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Food allergies are commonly known to have noticeable effects on the body, with many discovering their allergies through a simple skin or scratch test. What isn’t widely known, however, is that the body can have a delayed adverse reaction to certain foods, which you may not consider a reaction at all, or which you may mistake for an allergic reaction.

Just because you don’t break out in a rash, have nausea or trouble breathing, doesn’t mean that the food that you eat isn’t affecting you negatively in other ways. If you are eating a balanced diet and still suffer from puffy eyes, bloating, ankle swelling, dry skin, weight gain, breast tenderness, tiredness or similar symptoms, you more than likely have an intolerance to one or more of the foods you regularly eat.

“While some food allergies produce markers called IgE antibodies, which trigger a classic allergy – skin rashes, hay fever, rhinitis, sinusitis, asthma and eczema – most allergies are due to IgG antibodies, which are delayed and are commonly mistaken for IgE antibody reactions,” says Patrick.

The result is chronic inflammation that can impair digestion, throw off hormone balance, cause water retention and induce hunger pangs, showing up as symptoms that you may think are “normal”.

“Your body is like a tube. The digestive tract, which has a surface area the size of a small football field, is the gateway between the outside world and your body. It’s guarded ferociously by your immune system. If a substance that isn’t on the guest list, so to speak, tries to gatecrash and get through your digestive tract and into the bloodstream, your immune system goes haywire,” explains Patrick.