Food Intolerance – How to tell if you have one
Jaime A. Heidel
Eliminating the Cause of Your Troubling Symptoms
Many people are unaware of the difference between food allergies and food intolerances. An allergic reaction to food will usually produce reactions such as hives, swelling of the skin, tongue and/or lips, profuse sweating, reddening of the face, dizziness and/or difficulty breathing. An intolerant reaction to food will produce a different set of symptoms. Let’s take a look at them and learn how to tell if you have a food intolerance.
People with food intolerance experience digestive disturbances. This could include constipation, diarrhea, chronic burping or flatulence, distended (bloated) stomach and gurgling intestines. If these symptoms sound familiar, they may be caused by an intolerance to one or more foods. This means the problem food is not being properly digested. These symptoms will usually occur within 1-5 hours of eating the food but may be chronic if the food is eaten daily. Continual ingestion of the offending food can also result in a condition called leaky gut syndrome. This means the lining of the stomach has become thinner than it should be, allowing small particles of food and stomach acid to leak from the gut into other parts of the body. This can create chronic illness and inflammation.
Leaky gut associated with food intolerances can contribute to an overgrowth of Candida yeast in the body. This can cause chronic yeast infections, jock itch, athlete’s foot, and skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis.
Food intolerances, which can lead to leaky gut, have also been connected to learning disabilities, aspergers syndrome and autism. Brain fog causes a tendency toward forgetfulness, an inability to concentrate and a feeling of being disconnected from surroundings.
Food intolerance can also lead to mental health problems. Those with one or more food intolerances are more susceptible to irritability, insomnia, anxiety, mood swings, depression and mania.
If the symptoms listed above are experienced regularly, they may be caused by a food intolerance. The next step is to find and eliminate the offending food. Since lab tests come back negative even for those who have a food intolerance, the best way to tackle the problem is through an elimination diet. The most common foods to which people develop an intolerance are gluten, dairy, fructose, soy, yeast and corn. For two weeks, completely eliminate these foods from the diet. If you are unsure which foods contain those ingredients, visit a local health food store for advice or do some research online. There is a multitude of websites containing detailed information on how to do an elimination diet including other names the foods go by so there is no accidental contamination. After the two weeks are up, reintroduce a new food once each day to test for a reaction. For example, on the first day of the third week, eat a wheat muffin with some wheat toast or cereal. This way, you’re eating enough of the food to accurately test for a reaction. If symptoms had lessened or even disappear during the two weeks, they will come back full strength once the offending food is reintroduced. If there is no reaction to the first food, wait until the next day to reintroduce the second food say, dairy and go on from there. Once the culprit food or foods has been found, eliminate them from your diet. This should awaken a whole new world of good health.
Living with food intolerance can be a painful disruption of your life. Thankfully, there are easy steps you can take to discover the cause and find the cure!
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