If healthy living is your goal, then developing a nutrition plan that’s tailored to meet your unique health needs is key. If bloating and stomach pain seem to be regular occurrences for you, learning more about food intolerances – including what they are and what they aren’t – just may help you identify the culprit of your less than happy tummy.
The post-meal ‘blahs’: What is a food intolerance exactly?
A person has a food intolerance when their body isn’t able to digest or absorb certain foods and reacts badly to those foods, especially in their digestive system. You likely know someone who is wheat or dairy intolerant. If they haven’t completely cut those foods out of their nutrition plan, they likely complain that they feel bloated or have a stomach ache (that, or they disappear to the washroom and silently suffer).
What is the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance?
When healthy living is a priority, it’s key to get your terms straight so that you can develop a customized nutrition plan that reflects foods that you should be eating as well as avoiding.
Downright dangerous and sometimes potentially fatal, food allergies cause your immune system to react negatively. A person who’s allergic to bees, for instance, may experience their throat swelling and even closing up. Pesky and unpleasant, food intolerances, on the other side, cause a negative reaction in the digestive system and can cause stomachaches and bloating.
If you have a food allergy, the symptoms can be instantaneous, occurring as soon as you eat the food. When it comes to food intolerances, on the other hand, you may feel the symptoms hours or even days after consuming the food culprit.
Food Intolerances: Know the Symptoms
One of the first steps on the journey to healthy living is identifying the symptoms of food intolerances so that you can spot them easily. Whether you experience such symptoms regularly or occasionally, keep a food diary. It can shed light onto what might be causing the problem so that you can develop a nutrition plan to solve it. Symptoms of food intolerances include such unpleasantries as:
- Skin rashes
- Migraines and tension headaches
- Stomach aches
- Bloating and gas
- Feeling lethargic
Of course, these symptoms can be the result of other issues apart from food intolerance’s. Visit your doctor to get down to the bottom of it
Learning about Food Intolerances: The Road to Healthy Living
In order to develop a nutrition plan that helps you feel better, you (and your doctor) need to be able to determine whether or not the cause of your symptoms is a food intolerance. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Symptom Response Times To Food Intolerances Can Vary
You may have had a rich and creamy milkshake Tuesday afternoon that won’t “hit you” (read: cause gas and bloating) until Wednesday night. Reaction times to certain foods can range from between half an hour to a full week after consumption. This is why a food diary is an important tool that can help you pinpoint the food culprit and create a better nutrition plan.
You Might Not Experience Symptoms Every Time
The tricky thing about food intolerances is that you may not always have a reaction when you eat a certain food that has made you feel ill in the past. If you have a wheat or dairy intolerance, the amount you eat or the type of product that you consume has a direct bearing on the symptoms you’ll experience. Eating a dessert that contains a little bit of cream might not give you the pain that having a few slices of cheese pizza will if you have a dairy intolerance.
Cut The Problematic Food Out Of Your Diet
We aren’t necessarily telling you that you can never, ever eat your favorite food again. But keep in mind that the more often you consume a food that you’re intolerant to, the more severe your symptoms will be. If you cut your food culprit out of your diet apart from the occasional “cheat,” your digestive system will thank you for it..
While food intolerances can’t be cured, you don’t have to suffer with the symptoms forever. The trick to healthy living is a proper nutrition plan, and the trick to a proper nutrition plan is identifying the foods that leave you feeling sick. When you replace those food culprits with other satisfying foods, you and your digestive system will be happy campers.
An app called Food Intolerances was designed to help you track the foods you’re eating and learn about the ingredients they contain, bringing you one step closer to determining what’s causing you trouble. Give it a try or simply buy a journal and start recording what you’re eating and what symptoms you’re experiencing. Good luck, detective!