Sulphites and how they affect me.

Can certain processed and packaged food cause hay fever / asthma type symptoms? The answer is a big fat YES.

It happened to me.

Starting with a blocked nose which lasted about 2 years. At work, colleagues would ask if I had a cold (I didnโ€™t), as I sounded so nasal all the time. It got worse at times with extreme bouts of hay fever symptoms, scratchy throat, blocked nose and irritability – I now know this was due to the foods and drinks I was consuming at that particular time.

And so began my online research to find the reason and solution for my ongoing congestion. I discovered a preservative added to food products called ‘sulphites’, used to prevent microbial spoilage (keeping food from going bad) and preserving colour and otherwise referred to as:

<< sulphur dioxide (E220), sodium sulphite (E221), sodium bisulphite (E222), sodium metabisulphite (E223), potassium metabisulphite (E224), potassium sulphite (E225) calcium sulphite (E226), calcium bisulphite (E227) and potassium bisulphite (E228) >>

It can cause symptoms in sulphite-sensitive people, in particular asthmatics (which Iโ€™m not), such as itchy throat, sneezing, wheezing, fainting, irritable bowel symptoms, headaches, skin rashes, behaviour disturbances and similar.

Sulphites should be clearly labelled and can be found in:

  • dried fruit pieces or products**
  • wine
  • cordial
  • frozen chips or any peeled potato product
  • barbecue sauce
  • sausages
  • desiccated coconut
  • red meat (to retain the red colour)

This is not an all-inclusive list.
** (eg. apricots should be darker brown in colour, not bright orange when dried – plus theyโ€™re yum in taste!)

Note that sulphites aren’t always labelled depending on the level of sulphite present. As a general rule, itโ€™s best to avoid processed foods in general to minimise sulphite exposure.

Since heavily minimising my sulphite intake, my blocked nose disappeared within weeks, the symptoms were non-existent and I was thrilled I had discovered what was causing my sensitivity. By choosing my food and beverage purchases consciously, I could control the effect sulphites would have on me. Amazing!!!

Be sure to read your labels, it may just save your health.

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