Most people understand that food allergies are an immune reaction in response to a certain food or group of foods. The symptoms believed to be associated with food allergies are hives, swelling, itchiness, trouble breathing and even anaphylaxis. The culprit is usually identified as a recently eaten food and, therefore, that food is avoid going forward.
Less widely understood are the delayed food allergies. These can be much more difficult to pinpoint since the symptoms can arise anywhere from hours to days after consumption, making it virtually impossible to ascertain the cause of the problem. Many people may not even realize that their problems are a result of a food allergies and may just chalk them up to stand alone health issues. Delayed food allergies increase the body’s baseline inflammation and can lead to:
- Digestive issues such as IBS
- Skin conditions
- Headaches and migraines
- Joint/muscle stiffness and pain
So how do we determine which foods are causing the delayed food allergies and what should be avoided in our diets? The gold standard in the medical community is going on a hypoallergenic diet eliminating the most reactive foods for 3 months and then challenging foods back into the diet one by one and seeing how you respond to each food. This process can be a challenging one since it takes a significant amount of time to test each food and often other aspects of life can be affecting your health, but it can be worthwhile if you are able to identify the foods causing inflammation in your body and remove them from your diet.
If the elimination diet route doesn’t provide you with accurate results or if it just seems too difficult to incorporate into your day to day life, there are blood tests available to see which foods cause you to have symptoms. These tests measure antibodies that are produced in your blood when it is exposed to specific foods. The testing provides you with a list of the foods that are most likely causing your symptoms which you then eliminate and watch for improvement in your symptoms.
Benefits of Identifying your Triggers
It can seem like a daunting task to figure out what is causing inflammation in your body, but the benefits are worth it. Investing the time and money to diagnose your triggers can improve your relationship with food and help to reduce or eliminate:
- Low energy levels
- Heartburn and bloating
- Stomach aches and constipation
- Skin conditions such as eczema
- Seasonal allergy symptoms such as sneezing, coughing and runny nose
If you suspect a food allergy has been affecting your health and well-being, speak to the Naturopathic Doctors at Kamloops Integrated Wellness to see how we can help you to feel your very best.