Food & NutritionHealth

Food Allergies: What You Need to Know

31/08/2015 No Comments

Over the last 50 years, allergies have emerged as one of the major public health problems in developed countries. Australia and New Zealand are world leaders in the prevalence of allergic disorders. In 2007, 4.1 million (20% of the population) Australians were medicated for at least one allergy. ((The Economic Impact of Allergy Disease in Australia (PDF) 13/11/07. ASCIA Study 24-28 [])) In the United States, allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic disease, costing the health care system $18 billion annually. ((Allergy statistics – Medicine World [])) In Australia, 20% of the health care budget is directed towards allergy medication and prevention. ((The Economic Impact of Allergy Disease in Australia (PDF) 13/11/07. ASCIA Study 24-28 []))

Australia has seen a rapid growth in the allergy industry, with the development of new drugs, desensitisation technology, and a number of unproven or ineffective treatments. While avoiding or reducing exposure to the symptom-producing substances is the obvious best way to manage allergies, ones response to allergens can often be reduced by simply cleaning up the body.

Allergy is a condition of the immune system marked by a reaction to normally harmless substances. Food allergy disorders make up the greater part of all allergic reactions. Wheat and other grains, milk, seafood, peanuts, soy, eggs, fruits and food additives are just a few of the common foods to which many are hypersensitive. In a study reported in the Medical Journal of Australia, 47% (697/1489) of all children under six, seen in a private medical practice from 1995 thru 2006, had food allergy, with 11.7% having food–associated anaphylaxis. ((Paediatric food allergy trends in a community-based specialist allergy practice, 1995–2006 []))

In cases of non-fatal symptoms, it is often best to let the immune system carry out its work.

Digestion of a substance to which one is allergic will generally result in an acute immune response, characterised by excessive activation of certain white blood cells. Although an acute immune response can be a healthy reaction to a potentially harmful substance, it will cause temporary discomfort as the body attempts to neutralise and eliminate the allergen. Symptoms may include itching, burning and swelling around the mouth, runny nose, sneezing, skin rashes, eczema, hives, joint pain, digestive disorders, headaches, fatigue, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, breathing difficulties including wheezing and asthma, nausea, vomiting, brain-fog or even anaphylactic shock to name just a few. In cases of non-fatal symptoms, it is often best to let the immune system carry out its work. It is, however, important to identify the allergen and discontinue further ingestion. Continual exposure or suppression of the symptoms using drugs can result in a chronic or unremitting immune response ending in serious disease or even death.

Children will often develop allergies to foods that were fed to them before their systems were mature enough to process them. In most cases, the best food for babies during the first 6-12 months is mother’s milk. Babies who are fed grains, starch foods, legumes, seafood, peanut butter, bananas, etc. at a very young age, will often develop allergies to the proteins in these foods.

A Swedish study showed that countries that introduced Haemophilus influenza type B vaccine in their infant schedules had higher rates of peanut allergy regardless of consumption. ((van Odijk J. et al, Specific IgE antibodies to peanut 
in western Sweden – has the occurrence of peanut allergy increased without an increase in consumption? Allergy 2001 Jun;56(6):573-7.  Also visit:

It can be difficult to tell the difference between the symptoms of food allergy and food intolerance. Symptoms of food allergy develop very soon after consuming the offending food. Symptoms caused by food intolerance can be immediate, but usually take 12-24 hours to develop. Food intolerance reactions are mostly related to the amount of reactive food consumed, and may not occur until a certain amount is eaten. Individual threshold levels vary.

A common cause of food allergies is poor intestinal function. The small intestine is more than six metres long. This is where fats, proteins and carbohydrates are finally processed, before the resulting nutrients are absorbed through the mucosal lining and transferred into the blood. Mucosa is the protective tunic of the intestinal wall accommodating over 500 different types of micro-organisms, providing a barrier so that only extracted beneficial nutrients can enter the bloodstream.

Mucosa can be damaged or eroded by antibiotics, hormone medication and other medical drugs; mercury from dental fillings; excessive alcohol; nutrient deficient diets and a variety of destructive lifestyle habits. If this occurs, proteins and other food components can penetrate mucosa, initiating an immune response in the intestinal tissue. With a continual barrage of partially digested particles crossing the normally impenetrable barrier, the white blood cells in the gut tissue become hyper-reactive. They mobilise armies of antibodies that trigger an inflammatory response in mucous membrane. These inflammatory responses may prompt immediate digestive disorders. Mucous membrane located in the skin, nose, throat, eyes, mouth, lungs, genitalia, anus and central nervous system can also be affected by food allergens.

When dealing with food allergies, the most important action is to repair the gut and settle mucous membrane. Golden Seal is a wonderful super-herb that soothes irritated mucous membranes in the eyes, ears, nose and the throat while providing a mucilaginous tonic to the gut. Another powerful agent involved in gut repair is L-Glutamine. This amino acid can repair Leaky Gut and improve the structural integrity of the intestines. A good quality Vitamin C is also recommended when dealing with food allergies.

It is important to alkalise the small intestine with the use of citrates from lemons and limes, malates from apple cider vinegar and lactates from soft cultured cheeses such as Camembert and Brie. Good fats such as organic butter, eggs, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado and sour cream also provide a protective, nutrient-rich environment in the small intestine that is extremely beneficial to mucous membrane.

As many allergies can be complex in nature, it is best to see a health professional to help ascertain the cause, and to introduce an effective recovery program. The human body is made by design to win. When interference is removed and favourable conditions established, the immune system can reprogram itself. Many food allergies can disappear.

Living Valley provides a personal, structured fourteen day detoxification and health recovery program*. Powered by a team of professional and caring staff, this wellness retreat not only offers solutions for allergies, but for a multitude of other chronic health problems.

*The 14 day Total Transformation is the flagship program at Living Valley. Shorter and longer programs are available including the 7 day Health Holiday, 7 day Power Cleanse, 14 day Pure Detox and 21 day Absolute.