Health Issue: Food Allergies & Sensitivities
Body Part Affected: Digestive tract, immune system, skin and more
Question: Are you suffering from an undiagnosed food allergy or sensitivity?
Walking through the grocery store or browsing restaurant menus, you see more and more references to “dairy-free” and “gluten-free” every day. True food allergies occur in an estimated 3 to 4 percent of adults and 6 to 8 percent of children, but sensitivities to foods continue to become more prevalent. There are two types of allergic reactions
- IgE immediate allergic reaction
- IgG delayed allergic reaction.
Immediate reactions are quite simply as you will notice symptoms right away. For example, a person eats peanuts and they break out in hives or experience tightness in their throat. It is very simple to make the correlation between a food and an immediate symptom.
Unfortunately, delayed reactions are not as straight-forward. With this type of an allergy you could eat an allergen on Monday, but not experience symptoms for up to 3 days. This makes it very difficult to discern which food is causing your symptoms.
Why care about food sensitivities?
The rise in food sensitivities are linked to chronic inflammatory and autoimmune conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, hypothyroidism, intestinal bowel diseases, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and more. Aside from contributing to chronic conditions, more subtle symptoms of food allergies include:
- Gas and/or bloating
- Abdominal Pain
- Brain Fog
- Productive cough
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle and/or joint pain
- And more…
What foods cause these reactions?
The most common foods that cause the above symptoms include gluten (the protein found in wheat), dairy, eggs, corn, and soy. Discovering food allergies and avoiding them can make significant changes in your health and well-being. Food is the core of our health. If we are feeding our bodies something it considers an offender three times per day, our immune system goes awry.
How to tell if you are sensitive to certain foods?
If you want to identify whether or not you have a food allergy, there are two ways to go about it. The easiest way is a food allergy panel via a blood test. This test is usually ordered by alternative healthcare providers and typically not done by your conventional doctor. The IgG test we offer at Discover Health tests at least 95 foods including the most common allergens. After receiving the results, you can remove any foods indicated for you and see how you feel after a few weeks.
The other way of determining your allergies is to do an elimination challenge where you avoid some or all of the major allergens (gluten, dairy, corn, eggs, soy) for about 4-6 weeks. To give you an idea of what it’s like, during the Eat Real Challenge (Fall/Winter) edition, there’s a one-week experiment to eliminate these foods, with the focus being heavily on all the foods you CAN have and HOW to cook them. After that elimination period, you systematically reintroduce the foods back into your diet one at a time. Leave a few days after trying each food to clearly distinguish reactions. During your reintroduction, keep a diary of the changes you experience.