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Food allergies and sensitivity

Many people today are sensitive to certain types of food. Many others are allergic. Allergy sufferers are usually aware of what they are allergic to because they will get an instant reaction to the allergen. The eyes, nose or throat begin to swell up and they may get a rash. Breathing may become more difficult. These types of problem can usually be diagnosed by what is known as an IgE test.

However, those who have a problem with sensitivity to certain foods do not get a direct reaction. The symptoms come later and it is difficult to make a causal link with the ingestion of certain types of food. This type of sensitivity cannot be detected using an IgE test.

On the positive side, sensitivity is easier for the body to cure than allergies. The difficulty is to find out which food items cause an adverse reactio. Common symptoms of sensitivity are, for example, headaches, fatigue, depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, muscle pain, a distended stomach, etc.

The most common causes of sensitiviy are: milk, cereals in particular wheat, citrus fruits, solanine, soya products, sweeteners, colouring and preservatives.

There are several methods for testing sensitivity and allergic reactions to food. You yourself can do this by a process of elimination or testing your pulse rate. Only you know how you react to different foods. The process of elimination involves eating as pure food as possible for a week: just vegetables, fruit and meat. You eliminate all milk products, all cereals, fish and other seafood, citrus fruits, food containing solanine, soya products, sweeteners, colouring and preservatives. After one week, you introduce one ‘new’ food item every day. If you get a reaction to that particular food, remove it from your diet in future.

Another method is to test your pulse. By taking your own pulse, you get to know how your body is working. For a week, you take your pulse every morning while in bed before you get up. Your resting pulse should be around the same each day. If it goes up, this is a sign that you may be catching a cold or infection. Work out the average pulse rate. The next step is to take your pulse before a meal and then 30, 60 and 90 minutes after the meal. When the pulse has risen by more than 16 beats per minute compared to your resting pulse, make a note of this. In all likelihood, the meal you just ate contained a food that did not agree with you. In order to dig deeper, you need to test each food from that meal on its own using the same method as before.
These methods have the advantage that you carry them out yourself at home. The only thing you need is a watch showing seconds plus pen and paper. Both methods can be combined if necessary.