Adverse food reactions
Adverse food reactions can be the source of your discomfort. Do you feel you are reacting to certain foods? Do you get stomach pains, headaches, runny nose, ongoing fatigue? Here are several ways you can be reacting to different foods:
Food intolerances are non-immune reactions to certain food components (e.g., lactose, histamines, alcohol, etc.) that occur when a person is lacking the digestive enzyme or nutrient responsible for breaking down those food components. Intolerances can cause flushing, cold or flu-like symptoms, inflammation, and general discomfort, because the body lacks the appropriate tools to break down trigger foods. Common trigger foods and ingredients include dairy products, sulfites, histamines, lectins, preservatives, artificial colors, fillers, flavorings, chocolate, citrus fruits, and acidic foods.
Food sensitivities are harder to pinpoint as they can cause reactions that are delayed by hours or even days. These food reactions are usually caused by an imbalance in the gastrointestinal system that is affecting the immune system. One such imbalance is intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut syndrome.” Symptoms of food sensitivities differ from person to person, and can depend on the type of food eaten. Some symptoms are migraines,headaches, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, mood swings, depression, anxiety, unintentional weight loss or gain, dark under-eye circles, asthma, irregular heartbeat, irritable bowels, bloating, wheezing, runny nose, sinus problems, ear infections, food cravings, muscle or joint pain, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, bladder control issues, fatigue, hyperactivity, hives, rashes, dry skin, excessive sweating and acne.
Common sources of adverse food reactions because of food sensitivities are cow’s milk (and dairy products), eggs, gluten (from wheat, rye, spelt, and barley), soy, shellfish, and tree nuts.
If you suffer from a food allergy, you are likely aware of the allergy and already avoid trigger foods. If you or your healthcare practitioner suspects that you have a food intolerance or sensitivity, the best way to identify the foods that cause negative symptoms is to do a food sensitivity blood test and to eliminate those foods from your diet for a certain period of time (usually 4-6 weeks). Then you should reintroduce those foods one by one, paying close attention to your body’s reaction.
Work with your Functional Medicine doctor to guide you through this process!