Do you live every day feeling constantly sick and run-down, and can’t figure out why? You may not realize it, but you could be battling a food intolerance.
How do you know it’s not a food allergy? A food intolerance is different from an allergic reaction to food, although the symptoms are similar.
While a food intolerance can cause some discomfort after eating a trigger food, it isn’t serious. A food allergy, on the other hand, is more severe and life-threatening.
Although lactose intolerance – the inability to digest lactose, the sugar found in dairy – is the most common form of food intolerance, there are other foods that can trigger a reaction. Such foods include:
- Gluten (found in wheat and other grains)
- Sulfites and other food additives
It can be difficult to recognize whether or not you have food intolerance because the symptoms are subtler than the rash or swollen lips a food allergy presents. In fact, many of the symptoms associated with a food intolerance may not seem like they have anything to do with food at all.
Here are 4 signs you may have a food intolerance.
1. Digestive Issues
If you’re running to the bathroom more often than you’d like, you may have food intolerance.
Trigger foods can wreak havoc on your digestive system. This is because true food intolerance produces a digestive system response rather than an immune system response seen with a food allergy.
So, a food sensitivity occurs when a food irritates the digestive system or when a person is unable to digest or break down the food.
Typical symptoms of a food sensitivity include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Upset stomach
2. Constant Fatigue
Although food is suppose to give you energy, if you are eating the wrong food, it can do the opposite. These trigger foods are using up a lot of your body’s energy, resulting in constant tiredness.
If you feel tired the moment you wake up and become exhausted throughout the day, it could be a sign a food you eat regularly is actually not healthy for you. In fact, one of the first signs of a food intolerance is constant fatigue.
3. Unexplained Migraines
Migraines usually have known triggers like hormonal changes in women, changes in sleep-wake pattern or dehydration. But, for people who have a food sensitivity, daily migraines are the norm.
While certain foods can bring on a headache such as aged cheese, chocolate, raisins or avocados, the additives in many foods can also account for your unexplained migraine.
Food additives are put in food to enhance the taste or color and used to prolong its shelf life.
Some food additives that can trigger a migraine include:
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG) – It’s used as a flavor enhancer
- Nitrates and Nitrites – These are found naturally in foods such as celery and spinach, but are also added to cured meats for preservation
- Sulfites – used in food to help enhance its flavor and preserve it.
When experiencing a food intolerance, you are more likely to be in a bad mood for no reason at all. It’s like you are on constant edge but have no clue why.
Irritability and food intolerance go hand in hand. When your body is working extra hard at fighting off the offending food, it doesn’t leave you much energy for the day.
Therefore, you’re constantly exhausted. When you’re tired, it’s easy to become irritable or even short tempered. If you’re often fatigued and also experiencing other symptoms, it may be time to go to your doctor or a nutritionist for some food intolerance testing.
If You Suspect a Food Intolerance
The easiest way to find out if a food you eat is causing your discomfort is to start by eliminating trigger foods.
If you don’t know which foods cause you sensitivities, begin with the most prevalent culprits:
Of course, with any changes in your diet, consult your doctor first.
Feeling better can be as simple as changing what you eat. So, tell us, what are your plans for feeling better?