Monthly Archives: December 2017

Wheat Allergy Causes and Symptoms

Like most allergies, a wheat allergy is terrible because of the prolific nature of wheat in our society. You can find it in a myriad of products, and to get similar products without it is quite a task. What are the symptoms and causes of wheat allergy? I will explain them all very shortly.

Wheat allergy is among the more common allergy for kids, and though some can grow out of this allergy (usually by 3 or 5), there are a fair amount who have it for life. You can usually grasp the situation of their allergy rather easily, as symptoms will appear soon after eating any wheat products. It can also onset in adult times, but it is more likely for people to have it as children.

Your doctor may confuse it for celiac, which has very similar symptoms but comes from a different source. Celiac is based off the gluten in wheats and breads, and is more a sensitivity than a allergy, but nonetheless the symptoms appear very similar. A true wheat allergy though is caused by certain proteins in the wheat. The body has falsely recognized them as dangerous, and thereby releases histamines to destroy the protein.

These histamines are what cause irritation, runny nose, coughing, cold like symptoms, and for the worst sufferers anaphylaxis shock (constricting of throat, passing out, chest pains, problems breathing, pale skin, and dizziness are associated with anaphylaxis).

Often to stop them, an antihistamine can be very effective, as it would block the histamines from attempting to attack this false intruder. However, in the worst case, anaphylaxis scenario, you should have a doctor prescribe you an Epi Pen. This “pen” will administer a shot of epinephrine (a type of adrenaline) to wake you from an unconscious state. Unfortunately, at this point these are the only sure fire “cures” to help alleviate wheat allergy symptoms.

You already know that breads products should be watched out for. But you should also watch out for other grains. Barley, for instance, has similar proteins to wheat and thereby can cause the same symptoms. Perhaps not at first, but repeated exposure will make the body more vulnerable to this possibility. Oats and rye are not excluded either.

Other products to what out for are: cakes/muffins, beer, cereals, pastas, couscous, soy sauce, condiments, meat substitutes, some ice creams, natural flavoring, and food starch. All of these are possible triggers to your allergy (some obviously more than others). Always make sure to read the ingredients label before purchasing, and if the ingredients lists natural flavors, research until you find out what the flavors originate from. This information can usually be found online with a little bit of work, so it shouldn’t be a difficult task.

Now, there is also a variety of wheat allergy that does not come from purely ingesting wheat, but from inhaling the flour. Known commonly as “baker’s asthma,” the version of the allergy primarily deals with constriction of breathing and comes from the flour. While less common, you should try to keep your kids away from flour just in case.

All it takes is a little patience to find comparable foods, and a keen eye to read the ingredients label to ensure you or your child will not get sick from wheat. While most foods will state allergens near the end, read the entire label just to make sure, as they may try to hide it.

Information about wheat allergies found at: http://mayoclinic.com/health/wheat-allergy/DS01002

What to Expect from an Allergy Test

Our bodies have built-in mechanisms to keep us safe from all the harmful bacteria and viruses that constantly bombard us as we go about our daily lives. Harmful substances called antigens, such as germs, trigger an immune response when our bodies’ security systems detect an invasion. If you have allergies, your body will sound the alarm at seemingly harmless, everyday substances. These can include pet dander, pollen, certain foods and bees.

An allergic reaction occurs when the body responds to these alleged threats, and its effects can range from mild to serious. You might experience cold-like symptoms such as runny nose, congestion and watery eyes, or your reaction may be more severe with swelling, hives and even anaphylactic shock. Anaphylactic shock can be fatal and requires immediate treatment with epinephrine.

If you have been suffering from symptoms like these and have not figured out the specific cause, a simple allergy test may be the next logical step. Tests done to detect allergies are fairly straightforward, with almost instant results in most cases.

Skin Test
The most common allergy test is the skin prick test, where a series of allergens are placed on the skin and rubbed in. If the skin reacts to a particular substance, you will know at least one of the causes of your allergies. Often, multiple allergies are discovered during these tests. Since your reaction or lack thereof determines the results, you can know the answer within about 15 minutes.

Skin allergy tests take place in a doctor’s office and take about 30 minutes to complete. This type of test is safe, effective and approved for use on young children and even infants. The risk of side effects is minimal, and since the doctor is there to monitor the test, counteractive measures can be immediately taken.

Blood Test
Some patients have conditions that prevent them from taking the typical skin allergy test. These include skin conditions that would interfere with the test or be exacerbated by the allergens, certain medications, and people with heart problems. In those cases, the doctor will order a blood test to check for allergies.

The blood test most doctors use is the enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), which binds the potential allergen to antibodies, then checks the level of reaction by introducing a developer that changes the color. In a person with a high immune response to an allergen, the color will be darker, indicating a positive result.

Blood testing for allergies is more costly and the results much slower than the typical skin prick test, so this test is usually reserved for cases when the skin test will not work or does not respond as expected. There is no risk of allergic reaction since the allergen never interacts with the blood while it is in the body. Results from this test typically take 7-10 days to be available.

If you suffer from allergy symptoms, an allergy test can be the next step on a path toward relief and return to a normal, symptom-free life. Knowing your allergies will help you avoid them, begin appropriate treatment or preventive measures, and begin to enjoy the life you lived before allergies took over.

Causes and Treatments for Food Allergies

If you are experiencing food allergies but are not really sure what may be causing the allergic reaction or a way to treat it, here are some suggestions. But please remember to always visit your doctor when you exhibit any food allergy symptoms.

Food allergy is caused when the immune system thinks that proteins in certain foods are harmful like it would bacteria. The immune system’s reaction is to release toxins to destroy the proteins but end up giving us an allergic reaction.

Food allergies are actually very rare, about 1 or 2 people have them in a hundred in adults, but is about 10% of children. While it is uncommon, food allergies are real and sometimes can be very harmful.

Some of the most common foods that might cause an allergic reaction are nuts, shellfish, fish, wheat and dairy. There may be other foods that might cause an allergic reaction but these are the most common ones. So this means, making sure when you buy food products that nothing in the food you are buying contains whichever of these items you may be allergic to, even in the smallest amount. You will also need to make sure when you go out to eat that you inform your waiter or chef of your food allergy so they do not inadvertently cook anything you may be allergic to.

So how should you manage your food allergy? Your first thing to do is to visit your regular doctor. They will be able to refer you to an allergy specialist who can make a correct diagnosis. Once the diagnosis has been made, you will need to completely stay away from that food. Allergy to fish and peanuts usually persists throughout life.

If there is an indication that the food allergy might have been outgrown, gradually introducing the food back into your diet can be done in a safe setting with your doctor. It will need to be found out whether the food is safe for you in all forms. Most of the time these procedures are done in a hospital where it can be managed if there are any reactions.

Any food reaction can be easily managed under the guidance of a qualified physician. A food allergy can oftentimes be scary and annoying for someone with them. Especially if you are a parent of a child with a food allergy. If you do have a child with a food allergy make sure that their school knows of this allergy, so they are not accidentally given the offending food.

This information was found on the Mayo Clinic website and at foodallergy.com.

Bananas: Nutritional Info and Interesting Facts

History: Bananas are America’s number one fruit. An average American eats 28 pounds per year. Bananas grow from bulbs or rhizomes; they sprout shoots annually on plants, not trees. Bananas contain no fat, cholesterol or sodium. Chiquita and Dole split top sales for the banana market at 25% each; Del Monte controls 15%. (www.corsinet.com/trivia/bananas.html)

There are more than 500 varieties of bananas. The most commonly sold in the U.S. is the Cavendish, which was developed to resist disease, insects, and windstorms better than earlier varieties. Bananas are not grown commercially in the U.S. India and is the world’s largest producer, then Brazil. Most of ours come from S. China. Bananas were officially introduced to the U.S. at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition, wrapped in foil and sold for 10 cents each. (corsinet.com)

According to East Indian legend, the banana was the fruit referred to in paradise as coming from the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil,” and they theorize that Adam used a banana leaf, not a fig leaf, to cover himself. (www.innvista.com/health/foods)

Plants can grow to 40 feet high and hold as many as 200 bananas. Banana clusters are called hands and each contains 10 to 20 “fingers.” Bananas begin by growing downwards, but then grow towards the light so the tips point upward. Fifteen hands can weigh about 90 pounds. If you put a ripening banana in a closed container with green tomatoes or an avocado, the other fruits will ripen much quicker. (www.innvista)

Health benefits: Bananas contain potassium, which helps to maintain normal blood pressure and heart function. Bananas protect the stomach lining from forming ulcers; their fiber helps with elimination; and potassium may help promote bone growth or, at least, help prevent thinning bones. (The World’s Healthiest Foods at www.whfoods.com.)

Bananas can also help with anemia, since they are high in iron; hangovers, since they can calm the stomach; morning sickness by keeping blood sugar levels up; and the inside peel is good for stopping the itch of mosquito bites. (corsinet.com/trivia)

After age 50, the average person experiences some muscle loss. Muscles appear to break down to neutralize acid residues left by foods we eat, but potassium carbonate can slow muscle loss. Potassium may also lower risk of stroke, bone loss, and kidney stones. (Nutrition Action Healthletter, May 2008)

Nutrition: An average sized banana has 108 calories and contains Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), Vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, potassium (467 mg), dietary fiber, antioxidants, and manganese.

Cooking bananas (plaintains) have a starchier quality than a regular sweet banana and are usually considered a vegetable.

Bananas contain fructooligosaccharide, a compound called a prebiotic, which nourishes probiotic (friendly) bacteria in the colon. Good bacteria help the colon to work more efficiently, aids the body in absorbing calcium, and decreases the risk of colon cancer. (whfoods.com)

The more golden colored banana cultivars also contain provitamin A carotenoids, “which have been shown to protect against chronic disease, including certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.” (whfoods.com)

Bananas ripen naturally, off the plant. To ripen quicker, add an apple to bananas placed in a paper bag. Do not refrigerate before they ripen it will stop the process – but it is OK to put fully ripened bananas in the refrigerator to keep the fruit longer. The skin will darken, but the fruit will stay fresh longer. You can also freeze bananas and keep them for about two months. Remove the peel and place in plastic wrap or puree and place in a freezer container. You can add a touch of lemon juice before freezing, to prevent discoloration. (www.whfoods.com)

Warnings: If you have a latex allergy, some fruits, like bananas, plaintains, avocados, and chestnuts, contain substances called chitnases, which can create a crossover allergy affect. The enzymes are increased with food processed with ethylene gas; cooking the foods can deactivate the enzymes. (whfoods.com)

Bananas can interfere with the action of drugs like MAO inhibitors (monoamine oxidase), used as antidepressants or antihypertensives. The point of the drugs is to break down tyramine, an amino acid, so it can be removed from the body. Tyramine is a chemical that constricts blood vessels and raises blood pressure. Bananas contain tyramine. (innvista.com/health/foods)

Bananas also contain large amounts of serotonin, a natural chemical that causes blood vessels to expand or contract. Carcinoid tumors secrete serotonin that creates by-products in the urine, which can be tested. If a large amount of foods containing serotonin – bananas, avocados, eggplant, pineapples, plums, tomatoes, and walnuts – are eaten up to three days before an endocrine tumor test, you could get a false positive. (innvista.com)

Ripe bananas can be enjoyed raw and added to other foods – like cereal, salads or sandwiches – or they can be an ingredient in delicious baked goods like banana bread or banana cream pies. They can also be made into drinks or ice cream.

Bananas are so common that we all know to peel them before eating. However, as recently as 1930, the banana was still an exotic fruit to some people. A northern warlord, Wu Chusheng, was invited to Peking to attend a banquet where bananas were served. He ate one whole. His host showed him how to peel and eat the banana properly. So as not to lose face, Wu took another one and said, “I always eat them like this,” and ate another unpeeled banana. (innvista.com/health)

Sources:
1. http://wwwcorsinet.com/trivia/bananas.html. “31 Banana Facts.” Retrieved 5-11-08.
2. http://innvista.com/HEALTH/foods/fruits/banana.htm. “Bananas,” 4 pages. Retrieved 5-12-08.
3. http://whfoods.com/genpage.php?pfriendly-1 tname;=foodspice dbid;=7. “The World’s Healthiest Foods.” Health benefits, description, history, nutritional profile. Retrieved 5-11-08.
4. “Nutrition Action Healthletter,” published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, May 2008.