DO YOU SUFFER FROM FOOD SENSITIVITIES?
Someone once coined the phrase "One man's meat is another man's poison." How true that is for so many of us.
Digestive problems are not funny and can be both incredibly painful and inconvenient, if not downright embarrassing on occasions.
We have all experienced problems with our gut at some stage in our life, whether it be from constipation, bloating or heartburn to mention a few. Many of us just live with these issues, believing it to be who we are. We will take a few laxatives, or some antacids to rectify the problem and accept this as our norm.
Did you also know that apart from the obvious digestive-related symptoms such as :
alternating bowel movements, sometimes constipated & other times diarrhoea,
undigested food in stool,
feeling full after small meals,
less than one bowel movement a day,
urgency with stool movements.
Many other health issues are often related to a food sensitivity including:
poor overall health,
difficulty maintaining weight,
anxiety, depression & brain fog,
food intolerance and
A food sensitivity can be extremely difficult to identify often taking up to 72 hours for symptoms to show. A food allergy, on the other hand, has an immediate reaction and may result in anaphylactic shock.
The most common IgE allergies are caused by the following foods:
tree nuts and
If you do have a food allergy never consume the foods that are responsible.
For example, primary lactose intolerance may be due to a genetic polymorphism which means the enzyme lactase is not produced sufficiently to break down lactose.
Intolerances can be responsible for many of the problems listed above. If you believe you may have a food intolerance answer the questions below if you respond positively to 4 or more you may well be reacting to certain foods.
Can you gain weight in hours?
Do you get bloated after eating?
Do you suffer from diarrhoea or constipation?
Do you suffer from abdominal pain?
Do you often get sleepy after eating?
Do you suffer from hay fever?
Do you suffer from rashes, itches, asthma, or shortness of breath?
Do you suffer from water retention?
Do you suffer from headaches?
Do you suffer from other aches or pains at random times? - maybe after certain foods?
Do your symptoms change or disappear when on holiday?
The most common food sensitivities producing an IgG antibody reaction are:
These foods may not cause a noticeable problem and are able to be enjoyed with no obvious reaction.
If however the intolerance interferes with your life and inhibits your freedom try either an elimination diet or an intolerance test to help identify the problem.
A test will show which foods/drinks produce an IgG reaction and how severe it is. Home test kits for food intolerances are available online.
If a test proves positive for a specific item it does not mean that the food has to be avoided forever.
By eliminating the offending items from your diet for 3 - 12 weeks we de-sensitise our reaction and in many cases, we are able to reintroduce the food with no recurring problems.
On an elimination plan, the suspected items are removed from the diet for a period of 3 -12 weeks. We then reintroduce one food at a time noting the reaction over 3 - 4 days. Obviously only introduce one food at a time and leave 3 - 4 days between each item.
The most common items to avoid are gluten, dairy and eggs. If you find this too challenging concentrate on one food group at a time keeping detailed analysis of any responses.
Read all the labels on food, gluten, for example, is included in many foods that we would not suspect.
Whilst there are many gluten-free products on the market many often contain additives, preservatives that should be avoided.
Try to be original and adventurous in your replacement options and don't change one processed food for another.
How can we help ourselves?
One of the simplest things we can all do is to ensure we chew our food. Whilst 30 times a mouthful maybe a step too far, try to be mindful when
eating. This is the 2nd step in the digestive process and is as important as all of the others. Badly chewed food is harder to digest resulting in bloating and wind.
Maintain hydration and enjoy a high fibre diet too for ease of gut motility.
Establish regular eating times as our body loves a routine, the unexpected can send it into shock, remember what happens when on holiday.
You may suffer from low stomach acid if you experience heartburn, indigestion or smelly gas. Try a little apple cider vinegar before each meal, make sure it is the one with mother, available from as the others will make no difference. If on the other hand, you feel worse after apple cider vinegar, you may produce too much acid, in which case take a little bicarbonate of soda to neutralise the effects.
Take a stroll after your meal, just 15 minutes walking will lower blood glucose and also increase the speed at which food moves through the digestive system.