Jun. 23, 2022

Food Allergies and Intolerances: What Your Skin Is Telling You

The Good Flour Blog
Picture of an assortment of food with the caption " Food Allergies & Intolerances "

It’s impossible to talk about skin without first paying homage to the enormity of its numerous functions and undeniable wonder. When we think about organs of the body, the heart, lungs, liver, and of course, the brain comes to mind, but one that should take a front seat when contemplating our health is the skin.

The skin is the largest organ of our bodies and can cover as much as 20 square feet. It is our body’s protective cover, a fortress keeping out unhealthy invaders like bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants. Our skin also acts as a thermostat to regulate body temperature and a messaging system for alerts to heat, cold, pain, and other sensations.   

This highly tuned messaging system is also skilled at alerting us to symptoms that reflect reactions to our diets. As we become more informed about what we eat and the impact food has on our bodies, both inside and out, our skin is a visible and tactile source of diagnosing problems.

Skin Reactions and Diet

Healthy lifestyle adjustments most often include diet changes to maintain weight, boost immunity, and increase energy. But sometimes, these modifications result from discovering the negative impact and adverse reactions certain foods can elicit. As the understanding of food allergies and intolerances grows, so do the implications of how serious these problems are. Our bodies are sending us warning messages, and we need to heed the call.  

Allergies and intolerances often involve the “big 8” allergens (dairy, egg, wheat, peanuts, nuts, soy, fish, and shellfish) and lactose and gluten (dairy and wheat). Still, we can develop worrisome symptoms from contacting or ingesting any food.

Skin reactions may include:

· Red and itchy skin

· Rashes on the skin and mouth area

· Swelling

· Hives   

These can cover isolated areas or large sections of the body. Symptoms located in a smaller area tend to be reactions based on contact rather than food consumption. Wider affected areas can indicate more of a systemic allergic response that can be more serious depending on the severity and appearance of other symptoms.  

Foods Associated with Allergies and Intolerances

Specific categories are mentioned above, but it would be wise to learn about many foods known to be allergic triggers for skin reactions, thus alerting you to potential or extended problems. Some foods to consider are:

· Milk and eggs

· Wheat and soy

· Peanuts and tree nuts

· Citrus

· Tomatoes

· Bananas, kiwi, and avocado (ragweed family)

How to Begin the Elimination Process

Our healthy diets include a wide range of foods providing a varied and balanced supply of what we need to stay healthy- vitamins, nutrients, and proteins, to name a few. Start methodically by creating lists of the foods you eat and creating a detailed food journal. If you get red and itchy spots on your hands after slicing a bunch of tomatoes, this food may be a trigger. Or, if you get hives after eating an orange, oranges may be a trigger.

Another important place to begin is conversing with your family doctor, allergist, or dermatologist. They are always an excellent resource for not only sound medical advice but also as a support system. Which you will need as you embark on the trial and error of determining which foods cause your body to exhibit skin symptoms. Hopefully, with this guide and a targeted process of elimination, you can get a handle on what makes up your healthiest diet and frees you from skin issues.   

The skin is a complicated organ, capable of many functions and reactions. It tells us if we are hot or cold, in pain, or even dehydrated. Our food choices can add to these complex characteristics by triggering both mild and severe reactions. Keeping track of what we eat and what subsequent symptoms may occur because of an allergy or intolerance is a strategic journey to improved skin, digestive, and overall health. Remember-- your skin is an exceptional messenger. Listen to what it says and make the dietary changes necessary to keep it in top form.   


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