Can the causes of food allergies be avoided? Well, consider first of all what causes food allergies. Food allergies are not the same as food intolerances and the causes of food allergies and food intolerances are different. Food intolerances are a digestive problem whereas food allergies are caused by the immune system deciding certain foods are something harmful to the body and attacking them. Food allergies can have symptoms ranging from mild rashes to life threatening swelling of the throat to the point the person cannot breathe. Food intolerances produce symptoms such as abdominal cramping, bloating, gas and diarrhea which are certainly uncomfortable, but not considered life threatening. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting statistics such as an 18% rise in cases of food allergies in children between 1997 and 2007, it would seem that food allergies are becoming more and more of a problem. According to Julia Bradsher, CEO of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, it is estimated that 3 million children in the U.S. have food allergies. Whereas some of these children will outgrow some of these food allergies, there are some that will remain with them for life.
Avoiding Causes of Food Allergies
According to the Mayo Clinic the most common foods that create allergic reactions are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts such as cashews and almonds, shellfish, fish such as bass, cod and flounder, soy and wheat. In the case of a food like peanuts that often carries allergic reactions into adulthood, the medical community has traditionally recommended that children not even begin eating them until after the age of 3. New research is looking at the reverse of this to see if introducing peanuts to children at an earlier age will allow the immune system to develop a tolerance for them. Since food allergies basically are a problem with the immune system identifying certain foods as foreign invaders in the body, one thing that can definitely be done to avoid the causes of food allergies is to boost the immune system. Here are some ways to do just that.
Eat Algae – Two studies show that “the inclusion of blue-green algae in the diet contributes to a reduction of anaphylactic and immune-type allergic reactions in animals” (“Edible Microalgae”, Jeffrey J. Bruno, Ph.D.). This can work the same in humans by taking supplements of bluegreen algae to support the body’s immune system and tolerance.
Increase Enzymes and Probiotics – Many food allergies are caused by poor digestion linked to the immune system. Poor digestion from such causes as “leaky gut syndrome,” allows undigested proteins to enter the blood stream. This triggers the immune system into an allergic reaction. While enzymes and probiotics such as acidophilus and bifidus are found naturally in the body, we often don’t produce enough to help keep up with healthy digestion. Taking supplements of high quality digestive enzymes, acidophilus and bifidus can help breakdown all types of foods, help the body process food efficiently and eliminate waste, promote the normal movement of food through the intestine and support immune system function.
Eat Immune Boosting Foods – For healthy immune system support there are certain foods you can include in your diet that have been shown to give it a boost. These include:
- Mushrooms which have been shown to increase production and activity of white blood cells. White blood cells are a part of the immune system that help fight off infections. Shiitake and maitake mushrooms seem to be the best ones for immune system support. Don’t like mushrooms? Check out this supplement to get the mushroom immune boost. It also has WGP beta-glucan which is also an immune system booster.
- Tomatoes which contain lycopene that can aid in the fight against free radical damage to white blood cells with its antioxidant properties.
- Oats which are a good source of beta-glucans that activate macrophages produced in your bone marrow and are an important part of the immune system.
- Whey which contains cysteine, an amino acid that the body converts into the antioxidant glutathione that fights the damage to our bodies’ cells caused by free radicals.
Take Bromelain – Bromelain is an enzyme that naturally occurs in pineapple and has been found to reduce inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s reaction to infection or something it considers to be a foreign invader that is threatening the body. In the case of food allergies, the body is labeling a certain food as this foreign invader. It is suggested that bromelain may work best when not taken with food. The solution for this for many may be this supplement with a combination of plant-based proteolytic enzymes—bromelain, papain, protease, lipase, and serratiopeptidase, together with wild bluegreen algae – all ingredients found to help support the body in fighting off inflammation.
It would be ideal of course to avoid the causes of food allergies altogether, but when someone does show symptoms of being allergic to certain foods that food will have to be avoided. Especially in the cases of life threatening symptoms. Keeping a food diary can help narrow down which foods are causing symptoms. Write down what foods are eaten, what symptoms are noticed and how long after eating that food the symptoms appear. This information along with allergy testing from a health care provider can help determine which foods will need to be avoided. As the immune system is strengthened over time, these foods may at some point be tolerated better and symptoms of allergic reaction reduced or eliminated. Even if you find you never tolerate a certain food, there are tons of other reasons to have a healthy immune system, so you certainly can’t lose by giving it a boost and if it helps with the allergic reactions to foods then it’s a double win for you!
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“Edible Microalgae”, Jeffrey J. Bruno, Ph.D.