Commonly, allergy occurs when the immune system becomes too sensitive. Symptoms include itchiness of the nose, eyes, skin, difficulty breathing, and hives. Normally the body fights off foreign invaders. In allergic reactions, the body responds to foreign objects that aren’t really harmful and sends off a false alarm. This response happens to hypersensitive individuals whose bodies take something as bothersome when in fact it is not to others.
According to medical studies, it is estimated that over 60% of the population suffers from one form of food allergies or sensitivities. I'm not talking about the traditional food allergy associated with a constriction of the throat, a rash, or immediate digestive issues. Instead, over half of us are affected with a ‘silent' food allergy that goes undiagnosed. These allergies can lead to: headaches (including migraines), joint pain, arthritis, hyperactivity, skin rashes, asthma, dry cough, wheezing, diarrhea, kidney damage and elevated liver enzymes. Food allergies can make you feel lethargic, sleepy, or low in energy, especially after eating. They can also be responsible for mood swings and cravings. And worst of all, unexplained weight-gain!
Does that ring a bell for any of you? Ironically some of the foods that you crave could actually be the foods that you are allergic to. Let me explain the two types of allergies to you.
Cortisol in addition can suppress activity in the thyroid. This could mean that in the event that cortisol is high, it gives off symptoms related with low adrenaline and low thyroid. Cortisol is also responsible for calcium mobilization in the body. This means that extra cortisol can lead to osteoporosis.
There is now an association between high levels of cortisol with diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, diseases in the immune system and obesity.
Once again, food allergies, inflammation and weight problems are all intimated related. Eating foods to which you are allergic causes inflammation which makes your adrenal glands secrete hormoneswhich destabilize your insulin and blood sugar levels. High levels of insulin causes you to hold onto fat instead of burning it for energy. Thus food allergies can lead to weight gain and high level of body fat, which then promotes inflammation and exacerbates problems with allergies.
So, what can you do!? It's a great question and there are ways you can figure out what you are allergic to, in addition to rebuilding a healthy gut.
1. Try an elimination diet for 3 weeks. Cut out the common food allergens including: gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, yeast, soy and peanuts. You also need to read labels as wheat, dairy, corn and soy are hidden in most packaged foods, including packaged meats. Essentially you are eating a vegetable-rich, clean diet for 3 weeks. After which, you add in one food group at a time a day at a time and journal any adverse reactions. Make sure you are only adding one food group back a day at a time. Additional, you can use this time to try a cleanse. Not only are you removing the potentially harmful foods, you are cleansing your body of toxins and a life-time of chemical build-up.
Elimination diet requires you to get rid of the foods allergic to you. It is important to note as well to always check a label on packaged foods. One ingredient may contain another ingredient. A coffee creamer may contain soy. A pastry may contain corn products like corn syrup. When dining in restaurants, you have to ask what is contained in that certain kind of food as not all ingredients are listed in the menu. A meat ball spaghetti may contain eggs.
2. Eat a whole-foods, plant-based ORGANIC high-fiber diet. This is essential to feeing the good bacteria in your gut and providing you the nutrients you need to function optimally. Foods that are known for fighting inflammation include: blueberries, cherries, grapefruit, oranges, pomegranates, arugula, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, scallions, shitake mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, almonds, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, and walnuts. Herbs include basil, cardamom, chives, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, ginger, parsley, and turmeric.
Vegetables in general help eliminate wastes in the body as they are rich in fiber. So are fruits. Some fruits particularly cranberries contain a compound in which bacteria sticks to, making your job easier in eliminating these harmful pathogens. Herbs have been known to have germicidal properties and could aid the excretion of harmful microorganisms in the body.
3. Take probiotics daily to boost the healthy bacteria in your gut. Look for those that contain 10 billion CFU of bifidobacterial and lactobacillus. You can also add in probiotic rich foods such as: kombucha, kimchee, sour kraut, and miso soup. There are plenty of other ways you can build a healthy immune system and strong digestive system, but I suggest you simply start with these three suggestions!
Probiotics are strains of bacteria that are beneficial in the gut and other parts of the digestive system. Consuming them assists excretion of harmful substances in the body and maintains overall gastrointestinal health.
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