What Are Food Allergies?
A food allergy occurs when your body has an abnormal response to a particular food. Your immune system essentially makes a mistake by treating this food as something dangerous to your body and will overreact to the ingredient in food (usually a protein) by creating antibodies to fight it.
The symptoms develop when the antibodies are actively attacking the “invader” – the offending food. The most common allergies involve reactions to wheat, eggs, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, corn, shellfish or fish. However, any food can essentially cause an immune reaction.
You can also have a reaction to a particular food without the involvement of your immune system. This is called a food intolerance or food sensitivity. It occurs when something in the food irritates a person’s digestive system and the person is unable to properly digest, or breakdown, the food. The symptoms can be very similar to a food allergy, thus, often, people are not sure whether they are having an allergic reaction or are experiencing intolerance to a particular food.
Why Are Food Allergies On The Rise?
Is it because our diets have changed so drastically in the last few decades? Is it that our foods are now increasingly becoming genetically modified? Or that we are exposed to so many new chemicals, toxins, and products in our everyday environments? Is it too many vaccinations assaulting our immune systems? Is it because we have unintentionally over-embraced the “hygiene hypothesis”, keeping our homes and environments too clean, taking away the rightful job of our immune systems? Or is it just because of plain ole’ genetics?
No one has the right answer yet. So, until we find the true cause(s), we must arm ourselves with the proper information and sources of allergy free living to keep us healthy from the inside out. Through this site and my iphone and iPad application, I want to help people do this.