Addressing Food Sensitivities Across Cultures

When you think of American cuisine, do you think of burgers or banh mi? Fried chicken or dim sum? Apple pie or baklava?

In a digitally connected world where both travel and immigration are commonplace, the way we think about “American” cuisine has changed with the times. According to a study by the Statista Research Department, retail sales of ethnic food in the U.S. were projected to exceed $12 billion in 2018, with Mexican and Italian cuisines leading the charge.

The beauty of this connection between countries and cultures is the diversity of foods available, including iconic, international dishes such as pizza, paella and ramen. Nonetheless, when it comes to food sensitivities, genetics, frequent consumption and cross-reactivity all influence our susceptibility. For this reason, it's important to have food sensitivity tests that can both cast a wide net and cater to specific ethnic food groups.

“The Complete Food Sensitivity Test has become my go-to panel for those who embrace international eating,” says Notch Medical Advisor Dr. Chris Meletis, N.D. However, some of the more specialized panels listed below are a good place to start if your diet is more limited to a specific cuisine, he says.

Through specialized food sensitivity panels, Notch tests for ingredients found in an array of international cuisines that is more representative of the many foods you can find across North America. Below are just a few of the ethnic food groups that each test caters to.

Compared to the Essential Food Sensitivity Test, Notch's Mexican Food Sensitivity Test includes many foods and spices common in Mexican cuisines, as well as those in Central and South America. Octopus, red snapper and tilapia are a few additions, as well as cashews, quinoa and eggplant. The panel also tests for various tropical fruits, including guava and mango.

The Asian Food Sensitivity Test includes a variety of foods and spices that are common to Chinese, Taiwanese and other East Asian cuisines. This includes an expanded list of fish and shellfish in addition to basil, coriander and other spices. It also tests for many tropical fruits, including mango, kiwi and papaya.

While Notch's Japanese Food Sensitivity Test has some overlap with the panel for Asian diets, there are a few crucial differences. The list of fish and shellfish is slightly shorter, with the exception of mackerel – a staple of many Japanese dishes. This panel also includes ingredients used in beer (like hops and malt) as well as an expanded selection of fruit commonly found in Japan.

The Vegetarian Food Sensitivity Test is exactly what it sounds like – a comprehensive panel for those living a meat-free lifestyle. We’ve dropped fish, shellfish, meat and poultry while expanding the list of fruits, grains and vegetables. This includes tropical fruits like kiwi and papaya, as well as those found in colder regions, including cherry, blueberry and raspberry. The vegetable list covers everything from asparagus to pumpkin, in addition to vegetarian staples such as lentils and soybeans.

It’s important to have tests that can cater to your specific needs, no matter your diet, ethnic background or favorite cuisine. Be sure to look through the ingredient lists on each panel to find the test that fits your lifestyle.

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