Playing pool in stressful situations can cause some anxiety and jitters.
This is commonly referred to as nerves. Most pool players have experienced this at one time or another. However, you might not realize that the food you eat may be affecting or contributing to the anxiety or perceived nerves that your feeling during a match. Surprisingly, it is not necessarily the most obvious culprits, like coffee, sugar, etc. It has nothing to do with eating healthy, though that is always a good foundational practice. It has everything to do with food allergies.
People can have allergic reactions to even the healthiest whole foods. Surprisingly, 90% of the U.S. population have some level of food allergies. Unfortunately, most people aren’t aware of their adverse reactions to many foods. Most of the time, this is because the symptoms are minor or don’t seem to be typical food allergy conditions.
Many people are aware of their sensitivity to the major allergens that tend to be problematic, such as eggs, milk, wheat, shellfish, nuts, etc. However, most don’t realize they have allergic reactions to seemingly innocuous foods like oranges, apples, sugar cane, white potatoes, onions, etc. Allergic reactions to these foods have been linked to all types of conditions including headaches, nervousness, hypertension, epilepsy, weight gain, hives, asthma, abnormal tiredness and many other ailments.
Sadly, many people live with these adverse reactions every day without realizing it. Fortunately, there is a simple way to test for these types of food allergies. It is called “The Pulse Test.”
This test was developed by a medical doctor named Arthur Coca. Simply put, his research showed that your pulse rate goes up when your body has an allergic reaction to food. An increase of more than 16 beats per minute is a strong indication of a food allergy. Typically, this increase happens within the first 30 minutes of eating. The increased heart rate is the body’s reaction to what it considers an attack to its system and commonly lasts 60 to 90 minutes, but it can go on for days or longer depending on the level of sensitivity.
In Dr. Coca’s experiments, it is common to see pulse increase from a normal rate of 70 bpm (beats per minute) to over 100 bpm after exposure to a food allergen.
Imagine the effect that this could have on your performance in an already stressful pool match. Not only does the elevated pulse cause some stress-related issues, but your body is, literally, fighting off an attack on its system. Fighting this allergic reaction can keep you from performing at peak levels, by affecting your mood and energy levels. Also, it knocks down your immune system and leaves you more susceptible to other ailments like the common cold.
Your health and performance can be greatly improved by taking the time to identify the foods causing an allergic reaction in your system. The good news is that this is a simple process. The bad news is that you have to be fairly disciplined to work through finding the actual food that caused the allergic reaction.
To get you started, I’ll give you the basic process for identi- fying food allergies.
Record your pulse just after waking (while you are still laying down), before you sit upright. This will serve as your baseline pulse.
Record your pulse just before eating a meal (while sitting). Through this investigative approach, you will find it easier if you have very few food items in each meal. Don’t overlook small things that are added to food, like spices, garlic, onions, oils, etc. They may seem insignificant, but they may be causing a lot of damage if you are sensitive to one of them. Record all food items in the meal.
Record your pulse 30 minutes, 60 minutes and 90 minutes after your meal (while sitting). If your pulse increases to more than 16 bpm above the morning baseline, that is a strong indication of an allergic reaction. From there, start eliminating foods to find out which one is causing the reaction. Ideally, you’ll want to eliminate those foods from your diet. Start logging your meals and eliminating foods that cause your pulse to increase. This can be a painful process, but eliminating foods that disrupt your system is well worth it.
I have just touched the surface of this subject here. To help even more, I’ve prepared a free instructional guide that goes into more detail about how to eliminate food allergens from your diet. You can get that guide and ask me questions by checking out my website.
Photo: Daniella Segura/Flickr
Editor: Dana Gornall