It is not uncommon to have a bad reaction to the foods we occasionally eat, such as headaches from drinking wine or gas from eating beans. In addition, lactose-intolerant people may experience diarrhea when they eat dairy. All these are examples of intolerances or sensitivities. The immune system can react to certain foods that can cause symptoms ranging from mild skin itching or rashes to anaphylaxis, a severe reaction that may lead to death. However, you can protect yourself by managing your allergic reactions with natural remedies for food allergies.
Table of Contents
This post will teach you the following:
What is Food Allergy?
A food allergy is an uncomfortable reaction by the immune to a particular food. For a person suffering from a food allergy, consuming or ingesting even a small amount of specific food can result in symptoms like diarrhea, cramping, vomiting, nausea, and skin rash. Because the body reacts to something in the food that is otherwise harmless, this kind of allergic reaction is called a hypersensitivity reaction. Severe allergic reaction is rare, and when it occurs, it can result in a life-threatening symptom like anaphylactic shock.
Even though many people believe they have a food allergy, only a few adults and children of about six years or younger have true food allergies. The rest only have a food intolerance like gluten, caffeine, Salicylates, Amines, fructose, lactose intolerance, etc, which is an undesirable reaction to food; this has nothing to do with the immune system.
Symptoms of Food Allergy
A person who has a food allergy may begin to experience symptoms as early as 2 minutes after taking the food, but the reaction may take about 1 or 2 hours to surface. Occasionally, symptoms of food reaction quickly disappear, only to come again in 3 to 4 hours.
The most common symptoms of food reaction include the following:
1. Itching accompanied by:
– wheals or reddish bumps
5. Stomach cramps
6. Mouth and lip swelling
Additional symptoms of food allergies include the following:
1. Stuffy or runny nose
The following are symptoms of a more severe reaction to foods or drinks:
1. Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
2. Losing consciousness
3. Chest tightness
4. Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
5. Irregular or rapid heartbeat
6. Feeling choking or tightness in the throat
Foods that Trigger Allergic Reactions
There is often an allergic reaction when the body’s immune system overreacts to a particular allergen. In this case, however, the allergen is a food protein. Any food can trigger an allergic reaction; therefore, one of the following eight foods can trigger most food allergies.
- Tree nuts
People who have allergies generally react to only a few foods. However, sometimes a person who is allergic to one food may also have allergies to other foods. This situation is called cross-reaction. Some common examples of cross-reaction include:
- Peanut allergy – Cross-allergies can be peas, green beans, and soybeans
- Wheat allergy – Rye is a cross-allergy
- Cow’s milk allergy – Cross-allergy to goat’s milk
- Pollen allergy – Cross-allergies can be such foods as almonds, peaches, green apples, and hazelnuts
People with a history of other allergies like asthma or eczema are likely to react to some foods. However, these people are also expected to experience a more severe reaction.
Diagnosing Food Allergies
You can identify most food allergies by their symptoms. For example, doctors and allergists can recognize swelling patterns, rashes, hives, and other symptoms connected with allergic reactions.
The doctor or allergist will ask the patient questions about the possible triggers of the reaction and the patient’s medical history. In some very unusual circumstances like anaphylaxis, the doctor may require blood tests and some other tests.
Some patients may name the exact food that caused the allergic reaction, especially if they experienced the reaction within minutes of eating a particular food. Others who are unsure may need to visit their allergist for a more extensive test to determine the specific food responsible for the reactions.
Medical Treatments for Allergic Reactions to Food
You can safely treat some mild allergic reactions at home; that is, of course, with the knowledge and guidance of your healthcare professional. However, when your symptoms worsen even after the home treatments, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- The priority in a severe reaction is to protect the blood pressure and airway.
- Your doctor will ensure that your airway is open and make sure that you are getting enough oxygen.
- You may need a mechanical ventilator if you are having a problem with your respiration. The ventilator is a tube often placed in the mouth to keep the airway open.
- In some rare cases, a surgeon may need to perform a simple surgery to open the airway.
- The doctor or allergist will constantly monitor your blood pressure.
- You may need an IV line.
- The IV line will help give saline solution to boost your blood pressure.
- The IV line can also serve as a medication channel.
A severe allergic reaction to food may require that the person gets admitted to the hospital for further monitoring and treatment.
Medications for Food Allergies
The severity of the food reaction may determine the choice of medication and its administration.
- This drug is only for a very severe reaction, such as anaphylaxis.
- When you inject epinephrine into the skin, it acts as a bronchodilator.
- The epinephrine also constricts the blood vessels, thereby increasing blood pressure.
- You may receive an alternative medication that has similar effects.
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
- The primary job of this drug is to reverse histamine actions.
- Diphenhydramine is a drug for quick action.
- In a less severe reaction, you can give this drug by mouth.
- It would be best not to confuse corticosteroids with steroids to boost their strength and muscles.
- Corticosteroids reduce swelling, including other allergic reaction symptoms.
- You can take corticosteroids via IV or oral.
- Oral corticosteroids are available for less severe reactions.
- You can make use of a corticosteroid ointment or cream for skin reactions.
13 Natural Remedies for Food Allergies
You can naturally treat food allergies at home with acupuncture, antihistamines and some quick thinking. Although it is advisable to see your doctor when your allergic reaction is severe, you can try the following natural remedies for food allergies when the reaction is not that severe:
Ginger contains antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also an excellent remedy for relieving different gastrointestinal discomforts, such as diarrhea, indigestion, vomiting, and nausea. For dealing with your food allergies, you should chew ginger each day, or you can drink about 2 to 3 cups of ginger tea every day for about a week.
2. Probiotic Foods
To relieve diarrhea and stomach pain resulting from food allergies, you should drink a cup of yogurt daily. Yogurt helps in maintaining good bacteria in the stomach; it also helps in treating digestive problems. However, lactose-intolerant people may not be able to make yogurt.
3. Vitamin C Foods
Foods high in vitamin C content helps in preventing the buildup of toxins in the body. Boost your diet with more vegetables and fruits loaded with vitamin C, such as tomatoes, strawberries, kiwi, grapefruit, broccoli, oranges and lemons.
Lemon is very significant for boosting the immune system. It also helps protect the body against various food allergies. To relieve your food allergy reactions, add a teaspoon of lemon juice to a glass of warm water and drink the mixture on an empty stomach each day for a week.
5. Green Tea
Green tea has some antihistamine, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help cure symptoms associated with food allergies. It is always nice to have some green tea at home. Drink 2 to 3 cups of tea each day for about a week or two.
6. Castor Oil
Castor oil coats your stomach and reduces the gastrointestinal discomforts associated with food allergies. Mix half a teaspoon of castor oil in a glass of water and drink on an empty stomach each morning. Castor oil will help your immune system adapt to some allergens that may be in some foods.
7. Carrot and Cucumber Juice
You can squeeze out carrot and cucumber juices separately and then mix them, or you can blend the two fruits. Either way, both are a perfect combination for treating various allergies related to food. These fruits contain anti-allergenic components that make them one of the most effective natural remedies for food allergies.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains antihistamine properties, including some other medicinal properties that make it practical for battling various symptoms of food allergies. It is one of the most important natural remedies for food allergies and other medical conditions. Pour a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into a glass of warm water, add a teaspoon of honey to taste, then you can drink the mixture 2 to 3 times each day until your food allergy symptoms subside.
9. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is pretty effective in soothing the digestive tract and reducing inflammation associated with food allergies. It is also effective in relieving other food allergy symptoms, such as itching and headache. You can apply peppermint to the bottom of the feet, abdomen or temples topically. To soothe digestion, take 1 to 2 drops of peppermint oil internally, placing it on the roof of the mouth.
10. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil is another excellent essential oil that opens up the sinuses and lungs, improving circulation and reducing symptoms associated with food allergies. It contains an analgesic and anti-inflammatory compound known as citronella. Eucalyptus oil can also work as an expectorant, which will help purge the body of toxins. If you desire to get rid of your food allergies by using eucalyptus oil, apply 1 to 2 drops of the oil to your temples and chest topically.
Bananas are excellent at reducing the symptoms of food allergies. They help regulate the body’s metabolism; they are also great at reducing stomach discomfort and skin rashes. Although bananas do not cure food allergies, eating enough of them will help reduce the likelihood or severity of allergic reactions.
12. Activated Charcoal
Using activated charcoal will help in countering the effects of food allergic reactions. Activated charcoal will break down the proteins in the food and help them move unnoticed through the digestive system. You can mix activated charcoal with water. To be effective, you will require a decent amount of activated charcoal, about 60 grams of it. Activated charcoal is one of the rarest natural remedies for food allergies.
When you add lime juice to water and then put some honey to taste, the mixture can serve as a powerful body detoxifier. Drinking the medicine for a couple of weeks will flush toxins out of your system. The toxins are harmful to the body; they are responsible for the issues you may have with your protein digestion.
The natural remedies for food allergies given above might help you feel better in the short run; you should also make sure the problems do not repeat themselves. A person with food allergies should know that it is important to avoid allergens. They should also read labels carefully as prevention is always better than cure. While dining out, always ensure that you ask about food preparation and ingredient.
Your allergist will educate you more on how to protect yourself from allergens, especially when socializing. Work closely with both your allergist and dietitian to reduce the further incidence of food allergic reactions.