Food allergies, just as the name suggests, are allergic reactions that occur following exposure to specific foods. The reactions occur because the immune system is over-sensitized and perceives the specific food particles to be foreign bodies, leading to an immune response. This reaction occurs a short while after eating the food. It is important to note that even a minute amount of the food, or traces of the same can lead to allergic flareups.
This reaction is characterized by a wide range of symptoms that range from hives to swollen respiratory ways, wheezing, excessive coughing and swelling of different parts of the body. In extreme cases, this response may be severe leading to symptoms that affect the cardiovascular system, the gastrointestinal system as well as the respiratory system.
The most severe of these symptoms is known as anaphylaxis, a whole-body reaction that prevents proper breathing, causes a significant drop in blood pressure and impairs normal heart function. This anaphylactic reaction can be fatal, and requires immediate medical attention.
Food allergies vary from one person to another, and as such, the causative foods are as varied. The most common foods across different populations, however, include peanuts, shellfish, wheat, soy, corn, milk and nuts. Certain seeds may also cause food allergies. As a matter of fact, anyone may get food allergies, but this has been seen to be most common in those whose previous generations have suffered food allergies. Other contributing factors include the immediate environment a child grows in, one’s age as well as any underlying medical conditions.
NOTE: It is important to get proper diagnosis for proper treatment prior to using any of the home remedies listed below. This is key because home remedies in this case, should only be used as an adjunct treatment.
1. Steer Clear of the Food Allergens:
Time Required: Varies from one person to the other.
What You Need: A journal and pen as well as consciousness to note down any foods you have eaten.
Difficulty: Moderate – Difficult
The first, and perhaps the most obvious home remedy to managing food allergies is to make sure you avoid food allergens at all costs. This requires responsibility from the affected person as avoiding these allergens is the first step to eliminating the distress that accompanies the allergic reactions. To do this however, you need a proper medical diagnosis. It also helps to keep track of the same by identifying food allergens and noting them down for reference purposes later. Below are tips to note the food allergens and avoid them as much as possible.
- The first step in identifying food allergens is jotting down everything consumed within a period of 72 hours (3 days) before the symptoms presented themselves.
- Once this is done, the next step involves pinpointing foods that were new to the body from the list, that is foods which ordinarily did not cause any reactions.
- Make an effort to completely avoid these foods until you notice that the symptoms have been dealt with.
- As a general guide, you want to stay away from these foods to avoid the allergic reactions. If, however, you are keen on re-introducing the foods to your diet, do so in bits. Should the symptoms recur, you are required to completely ban the food allergen from your diet.
- It helps to read food labels correctly so that you know what to avoid. Most food products will have any potential allergens indicated in the ingredients.
- The same is applicable when placing food orders at restaurants. Remember to mention any food allergens that you may have to the waiter and request meals free of the trigger foods. In case of any doubts, request to speak to the head chef.
- Be careful as the possibility of food allergens as a result of cross contamination happens quite often. To put this in perspective, a spoon used to scoop peanut butter may be used to add a dollop of ice-cream to your dessert. If you are allergic to peanuts, this is a potential cause of the allergic reaction.
- If you suffer from severe allergic symptoms, it helps to wear medical alert jewelry. These are available online and at chemists.
- Lastly, when traveling, remember to find out the local words for the foods which you are allergic to. This way, you can make requests clearly at the local restaurant as well as read and understand food labels at the local stores. If you can call the hotel or airline in advance, you will be better placed to expound on the food allergy and make requests for safe foods.
2. Probiotic Foods:
Time Required:Varies depending on the specific food.
What You Need: Probiotic foods.
Probiotic foods are one of the best defense against food allergies. This is because any food that is rich in probiotics has a high concentration of bacteria that aid the function of the gut, commonly referred to as the ‘good bacteria’. The most common bacterial species found in probiotcis is lactobacilli. When introduced to the gut, these bacteria restore intestinal flora and help eliminate digestive problems associated with food allergies. This is known to alleviate the stomach pain as well as boost the immune system so that the response mounted does not lead to severe symptoms.
- Prepare your preferred food using a choice recipe. The most common option when it comes to probiotics is probiotic yogurt which is rich in active cultures (Not suitable for those who are allergic to milk).
- Take at least 3 cups of probiotic yogurt daily to manage food allergies.
- Other excellent alternatives for probiotic foods include tempeh, miso and kefir among others (these are traditional foods that have undergone some fermentation process so that they are rich in the ‘god’ bacteria that helps the gut) .
- Include these foods in your diet and monitor the progress made over a period of a week or so.
3. Green Tea:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Green teabag, 1 cup of hot water, 1 tablespoon of raw honey and fresh lemon juice.
Take some green tea to alleviate the stomach discomfort associated with food allergies. This tea soothes the stomach and prevents further irritation. Additionally, the tea’s excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties go a long way in reducing the pain and discomfort. Different studies indicate that green tea lso has anti-histamine properties. To understand why this is key, it is crucial to know what histamine is and the role it plays in the allergies.
Once the body perceives a particular food protein to be a foreign object, the immune system goes on overdrive in an attempt to get rid of the food. One of the compounds produced during this response is histamine which is responsible for a good number of the aforementioned symptoms. It is with this knowledge that green tea works as an excellent remedy for the management of food allergies. the tea is easy to prepare. You will need honey to acts as a natural sweetener. Add some fresh lemon juice to boost the immune system.
- Place the teabag in a cup of hot water and cover well.
- Let the tea steep for about 20 minutes before straining.
- Stir in the honey and add the fresh lemon juice.
- Take green tea at least thrice daily to reduce the intensity of the symptoms associated with the specific food allergy as well provide relief.
4. Raw Ginger:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: An inch of fresh ginger, 2 cups of hot water and honey.
Raw ginger is one of nature’s gifts for the natural treatment of food allergies. Best known for its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger is a handy remedy that helps calm the stomach and manage digestive spasms. Ginger also reduces indigestion, nausea and vomiting. Its antibacterial properties are also helpful in cases where food poisoning is suspected. All you need is an inch of fresh ginger and hot water to steep the fresh ginger in. Add honey to sweeten the ginger tea prepared by following the directions below.
- Peel and chop the ginger into thin slices before transferring to the pan.
- Add the hot water and bring the mixture to boil for 5 minutes.
- Once boiled, turn off the heat and allow the ginger to steep.
- Strain the ginger tea and add the honey.
- Stir and drink this tea while still warm.
- Use this remedy until the allergy dissipates.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon of raw organic Apple cider vinegar (abbreviated ACV), 1 glass of warm water, 1 tablespoon of raw honey and some lemon juice.
Apple cider vinegar, abbreviated ACV, is a handy home remedy for the natural treatment of symptoms linked to food allergies. ACV is recommended because it helps ward off many symptoms associated with food allergies. Additionally, it is rich in nutrients that help restore the lost nutrients as a result of the diarrhea. This, in turn helps with the regulation of the immune response exerted in response to the presence of the food allergens. Lastly, ACV is helpful because it aids in maintaining the body’s natural pH.
- Add 1 tablespoon of raw organic ACV to a glass of warm water.
- Stir in the honey and lemon juice for their aformentioned benefits in treating food allergies.
- Drink the ACV solution three times daily.
6. Raw Garlic Cloves:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 3 Cloves of fresh garlic, pestle and mortar as well as lemon juice.
Garlic is part of the broader onion family, and is best known for its varied healing properties. Take advantage of garlic’s potent traits to manage food allergies and the symptoms associated with them. Garlic is rich in a compound known as quercetin. This is a natural anti-histamine which plays a great role in reducing the production of histamine so that the intensity of the symptoms is reduced. Garlic’s antioxidant properties also come in handy. The only downside to using garlic is that it has a characteristic pungent smell. Use lemon juice to counter this smell and enjoy the benefits of its healing properties too.
- Simply chew on the garlic cloves at least thrice daily, and particularly when the symptoms flare up. Note that for the garlic’s active ingredients to be released, you must chew on the cloves and not just suck on them.
- Alternatively, use garlic supplements in place of the garlic cloves.
7. Activated Charcoal:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: Approximately 50 grams of activated charcoal and 1 glass of warm water or fruit juice.
One of the major symptoms of food allergies is indigestion that results from the body’s inability to break down the proteins. When this occurs, there is a disruption in the normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. To remedy this, it helps to provide substances that aid in protein digestion so that the proteins are able to move along the digestive tract without causing the immune system to overreact. This is one of the simplest ways of managing food allergies. Activated charcoal plays a key role in doing so as it helps break down the proteins as well as regulate digestion. To achieve this, you will need at least 50 grams of activated charcoal for an effective home remedy.
- Place the activated charcoal in a glass and pour in the water or juice.
- The mixture may bubble as you do so, but this is perfectly normal.
- Drink this mixture to help deal with the symptoms of food allergies.
8. Castor Oil:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: 10 Drops of castor oil, dropper and 1 glass of warm water.
Castor oil is your go-to remedy whenever you need a natural solution to food allergies. The oil has long been used to strengthen the stomach’s tolerance of different foods. Its viscosity allows it to coat the lining of the stomach, thereby reducing the intense effects of the allergic reactions. This goes a long way in preventing the discomfort as well as improving the stomach’s ability to fight off the allergies. You will need some water to dilute the oil.
- Place 10 drops of the castor oil in a glass of warm water.
- Drink the oil mixture to ward off the effects of food allergens.
9. Stinging Nettle:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon of dried stinging nettle, 1 cup of hot water, strainer and 1 tablespoon of honey.
Prepare stinging nettle to manage food allergies at home. This herb is extremely rich in anti-histamine compounds that help eliminate the symptoms of allergic reactions. Its anti-inflammatory properties go a long way in providing much-needed relief from that discomfort caused by the allergy. Add some honey as a natural sweetener.
- Add the dried stinging nettle to a cup of hot water and cover it.
- Let the herb steep for 5 minutes before straining.
- Stir the honey and drink thrice daily until the symptoms are dealt with.
Other reliable home remedies for the natural treatment of food allergies include flaxseed oil which boosts the body’s ability to ward off allergic reactions, foods rich in Vitamin B5 which are rich in anti-allergic properties as well as cucumber juice. The latter is known for its ability to boost the immune system so that the symptoms of the food allergies are less intense. Remember that while these remedies are recommended for the home treatment of food allergies, they should only be used as a secondary treatment course. Seek professional medical advice for the proper diagnosis and management of food allergies.