The Difference Between Food Allergies and Food Intolerance

When you have to prepare food for a large crowd not only do you have to worry about who likes what, who is a vegan and mostly importantly who is allergic to what.  That means if you want to cook food that is safe you need to be very aware of allergies and what can happen if one of your guests comes into contact with something that they are allergic to.  Anyone can suffer from an allergy and the effects can be mild or in some cases they can be fatal.  However not everything is an allergy some are a food intolerance.  Let’s look at the difference between food allergies and food intolerance.


Allergies are treated by the body as a toxin and they will trigger an immune response.  Coming into contact with something that you are allergic causes physiological responses that lead to serious and even fatal symptoms.  Food allergies must be taken seriously, you can kill someone who comes into contact with food that they are allergic to.  There are some foods where allergies are extremely common and they include, peanuts, shellfish, dairy, soy products, tree nuts, wheat and eggs.  Here are some of the common symptoms that happen when you have a food allergy.

  • Hives
  • Swelling of the face, hands, feet or eyes
  • Itching
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anaphylactic Shock (this can be fatal)
  • Respiratory Symptoms


Food intolerances are completely different to food allergies.  To start with they will not trigger an immune response and the problems are largely kept to your digestive system.  The most common intolerance is to lactose, a protein found in milk.  When you consume food that you are intolerant to your body has a hard time breaking it down.  There are several causes for food intolerance including a lack of the right digestive enzymes, sensitivity to additives or preservatives and sometimes it is just a reaction to chemicals in the food.

Food intolerances are not life threatening whereas allergies can be.  That doesn’t mean that consuming something you have an intolerance to isn’t uncomfortable.  On the contrary food intolerances can make you feel miserable with symptoms ranging from mild gas to migraine headaches.  Some of the more common intolerances include as mentioned, lactose along with gluten, tyramine, MSG and other food additives.  Here are some of the symptoms that will accompany a food intolerance.

  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating and Cramping
  • Cramping
  • Swelling
  • Migraines

When preparing food for a crowd of people it is important to know well ahead of time if there are allergies or intolerances so allowances can be made.

Treating Headaches Naturally

Headaches and migraines in particular affect millions of Americans every day.  A headache is defined by a continuous pain in your head and there are a number of causes including tension.  Migraine headaches can last for days and be extremely painful, migraine sufferers are often bothered by light and sound and the pain is accompanied by nausea.  There are dozens of over the counter medications to treat your headache but some people prefer to treat their headaches with a more natural solution.  There are several options for treating headaches naturally, let’s have a look at them.

Magnesium Supplements

Studies have shown the connection between migraine sufferers and low levels of magnesium in the body.  There was a study done in Germany where chronic migraine sufferers were given oral magnesium supplements and they reported fewer headaches of a shorter duration.  Taking magnesium supplements also allowed these patients to reduce the prescription medication needed to control the headaches.

Give up Gluten

Science has looked into the possibility of gluten being a cause of migraine headaches.  Gluten is a protein that you can find in wheat, oats and barley and it is what gives bread dough its texture.  Migraine patients were switched over to a gluten free diet and 9 out of 10 claimed they had fewer headaches.  This led scientists to look at the possibility that gluten could be a trigger for migraines.


Capsaicin can be found in chili peppers and it is what makes them “hot”.  It has also been used in alternative medicine for hundreds of years as a treatment for inflammation and pain.  Scientists have looked into how capsaicin can be used to treat migraines and it was documented in the Clinical Journal of Pain.  Capsaicin was noted to inhibit Substance P, and Substance P is what helps transmit pain signals in your body.  When you apply capsaicin topically to your nasal passage it would help relieve headache pain.  You can buy capsaicin in a number of forms including pills, creams and sprays.

B Vitamin Supplements

Similar to magnesium many headache sufferers don’t get enough B vitamins.  You can try taking a supplement that contains folic acid, B6 and B12 vitamins and it will help with both the severity and number of migraine headaches.

Headaches plague all of us from time to time, but migraines can leave you unable to function.  The medication that is prescribed for migraines comes with side effects that you may not like.  Natural cures like the ones mentioned above can work in conjunction with your medication to help you reduce the number and severity of your migraines.