By Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC, HIS
Have you found that eating certain foods increases your seasonal allergy symptoms? If you think “yes,” you are right!
Maybe you’ve noticed that eating certain foods during allergy season seems to make your seasonal allergies worse. Or it may seem as if your allergy appears out of nowhere.
That’s because the allergens in the food we eat can interact with the allergens in the environment we live in to produce a “double dose” of allergic reactions. If you think about it, this makes logical sense. We live in an environment full of plants such as trees, grasses, and flowers. And much of the food we eat is plants also—just edible plants. When these two plant worlds collide, you may develop a host of symptoms such as sinus issues, runny nose, watering eyes, sneezing, itchiness, and skin rashes.
When our bodies become susceptible to life’s everyday allergens in certain combinations, different types of cross-reactions can result. Two of the most common are a concomitant reaction and a synergistic reaction. Here’s an explanation about how these types of food reactions can affect you.
Concomitant Food Reactions
Some people experience a reaction to a food only when certain plants are pollinating. This is a “concomitant” or simultaneous reaction; that is, the food reaction occurs only when other pollen, dust, or molds are present at the same time.
Cross-reactive foods have similar protein structures in their pollen that enhance the body’s allergic reaction to pollen in the environment. Our bodies can sometimes “mistake” the food for a pollen and cross-react. For example, bananas, watermelon, zucchini, honeydew, cucumber, and other members of the gourd food family cross-react with ragweed pollen. Thus, if you have an allergy to the fruits and vegetables in the gourd family, your symptoms may get worse when ragweed is pollinating.
But it’s not just ragweed that creates cross-reactions with foods. Pollens from many types of grasses, weeds, and trees such as alder, birch, olive, and oak also have foods that they cross-react with. See examples of other concomitant food allergies in the accompanying list. Read the Lotus Guide to see the lists
Synergistic Food Reactions
Synergistic food reactions occur when two foods are eaten together in the same meal, causing an allergic reaction. Eating either of the foods alone usually does not create a reaction, but when taken together in the same meal, a reaction may occur. So, for example, a person may have no problem eating corn and bananas separately, but when consumed together, they may cause an allergic response. Think of eating a breakfast cereal that contains corn, topped with bananas. See other examples of synergistic food allergies in the list accompanying this article.
As if this isn’t enough to figure out, some people can have both a concomitant and synergistic food reaction in combination. For example, you may find that you can eat a hamburger without any problems. And you can have a beer or some bread without any reaction. But if you eat these at a certain time of year, you may get a seasonal reaction. Why? Because eating beef or yeast (baker’s, brewers, and malt yeasts) when cedar and juniper trees pollinate may promote a concomitant reaction to the food during pollination season. Sometimes these types of reactions to foods may last up to six weeks after the body has been exposed to the food and pollen together.
How We Can Help
Cross-reactions can be difficult to identify on your own. Identifying what is making your symptoms worse and eliminating that substance starts to seem like a game of chance. Yet your solution isn’t to stop eating or live in a plant-free environment!
Fortunately, we at the Digestion Relief Center have the kind of training and clinical experience to help you unravel which food and plant combinations are bothering you. Using our unique neurological/bioimmune approach, we can test and treat for these types of food sensitivities and reactions.
Once the allergen combinations are identified, treatment includes reprogramming your immune system to no longer react to these substances. This allows your body to desensitize itself from the combinations of substances that are the cause of your food/environmental reactions. The really good news is that after treatment, you should be able to eat these foods without reaction most of the time!
If you are unsure or frustrated about what is causing your food reactions, or you have found that you have lost the joy of eating the foods you love and being outdoors in your favorite season, call us for a consultation to learn how we can help. Dr. Patrick can be reached at 530-899-8741. We also invite you to browse www.DigestionReliefCenter.com for additional educational articles and the date of our next free educational seminar.
Since 1999, Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC, has helped North State residents by using a whole-body systems approach to health. He specializes in providing natural relief for food and environmental sensitivities, intolerances, and digestive problems. For more information contact Dr. Patrick at 530-899-8741 or For more information visit www.DigestionReliefCenter.com
© 2015. Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC. All rights reserved.