Allergies are an overreaction of our immune systems to substances that generally don’t affect other individuals in the same way. These substances, or allergens, can cause runny or stuffy noses, sneezing, coughing, itching and more, and reactions can range from bothersome to life-threatening. According to the CDC, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies every year, and it is the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the US. When is it a good idea for you to get allergy testing, and how is it done?
It’s estimated that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies, according to FARE, or Food Allergy Research Education, and about every 3 minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room. Unfortunately, the allergy symptoms aren’t the only cause for concern—the related inflammation can be a contributing factor to systemic strain on the body and immune system, and if not stopped, can ultimately lead to a host of diseases. What are food allergies, their symptoms, and what are the health benefits of food allergy testing?
As experts in pain management, we focus on empowering our patients so that they can conquer this often debilitating health problem from all sides. One major way to target pain and reduce it is through diet. Often individuals look for specific nutrients and supplements to help certain health conditions – as with an osteoarthritis diet. Let’s look first at testing for allergies and how that can help, then at foods that generally help to contain swelling and hence can help all pain situations. Finally, we can zero in on specific foods to help with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Common food allergies & pain
As Dr. Susanne Bennett emphasizes in a article published by the Huffingtonpost (1), we tend to think in terms of food allergies as anaphylactic shock or vomiting, but smaller allergies can express themselves as minor headaches or stomachaches. Specific allergy testing of common food allergies, sensitivities, and gluten intolerance provides a better framework to approach individual pain management through diet.
An anti-inflammatory fruit
One food noted generally for its anti-inflammatory properties is the cherry. Cherries contain anthocyanins – as do raspberries and strawberries to lesser degrees. The ideal dose is not yet known because tests have not been conducted on humans, but recent Michigan State University research (2) suggests that these flavonoids can reduce swelling similarly to aspirin.
Ginger and coffee for pain reduction
Ginger and coffee have also been found to possibly reduce pain. Each was given to subjects in studies prior to intense physical exercise, versus groups given a placebo. The effect of coffee in pain reduction was verified one hour later, during exercise. Amazingly, the effect of the ginger was measured 24 hours later – its impact was confirmed by testimonies of each group at that time.
Helpful for Rheumatoid Arthritis & Osteoarthritis
Vitamin D — high in salmon, sardines, mushrooms, and egg yolks – can help both to reduce arthritic symptoms and to prevent these disorders to develop in the first place. Consider adding multivitamins and omega-3 fatty acids as supplements. Those with osteoarthritis specifically should also consider taking glucosamine with chondroitin (which is off-limits for those with shellfish allergies) and SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine). A supplement to target rheumatoid arthritis is GLA (gamma-linolenic acid).
If you are experiencing chronic pain, try cherry, ginger, coffee, and vitamin D. For those suffering from arthritis, the rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis diet and supplement tips will aid in relief. If you have not been able to determine the source of your pain, an individual allergy test could reveal food allergies as the culprit. Need further assistance with integrative pain alleviation? Contact us anytime for help.