Food sensitivities can be a little delicate, since food is an important part of our life. From cultural recipes, to celebrations, to the simple pleasure of eating food that tastes good. Occasionally, however, the things we rely on to feed ourselves can actually harm us.
What we want to offer with this post is that there are many chronic symptoms that you may experience because you are constantly eating something your body disagrees with. This is where things get complicated. Unlike food poisoning, symptoms of food sensitivity can manifest themselves in a couple of hours after eating the guilty food or up to 3 days later.
Here are 7 symptoms associated with food sensitivities:
Chronic swelling: In our experience, many people don’t realize that they are actually swollen until they are no longer swollen. Bloating can be a very subtle but important sign that your digestive system is having trouble breaking down something you’ve eaten. It is also a sign of inflammation of the intestinal tissues.
Difficulty losing weight: Food sensitivities create an inflammatory response in the body. Inflammation is like static on a radio. Static makes words fuzzy and difficult to hear, clouding communication. Likewise, inflammation creates this same type of “static” in your body and makes communication from cell to cell or from one body system to another less effective. Also, store toxins in fat as a protective mechanism. When weight is lost, these toxins are released from the fat cells for elimination. If your body is already inflamed and overwhelmed, the last thing your system needs is to add more fuel to the fire. This can make the diet very frustrating and incredibly unsuccessful.
Hormonal imbalances: Everything from acne to menstrual irregularity can be influenced by food sensitivity. When your body is under chronic stress and battling inflammation, you tend to make too much cortisol (and that doesn’t explain all the other stresses in your life). Cortisol uses many of the same precursors that produce other necessary hormones in your body. So when your body is running out of all these precursors for cortisol, the other hormones are overshadowed in production.
Fatigue and energy crash: Eat chronically sensitive foods to trigger an immune system response. This chronic immune stimulation is very tiring for the adrenal glands and consumes a lot of energy that you would not otherwise spend. This can also promote blood sugar swings, creating more stress and inflammation.
Cravings for food and overeating: Sensitive foods to cause stress to the body. Stress, pain and exercise stimulate the body to release endorphins. Endorphins are “feeling good” hormones. This leads to cravings and consumption of these foods in order to produce more of these “feeling good” hormones.
You are chronically ill: Catch all the bacteria or viruses that come to you, no matter how big or small! If you are starting to see a pattern here; you guessed! Food sensitivities stimulate the immune system. This creates an overwhelming load on your immune system and makes you more susceptible to daily diseases like colds and flu.
You have chronic IBS symptoms: Inflammation causes swelling of the tissues in the intestinal wall. This affects the body’s ability to digest food, absorb nutrients and eliminate waste. There are other factors such as candida and bacterial overgrowth and parasites that can add to the mix. Eliminating the foods you are sensitive to is a great way to keep it under control!
How can I solve this problem?
So how do you know which food is causing your symptoms? An elimination diet can be a great start. Most elimination diets have you remove the most common foods associated with food sensitivities: corn, gluten, soy, eggs, dairy products and sugar. After about 2 weeks or a month after eliminating these foods, each food can be reintroduced one at a time. After eating the reintroduced food for a day, remove it for another 3 days, to see if any of the old symptoms return.
What if I’m too impatient for an elimination diet or it doesn’t solve my symptoms? There are excellent food sensitivity tests that can be performed not only for sensitivity, but also for any foods that may be cross-reactive with each other. There is also likely to be a concomitant infection in the system (parasites, candida, bacterial overgrowth) or even lifestyle factors, which could contribute to the problem. For this type of test, we recommend asking a professional for help.