Nutrition and Food Intolerances
Proper nutrition can play a critical role in managing the discomfort experienced by the body absorbing the “wrong” types of food. Our approach at Perth Allergy Clinic with respect to Nutrition and Intolerances takes 3 distinct phases
Understanding– firstly we strive to understand your situation, your history of discomfort and reactions.
Testing – secondly from the understanding we recommend appropriate laboratory tests to confirm our initial analysis of your intolerance.
Managing – finally our Nutritionist will help you avoid the foods that are causing discomfort and provide you with the support you need to change your diet to one that is both healthy and interesting.
Our approach at Perth Allergy Clinic is a conservative one and our process to understand your situation will typically include:-
• taking a thorough personal and family case history
• addressing any gut related problems i.e. leaky gut
• keeping a food and symptoms diary to check for reactive patterns
• removing all suspect foods for several weeks
• reintroducing them one at a time to test for reactions
• evaluating lifestyle factors which may play a role in the amplification of these reactions
Foods that tend to cause an intolerant reaction
As we spend many of our waking hours eating and drinking it can be difficult to determine when we experience certain symptoms like the severity of migraine headaches, rashes (such as hives) or the stomach upset of irritable bowel whether it is triggered by allergy or the substances, which are contained in the foods we eat. The foods that tend to cause intolerance reactions in sensitive people often include:
- dairy products, including milk, cheese and yoghurt
- eggs, particularly egg white
- flavour enhancers such as MSG (monosodium glutamate)
- food additives
- strawberries, citrus fruits and tomatoes
- wine, particularly red wine, histamine and other amines in some foods
Natural substances in foods which may trigger a food intolerance
Natural Chemicals are found in the foods we eat. Food is composed of protein, carbohydrate, fat and various nutrients as well as a number of natural chemicals. These naturally occurring molecules often add flavour and smell to food. Sometimes they will trigger symptoms in sensitive individuals.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG, additive numbers 620 and 621) Glutamates also occur naturally in such foods as Camembert cheese, Parmesan cheese, tomatoes, soy sauce and mushrooms. MSG stimulates nerve endings, perhaps accounting for its function as a flavour enhancer when it is added to food.
Vasoactive Amines such as tyramine, serotonin and histamine are well known triggers of migraines in some patients and are present naturally in pineapples, bananas, baked meat, vegetables, red wine, wood-matured white wine, avocados, chocolate, citrus fruits and mature cheese. Amines can act directly on small blood vessels to expand their capacity, perhaps accounting for their effect on flushing, migraines and nasal congestion in some patients.
Salicylates are natural aspirin like compounds (aspirin was originally isolated from the willow tree bark) present in a wide variety of herbs, spices as well as fruit and vegetables. Reactions to these may be even more common than reactions to artificial colours and preservatives. Aspirin can trigger hives (urticaria) by acting directly on skin mast cells. Natural and structurally similar salicylates can also worsen hives in some patients.
Toxins Other than contamination of food with micro-organisms or their products (spoilage, food poisoning), some foods contain toxins than can cause severe symptoms. For example, if some types of fish are stored poorly, their gut bacteria can convert histidine to histamine, resulting in allergy-like symptoms.
Irritants. Caffeine and curry are gut irritants and can trigger indigestion in some people.