The mucous membrane lining the inside of your intestines has to be kept healthy to enable your body to fight off all types of external infection. Some foods and food products can trigger an allergy, or symptoms resembling an allergy, which in turn have a harmful effect on your intestines.
In addition to these irritants, bacteria like Candida, and medication like aspirin and some laxatives, can trigger reactions of intolerance in your intestines.
Common food irritants are:
– soft drinks
– some food additives
– coffee, tea, alcohol and vinegar
– some spices
– sodium nitrites
– Combinations of certain foods (most typically peanuts or other nuts and alcohol) can also become irritants.
– Food preservatives like sodium nitrite damage the epithelial layer of the digestive tract.
– Ingesting too much starch contained in various foods changes the structure of your intestinal flora, composed of beneficial bacteria, causing excessive fermentation and increased acid secretions, both of which irritate mucous membranes.
– Coffee is a well-known irritant. It contains over 30 organic substances, which makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly what causes the irritation. Caffeine can aggravate hives and cause:
– Quincke’s edema
Even the synthetically produced aroma of coffee can produce allergic reactions in some people, while instant coffee can cause dermatitis simply by being in contact with the skin.
Ingesting too many nitrates or nitrites can be dangerous!
Nitrates are found in a wide variety of vegetables:
– lettuce (especially green-house lettuce)
– red radish
– green beans
The nitrate content of these vegetables depends on the quality of the soil they were grown in, amount of rainfall, and the kinds of fertilizers and pesticides used.
Too much nitrate is dangerous for humans, but even more dangerous are too many nitrites and nitrosamines. Nitrites combine with haemoglobin in the blood, forming methaemoglobin, which is incapable of transporting oxygen. Symptoms of a nitrite overdose include:
– blue skin colour
– accelerated heart beat
– general weakness
Nitrosamines are formed when nitrites combine with amines (produced by decaying proteins in meat, fish and cheese), or certain medicines or pesticides. Nitrosamines are carcinogenic, mainly causing stomach cancer.
Other dangers associated with nitrates and their derivatives:
– nitrates are teratogenic, I.e. they cause congenital malformations;
– they increase blood pressure;
– they cause reactions of intolerance resembling allergies, producing symptoms like itching and headaches.
In light of all these potentially harmful effects, it becomes extremely important to choose the foods you eat carefully if you want to stay healthy.
Check labels for nitrate content whenever possible, and always make sure to wash fresh vegetables thoroughly before eating. Also avoid eating reheated leftovers that have been left standing for too long, especially if they contain meat or fish.