How Your Body Develops Allergies & What to Do About It

Tess Patrick TESS PATRICK

When we were children, we felt indestructible. We could do anything we thought of, go anywhere we could imagine, and eat anything within an arm’s reach. Now, decades later, it seems like anything could possibly set us off - especially food. Even foods we loved and ate regularly less than a year ago.

This might have happened to you. In fact, it probably has if you’re reading this article. For a lot of people, it’s dairy. For others, it’s gluten. Even the much-loved garlic can sometimes take a hit.

But what’s actually going on inside the body when we have this reaction? And is there anything we can do about it?

I should preface by saying sure, there’s probably a semblance of awareness going on. When you’re a kid, you’re less likely to really take note of the certain foods that make your tummy feel funny. But there’s also something more than that.

According to Queensland Heatlh, “Some people identify allergies early in life, while others develop allergies as they age. Some people are genetically predisposed to developing allergies. This means they’ve inherited a tendency to be allergic to things from their family. People with atopy, or atopic people, may have eczema, hay fever, or asthma. Some have all three of these conditions.”

An allergic reaction is actually the immune system doing its job properly (although sometimes it may not feel like it). This is because it encounters a substance that is determined to be a foreign invader and launches an attack on it. These newfound adult-onset allergies can occur seemingly out of nowhere due to exposure to new allergens in the environment, family history, and changes in the immune system, which can be tricky to pinpoint. 

And what about lactose? Why is developing a dairy allergy so common in later years?

Lactose intolerance is a special one. We know that lactose is the sugars that are broken down from dairy products like milk, cheese, or yogurt. But something is needed in the body to break these sugars down - an enzyme called lactase. The problem is, however, we are born with a finite amount of lactase in the body, which as a child is intended to break down a mother’s breast milk. So when we run out of these stores, our body can start to react to these in adverse ways, like skin breakouts, 

So what do you do if you have an allergy come on?

The best thing to do after exploring our Wellness Guide is to consult a holistic practitioner or your general physician. Holistic practitioners will typically offer a more thorough response, that goes into blood sample testing and removing any triggers from the diet. Slowly, over time, you may be able to re-introduce those foods, but other times it’s best to find a new favorite meal.

Be the first to know when enrollment reopens for the Food Matters Nutrition Certification Program. Join the waitlist here.

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