Allergies Affect More Than Your Physical Health

March 15, 2011

If you live in Britain you are more likely to be allergic to plums than your neighbours in Italy and Spain where peaches and apricots are responsible for a high number of allergic reactions. Apples are more likely to be a problem in France and Germany while celery and fennel make more “victims” in Switzerland and Holland. The differences depend on the various degrees of exposure to pollen or on dietary habits, but also on the diversity of allergens found in fruits and vegetables in different countries.
Allergic reactions of course affect your health but new research by The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology is showing that there is an emotional impact as well.

The Academy is a non-profit organisation active in the field of allergic and immunologic diseases such as asthma, rhinitis, eczema, occupational allergy, food and drug allergy and anaphylaxis and was founded in 1956 in Florence. It is now the largest medical association in Europe in the field of allergy and clinical immunology with 6100 members from 107 countries and they were interested to study the emotional response to allergies in children.

What they found was that children who are allergic to food are found to be suffering from anxiety and are increasingly more lonely; with one allergic child out of five never attending peers’ parties, while one in four always brings along “safe” food. This level of anxiety and isolation has a dramatic impact on their quality of life as their normally active and sociable lifestyle can be severely limited and frustrated by the effort to keep them away from potentially dangerous food.

It is not just food they are giving up, but also physical activity as around 5 to 15 per cent of cases of anaphylactic shock can be triggered by physical activity following the consumption of small amounts of allergenic food that would otherwise be harmless, so one allergic child out of ten also stops every kind of exercise altogether. A study done in the hospital of the University of Padua in Italy found a staggering 17 percent of allergic children, regardless of their age, never go to a party or a picnic with friends, while 24 percent are forced to bring along something to eat.

Nor does this just apply to children: allergies are often downplayed as a minor problem, but the life of an allergic person can be hell. It is estimated that over 8.5 million people every Spring by reactions to pollen for instance. Those affected tend to be more afraid of being sick and have a higher level of anxiety about food and this constant alarm surrounding their health is taking a toll on their development and well-being.”

Another concern is that one out of three allergic patients leave home without their medication, despite the fact that it can immediately reverse any symptoms in most cases.

What Can You Do?
The Institute recommends that to prevent the spread of allergies in children their parents and any adults who come into regular contact with the child should stop smoking and improve their immunity by boosting their immune system. This is as simple as avoiding processed foods and eating good quantities of fruit and vegetables, together with supplements of antioxidants and vitamin D and herbal remedies like Echinacea can be highly effective.

Also there is hope that yoghurt can help food allergies for both prevention and treatment, but it needs to be a live probiotic yoghurt. Probiotics have an effect on the immune system and restore optimal intestinal flora and this may help the body to properly recognize the allergens, without triggering a response to food that is, in itself, harmless. Lactic acid bacteria have a well-known anti-inflammatory effect, which means that they can help ease the symptoms of food allergies.

Not all types of probiotics have been shown to prevent or ease allergic symptoms though so yoghurt alone may not do the trick, but it certainly would be a good ingredient to add to the diet of anyone with food allergies – and if the allergy is to lactose then goat or sheep yoghurt could do the trick – personally I find sheep yoghurt very smooth and mild though goat is an acquired taste!


Article by  


What do you think of this health article by ? Join the discussion...