How Nutrition Counseling Can Help with Adult-Onset Food Allergies

As you grow older there are more and more things you need to be concerned about regarding your health. You may need to adjust your eating habits and make some lifestyle changes to deal with an increasing waistline or the aches and pains that come with aging.

But what happens when you suddenly become allergic to things that never bothered you before? Adult-onset allergies can happen to anyone, and when the allergy is to a food, nutrition counseling can help you make adjustments to deal with the new allergy.

At Mountain Medical Arts in Burnsville, North Carolina, we offer several programs and treatments related to healthy aging, including nutrition counseling. While developing food allergies for the first time as an adult can seem strange, it’s not uncommon. 

Kelly Rothe, DO and Jeffrey Polgar, MD understand the effects nutrition can have on health, energy, mood, and overall well-being, as well as the negative effects allergies can have on your body. In addition to helping you with a basic nutrition plan, we can help you with strategies for managing your food allergies while still getting the nutrients you need.  

Allergies defined

An allergy is basically an overreaction of your immune system to a normally harmless substance. The substance you’re allergic to is then called an “allergen.” Your body reacts by producing chemicals called histamines, which cause a number of uncomfortable symptoms. 

Common allergens are mold, pollen, dust mites, animal dander, and foods. Environmental allergies typically produce symptoms like itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, and a runny nose. But some allergies, like bee stings and food allergies, can have life-threatening symptoms.

Adult-onset food allergies

While it may be immensely frustrating, developing food allergies as an adult is very common, and one out of every 10 adults has a food allergy. Almost half of patients report the allergy as starting as an adult, and not being something they experienced as a child.

The eight most common food allergens are: peanuts and tree nuts, fish and shellfish, milk, eggs, wheat, and soy. 

Symptoms can range from mild to severe, but include:

If you have an adult-onset food allergy, you’ll most likely need to carry an antihistamine or epinephrine injector pen in case you’re accidentally exposed to the food you’re allergic to. 

Nutrition counseling for food allergies

Clearly identifying your food allergies is of the utmost importance because the only treatment for a food allergy is total avoidance of the offending food. And it’s in the avoidance of the food or foods that nutrition counseling can be a lifesaver.

If you’re allergic to foods that are found in many dishes you’re used to eating -- such as wheat, dairy, and eggs -- it can be difficult to navigate grocery shopping and meal planning at first. And if you need to avoid dairy, you’ll need to know how to get enough calcium from other foods. When you come in for nutrition counseling, we can help you learn to make substitutions for foods you can’t have, so you can still enjoy a varied diet and get all the nutrients you need for good health. 

To make an appointment for nutrition counseling, or to take advantage of the best in traditional medicine and integrative therapies, contact our office or book your visit online.

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