Are there foods you know you should avoid, because they don’t agree with you? Things that make you feel great, and others that leave you feeling bloated and sluggish? Is your body reacting unfavorably to things you eat all the time, without knowing the havoc they are wreaking? It used to be that only true allergies could be tested for. That is no longer the case and what we can do with the information available is a remarkable breakthrough and departure from how things have worked in the past.
There is a difference between being allergic to a food and being sensitive to it. Medically speaking, an allergy is the body reacting to a stimulus by releasing histamines into the bloodstream. Symptoms can be fairly benign (itching, rash, hives) or they can be quite extreme like swelling tongue, restricted airway and even anaphylaxis and death if left untreated. Typically people with diagnosed food allergies carry an EpiPen (an injectable epinephrine product) for emergencies.
On the other hand, a food sensitivity does not create a histamine reaction in the bloodstream. But that doesn’t mean constant exposure to certain foods, or food groups, aren’t causing big problems. With sensitivities, the the body views the offending food as an “invader” and will create an immune response to deal with the perceived threat. This may present in many ways, but some of the more typical symptoms can include nausea, diarrhea, gas, bloating and abdominal pains. Symptoms do not always show up immediately like in the case of an allergy. Symptoms may take a while to present themselves, sometimes up to days after eating the offending item(s). The downside to these sensitivities is that their effects are cumulative, and years of exposure can leave a lot of inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation, as we know, is the root cause of many discomforts, maladies and disease.
At Alternative Family Medicine & Chiropractic, we work with our patients to assist with getting relief from physical discomfort and inflammation caused by the foods they’re eating. We generally recommend lab work that can identify allergies and sensitivities, then help build a nutrition plan based on your unique chemistry. These types of tests vary in what they are able to detect, so depending on the nature of a particular complaint, or sometimes as part of a specific protocol, we recommend a full array of food testing. Food is certainly plentiful and diverse in this country, but how it may be affecting one’s health remains a mystery for many. These tests are easy and very affordable and shed light on so many facets of health. Even the healthiest amongst us can benefit from this type of testing. If we can avoid the things that work against us, better health and immune function follow quickly.