The foods you eat can have a dramatic effect on your health. Most people don’t realize it but many people are “mildly” allergic to many of the foods they eat. These “hidden” food allergies can result in systemic inflammation and last for up to 4 hours after eating the offending food. This mild but systemic inflammation can then manifest as fatigue, pain, mental fog, and even anxiety and depression. Avoiding the most common food allergens for a period of time can remove food “stressors” and allow the body to spring back to health and vitality.
It is likely that anyone with a chronic health challenge has a contributing mild food contributing to their health challenge. Unfortunately, mild food allergies are too subtle for us to recognize the offending food. Instead of breaking out in hives after eating a food, we may just feel slightly spacey, or our joints may hurt just a little bit more. The bad news is that the most common food allergens are many of the foods most of us eat every day; wheat (gluten), dairy, and peanuts. By eating foods we are mildly allergic to every day (or even every meal) we contribute to a continual state of mild inflammation, and therefore poor health. For example, a person allergic to wheat (gluten) could have toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and pasta for dinner…. and they would have eaten foods they were mildly allergic to at every meal. By getting off of all common food allergens for 20 or 30 days, people can often feel dramatic changes in their health.
To illustrate this point, there was a study published a number of years ago that showed that pain and headaches can be dramatically affected by food allergies. Granted, the study pertained to pain and headaches, but the ramifications are true for other conditions such as autoimmune conditions, asthma, arthritis, digestive problems and more. The study appeared in “The Lancet” journal and pertained to 60 patients with frequent migraine headaches. The average number of years that the participants had been experiencing the headaches was 18 years for the women and 22 years for the men – these were people who were definitely familiar with pain. With everyone combined, they experienced 402 headaches per month before the study. After the study, the number of headaches dropped to 6. So here’s what they did with the study: the 60 participants were asked to eat 2 low allergen foods a day for five days; for example, lamb and pears. Most of the headaches were gone after 5 days. On a side note, there were 15 patients with hypertension at the beginning of the study and yet all 15 had their blood pressure return to normal once they discovered and removed the offending foods. After the participants removed all possible allergens for 5 day, they started introducing 1-3 foods a day looking for reactions. Reactions included lethargy, depression, anxiety, flushing, dizziness, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea or rashes. The foods causing reactions were not surprising: wheat (78%); orange (65%); eggs (45%); tea and coffee (40% each); chocolate and milk (37% each); beef (35%); and corn, cane sugar, and yeast (33% each). Each participant had an average of 10 offending foods. The results of this study were dramatic. In fact, 85% of the patients became headache free. No drug has ever, been able to match that kind of result.
In my next post I will discuss how you can look at removing common food allergies from your own diet.