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Allergies, on the rise, why and what to do

12 May

Sneezing, coughing, skin rashes, watery eyes, stuffy nose, hay fever, eczema hives, food allergies, and allergies to wasp and bee stings, … These are symptoms of common allergies. It seems more and more people are getting these types of whether inheriting them from a parent or acquiring them later in life.

The allergic reactions are hypersensitive reactions of the body’s immune system to a substance that comes into contact with skin, inhaled or is ingested.

There is increasingly more and more evidence that the increase in allergies (especially acquired ones throuh the environment) may be the result of increasing contact and ingestion of those substances or lack of ingestion. For instance, wonder why people who drink too much milk as youngsters become lactose intolerant? In Asian lactose intolerance is common because milk and cheeses are not a part of the staple diet. So it would seem that coming into too much contact with one substance or coming into too little contact with a substance is responsible for shutting down the internal mechanisms neede to digest those products. This is also what happens when a lifelong vegetarian eats a hamburger for the first time. It is an alien substance to the body and subsequently the body does not know how to digest it. In a way you could say that the vegetarian has conditioned his body to not be able to digest meats properly (although they do not get anaphylactic shock, which could happen to some extreme cases of allergies like peanut or bee stings). In the scientific community these people are not recognized as allergic, but sensitive to, or intolerant of certain foods.

Peanut allergies is one of the most common allergies in the US. However, we are nthe only country that eats peanuts. The Rawalpindi region of Pakistan is a major producer and consumer of peanuts. Why then are peanut allergies unheard of there? The answer may be the way the oils in the peanuts are cooked.

Chinese love to eat peanuts and peanut allergies are not as common, they are usually boiled and salted and eaten as a beverage snack. Peanut consumption in the US is largely of the roasted, “take me out to the ball game” type. When you roast a peanut, the oils are denatured in a way that makes certain chemical substances within the peanut more resistant to digestion (by inhibiting trypsin, a protein cleaver). The substances protected Arah2 and Ara h1, these are the substances in peanuts that people are usually allergic to.

There is another theory floating around that says our contact with products made from peanuts can lead to higher intolerance and allergic reactions. Look at the long list of products that are made by peanuts and you will see that it is in everything from cosmetics and lotions to plastics, soap, and insecticides. If this theory holds true then we should see an increase in the corn related allergies as many plastics are now being made with corn byproducts becuase of cost effectiveness.

How do I find out if I am allergic. First thing to do is see adoctor about a scratch test. If this doesn’t solve the conundrum the next step is to eliminate all contact with the substance in question. This means not just the foods, but also the products made from them. Monitor your condition before and after the change in diet.

And never just eat one type of food. If everything you eat is corn based, then you may develop a corn allergy somewhere along the line. Also I heard of this guy who only ate pizza for every meal, he had become intolerant to pizza and his body would vomit after most meals. The body likes diversity, so never eat the same thing over and over and over again, you’re just asking for trouble.

Also if you find that you are allergic to corn then stay away from all bakeries becuase one of the main ingredients is almost always cornstarch.

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