Smart eating: Follow diets that do not cause inflammation in the body

By Deepa Kannan|25th Aug 2020
If you are constantly suffering from sinus problems, headaches, bloating or joint pains, check if you are allergic to certain foods. When there are highly stressful situations, like the present time, high cortisol in the body can increase allergic reactions, says our nutritionist
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Between a quarter and a half of the population of USA suffers from allergies. Allergy testing is widely available in the US and in many other countries but in India, it’s not common to run these tests. However, it is important to remember that when there are highly stressful situations, like the present time, high cortisol in the body can increase the predisposition towards these allergic responses in many people. So, check out your allergies in time.


What exactly are food allergies? A food allergy is when you have any altered reaction in your body after eating a certain food. The food that triggers the reaction is called an antigen. Not everyone has to test for allergies. What this means is that you could be allergic to certain foods and you need to be aware of the reactions in your body.


food allergy

Food allergies cause inflammation in the body (Pic credit: Shutterstock)


When you have an immune reaction to some foods, it will impact the integrity of your gut lining. This is an overactive response of your immune system.


Across the world, the top allergens are gluten, dairy, sugar, corn, soy, peanuts and eggs.


Let me explain some of these allergens a little more...




Gluten

allergy gluten

Choose gluten free foods if you are allergic to the gluten found in many foods


The very first problem is that most of us have insufficient enzymes and stomach acids to break down gluten, which is a complex molecule. This leads to a wide range of digestive problems from bloating to indigestion to constipation. Gluten increases the amount of zonulin in the body which is responsible for wedging itself in the tight gaps of the small intestine and eventually leading to intestinal permeability.


When our immune system becomes confused, intestinal inflammation increases. Our immune system is on high alert if we keep eating certain foods that do not suit us. Thus, we are not able to actually safeguard ourselves against true pathogens and we become susceptible to many infections.


This reaction also sets the stage for autoimmune conditions where our immune system attacks a part of ourselves. With digestion so strained, and constipation becoming chronic, our major system of detoxification is impacted, leading to increased toxic load.


Our skin tries to help us by releasing some of these toxins via the skin, and this can lead to anything from acne to eczema and urticaria. As our villi, the hot spot for nutrient absorption in the small intestine gets worn down and since different villi absorb different vitamins and minerals, we become deficient in many important nutrients too.


With intestine permeability, our blood brain barrier becomes permeable, and we can have brain inflammation and symptoms ranging from anxiety to depression. Since the pituitary and hypothalamus are in the brain, and they control all our endocrine systems, these reactions can finally impact any of the endocrine pathways and cause multiple problems elsewhere.

Dairy

Dairy

Many people are allergic to dairy as the body cannot breakdown casein and whey. (Pic Credit: Shutterstock)


Many people lack the enzymes needed to breakdown casein and whey in dairy products.


In the region of the small intestine, where nutrient absorption takes place, there is also another region where the lymphatic system begins. If dairy products are not broken down to microscopic levels, instead of entering the bloodstream for absorption, they enter the lymphatic system.


This causes lymphatic congestion which can lead to symptoms like sinusitis, depression, headaches, migraines, swollen joints, joint pain and much more. It also triggers an overactive immune response, where you can become allergic to many more foods.




Nuts

nuts

Nuts are loaded with nutrients, but you may be allergic to them (Pic credit: Shutterstock)


There is a link between gluten intolerance and nut intolerance. A lot of people who do not eat animal protein rely on nuts as a major source of protein. This can become a problem when they do not have the digestive capability to breakdown these nuts. Nut allergies can range from digestive distress, immune challenges and inflammation.


If you suffer from digestive conditions like IBS and Crohn’s, then nuts can really be a very big problem. If you do not have any serious conditions, and can digest them, they are loaded with nutrients. But always remember, that with nuts, more is not better.


Baking everything with almond flour or eating peanut butter in large quantities can trigger pain in the joints and many other inflammatory conditions as they contain oxalates. These oxalates can also trigger learning challenges in children.

Eggs

eggs

Give eggs a complete break if they cause an allergic reaction (Pic credit: Shutterstock)


Eggs are a great food when they are free range, but they are definitely not for everyone. I know a large number of people who cannot tolerate them, as eggs can create an inflammatory cascade and cause pain.


If you suffer from joint pains, fibromyalgia, arthritis and rashes, it might be helpful to give eggs a complete break for four weeks, see if your symptoms improve, and then add them back to your diet.

Remove all allergens

As you can see, allergies are not black or white. It is different in every person’s body. It also depends on the state of inflammation overall. When times are stressful, inflammation is heightened.


If you are highly inflamed overall, then you can become allergic to many foods. The starting point then, is to remove the top allergens, and see if the body heals. Sometimes that can help. I had allergies to twenty foods at one point and I removed them all from my diet for decades. Later, after removing gluten, dairy and sugar, and working on my body’s inflammation responses, I found that I was no longer suffering from allergic reactions.


One of ways that you can support your body in the fight against COVID, is by keeping away from inflammatory foods. This will help you lower inflammation and strengthen your immune system.


(Images credit: Shutterstock)


Edited by Asha Chowdary

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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