Millions of people globally are affected by allergic reactions caused by specific foods and their constituents. Other foods serve to increase the immune system and reduce the allergic response in individuals. Read on for more information on how good nutrition can both prevent and relieve allergic reactions.
What are Allergies?
The term allergy may be used to describe the reaction produced by the body when it encounters something foreign. When an allergic reaction occurs, the body responds by producing antibodies and/or releasing specific chemicals called histamines. When released into the system, these histamines trigger an inflammatory response otherwise known as an allergic reaction. Common allergens include certain drugs, dusts, moulds, insect bites, plants and foods.
Common Food Allergens
Individual allergic reactions may be experienced after eating specific foods. Some of these symptoms include:
- Headaches, which may develop after eating wheat or chocolate products.
- Migraines, which may develop after eating cheese, chocolate, citrus fruits, nitrates, MSG, wheat, milk, eggs and nuts.
- Eczema, which may develop after eating eggs, tomatoes or citrus fruits.
- Hayfever, whose symptoms may develop after consuming soft drinks, wheat, milk, nuts, chocolate and foods containing sulfites.
- Hives, which may develop after eating eggs, pork, buts, shellfish, strawberries, mangoes and tomatoes.
- Asthma, whose symptoms may develop after eating eggs or wheat.
- Childhood allergies, which may develop after eating foods containing artificial colours, flavours, salicytes, and foods such as beef, fish, rye, milk, eggs and wheat.
Foods to Relieve Allergies
Outside of food allergies, incorporating certain foods into your diet may actually prevent allergic reactions to other substances such as dust and pollen.
Some of these include:
- High-fibre foods
- Fruit juices
- Cayenne Pepper
- Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that reduce the inflammation response caused by an allergic reaction.
- Foods rich in Vitamin C, which naturally lowers histamine levels and stimulates the adrenal glands to release allergen-fighting hormones.
- Foods rich in Bioflavanoids, which give the skin of fruit and vegetables their colour. Bioflavanoids also serve to reduce histamine levels and boost the overall immune system.
- Foods rich in Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), which stimulate the body’s antibody production, therefore boosting the immune response.
- Oils rich in gamma-linolenic acid such as Evening Primrose, Black Currant Seed and Borage oil.
Other Food Factors That May Affect Allergies
Certain other factors surrounding foods, our digestion and the way we eat may also cause the development of an allergic reaction.
Some of these include:
- Early eating habits that may induce infant allergy sensitivities, such as feeding an infant too early with solids (especially gluten-containing solids) and a lack of breast milk.
- Poor digestion caused by inadequate chewing, inadequate levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, poor pancreatic enzyme and bile activity, and excessive food intake around meals.
- The presence of parasites, Candida, worms and other foreign bacteria in the body.
- Emotional and mental stress which may affect digestion.
- Foods containing certain additives, flavourings, colours, MSG and sulfates.
- Repeated or excessive contact with specific foods and beverages.
Find out about other effective natural allergy treatments.