If you've been trying to exercise, but seem to end up wheezing and coughing after each cardio session as if you'd never exercised before, you'd be understandably frustrated. But there may be an underlying cause that has nothing to do with exercise -- food allergies. In some people, a combination of food, exercise, and time can result in an allergic reaction, usually in the form of breathing problems or rashes. Of course, these
What Did You Eat Recently?
If you ate shortly before exercising and had cabbage, apples, grapes, peaches, shellfish, or (especially) wheat and celery, a food allergy could be involved. These are the foods, according to a case history published in the journal "Allergy" in 2009, that have been reported to trigger food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (FDEIA). A 2015 study in "Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology" added peanuts, soy, and seafood in general to the list. It is always possible for other foods to trigger the syndrome, so don't completely discount it if you ate something different.
When Does It Happen?
You know the reaction happens when you exercise, but is it happening when you exercise right after you eat? Food-exercise allergy combinations usually occur when the allergic person doesn't wait very long to exercise after eating something, though the aforementioned study from "Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology" noted reactions could occur up to four hours after eating. That could be either an actual meal or a pre-workout snack. If the reaction involves breathing problems and is happening when you've been exercising, but didn't eat beforehand, you may want to investigate the possibility that you have exercise-induced asthma. If the reaction involves rashes, you may want to look at the possibility that you have an allergy to something you're touching, like your workout clothes or exercise equipment.
What Are You Doing When the Reaction Starts?
Reactions between food and exercise tend to start up when the exercise is cardio-based and one that increases your body temperature substantially. This varies for everyone who has the syndrome, but if the reaction seems to occur when you run, but not when you swim, for example, there's a greater chance FDEIA may be involved.
What Else Are You Allergic To?
The study from "Allergy" also noted that people who have the reaction to exercise after eating celery are also often allergic to birch pollen and sometimes