S. Bingham, Food Intolerance by R. Buist, Traditional Foods are your Best Medicines by R. Schmid, The Allergy Self-Help Cookbook by M. H. Jones, Allergy Recipes by S. Rockwell and Surviving the Nineties: Coping with Food Intolerances by D. Thom.
If your food intolerance is limited to one or two types of foods, simply eliminating these foods from your diet will often relieve your symptoms. In no time you may be able to add these foods back into your diet on an occasional or rotational basis. It is beneficial to learn how to eat a wider variety of healthy foods, and systematically rotate food groups. This often decreases the likelihood of creating further food sensitivities. If you have any questions regarding food intolerance or food allergies, ask your doctor at the Integrative Natural Health, Inc.
Signs and Symptoms
- Congestion and excess mucous
- Increased respiratory infections
- Red, itchy eyes
- Skin rash, eczema, hives
- Diaper rash
- Cradle cap
- Swelling in extremities
- Anaphylaxis (itching and swelling of lips, tongue, mouth and throat, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing)
- Diarrhea or green stools
- Gas and bloating
- Brain fog
- Behavioral issues
- Cow’s milk
- Fruits, especially citrus
- Fish and shellfish
- www.foodallergy.org – education, advocacy, research, recipes, kid specific sites, travel tips.
www.kidswithfoodallergies.org – resources, shopping, recipes, support group and chat groups. $25 annual membership fee (sponsorship is available for those who cannot afford the fee).
1. Thom, Dickson. Surviving the Nineties: Coping with Food Intolerances.
2. Buist, R. Food Intolerance.
3. Orenstein, N. and Bingham, S. Food Allergies.
4. Berkowitz, Carol D, ed. Pedicatrics: A Primary Care Approach. Philadelphia: Saunder’s, 2000. 260-264, 392,
5. Bjorksten, B. “Genetic and environmental risk factors for the development of food allergy.” Current Opinion
6. Allergy Clinical Immunology. 2005 Jun;5(3): 249-53.
7. Kingsbury, Sheila. “Pediatric Nutrition”. Pediatrics I. Bastyr Unversity. Kenmore, 3 Feb. 2006.
8. Klemola, T, et al. “Feeding a soy formula to children with cow’s milk allergy: the development of immunoglobulin E-mediated allergy to soy and peanuts.” Pedicatric Allergy Immunology. 2005 Dec;16(8): 641-6.
9. Osborn, DA, and J. Sinn. “Soy formula for prevention of allergy and food intolerance in infants.” Cochrane Database System Review. 2004;(3):CD003741.
10. Samour, Patricia Queen, Kahy King Helm, and Carol E. Lang, eds. Handbook of Pedicatric Nutrition. Gaithersburg: Aspen, 1999. 149-172.
11. Trahms, Cristine M., and Peggy L. Pipes, eds. Nutrition in Infancy and Childhood. Mcgraw-Hill, 1997. 44,
12. Weber, Marcea. Encyclopedia of Natural Health and Healing for Children. Rocklin: Prima, 1992. 81-89.
Food Intolerance Resources:
Gluten-Free Meals - www.gfmeals.com
The Food Intolerant Consumer -www.foodintol.com
Allergy Information - www.alerg.com
The Complete Gluten Sensitivy & Celiac Disease Resourse - www.glutenfreeworks.com
Healthy Dieting resources - www.ener-g.com
The Magazine for People with Allergies and Food Sensitivities - www.livingwithout.com
National Leader in Whole Foods and sustainable products - www.wholefoodsmarket.com
Dedicated to manifesting truth, beauth and goodness in the context of a natural products store, offering a selection of high quality natural foods, health and related life-style products and information - www.mothersmarket.com
Compares label information on more than 25,000 products - www.labelwatch.com
Townsend Letter for patients - www.tldp.com
Super Healthy Kids - No more chronic infections, allergies, or sickly kids! - www.superhealthykids.com
A professional review of recent medical literature and naturopathic medicines' current topics of debate - www.ndnr.com
- Click on the tab "Health News" for discussion and research on current and past health issues
The Online Self Improvement Encyclopedia - selfgrowth.com