With food allergies being on the rise today, we’re bombarded with things we need to know about food allergies, such as signs of a food intolerance or food allergy. Most people now avoid gluten like the plague and many also avoid dairy and soy the same ways, even if they don’t know if they’re allergic or intolerant of any of the offending foods. The most 8 potential allergens in our food supply today include gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, and shellfish. It can be exhausting just to shop and eat these days without worrying what we’re potentially allergic or sensitive to. The great thing is, our bodies are smart and they talk to us, even by simply whispering to us, so to speak, by giving us signs that something is wrong. When a food disagrees with you, it may be subtle, but a reaction will occur. Check out some of these signs of a food intolerance, which are often overlooked, but key signs your body isn’t a happy camper!
1. A Headache
If you get a recurring headache on a regular occasion and eat some of the same foods each day, these headaches could be one of the many signs of a food intolerance. Headaches are common complaints among most food intolerance, and remember that an intolerance is not the same as an allergen. An allergen to a food involves the immune system, while an intolerance often involves the gastrointestinal tract mainly. If you get a headache after eating certain foods such as MSG-laden foods, or foods with tyrosine, a natural amino acid in foods such as chocolate, red wine, raspberries and fermented foods, your body may not be digesting the ingredient so it goes directly to your blood stream and travels to your brain, which causes the headache. If you get recurring headaches, consider researching what foods you are eating to see if they are linked to headaches and food intolerance. Most people are sensitive to food preservatives, sulfites and tyrosine found in foods, and these often produce a headache for many people. That daily migraine may not be a caffeine withdrawal like you think, but could be simply a food intolerance.
2. Skin Disruptions
If you have a pesky rash, or reoccurring skin irritation that won’t go away, it could be something you’re eating. Rashes, skin irritations and minor skin disruptions like pimples, can be a sign that something is not agreeing with your body. When the digestive system can’t properly digest a food, it can enter the blood stream where it creates a variety of actions. Though it may not cause pain or even seem like a big deal, skin issues are one way to tell your body isn’t happy with something you’re eating. Keep a food diary and consider an elimination diet if you find yourself breaking out on occasion or a regular basis.
One of the most common signs of a food intolerance is bloating and/or abdominal distention. Lactose from cow’s milk is one of the most potential causes of this intolerance and is one of the most common. The sugars in milk known as lactose, can be hard to digest for many individuals. In fact, 90% of people who suffer food intolerance suffer from a lactose intolerance. The digestive system can become overwhelmed from all the lactose and can’t digest it efficiently, which causes bloating. Many people find that they can tolerate small amounts of lactose fine, while others can’t handle any. To avoid this, buy alternatives to cow’s milk, or lactose-free dairy products.
4. Food Cravings
One of the most unusual but common signs of a food intolerance is an actual craving for the potential problematic food. For instance, many people who crave chocolate are allergic to it. What happens is after ingesting so much of it overtime due to the addiction effect, the body starts producing antigens that tell the immune system it must produce antibodies to get rid of the food, which sends allergic reactions or signals to the body. Yet, simultaneously, an addiction occurs and you keep eating the addicting food. It can create a vicious cycle, and most allergen specialists and food intolerance specialists advise avoiding the potential food for up to a year by going on an elimination diet, which eliminates all potential common foods that cause an allergenic response. This allows the immune system to send normal responses to the body again, which means you can probably eat small amounts of the problematic foods later in moderation without a problem. Then there is the theory which some researchers suggest that say our bodies can become addicted to the chemical messages that some foods elicit, such as chocolate or dairy, which create a soothing response and messengers like cortisol or histamine released from eating foods, which can become an addictive cycle. Either way it is a good idea to eat a variety of foods and not too many of any certain food to prevent this from happening.
5. Trouble Breathing
Allergic reactions to foods aren’t the only type of reaction that can cause trouble breathing after eating certain foods. Food intolerances can elicit the same response as well. Common foods that can cause trouble breathing include soy products, gluten products, tree nut and peanut products. Each of these foods contain proteins that may be hard to digest and hard for the body to process and trouble in breathing is simply one symptom of many that can occur.
One common sign of a food intolerance is fatigue immediately after eating the food. Eggs, soy and gluten are common foods that cause this response due to certain byproducts of the proteins in these potential allergenic foods. Though you may not be allergic, if you get extremely tired and fatigued after eating a food, consider removing it from your diet to see if symptoms improve. Most often, these symptoms will improve and you’ll be able to either eat less of the food, or remove it from your food choices altogether. Foods like soy can cause fatigue due to the effect on the thyroid, which slows down production of thyroid hormones, leading to hypothyroidism. Be sure to check to see if your thyroid is working efficiently to see if this is problem, or if you’re simply sensitive to the food itself.
7. Overall Bad Digestion
If you have constant overall bad digestion, it is probably due to one type or many types, of potential foods you are eating that are causing a food intolerance. Remember, a food intolerance is all about your body’s digestive system. Your digestive tract is made to normally take in food, and allow the right molecules to pass through your digestive tract into your bloodstream at the right moment, but when that doesn’t happen, bad digestion can occur. If you suffer IBS symptoms regularly, or constantly have a single digestion issue such as heartburn, acid reflux, constipation, bloating, diarrhea, nausea or stomach pain, consider your food choices to eliminate possible food intolerance. Consider undergoing an elimination diet, which is also known as an Allergy Avoidance Diet, to eliminate potential causes. You can find helpful tips on the Allergy Avoidance diet here: whfoods.com.
I personally have a few food intolerances myself, and most people do; they just don’t know it. Learning to pay attention to your body’s response to certain foods is very important since it allows you to understand and recognize how food is either working for you, or against you. Plus, there are plenty of other choices out there that are just as tasty, or even better! Do you have a food intolerance or allergy?