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DO YOU HAVE A FOOD ALLERGY?

HIDE AND SEEK   

Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a constant state of high energy, to be pain-free, symptom-free, and alert? You may have days when you feel better than others, but chances are you’re going through daily life well below your potential. And all for a simple reason – you are eating or drinking something that doesn’t suit you.

Of course, there are a range of things we humans have allergic reactions to – from pollen and dust mites to chemicals in cosmetics and household products. But did you know the most common allergen is food?

The same way none of us looks, thinks or behaves exactly the same as anyone else, so too each one of us reacts differently to what we consume. The trouble is, most of us ignore the signals our bodies give us or have no idea our health problems are related to eating specific foods, so they remain hidden from us.

You can change your state of wellness simply by adjusting what you eat and drink.

CHECK YOURSELF  

Take our instant allergy check to get an idea whether you possibly have a food allergy. Give yourself 1 point for every ‘yes’ answer:

  1. Are you chronically tired?
  2. Can you gain weight in hours?
  3. Do you get bloated after eating?
  4. Do you suffer from diarrhea or constipation?
  5. Do you suffer from abdominal pain?
  6. Do you sometimes get extremely sleepy after eating?
  7. Do you suffer from nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose etc.?
  8. Do you suffer from rashes, itches, asthma or shortness of breath?
  9. Do you have recurrent colds or sinus problems?
  10. Do you suffer from water retention?
  11. Do you suffer from headaches and migraines?
  12. Do you suffer from other aches or pains from time to time, possibly after certain foods?
  13. Do you suffer from ‘brain fog’ or patches of inexplicable depression?
  14. Do you feel better on holidays or when your diet is completely different?

Any ‘yes’ answer indicates you could have an allergy to food. One of the telltale signs that you’re allergic to something you’re eating is that the symptoms come and go. One day, you feel fine; the next your joints are aching, or you’ve got a headache, are blocked up or bloated, and you don’t know why.

What makes it all the more confusing is that some reactions are delayed, meaning you will only start to experience symptoms some two hours or several days after consuming the allergen.

END YOUR SUFFERING

The good news is that in most cases you can reverse or even overcome your food allergy – provided you have not been diagnosed with coeliac disease or have a serious allergic reaction to foods such as peanuts or shellfish.

Here’s an action plan to get you on your way:

  • A process of elimination: Overcoming an allergy to a specific food means cutting it out of your diet completely for at least three to six months. You will also need to think beyond the obvious and check the labels on all packaged foods, ask waiters when eating out and be prepared to suffer from withdrawal symptoms. However, these are temporary and by the end of three months, chances are you won’t even miss the food/s you react to.
  • Load up on fruit and veg: Eating fruit and vegetables can actually reduce your potential for an allergic reaction, with the added bonus of increasing your intake of antioxidants and other important nutrients. But make sure you’re eating good quality fruit and vegetables or, even better, organic.
  • Something’s fishy: A diet rich in omega-3 also reduces your allergic tendency. A small number of people are allergic to white fish, but very few are allergic to oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines or tuna.
  • Ease up on wheat and dairy: There is plenty of evidence showing the dangers of a diet high in dairy and gluten. Minimise your intake of both or eat non-gluten grains such as buckwheat, rice, quinoa, corn and millet.
  • Vitamin C, your hero: The most important anti-allergy vitamin, vitamin C boosts your immune system, can help calm down allergic reactions and has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Variety is the spice of life: One of the most important ways to prevent or reverse a food allergy is to rotate what you consume. Rotation encourages a more balanced, unprocessed and varied diet, so make sure you’re not eating the same thing every day, especially those foods which you react to. 

There are several tests available on the market that test for a food allergy, but to be sure visit your local GP or pharmacist to discuss your options.