Are you constantly having digestive problems? Do you feel tired and sleepy after eating? Does your stomach hurt when you eat certain foods? If so, you might be suffering from food allergies or intolerances. Although not life-threatening, these problems can affect all aspects of your life. Lactose and gluten intolerance affect millions of people worldwide. Milk allergy, wheat intolerance, yeast intolerance, and histamine intolerance are quite common too.
It’s important to understand the difference between food allergies and food intolerances. These conditions have similar symptoms, but require a different approach to diagnosis and treatment. The first thing you should do is to identify the foods that are causing your symptoms. In general, food allergies cause itching, wheezing, rash, skin redness, stomach upset, hives, nausea, vomiting, and breathing problems. Symptoms appear within seconds or minutes of eating particular foods. Even a tiny trace of the food can trigger allergic reactions. Nuts, eggs, soy, milk, shellfish, and seafood are the most common food allergens. In extreme cases, these foods may cause anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock. It is estimated that more than 60 percent of food allergies occur during the first year of life. About two percent of the population is allergic to particular foods. If your symptoms develop slowly and last a long time after finishing your meal, you might have a food intolerance. This health problem is more common than food allergies. The symptoms are long-lasting and come on slowly. Most people with food intolerances experience stomach pain, bloating, cramps, headaches, lethargy, brain fog, tightness across the face and chest, arrhythmia, and sweating. Other common symptoms include:
Food intolerances are caused by the body’s inability to digest certain foods. More than 25 percent of people worldwide are intolerant to milk, lactose, artificial colors, gluten, fructose, eggs, or alcohol. This condition is not life threatening and may only happen when you eat large amounts of the food. Many times, food intolerance symptoms mimic those triggered by other diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, fibromyalgia, autism, asthma, acid reflux, chronic fatigue syndrome, sinusitis, and food allergies.
If left untreated, food intolerances can affect your everyday life as well as your health. A large percentage of the population is intolerant to lactose, casein, and whey. These proteins are found in dairy products. If you’re having this problem, you can consider taking digestive enzymes when eating dairy. You may also choose to replace milk, cheese, and yogurt with soy products. Many Australians are suffering from gluten sensitivity. To reduce its symptoms, stop eating wheat, barley, tinned beans, sauces, condiments, ready-meal mixes, pancakes, desserts and other products that may contain wheat. If you’re intolerant to fructose and polyols, avoid sodas, fruit, and honey as well as processed sweets. Yeast and alcohol intolerances can be handled easily – ditch these products from your diet and replace them with healthier alternatives. Those suffering from food allergies and intolerance should check the labels carefully and ask for information about the allergen content of foods.
If you are unsure about your sensitivity or tolerance to foods you can contact your InFitPTv Corporate Fitness Coach to find out more ways to improve your health through diet.