Food allergies and intolerances

Food allergies and intolerances

The word allergy is derived from Greek with ‘allos’ meaning different and ‘ergos’ meaning action, so when something foreign enters your body it has to take action by responding to that alien substance. 

The earliest definition of ‘allergy’ was an ‘inappropriate response by the body to a perfectly harmless substance’. But nowadays it is defined as a specific response by the immune system to a substance (inhaled, touched or eaten) that it mistakenly identifies as harmful.

Well known examples would be very severe reactions to peanuts or shellfish where the response is immediate, doesn’t depend on how much of the food has been eaten and symptoms can include difficulty breathing, rashes, swelling, runny nose and possible anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal.

These partially digested foods produce opioid chemicals that increase your appetite and decrease your metabolism. The more you eat the worse it gets and these foods can make you feel ‘high’ and can produce cravings.

How can you check if you have a food allergy or an intolerance?

There is another type of reaction to food, called food intolerances. With these reactions there can be a delay in the onset of the symptoms (from four to 72 hours), and the foods are often eaten in larger amounts and more frequently.

Symptoms can be varied, from bloating, diarrhoea, constipation and flatulence to lethargy, arthritis, fatigue, skin rashes, eczema, joint and muscle pains, recurrent infections, anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritability, water retention, headaches, migraines and just generally feeling unwell.

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