An International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) found that Allergies have increased by 50% in the last 10 years and food is strongly associated with the problem.
What is the reason for this apparent phenomenon?
Have many of us jumped on the bandwagon just to be ‘trendy’; like the woman ordering a soy, half-strength decaf to go, or your male friend who’s off beer to avoid the yeast?
Or are we now truly less able to tolerate products of the common diet?
Well the truth, according to the World Health Organisation, is thought to be attributable to either changing allergen exposure patterns, alterations in our lifestyle, environmental pollution, or a combination of two or more of those factors, which translates as the following:
- Our immune systems are less tolerant because we’ve made it so idle (by sterilising our environments. Note: allergies are much more prevalent in westernised countries).
- Food is more heavily processed to suit our increasing need for convenience in accordance to our busy lifestyles, which in turn increases exposure.
- We are suffering from increasing levels of environmental pollution (specifically a greater prevalence of toxic pesticides on foods).
- And declaring an allergy/sensitive condition may be considered ‘fashionable’ only because more and more people have them. But it isn’t through choice (ask anyone with a real one); it’s due to the fairly recent realisation that the symptoms are caused by one or other foodstuffs.
Some of the biggest culprits are listed below
The symptoms of an allergy range from mild inflammatory responses localised to a single site (such as itchy eyes, in the case of Allergic Rhinitis), to a systematic anaphylactic response that may prove fatal. And whilst the detailed list of symptoms is extensive, the short one below simply categorises the conditions as follows:
- Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Digestive disorders
- Migraines and other headaches
Unfortunately, medical treatment cannot cure food allergies, so the only effective action is to eliminate the harmful toxin from your diet. Fortunately this is becoming easier and easier with your local supermarket now offering an increasing range of trustworthy products, created specifically for people with specific dietary concerns. There’s also an abundance of help and information to tap into online:
See your Health Professional for further advice if you are concerned about suffering from an allergy, but also try helping yourself by assessing if/when your body reacts to see if you can identify the elements, with a view to limiting your exposure to anything that you personally cannot tolerate.
And remember, with hay fever season on its way, the foods you eat have been shown to aggravate your symptoms; though a wheat and gluten free diet is highly recommended for anyone suffering either of the three types of atopy allergy (eczma, hayfever or allergic asthma).