How Food Allergy Affects the Body
Is it any wonder that more and more people experience food allergies these days? Many of the foods we eat and the foodstuffs we buy from the supermarket have gone through so many processes to improve their taste, to ensure that they will stay fresh for a longer period, and to ensure that they will keep in our refrigerators and cupboards for a long time without spoiling.
The reasons why the foods that we eat go through these processes are all well and good. Food processing is meant to enhance the taste of food as well as to preserve them to make them viable longer. Unfortunately, not all good intentions have good results, and one negative result that scientists have seen with food processing is food allergies.
Food Allergies: The Immune System on Hyperdrive
Overexposure to certain food substances is one reason that scientists have to explain why people experience food allergy or food intolerance when they consume specific types of food. One of the things that scientists and medical experts are sure of is that food allergies are specific conditions unique for every person. One person may be allergic to shellfish, but his degree of intolerance towards shellfish is always different from another person who is also allergic to shellfish. Also, the way the body reacts is often different from person to person.
Food allergies are often considered as irrational reactions by the body. Simply put, the body hates the food it is allergic to for no particular reason. When you eat something you are allergic to and the food substance enters the blood stream, the white blood cells of the immune system attack the substance.
White blood cells are supposed to attack and kill microorganisms like bacteria and viruses that they consider as threats. This is why the body shows adverse reactions in an allergic attack like nausea, migraine or breaking out in hives. When white blood cells attack the food substances that the body is allergic to, they go on hyperdrive and attack the body too.
Allergic But on What?
What if, for some reason, you display symptoms of food allergy or food intolerance, but you do not know exactly what kind of food you are allergic to? You actually have two options – elimination testing and food allergy tests using your blood.
In elimination testing, you will be made to go on a bland diet for a week or two to clear your system of the effects of the foods that are part of your regular diet but you suspect to be allergic to. After these two weeks, the foods you may be allergic to are reintroduced one by one and you will be made to observe what your reactions to them are. The one that gives you the most adverse reactions is the one you are allergic to.
This test can work, but many medical experts see this as essentially flawed. It takes too long to work, and it is possible that you may be allergic to the bland diet you will be subjected to in the first phase of the test.
On the other hand, with food allergy tests, you give a lab a sample of your blood and the lab will check its reaction against a number of the most commonly eaten foodstuffs. Based on the reaction of the white blood cells in your blood sample, the lab will be able to determine what foodstuffs you are specifically allergic to.
Your reaction to some foodstuffs that you eat may be mild, but you cannot afford to ignore it. If you feel something negative after eating a particular kind of food, even if it is just drowsiness or some sort of energy crash, you may want to get yourself subjected to food allergy tests. It is always better to be safe than to be sorry.