Hello, this is Ms. Tracey, Nurse Practitioner with Living Health, and I’m here to talk to you today about food allergies and food intolerance.
Now, you’re probably saying to yourself “Aren’t food allergies the same as food intolerance?”
Today, I’m here to help you understand how food allergies and food intolerance have important differences. Understanding these differences could save your life! Learn how and why they differ, so you can make healthy choices.
What are food allergies and food intolerances? There’s an essential difference between these two terms:
A food allergy refers to the immune response your body has to certain foods such as cherries or strawberries. For example, if you’re allergic to these two fruits, then your body can have a serious reaction to them, and you may suffer from anaphylaxis.
On the other hand, a food intolerance or sensitivity can irritate your system and make you have symptoms, but it won’t start an immune response that leads to anaphylaxis, hives, or oral and throat swelling.
2. Understand the dangers. In general, food allergies are more dangerous than food intolerance. However, medical experts (including myself) recommend that you discontinue eating all foods that irritate you or make you feel sick.
You may need to seek immediate medical help if you have an allergic reaction to a food . Most of the time, you may be able to avoid a hospital visit if you only have a food intolerance unless the symptoms are severe.
Serious allergic reactions to food can be life threatening and need to be handled immediately. If you suspect you may have a serious food allergy, it’s important to discuss it with your doctor. You may need an EpiPen or other medication that can save your life in an emergency.
Pay attention to your body. It’s always important to pay attention to how your body reacts after you eat. If you have any reactions, you may want to document it and make sure your health care provider is aware of it.
Although food intolerance tend to be less dangerous than food allergies, your health care provider may be able to offer advise on how to handle the symptoms. It helps to become more aware of the ingredients in the food you eat at home and at restaurants. It would be a great idea to eliminate offending foods from your diet and replace them with others.
Understand the issues of food intolerance. It is possible for food intolerance to be complex and difficult to understand.
Although an intolerance is not an immune response, you may still feel very sick. Common reactions to intolerance are stomach issues, cramping, bloating, gas and other symptoms.
A very common food intolerance in the U.S is lactose intolerance.
It’s important to note that an easy way to make symptoms go away is to recognize what food is causing the symptoms and then stop eating it.
Overlapping symptoms. Because food allergies and intolerance symptoms can possibly overlap, which makes it hard to diagnose and know which is actually happening to your body.
Severe stomach pain is an example of an possible overlapping symptom.
Potential causes of allergies and intolerances. There is continual research as to why and how food allergies and intolerances develop.
Genetics is suspected to play a role. For example, if someone in your family is allergic to soy or another food, then you may be at a higher risk of having a similar allergy.
The lack of certain enzymes in the body can make it difficult to digest your food. This also can lead to a food intolerance.
Chemical additives, preservatives and pesticides in food can also create intolerance because you may be sensitive to them. Packaged and processed foods have many chemicals and preservatives in them, and non-organic produce may have a lot of pesticides on them that can lead to issues with food intolerance and other health issues.
Paying attention to the differences between food allergies and food intolerance is important. At Living Health we may assist you in identifying your food sensitivities. Contact us at Living Health Holistic Health Care for a consultation related to food issues and how to handle them.