A food allergy is when our immune system reacts to a food protein that the body wrongly thinks is harmful which causes a person symptoms. There are different types of food allergies which can cause different reactions. Very small amounts of food can cause a reaction in people who are very sensitive and the symptoms of food allergy can be different from person to person. Some of the most common food allergies are cow’s milk, eggs, wheat, gluten, soy, fish and shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts and sesame.
Some reactions can happen quickly and can occur within 2 hours of eating a particular food. These symptoms are caused by your body producing Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. These antibodies join to the food protein which causes histamine to be released. This then causes an allergic reactions and symptoms. This is known as an IgE-mediated food allergy and symptoms can include;
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, face and eyes.
- Hives, which are red, itchy and swollen areas on the skin.
- Stomach pain and vomiting.
- Difficulty breathing and dizziness.
- Some symptoms can be life-threatening.
- The most severe and dangerous allergic reaction is Anaphylaxis.
Some symptoms can be more delayed and can occur between 2 hours and 2 days after consuming a food. These reactions involve a different part of the immune system and are known as non-IgE mediated food allergies. Symptoms from this type of reaction usually involve the stomach and digestive system and can include;
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Skin reactions such as eczema.
A food intolerance is not the same as a food allergy as a person’s reaction or symptoms caused by a food intolerance does not involve the immune system and are rarely life-threatening. A food intolerance is when a person cannot properly digest or fully break down and absorb certain foods. The most common food intolerance is lactose which is found in dairy foods.
There is a wide range of symptoms to food intolerance’s which are individual to each person. Symptoms can occur quickly or can also be delayed. Symptoms usually involve the stomach and digestive system and can include;
- Excessive Wind
- Stomach cramps
Natural Food Chemicals
Chemical sensitivities or intolerance’s are due to natural chemicals found in foods such as salicylates, amines, and glutamate. When ingested these chemicals cause reactions by irritating nerve endings in different parts of the body which leads to symptoms. These symptoms can be different in each person. These can include;
- Stomach discomfort or pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Hives and swelling
- Sinus trouble
- Mouth ulcers
Treatment and Management
It is extremely important that these conditions are not self-diagnosed as there may be other medical issues causing similar symptoms. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms there is a chance you may have a food allergy or intolerance which is causing your symptoms. At Healthy Body Healthy Mind Nutrition Services we will conduct a thorough investigation of your symptoms and will assist you in finding the problem foods and show you simple dietary modifications which will help improve and prevent your symptoms. We will also assist you with following allergen-free, low lactose or RPAH Elimination diets and incorporating these into a healthy balanced diet.
Having food allergies, intolerance’s and natural food chemical sensitivity herself, our Dietitian is able to offer you practical advice and strategies on living with and managing these conditions. Our Dietitian has also completed the low FODMAP diet and RPAH Elimination Diet and challenge protocols when diagnosing her intolerance’s. We are here to assist you and are happy to answer any questions you may have.