Ways To Deal With Food Allergies And Intolerances
People are allergic to various foods. Some are to gluten, some to lactose, others to nuts. Hmmm. How to deal with these problems? Dealing with food allergies is the matter under focus in this post. Read on.
Intolerances and allergies- the difference
Yes, there us a difference between intolerances and allergies. Take the example of dairy. Certain people cannot handle milk products because of allergies or intolerance or both. When a person is allergic to dairy, the trouble maker is the protein which is either whey or casein that causes the allergic reaction. Those who have intolerance, the villain in their life is lactose. Lactose is a sugar compound present in dairy that is made up of glucose and galactose.
One of the most common food intolerance is lactose intolerance. In simple language, when a person is lactose intolerant, his/her body doesn’t know what to do with the lactose. Normally, the lactase enzyme is released to break down lactose, allowing the cells of the intestine absorb glucose and galactose. If the body is not able to produce sufficient lactase, the extra lactose passes through the digestive tract without getting digested. You will end up feeling bloated and uneasy that are signs of lactose intolerance.
Lactose intolerance is of different levels. Some people can have it in small amounts but there are some who can’t have it at all. It is purely dependent on the amount of lactase enzyme produced by the body.
Strategies for dealing with food intolerances (let us consider lactose intolerance)
Provide your body with what it needs
If you have lactose intolerance, you can take lactase supplement that is quite effective in providing sufficient lactase to the body to break down the lactose. Supplementing the body with the enzyme is like giving your body something that is missing in it.
Limit or avoid exposure
When your lactose intolerance is severe, the way out is to limit or eliminate dairy that contains lactose. All dairy products do not contain lactose eg. hard cheese like cheddar. It becomes essential to find out what dairy products are allowed and how much. Even if you are lactose intolerant, you may still be producing some amount of the enzyme lactase that helps in digesting a bit of lactose. If you happen to remove lactose from the diet completely, you can put a full stop to your intestinal problems.
How to deal with allergies?
The issue with intolerances is that of processing and metabolism. Allergies are reactions that occur due to the response of the immune system. In case of dairy allergy, the responses are due to a protein which is either whey or casein protein. FDA states that 8 foods account for about 90% of the food allergies and they are:
As allergies involve the immune system, the response to food allergies varies with area of the body where the symptoms appear and the severity of the allergic response. Dairy allergies can appear as eczema, asthma or a rare, life threatening anaphylactic reaction.
You cannot consume a pill to stop an allergic reaction. What you have to do is to avoid that particular food altogether as there no other treatment for food allergies. The severity of your allergy defines the level to which you have to avoid the food. Life threatening reactions are rare but they can happen.
You might be completely avoiding foods that cause allergies but cross contamination is a big issue for people having severe food allergies. What is cross contamination? It means that the food you are eating doesn’t have allergens but it has been contaminated during storage, cooking or preparation. You would have read outer packs of foods that read as follows:
‘The product has been made on machinery that processed tree nuts’.
This is done to inform the consumer that allergic reaction can take place due to cross contamination.
Cross-contamination at the restaurant
Even at restaurants cross-contamination can occur via cooking surfaces, cutting boards or utensils. Allergies to shellfish, gluten and nuts can be a severe issue. People with shellfish allergy will not order a shrimp at the restaurant but they have no guarantee that the chicken they have ordered wasn’t cooked in the same spot where a shrimp was grilled. Nowadays restaurants are aware of cross-contamination (not all!), but there is no surety that eating out is safe for people with food allergy. You must let the hotel staff know about the severity of the issue and ask them to take necessary steps.
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