Common food allergies may be causing your symptoms

A reaction can happen any time

As the flight attendant pushes the cart through the plane passing out pretzels and peanuts, she pulls her cart next to a couple, and asks the lady if she would like any nuts. To which she replies yes. Then she asks the woman’s husband if he would like any, and he politely declines, because he knows he has a bad reaction to nuts. And so the flight continues on and she eats her nuts and he enjoys his drink. After a little while, the couple shares a kiss in passing. Shortly after that, his lips swell up, his throat tightens and it becomes very hard to breathe. The flight attendant notices and quickly concludes that the man is going in to anaphylactic shock. After a little while the man begins to stabilize. Obviously the only cause of this is because of the kiss that was shared between them.

This example may seem extreme, but real events very similar to this have happened on major airlines.  In this particular example, the outcome is more dramatic than usual.  However, food reactions such as this are common.  However, these results often come from accidental exposure when an ingredient was added to a dish that the unsuspected individual consumed.  At times, this can lead to events as severe as a full blown allergic attack, but often times it is not this presentation at all.


An allergy or a sensitivity?

There are many types of responses to food.  What we commonly think of as food allergies is really more often a sensitivity.  Most individuals will know after an initial exposure that they are allergic to a food.  They begin to have reactions that are noticeable and most importantly, they occur within a short period of time.  However, this is a smaller segment of the food reactions.

Common food allergies as we think about them are not food allergies at all.  Rather, they are sensitivities.  Sensitivities have delayed effects that can be difficult to pinpoint without testing.  Let me give you an example.  When someone has a reaction to gluten, rarely do they immediately start breaking out in hives or any of the other common allergy symptoms.  Instead, the reactions are delayed.  The present more slowly, some even taking up to 72 hours to manifest.  Symptoms are usually not as acute.  This can make pinning down a food that you may be reacting to very difficult.  It also makes their contribution to chronic ailments harder to detect.

 Common foods that cause reactions

The big 5 common food allergies are wheat, peanuts, soy, milk, and eggs.  These foods are notorious for causing both acute reactions, and delayed reactions.  For our purpose let’s discuss the ones you are likely to have problems correlating, the delayed reactions.  When you consume these foods, your immune system sees them as foreign substances, much like it would be a virus or bacteria.  The food continues to be consumed and the immune system response continues to mount.


Just like an infection, as the inflammation increases the symptoms begin to present themselves. You can experience a wide range of reactions including achiness, loose bowels, swelling, fatigue or headaches. Either way, the cause of your symptoms can be hard to pinpoint.

How to change

The first and most important thing to do is to remove the foods you react to from your diet. If you do not, and you continue to consume them, you will continue to be in a state of inflammation and could possibly lead to chronic disease or illness.  If you want to be free of symptoms then you should start by changing your diet, by getting rid of the foods you are having the reactions with. You aren’t always going to have an immediate strong reaction like in the case of the peanuts, most of the time you will have a subtle reaction that may seem un related.

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