Hypoallergenic diet – what is it and why is it used

If eating a particular food causes you specific symptoms from dermatitis to diarrhea, then we can talk about a food allergy, hypersensitivity or intolerance to certain foods. A hypoallergenic diet will help improve the quality of life, eliminate the unpleasant manifestations of these conditions. 

What is a food allergy?

An increased sensitivity of the body to certain foods, resulting from a malfunction of the immune system, is called a food allergy. Its cause is a non-standard reaction of immune cells that accept a harmless food allergen protein as an enemy. A reaction develops similar to the body’s response to pathogenic microorganisms: immunoglobulins E are produced, which interact with the allergen and activate biologically active substances. These are the so-called mast cells that cause a petrochemical phase, as a result of which powerful molecules are produced – histamine, heparin and some others. Influencing various organs – the skin, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract – they provoke the appearance of such characteristic symptoms of an allergic reaction as rash, itching, swelling, 

Such a condition can have dangerous consequences up to a threat to life. If, after a meal, physical symptoms occur suddenly, in a marked manner, and cause very significant discomfort, such as swelling of the tongue and throat to such an extent that it interferes with breathing, then this is an emergency associated with anaphylactic shock. In this case, you should immediately call the emergency service and get qualified help. 

Food allergies are most common in childhood. The factors provoking its occurrence include diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, liver, biliary tract, as well as hay fever. 

Clinical manifestations of an allergic reaction:

  • From the gastrointestinal tract: vomiting, colic, loss of appetite, constipation, loose stools, itching in the mouth or throat. 
  • On the part of the respiratory tract: allergic rhinitis (hay fever), which is expressed by congestion, sneezing, copious mucous discharge from the nose, itching of the skin around the nose or in the nose, as well as laryngitis and allergic asthma. 
  • From the nervous system: headache, migraine, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • On the part of the skin: allergic dermatitis, accompanied by inflammation and irritation of the skin, urticaria, in a child under one-year-old – diaper rash.

food intolerance 

Food allergy should not be confused with food intolerance and hypersensitivity. In this case, there are no changes in the functioning of the immune system, and the causes of symptoms are often associated with the health of the stomach, intestines, liver, nervous and endocrine systems. Moreover, unlike food allergies, which most often persist for life, food intolerance can disappear after the disappearance of the causes that cause it.  

The most well-known cases of hypersensitivity include: 

➦ Symptomatic fructose malabsorption

➦ lactose intolerance

➦ celiac disease or gluten intolerance. 

In symptomatic fructose malabsorption and lactose intolerance, the symptoms may be due to the fermentation of unabsorbed sugar caused by bacteria in the colon: it is difficult for the intestines to absorb sugar from fruits and dairy products, which causes bloating, intestinal cramps, and diarrhoea.

Celiac disease is caused by eating gluten found in foods such as wheat, hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, semolina, couscous, rye, barley and all their derivatives. Today, this disease is becoming more common. In affected individuals, exposure to gluten triggers an immune response on the surface of the small intestine, resulting in a reduced ability to absorb nutrients. 

Gluten intolerance causes intestinal problems such as bloating, cramps, diarrhoea, extreme fatigue and irritability. If celiac disease is suspected, the help of a gastroenterologist and a nutritionist is required. Proper eating behaviour can reduce the vast majority of symptoms, restore health and thus improve quality of life.

What Makes a Hypoallergenic Diet?

A special diet that aims to identify foods that cause symptoms of intolerance, and then eliminate them from the diet using a well-defined protocol, is called hypoallergenic. It allows you to plan meals while avoiding potentially dangerous foods that can escalate the situation. A hypoallergenic diet is often prescribed to women during feeding, as it is not known how the baby’s body can react to new foods. It is also used for urticaria and as a dietary regimen for atopic patients.

A special diet for allergies and hypersensitivity is designed to:

  1. Identify responsible products by following a defined protocol
  2. Reduce the severity of symptoms by eliminating food allergens from the diet.

After numerous studies, a list of foods that need to be avoided for allergies and intolerances has now been determined.

If you have a food allergy, you should not eat: 

➤ citrus fruits (lemons, tangerines, oranges, grapefruits)

➤ fruits, including exotic ones (mango, kiwi, papaya, pineapple, persimmon, nectarine, peach)

➤ nuts

➤ mushrooms

➤ legumes (soybeans, chickpeas, beans, peanuts)

➤ red meat

➤ milk

➤ chicken eggs

➤ wheat

➤ smoked products

➤ root crops (radish, radish)

➤ some vegetables are mostly red and orange in color (tomatoes, beets, eggplants, bell peppers)

➤ sauces (mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar)

➤ berries (strawberries, lingonberries, raspberries, cherries, watermelons)

➤ coffee, cocoa and chocolate

➤ honey

➤ some spices (turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg)

➤ herbal teas

➤ alcohol.

In addition, during allergies, you should not eat food that contains dyes, flavors, preservatives and emulsifiers. 

To identify foods and reduce the number of foods responsible for food intolerance in the diet, you can use a rotation diet, as one of the anti-allergic options. It was developed by American allergist Dr. Albert Roe in the late 1920s. The concept is based on diversity, which means that for each product it is necessary to distinguish the form and origin in order to avoid deficiency of beneficial nutrients and not cause a hypersensitivity reaction.

For example, bread, pasta and couscous have different shapes but the same origin: they are all made from wheat. Cheese, milk and yogurt come in three different forms, but all are made from cow’s milk. Thus, by consuming different forms of food, we are actually ingesting many foods of the same origin, which can cause symptoms of hypersensitivity and intolerance. 

It is important to eat foods of different origins. Thus, if in the morning you ate wheat porridge, then for the rest of the day and the next day it is better to choose a different kind of cereal, for example, rice or buckwheat. Similarly, after drinking cow’s milk yogurt, it is best to focus on other dairy products such as goat’s milk or cheese, soy, rice or almond drink.

Before trying the rotation diet, you should identify the food you are allergic to. You can identify the source of an allergy after eating it or using modern medical methods: application and elimination test, as well as a blood test for immunoglobulins E and G. 

If it is impossible to determine the allergen, an elimination (excluding) hypoallergenic diet is used, which is based on the use of non-allergic foods and a ban on all potentially dangerous food for an allergic person. 

The elimination diet or “Ado Diet” was developed by the Soviet immunologist, Professor A.D. Ado and consists in completely eliminating the foods that most often cause an allergic reaction. 

A strict diet (rotational or elimination) is not a treatment, but rather a way to reduce the severity of symptoms associated with food intolerance. However, this protocol is categorically contraindicated in people suffering from a severe form of food allergy (anaphylactic shock) or oral allergy syndrome (tingling in the throat, palate, tongue), as well as people with severe skin allergies.

It is recommended to follow an anti-allergic diet for 2-3 weeks for adults and 7-10 days for children. Upon reaching remission, under the supervision of a doctor, you can gradually introduce previously forbidden food, monitoring the reaction of the body. Products are introduced no more than 1 time within 3 days. And if at the end of this period there is no noticeable improvement, you need to consult a doctor and perform a series of laboratory tests. They will help to establish the true cause of the allergy, possibly not related to food.

List of hypoallergenic products

With a hypoallergenic diet, you can eat dishes prepared by baking, boiling or stewing with a minimum amount of oil. For better control of the diet, it is worth keeping a food diary, where you write down everything that was eaten during the day.

List of low allergenic foods: 

➤ Vegetables: cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, lettuce, broccoli, spinach, parsley, dill, zucchini, swede, turnip, squash.

➤ Meat: White meat (chicken, turkey, veal, lamb, young rabbit, lean pork tenderloin) and offal 

➤ Fish: low-fat varieties (cod, perch);

➤ Fruits and berries of green and unsaturated red or orange color: apples, white currants, gooseberries, white cherries, pears

➤ Sweeteners (sugar, carob or oatmeal syrup) 

➤ Cereals: all cereals except wheat and couscous (buckwheat, rice, oatmeal, pearl barley, etc.)

➤ Dairy products without additives (kefir, yogurt, fermented baked milk, cottage cheese);

➤ Olive, sunflower, butter

The hypoallergenic table also includes dried apples, pears, prunes, and drinks for allergy sufferers can include weak tea, compotes from apples and pears, rosehip broth, mineral water without gas.

Hypoallergenic recipes: the menu from Fitomarket 

We offer universal recipes for dishes that can become part of a hypoallergenic diet. 

bake apples

Ingredients :

– large green apple

– cottage cheese – 200g

– sugar – to taste.

Pull out the pulp of the apple, keeping its outer shell. Remove the core with seeds, grind the rest and combine with cottage cheese and sugar. Place the apple-curd mixture inside the apple. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 20 minutes.

hypoallergenic soup

Ingredients:

– cauliflower – 300 g

– Hercules – 50g

– water – 1l

– quail eggs – 2 pcs

– diluted milk mixture – 100g

– butter – to taste.

Boil cauliflower and puree. Hercules cook for 10 minutes in vegetable broth. Add cabbage puree, eggs, bring to a boil. At the end, pour in the diluted milk mixture and season with butter.

Merchant-style buckwheat with turkey

Ingredients:

– turkey fillet – 300 g

– carrots – 1 pc.

– onion – 1 pc.

– garlic – 2 cloves

– buckwheat – 1 cup

– water – 2 glasses

– butter – 40 g

– salt and spices – to taste

Cut the turkey fillet into small pieces. Peel and chop the onion and garlic. Peel the carrots and grate on a coarse grater. Melt the butter in a hot frying pan, add the chopped turkey and lightly fry until the color changes. Add onions and carrots to the meat, cook over moderate heat, stirring regularly, until golden brown. Rinse a glass of buckwheat and pour into the finished frying. Add spices, mix thoroughly, pour in 2 cups of water and salt. After the water boils, cover and simmer until the liquid has evaporated (about 25 minutes). Remove from heat and serve.

Hypoallergenic no-bake cake

Ingredients :

– biscuit cookies;

– cottage cheese;

– fruit puree (for example, apple);

– bananas.

Beat cottage cheese in a blender with fruit puree. Peel bananas and cut into slices. Spread alternately layers of cookies, curd-fruit mixture and circles of banana. 

Conclusion:

Every year, the science of immunology makes new discoveries in an attempt to clarify and simplify the understanding of emerging health problems. The alleged link between disease and food hypersensitivity is still the subject of much scientific research. Hypersensitivity can be caused by too little variety in the diet, large intestinal permeability, genetic predisposition, or the presence of an atopic focus (general sensitivity to allergic reactions). 

To date, food allergies, as well as hypersensitivity and intolerance, can partially explain such autoimmune diseases as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, autism, rheumatoid arthritis, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, urticaria.

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