What are Food Sensitivities?
Some foods just don’t agree with us. We get uncomfortable gas, bloating, abdominal pain, nasal and throat congestion. But isn’t that normal? Doesn’t everyone feel this way? No. In fact if you are eating foods that agree with you, you’ll rarely experience these symptoms. But it goes further than that, these symptoms could become a larger problem and result in the inability to properly digest food and utilize the nutrients our body needs. Your immune system gets compromised which means you get sick more often.
However, there is good news! If you’re able to identify these sensitivities and avoid them we can almost guarantee you will start to feel better immediately.
A food allergy or sensitivity causes an immune response in the body when a disagreeable food is consumed. The body senses the protein portion in a particular food it thinks may be harmful. This triggers the immune system to produce histamine to protect itself. Food allergies or sensitivities can be caused by a condition known as leaky gut (intestinal permeability), when proteins and food particles are able to pass through the lining of the gut into the bloodstream causing systemic inflammation.
Someone who is allergic to a certain food may experience a rapid onset of life-threatening symptoms such as:
- Blood in Stools
- Eczema, Hives, Skin Rashes
- Wheezing/ Shortness of breath
The most common allergenic foods, or the “Big 8” are the following:
- Tree Nuts
Your Doctor or Allergist will order labs to screen for IgE antibodies that produce a reaction to foods you are allergic to.
If you tested negative for food allergies using the IgE antibody, you could still be experiencing symptoms due to a food sensitivity. These are harder to recognize because they can occur 12-72 hours after the food has been consumed. Symptoms are low grade but can last a couple days. When your body can’t properly digest the food, that is an intolerance. Symptoms of food sensitivity usually have a gradual onset and include:
- Stomach Pain
- Gas, cramps
- Irritability or nervousness
Food intolerances or sensitivities occur commonly with the following foods:
- Lactose, or milk products
- Gluten, including wheat, barley, and rye
- Additives and preservatives including Msg
- Fructose, a fruit sugar
Some of these symptoms overlap with the symptoms of a food allergy. It is best to think of allergies and intolerances as a broad spectrum. At this point you can be anywhere in that range from just being sensitive to a food or having a life threatening food allergy.
If you notice the same persistent symptoms each time you eat a particular food, following a proper diet plan can help you overcome most allergies within a few months. However if you continue to ignore these symptoms they can eventually lead to the destruction of the gut lining and further, an autoimmune condition.
Check the blog each day for our 4 part blog series on food sensitivities! Tomorrow look for our post on the most common foods that cause food sensitivities and intolerances.