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People who have bad reactions to food are sometimes confused about it. They may think they have a food allergy when they suffer from food intolerance or visa versa. While food intolerance can be distressing, a food allergy can be deadly. It’s important to know the difference and how to treat each one. You can be treated by a Naturopath Doctor to discover what you have and how to live with it.

What is a food allergy?

An actual food allergy causes an allergic reaction in several ways. If it affects your digestive system, you may experience the symptoms of vomiting, nausea, and cramping. Physical symptoms which can be seen and felt may be your mouth tingling and/or your face, lips, tongue, and throat swelling. You may break out in hives. A food allergy can also cause a reaction called anaphylaxis. This causes severe breathing problems and extremely low blood pressure. Even the smallest amount of food which causes your allergy can cause devastating illness and even death.

What is food intolerance?

milk-cookiesA food intolerance usually develops gradually. It doesn’t affect your immune system, and sometimes you can even eat small amounts of the food. One of the most common food intolerances is lactose intolerance. Also, while lactose intolerance doesn’t cause anxiety itself, consuming lactose products when you shouldn’t can cause anxiety from the symptoms. It can cause a lot of discomfort with cramping, diarrhea and sometimes constipation. Other common foods which cause problems are foods containing gluten. Studies which have shown that people who have celiac disease are more prone to also have ADHD and ADD. When they went on a gluten-free diet, their symptoms improved. Some people also have sensitivity to food additives which can cause reactions when foods that have the additives in it are eaten.

How can food allergies and food intolerances be treated?

One way to diagnosis exactly what you have is to have a Naturopath doctor or your physician sit down with you. They take a detailed history of what you eat and ask a list of related questions. If the doctor cannot figure out from your history what your problem is, the doctor may have you do a food elimination diet. In this you write down what you eat and what if any reactions you have afterword. If there are any, you eliminate that food. After a period of time, under supervision, you eat that food which gave a reaction and see if there is a problem. If there is, you know you have a problem for sure with that food.

In Homeopathic and natural medicine, if you are allergic to certain foods then nutrition counseling is a great idea. You will be taught what to look for and what to avoid, so you can feel better and get on with your life.