4 ways to prevent food allergies and intolerances with your diet
My patients often ask why they’re suddenly unable to digest certain foods, have allergic reactions, or feel sensitive to certain ingredients. Food allergies and intolerances begin with an inflammatory reaction that occurs on a systemic level, meaning affects the entire body versus a single organ. Once the inflammation has affected the entire body, it can eventually develop into an allergy or intolerance due to leaky gut (when the lining of the gut is damaged, causing large food particles, bacteria and environmental toxins to seep into the bloodstream ) or auto-immunity (when the body attacks itself).
Luckily, there are a few ways we can lessen the potential to develop allergies and intolerances, and this starts with our diet. Here are my top four tips on preventing sensitivities from manifesting:
Avoid genetically-modified foods
Dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free are just a few buzzwords you may have noticed circulating menus, health food stores, and recipes. Genetic modification increases the potential immunologically active proteins, which increases the likelihood for allergic reactions. Additionally, genetically-modified foods can increase existing allergens and produce new allergens. Look for non-gmo labels on food products, and shop organic as much as possible.
Eliminate inflammatory foods
In order to lessen the burden of your gut and improve its function, work on eliminating or lessening your intake of inflammatory foods, such as wheat, soy, corn, peanuts, eggs, dairy, and non-organic meats.
Eat organic as often as possible
Not only will you support farmers who don’t plant genetically-modified crops, you’ll be limiting your exposure to chlorinated pesticide residues while ingesting more nutrient-dense products. Additionally, due to less pesticides and chemicals in the growing of organic food, we cause less stress on our immune systems, which can make us ward off food allergies more easily.
Vary your diet
It’s easy to get in a rut with eating the same foods over and over again. However, this can increase your chance of food allergies and intolerances. Since mass-production of foods has drastically increased over the last century, we have a less quality and variation in plant species. This is important to note because it means that we now eat less varied foods, and if we have even a slight immune reaction to a food, it can continue to build as our intake increases.
I recommend planning ahead to ensure that you’re eating a variety of foods throughout the week. Dedicate a few hours every Sunday to meal prep, and purchase as much organic, non genetically-modified foods as much as possible. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store in order to purchase whole foods.