Are These Whole Foods Making You Sick?
Common allergens and their effects
Eating foods in their natural state is usually a great idea. After all, whole foods are full of essential nutrients that our bodies need to stay healthy. But what you don't hear about the common foods on this list is that they're not for everyone. Find out whether these whole foods could be making you sick.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), eight food groups are responsible for 90 percent of food allergies. Cow's milk is one of them. Symptoms of milk allergy can include hives, vomiting, difficulty breathing, chronic ear and sinus infections, skin rashes, postnasal drip, chronic cough, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea.
Not only is milk one of the most common allergens, it's also the source of one of the most common food intolerances. An estimated 70 percent of people worldwide are lactose intolerant, meaning they lack an enzyme known as lactase, which is necessary for digesting the lactose in milk. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating, cramping, nausea, gas, and diarrhea.
Nonorganic milk may also contain hormone, pesticide, and antibiotic residues, which can contribute to all sorts of health problems. And consider this: Countries with the highest rates of dairy consumption also have much higher rates of heart disease and cancer. Finally, there's considerable research that suggests that dairy consumption is linked to an increased risk of both prostate and ovarian cancer.
What you can do: If you're lactose intolerant and don't want to exclude dairy from your diet, consider lactase supplements, which are easy to find in most drugstores, are affordable, and don't require a prescription. Many brands are prepackaged in single doses that are perfect for tucking into your purse or wallet.
If you're allergic to cow's milk, it's usually best to avoid milk and milk products altogether. Some excellent substitutes include soy milk, almond and other nut-based milks, oat milk, and rice milk (the least allergenic option). Be aware that these milk substitutes don't provide the same nutrition as cow's milk, which is a good source of calcium, protein, and (fortified) vitamins A and D. Goat's milk is another nutritionally sound option, if you can find it. Although food researchers don't know why, many people who are allergic to cow's milk can tolerate goat's milk, which is full of protein, phosphorus, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and potassium. Look for goat's milk in the dairy case at your local health food store.