Allergies the Curse of Modern Living

By Nutritionist Barbara Bourke

Firstly let me ask you a few questions. Do you feel 100 percent well? Do you suffer from a lack of energy? Suffer headaches, digestive problem, sinus, asthma, hayfever? Or do you have a child with so called ADHD related problems? The list of symptoms, which could be related to allergies, is long. What many people might not know is that, know or unknown allergies can be part of just about any health problem we face.


When I speak of allergies I use the term allergy in a general way including not only genuine immunological reactions, but also food intolerances and chemical sensitivities.


Allergic triggers are all around us.

It could be the food we eat, the chemicals we use or the environment, we come in contact with every day. At times it is almost impossible to find out exactly what is causing a problem. Reactions might not present themselves immediately and therefore we can not pinpoint the culprit.


What went wrong? Why do we become allergic to certain chemicals, the environment or even the food we eat? Aren’t all foods supposed to be nourishing and support our health and wellbeing?


In the past this might have been true, however, today we are often overfed and undernourished.

Go to a supermarket, walk down the aisles and have a look at the many shelves of foods available. Many tease our taste buds, rather than improve our health.

We are faced with an ever increasing array of medical drugs and hospitals are overflowing with people needing some kind of medical intervention. We have to take responsibility for our own health and wellbeing. We need to act and inform ourselves and learn to listen to our bodies. Through allergy testing and finding out which foods you can and can’t eat could be a first step on your road to wellness.


What about stress? Most of us experience stress in our daily life. Stress causes havoc to the health of our body in general and certainly increases the risk of allergies. On the other hand allergies in itself are a cause of stress and will weaken the immune system. This can lead to many health problems, as the immune system is being compromised.


When it comes to maintaining good health the immune system is our most precious asset. It protects our body against many of the world’s most widespread and deadliest diseases. 


Allergies are a sign that the body and the immune system are under stress.


A healthy resilient body and immune system is more able to fight back. Then again, if your immune system is weakened by illness, poor diet, lifestyle or repeated allergic reactions it will struggle and eventually lose the battle and the equilibrium is compromised.


Allergies produce inflammatory reactions and release inflammatory mediators such as histamine and many others into the blood stream. Inflammation can happen anywhere in the body. Even a healthy body will eventually weaken under the constant presence of inflammation. The allergen needs to be removed and the inflammation brought under control otherwise unrelated health problems can manifest anywhere in the body. Removing the allergen is the first step in reducing inflammation.  


I believe treating the underlying allergy is always the first step to better health and wellbeing


Other questions I have often been asked are, can we inherit a gene that makes us more prone to become allergic? Is there an allergy promoting gene? It is true that allergies can run in the family, but not all family members will develop allergies. We do not exactly know why this is so.

Can obesity increase allergies? It has been found that IgE levels where higher in obese children than in normal weight children



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