Information management makes us more powerful every day. Knowing the differences in our diagnoses, for example between intolerances and food allergies, is of the utmost importance to obtain improvements and commit ourselves to the process and work involved in reaching a healthy state again.
Difference between food intolerance and allergy
Food intolerances and allergies are commonly confused, due to the fact that many times they present us with very similar symptoms. His treatments include abstinence from the consumption of any product, whether nutritional or otherwise, that is the possible trigger.
When someone has a food allergy, their immune system views the food as a hostile invader, and the body's defense mechanism springs into action. This produces a number of symptoms that can range from mild itchy skin to severe breathing difficulties. These usually occur very soon after eating the food.
When someone is intolerant to a food, the immune system is generally not involved and the symptoms are generally not immediate or life threatening. However, a food intolerance can negatively affect long-term health.
How do I know if it's a food intolerance or a food allergy?
It is very important that a food sensitivity - allergy or intolerance - is medically diagnosed. A self-diagnosis is extremely risky, as many of the symptoms associated with these conditions are common to a number of other diseases.
It is important to remember that food poisoning from eating contaminated food, and aversion to food - where someone doesn't like a particular food (but it won't be bad if they eat it) - are not food sensitivities.
If you are going to diagnose yourself, you can cut out of your diet some foods that are healthy and nutritious, while at the same time not including foods that can be risky. If you think you have a food allergy or intolerance, you should speak to your GP.
What are food intolerances
In food intolerance, the response to food occurs in the digestive system, it occurs when your system is unable to digest the food you eat, whether it is a single food or that food and its derivatives. This can include small or large reactions.
The intolerance occurs when you cannot digest, whether some of the chemical components present in the preparations, or reactions of these foods in the body, yet the intolerant to some food can handle small amounts of it, provided they do not exceed certain limit.
Symptoms of food intolerances
Symptoms of food intolerance include those of disturbed stomach digestion - diarrhoea, bloating, stomach pain, etc. Weight loss, lethargy, or anemia can occur as well, and psychological effects like migraines, confusion, and even depression.
However, these periods generally manifest for longer periods of time, as well as a variety of other symptoms that can result from poor nutrition. In some cases, the symptoms of a food intolerance resemble a mild allergic reaction.
Many of the symptoms of a food intolerance are also associated with other digestive system disorders such as Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
Foods that cause food intolerances
There are also a wide variety of foods associated with food intolerance. Milk (lactose intolerance) and gluten (celiac disease, wheat intolerance) are included, as well as certain food additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG).
A person with lactose intolerance cannot digest milk properly (lactose is a milk sugar). Lactose cannot be absorbed by the body resulting in symptoms such as cramps and diarrhea.
A person with celiac disease reacts to gluten, which is a protein found in foods like wheat, rye, barley, and oats. This results in damage to the gut with ramifications for nutritional status and general well-being.
Some people have reported symptoms such as redness, increased temperature, and headaches after eating the flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate (monosodium glutamate). These symptoms are also known as "Chinese restaurant syndrome", related to the fact that MSG is a frequent ingredient in many Chinese dishes.
Other foods are known to have adverse effects on sensitive people, including red wine, cheese, caffeine, and the salicylates found in certain vegetables, herbs, spices, fruits, and chocolate.
What are allergies
On the contrary, a food allergic reaction includes a complicated and complex reaction of the immune system, this system controls the way in which your body defends itself from the attacks of the environment, and when it is involved, the consequences can be very delicate If your body detects certain foods as attackers, it triggers a series of delicate processes, it "overreacts" by producing some antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE).
They travel through the blood and produce chemical effects on cells, which is what causes the allergic state, IgE are specialized hunters and have specific "radars" for each type of allergen.
Symptoms of allergies
In essence, when the immune system reacts to a food ingredient during an allergic reaction, it causes the release of chemicals such as histamine from cells in the body. This causes some or all of the following symptoms:
· Itching or swelling in the mouth and throat.
· Urticaria anywhere on the body.
· Runny nose and eyes.
· Redness of the skin.
· Feeling unwell.
· Diarrhea and / or vomiting
If the reaction is severe, other symptoms can occur, including:
· A sudden feeling of weakness (caused by a drop in blood pressure).
· Trouble breathing (the throat may start to sell or close).
This is an anaphylactic reaction, also known as anaphylactic shock, and it is life threatening. Immediate treatment is required by injection of adrenaline followed by specialized medical assistance. Symptoms usually occur within seconds to minutes of exposure to food, but the reaction can be delayed for several hours.
Foods that cause allergies
Although peanuts and tree nuts are probably the best-known allergy-causing foods due to the many media reports of related deaths, any food can cause an allergic reaction in a susceptible person. To date, allergies to more than 180 foods have been documented around the world. Most of these are very rare and some are particularly associated with certain populations or regions of the world.
Cod fish allergy is common in Scandinavian countries, as is rice allergy in China and celery allergy in France. These allergies are less common on the island of Ireland, where, like other western countries, the most common allergies include milk, eggs, peanuts, nuts and seeds, fish, shellfish, soybeans and wheat
You can be allergic or intolerant to more than one food
It is possible to have an allergy to more than one thing. It is also possible to be intolerant to certain things and allergic to other things. It all depends on the similarity of the offending chemicals that are in the food or the pollen or whatever material you are allergic to.
This is known as cross-reactivity - if you have a food allergy, you can react with another substance (not necessarily another food) if it contains a protein like the protein that caused your allergy in the first place.
· For example, cross-reactivity can result in a person who is allergic to shrimp also being allergic to shrimp, crabs, and lobster.
· Very often people allergic to peanuts are also allergic to lupine flour.
· Chicken eggs are cross-reactive with other eggs and cow's milk is cross-reactive with goat and sheep milk.
· A person with an allergy to wheat may also be allergic to rye and grass pollen.
· Some cross-reactions are less obvious: an allergy to dust mites can lead to an allergy to shellfish (molluscs and crustaceans), while an allergy to latex increases the risk of becoming allergic to certain fruits and vegetables.
· Those who are allergic to pollen, especially birch or olive pollen, can develop allergic symptoms when they eat hazelnuts, apples, cherries, pears, or carrots.
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