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 Are Your Allergies Getting Worse Each Year? Here's Why 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Women's Nutrition Detective by . View all columns in series

Take a closer look at your diet
How many times have you heard someone say, "I used to be able to eat that, but now it just doesn't agree with me"? Chances are this is because their digestion isn't as good as it used to be, either. To reduce allergic reactions, you first need to avoid eating foods that cause allergic symptoms.

The most common food allergies are to wheat, cow's milk, sugar, corn, eggs, and peanuts. Of course, this includes all products made with these ingredients.It's tricky. If you’re sensitive to corn, you need to avoid all foods with cornstarch or high fructose corn syrup. Time to read labels carefully! Completely avoid the food or foods you think may be causing some of your symptoms for four weeks.

You may be sensitive to several foods. Begin by choosing just one or two that you eat frequently. It doesn’t have to be one of the seven listed above. Citrus, NutraSweet, and nuts can also trigger allergic responses. I once saw a young boy who had a complete personality shift and became hyperactive whenever he ate a banana.

Need more help? The best book on the subject I've seen is Food Allergy Survival Guide (Melina, Stepaniak, and Aronson, Healthy Living Publications, 2004). It’s packed with all the needed information to understand both food allergies and sensitivities, and recipes to help you avoid these foods. If you have food sensitivities or allergies, you need this book.

Give yourself a gentle cleansing
Spring and summer are ideal times to cleanse and repair your digestive tract. Begin by adding a mild detoxification program to your elimination diet. Spring is an excellent time to move from eating heavy winter foods to more greens and other vegetables filled with repairing antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It’s time to get your body ready for the warmer months ahead by eating lighter, alkalinizing foods such as fruits and vegetables.

  • Chew your food well. Chewing breaks food down into tiny pieces that are easier to digest than larger particles. When food particles are large, your immune system attacks them as if they were deadly viruses, taxing your immune system. Save your immune system to fight bacteria and viruses.

  • Help flush out toxins by drinking pure, filtered water throughout the day. Exercise daily, even if only for 15 minutes. A brisk walk helps increase your circulation, which increases your excretion of toxins.

  • Give yourself a dry brush (or dry loofa sponge) massage before you shower. This also increases elimination and circulation. And it feels good.

  • Drink a liver/gallbladder flush. Take an organic lemon. Remove seeds and chop it into pieces (including the rind) and blend it for one minute or more with one-and-a-half cups of water and one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. The drink will be frothy and not too acidic. Drink this daily for up to two weeks.

  • Eat a detox diet. Avoid foods that add to your toxic load, such as deep fried foods, caffeine, alcohol, luncheon meats, and chemicals found in prepared foods. Whenever possible, eat organic foods. Limit your fats to a little olive oil and raw nuts. Eat the best quality foods you can find.

Repair your intestines
Irritated intestines can lead to intestinal permeability ("leaky gut syndrome"), a condition where the openings in the intestinal lining get larger. This allows particles of food and bacteria to get into your body instead of being eliminated.

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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......moreNan Fuchs PhD
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