June 17, 2022 – 11:16 a.m. clock
by Vera Dunnwald
Some people can’t stand animal hair, others can’t tolerate certain foods, and still others have problems, especially in spring when pollen flies again: allergy sufferers should be familiar with this condition. But what exactly are allergies? And what can we do against them? dr Internal medicine specialist and bestselling author Anne Fleck knows the answer, and she told us about it in the RTL interview. First the good news: to a certain extent, you have it in your own hands.
With the right diet, you can influence allergies
Allergies are an overreaction of the immune system. So-called allergens cause reactions with unpleasant or dangerous side effects, some of which are actually harmless to the human body. There are many types, but the most common allergies in Germany include allergies to pollen, dust mites, food, and animal dander. Treatment consists mainly of avoiding or reducing allergens and using medications.
But where do allergies come from anyway? dr Anne Fleck explains: “Mast cells, the body’s own pathogen-fighting cells (editor’s note), are responsible for allergy symptoms. Because they play such an important role in the body’s immune defenses, it becomes problematic for us when They are overstimulated.”
Stress, for example, can speed up mast cell activation, which in turn leads to the release of more histamine, a messenger substance. “You notice it in symptoms like sudden tiredness, itchy eyes, itchy eyes and a runny nose, but what you don’t think about at all are, for example, joint problems, muscle pain, irritable bowel and digestive problems,” explains Doc Fleck. . . Even the symptoms of fainting and dizziness can be related to allergies, “it’s really exciting that you recognize it.”
What Foods You Should Eat and Which You Can Do Without
Our diet plays a big role: “When you’re plagued with allergies, it’s good to avoid dairy. As are histamine-rich foods.” These include, for example, really healthy foods like avocados, strawberries, raspberries or tomatoes. Better: a high-fiber diet. “Anyone who eats a lot of fiber in everyday life, for example in the form of lots of vegetables, green leafy vegetables, onions, nuts, seeds, low-sugar fruits, high-quality oils, is fine.” Fiber strengthens the health of our cells.
“What is also underestimated by many is that allergies can be influenced by cleansing the gut. The gut is our immune system, with 70 percent of immune-competing cells living in it.” If you combine a bad intestinal flora with a poor diet, stress and a high level of histamines, “then something is brewing.”
Reading tip: “Fleck-xikon” A to breathe: How correct breathing affects our health
Doc Fleck: Avoid foods with lots of additives!
Doc Fleck also has some important advice for allergy sufferers who don’t want to further complicate their ordeal, and for all those who want to prevent allergies: “Foods that have a lot of additives also promote allergies. Vanillin, artificial vanilla flavor, for example, it is very bad, which is in many things. In certain circumstances, this can cause allergies.”
But at the same time this does not mean that you always have to be relentlessly at the mercy of allergies: “You can really do a lot with your diet and take countermeasures from an early age if, as I said, you pay attention to a healthy intestinal flora, a diet rich in fiber and a healthy immune system.” However, living completely germ-free does not recommend them, as we need them to strengthen our body’s defense system.
Read here what else helps with allergies.
Here’s what you also need to know about allergies
Allergies are detected by different allergy tests. In skin tests, the skin is exposed to various allergen extracts to determine an allergy. But such provocative tests are also used nasally (for pollen allergy testing) or by inhalation (for allergic asthma). Another way is the blood test, in which so-called “free IgE antibodies” are detected.
Statistics clearly show that allergies are on the rise. Scientists still do not agree on the explanation for this. However, there is at least some evidence that allergies are hereditary. The hygiene hypothesis assumes that, especially in industrialized countries, young people can only develop inadequate immune systems due to excessive hygiene. Another explanation for the increase in allergies could be the decrease in infestations. Because IgE antibodies, which are responsible for allergic reactions, originally fulfill their function of defense against parasite infestation.
Whatever the trigger, it is clear that allergies can severely limit the lives of those affected. Symptoms range from harmless reactions, such as skin rashes, to severe allergic shock, which in the worst case can lead to death.
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