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Food Allergies

Some of the foods can trigger a wide range of unpleasant effects. However, not all adverse food reactions are caused by allergies. Omitting suspect foods then reintroducing them one at a time may help you to identify the culprit.

The old adage that "one man's meat is another poison" pretty well describes how some people react to certain foods. Adverse reactions to food run the gamut from itchiness and light headedness to migraines and bloating-reactions commonly referred to as allergies. But the fact is that among adults, food allergies are rather rare and are more common among children. So what are these myriad reactions that some people have to certain foods?

What distinguishes one kind of food reaction from another is the specific way in which the body rejects the substance. In an allergic response, the immune system mistakes a particular food for a harmful substance (like a virus or bacteria) and launches an attack, releasing into the bloodstream antibodies known as immunoglobulin E (IgE). Histamines and other chemicals also cascade into the system, producing host of allergic symptoms, ranging from swelling, hives and cramping, to a potentially deadly reaction known as anaphylactic shock.

But foods don't have to aggravate the immune system in order to trigger ill effects. Many people have what are known as sensitivity reactions to certain foods, and experience symptoms such as stuffed sinuses, irritability, headaches or fogginess.

If an allergy or sensitivity is suspected, many physicians recommend an elimination diet. The regime begins by excluding all suspected foods from the diet. If symptoms disappear, the foods are reintroduced one at a time, to see when and if the problem recurs. If it does, then the culprit has been identified and that food is banned from the diet.