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Food trigger verse allergy

There are several different types of reactions we may have to our diet. Food triggers, intolerances, and allergies all have very different mechanisms of interacting with our health. See what the differences are.


Food triggers

Specific foods can universally trigger certain health conditions and are not related to individual sensitivities. Here are a few examples:

  • Migraines Aged and fermented foods are high in amines (like histamines or tyramines) which can act like neurotransmitters. If you are prone to migraines, try limiting foods like aged cheese, cured meats, kombucha, pickled foods, citrus, beer, wine.

  • Asthma Foods with sulfites added to preserve dried fruit, lemon/lime juice, wine, pickles can trigger asthma. The cause is not entirely known, but the sulfite gases are potentially tightening the airway and causing muscle spasms in the lungs.

  • Acid Reflux Chocolate, mint, carbonated drinks, spicy, fatty and fried foods, tomatoes, onions, and garlic are all thought to trigger reflux symptoms. (Stress is also known as a trigger. Increased stress stimulates the vagus nerve which increases GI activity and gastric fluids, leading to reflux.


Food Intolerance and Allergies

In cases of food allergies, someone may experience an immune response with a wide range of physical reactions whereas a food intolerance is related to difficulty digesting. An intolerance may come from a enzyme deficiency or chemical sensitivity, whereas an allergy is a systemic immune reaction.

Intolerance Symptoms

Digestion: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, heartburn, bloating

Pain: headache, migraine, joint pain

Skin: acne, eczema

Other: mood changes, runny nose, fatigue


Food allergies can present in all the same ways as an intolerance plus more severe reactions such as:

trouble breathing, asthma attack, wheezing, coughing, anxiety attacks, dizziness


Chinese Medicine Perspective

Chinese Medicine views health concerns as disharmonies in the body which are treated by restoring balance. Each individual is diagnosed based on their specific set up of symptoms. Generally, food intolerances and allergies relate to the Spleen and Lung organ systems.

In Chinese Medicine the Spleen and Stomach organs relate to overall immunity as well as digestive function. The Spleen works to transform our food and liquid in to usable energy resources for our body. When Spleen energy is weak you may have sensitive digestion or not be able to properly absorb the nutrients from your food.

In addition to digestive issues (bloating, gas, indigestion) your Spleen may need a boost if you have these symptoms: fatigue, foggy headed, hard to wake in the morning, and overthinking.

Reduced function of the Spleen can weaken Lung function. The functions of the Lung according to Chinese Medicine include respiration, immunity, skin health, and relates to the nose. Signs your Lungs are compromised: difficulty breathing, coughing, rashes, eczema, allergies, stuffy or runny nose.


How can acupuncture help?

Acupuncture offers improved health by:

  • Regulating the inflammatory response

  • Reducing histamine reactions and hypersensitivities of the immune system

  • Improving digestive function which can be the root or branch of health concerns

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