Q: I eat oatmeal with flaxseeds and almonds most mornings for breakfast, I thought I was doing myself a favor, but my daughter says that I could develop a food allergy. Is that true?
CAROLYN DEAN, M.D., N.D., REPLIES: It's possible. If you are eating the same meal daily, and, by chance, you are not digesting the food completely, it may trigger allergic reactions. Here's why.
If foods are incompletely broken down--because of improper chewing, too little stomach acid, or inadequate pancreatic enzymes--tiny food particles can slip through your intestinal lining and find their way to your bloodstream. Your antibodies think the food particles are foreign bodies and attack them. As particles from the same food build up in your bloodstream, your immune system builds more antibodies so that it can fight the perceived invasion more quickly and strongly. So every time you eat the food, your body may react, causing symptoms like excess nasal mucus, fatigue, headaches, intestinal gas, joint aches, and skin rashes.
To prevent food allergies, vary your meals. Rotate oatmeal with grains like amaranth, millet, quinoa, rice, spelt, or toasted buckwheat. Switch almonds with Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds. Five days a week, I eat a mixed grain and seed cooked cereal; I take a break from this recipe two days a week so I won't cause an allergic reaction down the road.