What is a Food Allergy?


Allergies to food can vary from person to person from how they respond to the degree of exposure.   A food allergy or sensitivity shouldn’t be confused with fad dieting or controlling your diet for health reasons.  I’ll be breaking this down so we can understand the difference between a food allergy, fad dieting and diet changes for health reasons.

The body is a complex system that when you break things down is truly an amazing machine!  The first thing we need to understand is that we all have an immune system.  This is our security system if you will.  Anything that enters our body gets a security check.  So, that is the air we breathe, the food we eat, the liquids we drink and any other substance that enters the body.  Our security team does a “threat assessment” on the “intruder” and decides if it is a threat or not.

Seems simple enough right? Then you start to wonder all those things like how can food be viewed as a threat?  That gets into genetics.  For the purpose of this article we aren’t going to get into Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) for food – we are just talking basic stuff for a clear understanding of a food allergy, food intolerance, fad diet, and healthy eating.

We all have a mother and father, and they each have a mother and father and so on and so forth.  While biology class may be fun for some it can be boring for others.  Simply put, through time our DNA can make us more susceptible to things and stronger for other things.   Our ethnic heritage can play a role in this and is something you should be aware of.   With that said, just because you have one or three kids doesn’t mean they all have the same DNA or blue print if you will.  One of your children can have an allergy that the other’s don’t have.  Much like one child may enjoy sports while another enjoys music.

So, what is a food allergy? A food allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain food.  This can be confused with food intolerance, which is a less serious condition that does NOT involve the immune system.  A food allergy results when the immune system mistakenly identifies a specific food or a substance in food as something harmful and attacks it.   This will cause the immune system to produce abnormally large amounts of an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE for short).  These antibodies fight the “enemy” food allergy by releasing histamines and other chemicals which trigger the symptoms of an allergic reaction or anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction).

Allergies can manifest in a variety of ways and differently from person to person.  Often medical professionals overlook allergies as do many people because we think of it as sneezing and hives.  An allergic reaction can be a variety of symptoms from itching (without hives), Candida in your epidermis, increased asthma attacks/sensitivity, bowel issues, irregular sleep issues (too much to insomnia), headaches, brain fog, muscle pain / cramps, join pain, blurred  to full on anaphylaxic shock.

Your immune system begins to work and then continues to work and goes into overtime.  The problem with this is that when things enter your system that you aren’t allergic too can trigger a response confusing things.  It’s much like a factory machine that never has down time, after a while it can blow a cog in the works then there are all kinds of problems.

If you think you or a loved one has an allergy you should consult a medical professional.  Food allergies can be tricky and a lengthy process to figure out.  Be aware that some food allergies there are not “tests” for.  It may be recommended you do an elimination diet to determine your allergy.  In the end it’s worth it to stick with it to get it sorted out.

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