How to recognise a food intolerance
Firstly you’ll have suffered with the symptoms for a while such as bloating, cramps, diarrhoea and constipation. If you’ve seen your doctor and they have ruled out allergy or another cause then it may be a food intolerance.
There are symptoms other than gastrointestinal that you may not necessarily have linked to a food intolerance, like recurring headaches, joint pain, dark circles under the eyes and brain fog.
What’s the cause? There are a few!
You have an immune system reaction because your gut wall has become permeable. This is sometimes called “leaky gut”. Tiny pieces of undigested food can evade the gut wall barrier and escape to your bloodstream. Your immune system responds by treating them like an invader and each time you eat that food you then have the same immune system response. It could be any of the above symptoms.
You may be enzyme deficient. For example you may not produce enough lactase to digest lactose in dairy for example, or protease to help digest gluten. Or you may have low stomach acid.
Some people are sensitive to caffeine and to natural amines in cheese and chocolate.
Some foods have natural toxins like night shade vegetables that you may be sensitive to and some are easily affected by food additives.
So how do you find out what causes you the problem?
Keep a food and mood and symptom diary for two weeks. If you notice a pattern with a particular food/s then take it out of your diet for nine days. Then, reintroduce it one day at a time if you suspect more than one food and note any reactions.
A nutritional therapist can help you with advice on all of the above and will design a food and supplement plan tailored specifically to you. They can also arrange tests for food and additive intolerances, caffeine detoxification capacity and enzyme status.