How to stay fit and healthy with a food allergy
When you are struggling to deal with a food allergy, the last thing you can feel like is doing regular exercise, particularly if your allergy is causing you to feel fatigued or unwell. However, once your diet is better controlled and you’re starting to feel yourself again hopefully you’ll also be back to feeling energetic and enthusiastic about maintaining your health.
Everyone needs exercise to maintain heart health and muscle tone, and to keep them happy and healthy, even if it’s just walking regularly. The list of benefits for exercise is huge and researchers are continuously discovering new evidence for how important it is as part of a healthy lifestyle.
There are some extra things to keep in mind though if you do have an allergy or intolerance to make sure you can exercise with the best of them:
Energy levels: Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy when exercising, particularly for cardio workouts. Many quick and easy options may include foods that aren’t suitable for those who need to avoid gluten or wheat. If you’re in a rush gluten/wheat free breads or oats may be a good option to give you slow-releasing energy. Or go for naturally gluten and wheat-free foods that also give you a slow release of carbohydrate, such as fruit and vegetables like bananas, apples, or carrot sticks with houmous. Home-made smoothies are also great if you’re on the go.
Bone health: We all need to look after our bones and joints, particularly during exercise. This may be trickier with a dairy allergy/intolerance as it can be harder to get essential calcium that keeps bones strong. Go for milk and dairy alternatives that are fortified with calcium and other vitamins and minerals to maintain your intake, and also make sure to include plant-based sources of calcium in your diet, such as spinach, broccoli, watercress, chickpeas, kidney beans, and dried figs.
Protein intake: Protein is essential for growth and repair of body tissues, and you’re likely to want to include a good source after your workout to give your muscles what they need to stay strong and healthy, particularly as you’ve just worked them so hard! One of the best sources of protein is eggs – not such good news if you’ve got an egg allergy. If you eat meat go for lean meats such as chicken or turkey instead. For vegetarians and vegans it’s important to eat a wide variety of plant-based sources – peas, baked beans and soya beans are packed with protein. Nuts are also good sources, but if you’re allergic seeds are a great choice instead.
In general, once you are settled into eating a variety of foods that give you all the energy and nutrients you need to enjoy the day, without triggering any symptoms or allergic reactions, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from carrying on with the hobbies and exercise you enjoy. Just make sure you’re getting a healthy variety that will replenish your energy stores after a good workout without missing any nutrients.
When you have a busy lifestyle it can be convenient to pick up food on the go to keep your energy levels up. It’s much more difficult to quickly grab a snack from a café or enjoy a lunch at a restaurant if you have allergies. If there’s any food businesses you’d like to see receive full allergy training so you can easily make food choices when you’re out and about, then please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.orgTags: Advice, Allergy Training, Eating out, Food Allergies, Healthy, Managing Allergens
Categorised in: Managing health with allergies