The Power of Food Reactions
It’s common knowledge that our food literally provides us with the staff of all life. What’s not so common knowledge is how the foods you choose to eat can actually interfere with structure, function and vitality and not only create a variety of uncomfortable symptoms but also contribute to and actually cause a number of diseases. Just as healthy foods can help us restore health, unhealthy foods (which are often disguised as healthy ones) can keep us diseased and un-well. Eating healthy foods is beneficial and health-giving, but unfortunately, the damaging results of eating unhealthy ones over-power the goodness of wholesome foods. For example, you can eat salad greens, fruit and cruciferous vegetables several times per day, but if your habit of eating yoghurt and granola every day for breakfast is causing you symptoms such as chronic sinus congestion, fatigue and/or nausea for example, your otherwise healthy food habits will never rescue you from your symptoms. Likewise, supplements and herbs will never be able to neutralize a food reaction; only the elimination of the offending food will give relief. So yes, you will have to give up your yoghurt and granola if those are the culprits. A healthy diet, supplements and herbs are, however, excellent therapies to not only prevent the immune system from deteriorating to the point of hypersensitivity in the first place, but to re-build it after the offensive foods have been eliminated.
What Are Food Allergies?
The word allergy is derived from two Greek words meaning “altered reaction”. This altered reaction is an adverse immune response to a food protein (antigen), whereby the offending food invokes the release of antibodies to destroy it or to neutralize its action. The subsequent discharge of histamines and chemicals causes varying degrees of inflammation that can affect virtually any body system.
True allergy reactions most commonly cause symptoms of swelling or itching of the lips or tongue, skin hives, itching or rashes, difficulty breathing and/or diarrhea, nausea and cramping. Anaphylactic allergic reactions are life-threatening reactions that are often triggered by nuts, fish, dairy products and eggs. In other words, the violence of the reaction causes major inflammation, possibly resulting in closed airways, serious swellings and even loss of consciousness.
Food allergies, including anaphylactic shock reactions, indicate, not that there is a problem with the food, but rather that there is a problem with the immune system, an immune system that can be healed.
What Are Food Intolerances?
Food intolerances, on the other hand, are defined as sensitivity to certain foods caused by the body’s inability to properly digest or fully process them, which leads to chronic symptoms and illness. Food intolerances or sensitivities mean that there is a problem with the food, most notably dairy products, wheat products, sugar, and unhealthy, rancid fats. The continued ingestion of these food groups over the years intoxicates and damages the colon and the immune system through excess fermentation, causing an imbalanced colonic eco-system which not only predisposes it to colon diseases such as colitis or cancer, but also opens it up to the invasion of bacteria, viruses, yeast and parasites whose toxins damage the intestinal walls, making them more permeable. This abnormal permeability is known as “leaky gut” and allows toxins and impurities to migrate into the rest of the body causing the auto-intoxication of any or all body systems, which then result in a variety of toxic reactions.
Food intolerances can and do cause a variety of different symptoms in a variety of different body systems and can show no selectivity in their target, although it is apparent that food reactions are more likely to cause symptoms in those areas of the body that are already weakened or compromised. That’s why different people exhibit such unique symptoms, even though they may be eating the same offending foods. Here are some common food intolerance “syndromes”.
Respiratory – coughing, asthma, congestion, bronchitis
Gastro-intestinal – diarrhea, constipation, bloating, nausea, cramping, ulcers, heartburn Skin – hives, rashes, eczema, psoriasis, itching, acne
Urinary – bladder infections, frequent urination, bedwetting, cystitis, kidney inflammation
Immunity – susceptibility to viruses, bacteria, allergies, ear infections
Cardiovascular – atherosclerosis, heart arrythmia, blood pressure imbalances, circulation
Musculo-skeletal – arthritis, joint pain, osteoporosis, weakness, fibromyalgia
Neurological – headaches, vertigo, memory loss, tinnitus (ear ringing), fatigue
Brain – depression, anxiety, mood swings, ADHD and ADD, learning difficulties,
mental dullness, inability to think, phobias, dementia
General – fatigue, hypoglycemia, starch and sugar cravings, diabetes, obesity
Hidden food sensitivities cause people to suffer some of the most common, chronic and incapacitating of health problems. Unfortunately, they are not usually aware that foods have anything to do with their problems and they keep buying symptom relief in the form of medication for years, without ever suspecting food problems; they have been convinced that their condition is incurable. Yet, all food sensitivities and intolerances can be identified and eliminated, every immune system can be restored and anyone can overcome food-related health problems.