Have you ever had embarrassing noises and movements come from your digestive system after a meal? It could be that you are experiencing the symptoms of food sensitivities to one or more of the foods that you just ate.
Good FOR You, But Not Good TO You
Even the best efforts to eat well can result in disastrous results. Some people eat broccoli or cauliflower and experience the worst bouts of gas. Others drink milk or eat ice cream and end up cramping horribly for the rest of the evening. It could be they are each experiencing food sensitivity symptoms.
Food intolerance symptoms result when your body can’t deal with certain foods. This food intolerance doesn’t involve the immune system (like food allergies), but it does leave you feeling quite horrible. The digestive system views certain levels of these foods as toxic and therefore tries to deal with it and rid the body of these foods as soon as possible.
Symptoms of Food Sensitivities
Food sensitivities are often misdiagnosed if they are diagnosed at all. Because there is not a standard system of testing, a bit of detective work needs to be done. What you are probably concerned about are the actual food intolerance symptoms. How do you know that you are suffering from a food sensitivity?
Here is a sample listing of some of the most common symptoms of food intolerance. Know this list is not comprehensive. These symptoms can be attributed to other conditions that may be occurring at the same time.
- Abdominal cramps
- Migraine headaches
- Muscle pain
- Irritable bowel syndrome
It is easy to see how many of these symptoms of food sensitivity can be contributed to other conditions. It is for that reason that many food intolerances are overlooked, resulting in people suffering for months or even years unnecessarily.
A common misconception is that it is bad foods that cause food sensitivities. All foods have the potential to cause a reaction based on their components. Even foods deemed “healthy” can disagree with your system on some level.
Tracking Down Sensitivities to Food
So how do you know if you have a food sensitivity and what the offending food might be? There are actually a few methods you can use.
It can be hard to nail down food sensitivity. The onset of symptoms can come one or even two days after you have ingested the food. It all depends on how quickly the food is broken down and where it gets absorbed into the bloodstream. This fact can make it difficult to pinpoint what is going on with your body.
Because food sensitivity symptoms are quite common in other conditions, it is important to notice when your symptoms occur. Ruling out other causes can lead to a quicker resolution to the problem.
Use a Food Journal to Track Food Intolerance Symptoms
Keep a food journal. Track everything that you eat. You don't have to track the amounts or calories, simply the substance. However, it is important to be detailed. For example, if you have barbecue sauce, make sure to write down the ingredients. You're likely to find both gluten and dairy in many condiments. You'll also want to learn the language of labels.
For example, casein is a dairy protein. If you're sensitive or allergic to dairy, you can have a reaction to a sauce simply because casein is an ingredient. Gluten, soy, corn, dairy, nuts, and eggs are common allergens.
You'll also want to pay attention to any symptoms you experience. Look for skin irritation including acne. Evaluate your energy level, sleep quality, mental clarity, and your gastrointestinal system. Take notes. Over time you may notice patterns. For example, after you eat tortilla chips you may notice acne and diarrhea. That's a sure sign that you're sensitive to corn.
Using an Elimination Diet to Find Sensitivities to Food
Another approach to identify food sensitivities is to go on an elimination diet. An elimination diets lasts two weeks. It requires careful planning and attention to the ingredients in your food.
The most common elimination diet cuts out dairy, soy, gluten, corn, and sometimes eggs and nuts. Once you've completed two weeks without these foods, you will gradually try them.
For example, for the first week after your elimination diet you might try adding some dairy back into your diet. You might have a glass of milk. Don't go overboard. If you are sensitive to a food you'll notice a physical reaction.
You may feel sick. You may have stomach problems or get a headache or experience an acne breakout. Track any symptoms of food sensitivities you might experience as you ease back into each of the foods. If you don't have any symptoms of food intolerance, it's likely safe to eat that particular food.
Sensitivities to various foods are becoming more common. It may be environmental, genetic, or a combination of both. By identifying the foods that cause problems, you can improve your digestive health and your well-being.
Common Foods Leading to Symptoms of Food Intolerance
Although all foods have the potential for wreaking havoc on the gut, certain ones are more common and better at this than others.
Here is a list of some of the more widely known causes of food sensitivity symptoms that might be a part of your diet right now.
- Milk and dairy products (lactose intolerance)
- Food preservatives
A couple of these categories are quite broad. But, if you are eating anything in that group right now and it is giving you gastrointestinal distress, you could probably narrow down your culprit to a single type of ingredient.
What to Do if You Have Symptoms of Food Sensitivity
If your problems with food seem to be more frequent than usual, see a doctor and have a complete physical. The problem could be related to what your body is not getting as easily as it can be related to getting too much of something.
Keep a log of your symptoms of food sensitivities. This makes it easy to recollect what was going on in your life as well as what you were eating at the time to see if there is any correlation. If your favorite foods are not causing you pain, you can get help in finding out what to do about it.
Food intolerance symptoms are common to other conditions as well. Know your food sensitivity symptoms.
Making a Change to Deal with Food Intolerances
One of the common-sense actions to take when you discover that a particular food is giving you trouble is to eliminate it. Be careful with that. In an effort to avoid pain, some have gotten rid of entire food groups from their diet.
This is unwise. All food groups are necessary for providing the nutrients needed to sustain a healthy body. For instance, cutting out fat can compromise your cellular structure. While the body doesn’t need an excess of fat, certain fats are needed to build cell membranes as well as the sheath that covers muscle fibers and allows for faster conductivity.
If the food involved is essential to your nutrition, find a way to substitute other foods in its place. Strawberries are a food known to lead to sensitivity. Berries are high in antioxidants and low in fat and calories. Try blueberries or cranberries instead. As far as antioxidants go, there are several foods that can provide that for you: carrots, tomatoes and greens.
Look at the ingredients in the foods you eat. This is especially important for people battling the symptoms of food intolerance. Maybe that casserole you love contains soy in some form. Remove the offending ingredient and find a substitute that won’t compromise the dish.
When you know the types of food that lead to symptoms of food intolerance in your body, you can then take steps to change your diet.
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