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  • Writer's pictureAmina Davison

Key Health Tips- May

What’s the difference between a food allergy and sensitivity?

Food allergies affect almost 1 in 12 UK children. Food allergies can be deadly if they cause anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis cannot be stopped by antihistamines and needs to be treated with adrenaline.

This is important because there is so much confusion about food reactions. I hear people say they have a ‘food allergy’ when they actually have a sensitivity. This matters because these 2 different reactions need to be handled in different ways. So, here’s the difference.

1️⃣ True food allergies are immune-mediated reactions that involve IgE antibodies and the immediate release of histamine. Food allergies can be fatal or can cause milder symptoms, like hives, swelling, or itching. People who have a true food allergy need to be extremely careful and carry an epi-pen in case of accidental exposure. Here is the list of foods that most commonly cause true food allergies:

➡️ milk

➡️ eggs

➡️ peanuts

➡️ tree nuts

➡️ soy

➡️ wheat

➡️ shellfish and fish

2️⃣ Food sensitivities are not as dangerous. Sometimes blood tests will show that an immune response with IgG instead of IgE is involved. Other times people identify a food sensitivity by their symptoms or an elimination-challenge diet. The response is delayed rather than immediate and can create anything from digestive problems to headaches to joint pain.

Whereas anybody with a true food allergy needs to completely avoid that food, people with food sensitivities can often handle eating small amounts of the triggering food on rare occasions.

I also look at food reactions in the bigger context of the body’s health. Whether a person has true food allergies or food sensitivities, there are often ways we can support their gastrointestinal and immune health to be less reactive.

Speak to us to see how we can help.


Should I take probiotics or prebiotics?

Probiotics and prebiotics in foods and supplements support the microbes living in your gut–your microbiome. That’s important because the microbiome influences everything from your digestion to your mood.

I often get asked—what’s the difference and which should I take?

➡️ Probiotics are beneficial bacteria just like the ones living in your gut. Examples include Acidophilus and Bifidobacteria. Here are some foods rich in probiotics:

🥣 Yogurt

🥣 Kefir

🥣 Kombucha

🥣 Sauerkraut

➡️ Prebiotics are specific types of fibre that humans cannot digest and that feed the good bacteria in the gut. A common example is fructooligosaccharides (FOS). Here are some foods rich in prebiotics:

🌱 Oats

🌱 Onions

🌱 Asparagus

🌱 Bananas

🌱 Garlic

Probiotics and prebiotics are both good for your gut microbiome. You can get them in foods or take them in supplement forms. I recommend that most people include foods in their diet that are rich in both probiotics and prebiotics.

There are some exceptions to that. If you struggle with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or another functional gut disorder, these foods could make your digestive symptoms worse. We need to support you in other ways before you are ready to start eating these foods.


Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium

Calcium is an extremely important nutrient for bone health as well as for your teeth, muscle contraction, and nervous system function.

Most people think they can only get any meaningful amount of calcium by drinking milk or eating other forms of dairy.

But what if you’re allergic or sensitive to dairy?

Here are 10 non-dairy sources of calcium to keep your bones and body strong:

➡️ Sesame Seeds

➡️ Poppy Seeds

➡️ Almonds

➡️ Sardines

➡️ Canned Salmon

➡️ Lentils

➡️ Tofu (made with calcium sulfate)

➡️ Collard Greens

➡️ Broccoli

➡️ Kale

I always encourage people to get as much nutrition as possible from foods rather than pills, but there are some people who will benefit from taking additional calcium. That’s especially true for anyone who is particularly concerned about maintaining strong bone health over the years.

If you have any questions about calcium sources and supplements, shoot me a message!


5 Ways to Exercise at Home

Feeling stuck at home and want to move more? Try these simple ways to get moving—even if the weather is bad and you can’t go to the gym!

🏃‍♀️ Climb Stairs. See how many times you can climb (or run!) up and down a set of stairs in 10 minutes.

🏃‍♀️ Stretch. Do some simple stretches, like reaching for the ceiling and then folding to your toes. Breathe deeply along with your stretches to stimulate even more relaxation.

🏃‍♀️ Dance. If you’ve ever been to a night club, you know you don’t need very much space to dance and work up a sweat! Turn on your favourite tunes and dance like no one’s watching (they aren’t!).

🏃‍♀️ Guided Workout. Search the web for some guided workout routines or invest in purchasing some. Whether it’s yoga or a high-energy aerobic workout, these are an excellent alternative to in-person classes.

🏃‍♀️ Jumping Jacks. Much like climbing the stairs, these will get your heart rate going quickly. Set a timer for 5 minutes and see if you can jump for that long.

Most of these exercises can be squeezed into the crevices of your day. Try them out and see if they boost your energy!


If you would like 1:1 support with your health goals give us a free call to see how we can help!

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