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A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.

Allergies, Food

Diagnosing food allergies and sensitivities is hard, even though cases of allergies are increasing and because the symptoms widely differ in individual cases. Therefore an allergic reaction from corn may bring on muscle aches in one person and in another stomach cramps. The typical signs that come on immediately or are forms of delayed adverse allergic reactions when specific foods are eaten. These include puffiness under the eyes and the formation of dark circles, other chronic symptoms include diarrhea, the malabsorption of food, chronic infections of various kinds, and different chronic inflammations on the body, and bloating, sleeplessness or insomnia may set in, the allergic reaction can bring on swelling, cramping and a deadly reaction known as anaphylactic shock.

Food allergies often lead to diarrhea, and there are other problems like stomach cramps, constipation and indigestion. The onset of hives, sore throats, hay fever, migraines and asthma attacks are often seen during food allergies. Other signs of emotional irritability brought on by allergies include vague symptoms like mental fatigue and anxiety. Food allergies and at least one food sensitivity have been shown in studies to be a factor in most hyperactive children. The onset of problems like reactive hypoglycemia is due to food sensitivity, this plays a role in food addictions and the craving for food, these allergies are often linked to problems like candidiasis, which also often acts as the basis for many types of responses which are allergic in scope. Some allergies appear quite suddenly without warning, and the allergies with this tendency also disappear just as quickly. The allergies that appear gradually are called delayed-onset allergic reactions. In essence this is true where the problem substance has been excised from the diet for some time and the body has had time to recover. The elimination diet is a widely accepted diagnostic tool for pinpointing allergies; suspect foods are reintroduced into one after another into a simple, bland diet, or after a fast. This technique is an excellent method for identification of food allergies even if it can be quite time consuming.

The problems caused by a wide variety of substances are collectively called food allergies. Though allergies can in actual fact be a cause, allergies are only one of three possible causes of irritation. An overreaction of the immune system to a particular substance is called an allergy. Food intolerance can often be thought to be an allergy because symptoms are the similar or alike. While an immune system response often causes allergies, the lack of proper enzymes for digestion may often cause food intolerances, for example the lack of the enzyme lactase as in lactose intolerance. A personal over sensitivity to a certain type of food is food intolerance and this is not related to the immune function at all.

Problems such as improper digestion and leaky gut syndrome have been linked to allergic reactions. An abnormal intestinal flora is often present in people with food intolerances. Incompletely digested particles enter the bloodstream is believed through the intestines. These in turn are attacked as foreign particles by the immune system. Poor enzymatic supplement and low stomach acid production is related to the causes of improper digestion in people.

The incidence of allergies in babies early in life has also been linked to giving them solid food, as complete digestion cannot be carried out as the enzymes that do this are as yet unavailable. A similar effect may often be induced by homogenized and pasteurized cow's milk given to babies, the proteins are difficult to digest and are as yet considered foreign proteins by the baby's digestive system, therefore some of the incompletely digested fat particles enter the bloodstream. Therefore the baby's natural food human milk contains substances such as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which bolsters the baby's immune systems and is on the whole easier to digest then cow's milk. Emotional triggers especially in children, should not be ruled out as the hidden problem. Allergies often come along with the appearance of stress can seriously impair the immune system from functioning normally.

While the most common types of sources of food allergies are given below, it must be remembered that most foods can bring on an allergic reaction.

Milk

Allergic reactions due to milk often manifested by asthma, on the skin as eczema, rhinitis, and gastrointestinal distress, including possibly bleeding, and signs of pneumonia, and even anaphylaxis. Therefore it is important that every parent be alert about milk allergies and aware of symptoms. Several milk proteins usually bring on an allergic reaction caused by milk ingestion. All of these proteins are heat resistant, so such measures like scalding or boiling the milk will not help very much, at the same time these methods should be given a try.
It is important that adequate calcium and vitamin D be included in the diets, of people who otherwise avoid milk due to allergies. Calcium absorption is aided by vitamin D. At times and very rarely, some milk products can be tolerated like goat's cheeses, yogurt and certain other cheeses by a milk-sensitive person. A vitamin-mineral supplement is also helpful in maintaining adequate calcium intake. A pediatrician should routinely be certain that plenty of calcium and vitamin D are included in the formula or in vitamin drops if a child has milk allergies. An adult who eats a balanced diet ordinarily has nothing to worry about with respect to calcium, but a milk-allergic woman should consult with a physician on the best way to supplement calcium, especially after menopause.

Egg

An allergy reaction to egg and products containing eggs is dangerous for children who have a reaction to it. The white of the egg is what causes an allergic reaction, not the yolk, provoking allergic symptom which are greater when eggs are eaten raw. However cooked whites may also cause serious allergic reactions, it is therefore best for an egg-sensitive person to avoid the yolks, since contamination with the whites is possible. Even poultry and chicken causes allergies in egg-sensitive children. Typically reactions can be angioedema, flare-ups of atopic dermatitis, including hives. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and anaphylaxis can also set in. As children age tolerance to egg whites increases, this adverse allergy can however be carried into adulthood, even the act of preparing meals that have egg products in them can affect the very sensitive. The gelatin used in the vaccines can cause a strong reaction and as serious as vaccines produced using eggs.

Nuts and legumes

Allergies from soy or peanut, both of which are legumes are quite common in children and adults. It is advisable avoiding the oils as well as the nuts and legumes themselves, even if they are often safe even for people allergic to them. The allergenic proteins are effectively removed only in hot-pressed oils which are extracted at temperatures of 302°F, a process that breaks down the protein quite thoroughly. Even to this lessened allergen levels, some very sensitive individuals may react strongly. To add to this the allergenic protein component is often intact as the manufacture of gourmet quality oils is often carried out in a process where they are cold-pressed at temperatures ranging between 149 to 203°F, this process is simply insufficient in eradicating the allergenic protein component and it stays active. This delicious oil is a potent allergen. The decision as to the type of oil that is safe for you must be taken by your doctor.

For allergic children, the best substitute for a milk formula for feeding via bottle is unfortunately soy milk. There may be cases where your infant does not seem to do better on soy, and may be allergic to it as well, in such cases an alternative food will have to be found by your paeditrician.

The protein found in peanuts is one of the most potent allergens known today. This single protein allergen has been implicated as the cause of more allergy deaths than any other allergen, or allergenic substance as yet identified. It is therefore very pertinent for a highly sensitive or allergic individual to remove all traces of raw and cooked peanuts including roasted nuts from his or her diet; this of course includes the extracts and oil from the nuts. It is therefore, advisable to check all potential diets and foods for possible peanut or peanut extracts, before one can safely consume them. There is a disturbing rise in cases of peanut allergy in many people over the last decade, and this group ominously contains a lot of children. In order to avoid the possibility of children becoming allergic to peanuts and peanut products very early in life, the use of peanuts or peanut butter in diets given to children under the age of three should be restricted, this act will remove the possibility of getting an early sensitivity to the substance.

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein or (HVP) which is found in many food products must be avoided by people allergic to peanuts, as this protein is often manufactured using peanuts as a base.

Peanut allergic persons of all ages, may also face allergies to other leguminous plants and even to honey , if the bees use flowers from leguminous plants. All legumes like peas, beans, acacia, black-eyed peas, chickpeas or garbanzos, and lentils, even licorice, senna, soybeans, and tragacanth, must be avoided at all costs as they can bring on severe allergic reactions. Common and daily used domestic products that may contain soybeans or its extracts include bakery items like bread, all types of cakes, foods like crackers, all manners of candy, many cereals and cereal products, deserts and ice cream, lecithin, dairy products like margarine, prepared infant formulas, processed meats and sausages, substances used in packaged salad dressings, and packaged sauces, other additives like shortening (including Crisco), many types of soups, certainly in soybean noodles and pasta (of course), and almost always in Chinese food and the cuisines of Asia. Symptomatic disorders such as hives and anaphylaxis are the usual manifestations of an allergy suffered due to tree. These occasionally are compounded and accompanied by various gastrointestinal complaints.

Since they have a fairly wide usage, nuts are difficult to avoid. There are however six families, and these can be said to be the worst offenders, and allergic cross-reactivity can occur within a family, which is to say that if you are allergic to one kind of nut product, you are very likely to be allergic to related nuts and products from within the same family : The first family includes - Brazil nuts; the second one includes - cashews and pistachios, which are related to the a fruit mango; the third family includes macadamia nuts; the fourth includes both kinds of walnuts, English and black walnuts, and the hickory nuts, and pecans; the fifth family includes nuts and fruits of the plum group, the most famous being almonds, apricots, cherries, plums and nectarines and the very common peaches. Filberts and hazelnuts make up the sixth family.

Shellfish and fish

Foods in the same class must be avoided, that is if you are sensitive to one variety of fish or shellfish, you must avoid eating something closely related to it, to show this, if you are allergic to oysters, you must avoid clams and scallops, but tuna may not be a problem.

Since there is a common antigen in all related species, an allergy to one kind of bony fish, may be an allergy to other kinds or even to all bony fishes. This does not mean that there is a reason to avoid eating shellfish, unless you are allergic to it too. Atopic dermatitis, hives or urticaria, and angioedema can all be cause by allergens in fish. Though asthma is rarely associated with these substances, however an asthmatic reaction from the odor of cooking fish can be brought on in someone with a super sensitivity to fish. Anaphylaxis is the greatest threat from the allergens present in fishes. Glue made from fish extract must be avoided by persons allergic to fish. Fertilizers that use fish extracts can also cause problems. Fish allergens can often be found in the dust of houses in fishing communities.Surimi, a processed fish product is often used to make imitation crab meat and this must be avoided at all costs by people allergic to fish. Certain meatless food products such as meatless hot dogs and pizza toppings, also may make use of surimi, and these must be avoided as well.

Wheat

Children are more susceptible to an allergic reaction from wheat than adults. Symptoms may include atopic dermatitis, and at times asthma and urticaria. The causes of celiac disease are due to a sensitivity developed with regard to gluten found in abundance in grains and wheat.

Since gluten is so common in foods, people with wheat allergy are forced to follow restricted diets. All common foods such as bread, cookies, and many baked goods; some beverages, including beer and malted milk, breakfast items and cereals; canned baked beans; chili; flour; pasta; meat products such as burgers, meat loaf, hot dogs, and even in sausages; and as a thickening agent in sauces, gravies, and soups. May all contain gluten or grains that have gluten as a component.

Additives and contaminants

A variety of problematic reactions can be caused by additives in food. They may aggravate the symptoms of asthma or other allergic conditions, even though not being allergens themselves. At times substances such as penicillin may be found small quantities in a food item like milk bringing on an alergic reaction.

Yellow dye #5

Health risks have also been identified in and posed by several food dyes in recent years. A coal derivative Tartrazine-also called FD&C Yellow #5, is linked to bronchospasm reaction in asthmatics, and to the appearance of angiodeman and hives. Being non-IgE mediated, it is a non-allergic reaction, in a sense that the immune system is not active. Some cases of people with a sensitivity to aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, inclusive of ibuprofen and indomethacin show similar reactions and sensitivity to it. Tartrazine cannot be tolerated by roughly 15 percent of asthmatics.

Avoiding tartazine is the best precaution for people who have asthma and are sensitive to aspirin at the same time. Unfortunately it is not always listed on labels as an active ingredient in the food stuffs on the market. Its use has lessened from before, but can sometimes often be present in flavored drinks, candies, as coloring in sherbet, pudding, frosting, dry cereals, and even as coloring in some drugs. Tartrazine can be potentially present in any food stuffs or drugs colored yellow or green.

Monosodium glutamate or MSG

Is widely used as a flavor enhancer by cooks in restaurants and in commercially prepared food. MSG, routinely used in many Chinese restaurants, is famous for producing the "Chinese restaurant syndrome" that afflicts some people after eating Chinese food. This substance is moreover naturally present in some foods, such as Camembert cheese, and is used worldwide as a flavor enhancing agent by cooks in restaurants and in commercially prepared food. General aches and pains including headache, a tightness in the chest, sweating, and nausea are some of the symptoms. MSG can also produce hives in some patients and can at times bring on an asthma attack, which may occur suddenly after up to twelve hours from the time the food was consumed.

This is however not an allergy as is mentioned above. Ingestion of a large amount of MSG will cause everyone who tries it to experience at least some of these symptoms. This is true especially for people who are very to it and therefore must avoid . Sadly, MSG is not listed on many labels by food manufacturing companies. On a customers request many Chinese restaurants will serve food without MSG as an additive.

Sulfites

Are effective as food preservatives, substances like sodium bisulfite and other sulfite compounds are also cheap, and tasteless. Sadly, sulfites have been known to cause allergy reactions, from symptoms of rhinitis to anaphylaxis besides other types. Sulphite allergy or sensitivity must be ascertained in a person, who has ever suffered an unexplained episode of anaphylaxis, by a qualified allergy specialist. In asthmatics sulfites can also cause severe, even devastating asthma attacks and aggravate it. This was a mystery for many years as the cause of these attacks wasn't known, because some patients would react to a particular type of food and sometimes not, the cause could not be singled out. That the cause of the attacks was the preservatives used in the food, and no the food itself, took scientists quite a while to figure out.

To keep them colorful and crisp, fresh vegetables are often sprinkled with sulfites and this could cause problems. There sometimes was a reaction from patients to beer, wine, pizza, and other foods, though this wasn't often. Dried fruits and vegetables are today the foods in which sulfites are most commonly found, the other foodstuffs that have sulfites are products with gelatin; preserves like pickles; sausages; wine; vinegar; some fruit juices; apple cider; molasses; shellfish; beer; drinks from citrus fruits; ready to eat products from potatoes and potato chips; mushrooms; and guacamole.

Lesser additives

There have also been some reported cases of hives and asthma associated with using the artificial sweetener aspartame which is 700 times sweeter than sugar and has no known caloric value. Though generally the substance is believed to be relatively safe. Substances such as benzoates, butylated hydroxytoluenes (BHT), and hydroxyanisole can occasionally cause hives and are all additives that have been connected with causing allergic reactions, but these are not well known. In ready-made foods and prepared and packaged foods such as, bread, milk, fats, oils, margarine, mayonnaise, soft drinks, and instant drinks, these are all used as preservatives for increasing shelf life. Though the occurrence is rare, the substance sodium benzoate can aggravate the symptoms of asthma. The cases of anaphylaxis have implicated papain, present in meat tenderizer, as a causative factor.

Toxins

Different types bacteria and other organisms cause food poisoning due to their production of toxins. For example the bacterium claustridium bolutinum causes botulism, which is lethal.
Histamine produced by a number of toxic reactions resemble allergic reactions, for example, a toxic reaction produced by a fish toxin, mimics allergy completely as histamine is involved. But bacteria in the fish are the producers of the histamine involved, rather than the victim's own immune system. Many fishes commonly consumed and of the scombroid family, including tuna, bonito, mackerel, game fishes like swordfish, sailfish, marlin, and staples like sardines, anchovies, and herring can cause these reactions. Inadequate refrigeration is often the causes of the poisoning can occur. The symptoms that can last from eight to twelve hours can occur fifteen minutes after ingestion. Flushing of the face, followed by headaches, hives result and the patient typically suffers from nausea and other gastrointestinal problems. A toxic reaction would affect everyone who eats the infected fish, whereas an allergic reaction to fish will involve only one person.

It is sad that dining out has become almost unhealthy and impossible as in such cases allergy-causing food additives are particularly difficult to avoid. Hundreds of food items have corn, for instance, in starches and syrups, and chemicals like sulfites are used in everything from baked and frozen foods to drinks like wine and beer. There is a definite connection between the foods that are consumed on a regular basis and those that cause allergic reactions in people. Therefore in North America, allergy from gluten in wheat is very common and in Japan, fish allergies are common.

Our bodies and its immune system is constantly being weakened as the chemicals added to food to preserve or change the color or taste, or used as pesticides, are still increasing, at the same time the underlying causes or initial trigger that provokes the immune system response is more obscure. Additives in food and pesticides which are especially abundant in many canned, processed and frozen foods, and the abuse of antibiotics are all contributing factors to the rise of toxins in the body.

Supplements and herbs

Improving digestion and the addition of nutrients that are lacking due to poor absorption, should be the first and foremost effect from a supplement. A deficiency of the vitamins C, E and A, allows more allergens to enter as it results in an instability of the cell walls. The immune system also needs nutrients and vitamins, particularly the minerals zinc and selenium. The natural form of vitamin E along with mixed tocopherols should be chosen for use as a supplement.

A combination of bioflavonoids such as quercetin, along with vitamin C works well and this stabilizes cell walls as well. A combination of vitamin B complex and the mineral magnesium should be added. For an improved digestive and assimilative function digestive enzymes are also recommended. Bacterial infections that might cause allergies can be fought off by using friendly bacteria such as acidophilus.

Detoxification of the body through the aid of fasting for at least three days is recommended before any regimen of therapy is started. Fatty tissue that might plug up the liver can cause build of excess toxins which it cannot neutralize, therefore allergies and an insufficient secretion may often result. This detoxification process is also important in supporting the functions of the immune system, the digestive system and to support the adrenal glands.

The loss of calcium and a deficiency is often seen in people with allergies. In order to relieve this 15-20 drops of horsetail tincture and 1 tbsp. of stinging nettle juice twice a day may be taken as a supplement the increase calcium in the body. Proper digestion can be inhibited by an overgrowth of candida in the bowels, calendula checks this, this herb should be taken as a tea or as a tincture 5 drops in water. This combined with the herbs Echinacea, lemon balm or agrimony can be very effective. Bowel irritation and the recovery of damaged mucous membranes are aided by agrimony. This combination can be ingested as a tea or in tincture form 4 drops of tincture thrice a day. For a more effective result this can be combined with chamomile. To soothe gastric sensitivity and to heal mucous membranes 2-4 drops of goldenseal tincture, in some liquid or a 200 mg capsule can be taken thrice daily for a few days at a time. This treatment in combination with agrimony must be avoided during pregnancy or if a person has a high blood pressure . Food allergies caused by parasites can be cleared out by black walnut husks. This can be used in capsule form, 2 capsules two times a day. To cleanse the blood and eliminate uric acid birch juice or tea is extremely effective, and can be prepared by mixing 1-2 tsp of birch leaves in a cup of boiling water. For 2-3 weeks three cups can be taken as a cleanser. A combination of 2 tbsp. each of lemon balm leaves, agrimony, peppermint and celandine, is an effective mixture that stimulates the liver and the digestive tract, and is good against allergies, this can be prepared by pouring 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tsp. of the herbal mixture. A cup in the mornings and evenings can work wonders.

Additional things you may do

Taking in plenty of sleep and relaxation while avoiding the sun, with a lot of fresh air will greatly strengthen the immune system. Stressful situations should be avoided at all cost. Things that weaken the immune system are a lot of unnecessary worry, guilt and incomplete digestion. Water therapy including herbal and clay wraps, and water therapy will enhance herbal and all other applied therapies including lymph drainage and hot water treatments. It is advisable to include a good deal of different relaxation techniques and deep-breathing exercises regularly in the daily routine. Eating should be done in a relaxed atmosphere and should be done slowly.

Usual dosage

  • Vitamin A, 25,000 IU a day
  • Vitamin B complex, 100 mg
  • Vitamin C, with bioflavonoids, 1,000 mg 3 times a day
  • Vitamin E, with mixed tocopherols, 400 IU
  • Quercetin, 500 mg 3 times a day
  • Selenium, 200 mg
  • Zinc, 35mg, with 3 mg copper
  • Acidophilus, 1 tsp or 3 capsules
  • Bromelain, 1,000 mg 3 times a day

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