Archive | June, 2016

Is It a Food Intolerance?

22 Jun

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Food intolerances are commonly mistaken for allergic reactions. Common food intolerances can be caused by lack of an enzyme to fully digest the food, certain chemicals in foods, or food additives.

Symptoms of intolerances are similar to allergies but not as severe.  Simple signs of an intolerance include headaches, gas, bloating, stomach ache, and hives.

One example is Lactose Intolerance. Lactose intolerant people do not have enough lactase, an enzyme that breaks lactose into smaller molecules, in their system to digest milk. This causes bloating and gas in the digestive tract since it can’t be digested through the gut wall into the bloodstream.

Like allergies, intolerances can develop early in childhood or throughout adolesence. However, the good news is we can outgrow intolerances as we age.

If you aren’t sure whether you’re intolerant or allergic, your doctor can administer a skin or blood test to either confirm or rule out an allergy.

Tips For Eating Well with Allergies

10 Jun

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Many of us suffer with allergies: food, airborne and environmental. Although we cannot always totally eliminate our allergy, we can protect ourselves to avoid or decrease the reaction to our allergy. Let’s look specifically at food allergies:

•  Avoid foods that make you sick.

•  Read food labels on packaged items. Check the label each time you purchase, even if it’s a staple product – food companies may change ingredients without notification.

•  Notify whoever is preparing your food.  Cross contamination happens often, even the slightest amount on a utensil can result in contamination.

•  Meet with a Registered Dietitian or Nutritionist to understand which foods are safe. When cutting foods out of your diet, you may be short-changing yourself on important nutrients. A professional can assist with substitutions.

•  Learn about ingredients in foods. There are many names for eggs, wheat, milk, etc in food labels.  For this, the FDA has mandated food companies specify any allergens on the label.

•  Ensure everyone that interacts with you or a family member is aware of the food allergy.

Is It a Food Allergy?

8 Jun

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Researchers have estimated that roughly 15 million Americans have a food allergy.  A food allergy is an immune reaction to a substance in a food, usually a protein, setting off a chain reaction in the body. Symptoms can be anything from a runny nose to hives to most severe.

There are 8 foods that account for up to 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions:

Milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts, cashews), fish (pollock, salmon, cod, tuna, and tilapia), shellfish, soy and wheat.  Allergies can occur in childhood or adulthood.

Common signs of a food allergy include: abdominal pain, diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, excessive gas, vomiting, hives or rashes. Food allergies can begin as early as childhood or develop throughout adolescence.  We can even develop an allergy due to overexposure of a specific food.

If you experience even the slightest discomfort when eating one of the above foods, visit your doctor for an allergy test.