How to Identify Food Sensitivities
A food intolerance, or a food sensitivity occurs when a person has difficulty digesting a particular food/product. This can lead to symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating, gas/flatulence, diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), rashes, hives (urticaria), recurrent mouth ulcers, headaches and mind fog. If food intolerances are not properly managed, these symptoms can progressively get worse over time and have a big impact on your health and wellbeing.
Food intolerances are sometimes confused with, or mislabeled as food allergies the difference is that food intolerances involve the digestive system, whilst food allergies involve the immune system.
The most common food sensitivities that you might be aware of include: dairy, gluten, nuts, wheat and grains. Other food sensitivities also include things such as MSG, salicylates, toxins, alcohol and caffeine and can even extend to everyday food products like fruit and vegetables as well as beauty & household products.
Food intolerances can often be difficult to diagnose. The severity and frequency of the symptoms you are experiencing can change depending on how much you are consuming and what type of product it is
If you think that you have sensitivity the following steps can be taken:
- Begin by addressing your diet and lifestyle
- Switch to simple meals - this will make it easier to identify what the sensitivity is. For example if you are having meals with 10 ingredients and get a reaction, it will be difficult to know what the culprit was as apposed to having a meal with just 3-4 ingredients.
- Use organic and natural products within your home and skin care routine.
- Cut down of caffeine and alcohol
- To pinpoint whats causing your symptoms - you need to start with a food dairy. Write down everything you eat, and if symptoms occur then write them down next to what you have eaten. Reactions can sometimes take up to 72 hours to begin so some detective work will be needed to figure out any connections.
- Start a basic elimination diet by cutting out all the foods that you think mat be causing problems. Continue your food diary in this time.
- Give your gut and immune system some love by adding in probiotics and vitamin c into your routine. Digestive enzymes are also a good idea.
- If you are still getting reactions you should see a practitioner to get a skin prick tests or blood test to identify the exact cause.
- If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional for a proper evaluation of your diet and symptoms