What’s That Food Sensitivity Doing to You?
Do you ever get a headache after eating? Do you explain it away as stress, sinus problem caused by the weather, etc.? It may in fact be one or more food sensitivities. Food Sensitivity is an all too common cause of many ailments. First, it is important to distinguish food “sensitivity” from the more serious food “allergy”. Food allergies cause obvious symptoms, such as hives, vomiting or difficulty breathing, all pretty bad if you ask me. Allergies can also be detected and identified through lab testing. Food sensitivities on the other hand present symptoms that may be explained away as coming from other causes, and they may not show up in testing.
Here are just a few things that may be caused (or worsened) by food sensitivity:
- Bloating – That bloated feeling soon after eating certain foods is most likely caused by sensitivity.
- Constipation – Food sensitivity may cause a slowdown in the bowels.
- Diarrhea – On the other hand, sensitivity may cause the system to speed the culprit through.
- Environmental Allergies – Symptoms of environmental allergies, such as stuffy or runny nose, sinus pressure, etc. may be brought on or exacerbated by food sensitivity.
- Headaches – Even chronic migraines may be caused by food sensitivity.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome – When reactive foods are identified, there is a good chance of improvement for this ailment that is really stress, poor digestion and food sensitivity.
This is far from a comprehensive list. What causes food sensitivity? In 80 to 90% of the cases, they are acquired. Interestingly, people tend to eat the same foods regularly, not deviating from the fifteen to twenty favorites. Over time, the immune system develops sensitivity to these foods. Leaky gut syndrome is another culprit. This is a condition in which proteins are not sufficiently broken down, causing them to be absorbed across the small intestine, which in turn causes an immune response.
To find out which food(s) may be the cause of the sensitivity, consider the foods that you crave them most. Begin by eliminating those foods, one at a time, for a period of two weeks. If the symptoms you were experiencing disappear during that two week period, reintroduce that food to see if there is a reaction. Alternatively, you could start by eliminating all of the foods that most commonly cause sensitivity reactions, then reintroduce them one by one, monitoring for a reaction. Those foods include cow’s milk, wheat, sugar, chocolate, soy, citrus fruits and peanuts.
After determining your sensitivity, you can begin the process to desensitization. Some helpful tips for doing this include:
- Avoiding the food for a period of at least two weeks to give your immune system a break.
- Increase the variety of your diet.
- Take supplements, such as enzymes to aid digestion and probiotics for gut health.
Working with your wellness professional, you can make great progress toward a happier and healthier life, free of the burden of food sensitivity. Good luck and here’s to happy eating again.