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W
omen's Nutrition Detective
 

Are Your Allergies Getting Worse Each Year? Here's Why

© Nan Kathryn Fuchs PhD

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Women's Nutrition Detective by Nan Kathryn Fuchs PhD. View all columns in series
Aging begins when our body starts to break down which can happen at any age. If you've been a junk-food junkie, you may have a deteriorating digestive system in your 20s or 30s. Or this may not occur until you’re over 50. In either case, you need a healthy diet, along with good digestion, to stay young and vital. But good digestion does much more. It can keep your allergies from getting worse. If you look and feel older than your years, it’s possible your allergies are to blame. And reducing your allergies will not only help you feel better, but it can also help you roll back the clock.

Every cell in your body depends on getting enough of certain nutrients. Your digestive system controls the health of your cells and how well your body functions. I've said it many times before: You are not what you eat. You are what you eat, digest, and absorb. You can’t digest and absorb nutrients with poor digestion.

If you have digestive problems, you may be constipated or have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Or you could have allergies. That’s right. Allergies are often a sign of a compromised digestive system, which is why they often increase over time. But allergies don’t just make you feel miserable. They can lead to headaches, chronic fatigue, depression, weight gain, and asthma ... to name just a few.

A food allergy triggers an immune response every time you eat a particular food. Most of us only have food sensitivities. After you repair your digestive tract, you may be able to eat foods that caused your sensitivity — just not in huge quantities.

There’s a connection between food and airborne allergies. People with severe allergies to molds and pollens usually have food allergies as well — even when they’re not aware of them. When their food-allergy symptoms improve, their reactions to airborne substances do, also. So don't dismiss your allergic reactions as being a minor discomfort. The key is to improve your digestion and make sure your allergies don’t progress to unnecessary or premature illnesses.

Three ways you weaken your digestion
(1) Eating a lot of sugar contributes to inflammation throughout your digestive tract. It also feeds bad bacteria, such as Candida albicans. The result is often a condition called intestinal permeability, or "leaky gut syndrome." During the holiday season, we tend to eat more sugar. Time to stop now.

(2) Eating the same foods over and over can deplete your digestive enzymes. Then, the foods you eat don’t get broken down into small enough particles to get into your cells. These particles can irritate and damage your intestines. It's easy to get into an eating rut, especially if you crave certain foods. Often, these are precisely the foods you need to avoid.

(3) As we age, our stomach produces less hydrochloric acid (HCl) to help digest proteins, calcium, magnesium, and iron. This can lead to allergies. Consider taking HCl as well as enzymes if you're over 50 and have poor digestion. For more information on how to do this, read Dr Jonathan Wright's book, Why Stomach Acid is Good for You (M. Evans & Company, 2001).

You may have taken one or all of the following steps in the past. But you'll have a difficult time reducing your allergic symptoms unless you do all of them at once. So, read on and slowly begin a comprehensive anti-allergy program.

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About The Author
Nan Fuchs, Ph.D. is an authority on nutrition and the editor and writer of Women's Health Letter, the leading health advisory on nutritional healing for women. She is the author of the best-selling books, The Nutrition Detective: A Woman's Guide to Treating your Health Problems Through the Foods You Eat, Overcoming......more
 
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