How do we get our food allergies under control? To improve our condition, we need to consider two approaches. First, we need to find and eliminate the substance that is causing an allergic reaction in our body. Second, we need to make our immune system robust so that it is less susceptible to these harmful substances.
It is possible because we have 100% control over what we eat. Moreover, it is important to suspect your food as foods have the most frequent contact with our environment.
Environmental and Dietary Factors that Lead to Food Allergies
There are several environmental and dietary factors, which contribute to increasing food allergies.
Many researchers have suggested changes in eating habits and impoverished consumption of nutrients to be one of the major causes of the high prevalence of this allergy.
- Genetically Modified Foods and Pesticides
High exposure to pesticide and consumption of genetically modified foods affects our immune system function during development and also as people age gradually.
A majority of individuals consume less fresh fruit and vegetables in comparison to those from the previous generations (these foods are cardinal as they are high in). They help protect against cell damage; a lower antioxidant intake during childhood may have prevented proper immune system development.
- Vitamin D
Countries farther from the equator have a higher risk of food allergy as where there is less sunlight (which is an essential source of vitamin D), a low vitamin D intake may have a result in food allergy risk being greater.
- Lack of Early Exposure
Another term for this is the hygiene hypothesis. Children nowadays are being brought up in sterilized environments, where exposure to germs is lesser. Developed countries where anti-bacterial soaps and products with less exposure to healthy bacteria in soils are used abundantly have significantly higher rates of food allergies.
Tips to Avoid Food Allergies
Here is the list of top five tips that help effectively to preventing food allergies.
- Read Food Labels
Even though this may seem like an obvious task, many people often purchase the wrong food item by misreading the ingredient labels. Individuals with food allergies should stay away from products that have tags, such as “may contain” or “manufactured on shared equipment” as these products may cause severe reactions.
- Avoid Cross-Contact
People with food allergies should be aware of the risk of potential cross-contact between allergenic foods and non-allergenic foods.
A cross-contact occurs when an allergen is unknowingly transferred from food that may contain it to food that does not. To prevent cross-contact, the following steps should be taken:
- Removal of products from your refrigerator that you cannot eat
- Clean up your stove, oven, and cooking utensils with soap and water
- Cooking allergy-safe foods first
- Preparing your food in a separate area if you are sharing a kitchen
- Wash your hands with soap and water frequently
- Scrub your counter and tables after cooking every meal
- Wear A Medical Alert Bracelet
In case of a severe allergic reaction, this bracelet may let others in your close circle know that you are having a reaction and are unable to communicate.
- Emergency Epinephrine
You may need to carry an epinephrine autoinjector (EpiPen) if you are more prone to the risk of a severe allergic reaction. It is also critical for you to learn how to use this autoinjector to prevent any delay from occurring when you receive the drug.
- Plan Your Meals and Snacks
Take packed allergen-free foods with you when you travel as a precautionary measure.
How to Boost Your Immune Health?
Our immune system plays a pivotal role in keeping the allergies at bay, and here are the ways, which strengthen the immune system.
- Maintain A Healthy Diet
It can be done by consuming a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. Maintaining your diet may also help ensure that your body is getting sufficient micronutrients such as Vitamin E, C, and B6.
- Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise helps the overall circulation, which makes it easier for other infection-fighting molecules and our immune cells to travel more easily throughout our bodies.
- Stay Hydrated
Water plays a paramount role in supporting our immune system. The fluid in our circulatory system, which is called lymph, carries important pathogen fighting immune cells around the body and is largely made of water. If we stay dehydrated, the movement of this fluid slows down as well, which may occasionally lead to an impaired immune system.
- Adequate Sleep
Having a good sleeping schedule helps our immune system fight against harmful pathogens properly to prevent their spread.
Understandably, people who suffer from food allergies need to be careful with the meals they consume. They should thoroughly plan out their meals and keep a close check on the food items that may cause them potential risks.