Should I eliminate gluten, avoid dairy or go on an elimination diet? These are all questions that many of my clients have asked me not only because of specific symptoms they may be experiencing, such as gas, bloating, and constipation, but also out of curiosity for just improved overall health and weight loss.
Unfortunately, there is not usually an easy answer. Therefore, it is helpful to understand the three Most Common Types of Adverse Food Reactions to better understand why or why not various testing may be beneficial or appropriate.
Any adverse reaction to food involves the immune system. The immune system then generates a response in our bodies.
There are different types of reactions. Food allergy and food sensitivity. All these terms are generally used interchangeably but distinct according to the response.
An immune system reaction that occurs after a food is eaten usually occurs soon after. The food reaction can be severe or life-threatening, an allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Intolerance can result from difficulty digesting the food you eat, and this response is less likely to be immune-mediated. These food reactions often result from enzyme deficiencies such as lactose, nutrient malabsorption, or responses to sulfites in foods or food colorings.
Sensitivities can make someone feel sick because the immune system reacts to foods and causes the release of chemicals called mediators (some common ones, but not limited, are histamines and prostaglandins). These mediators cause inflammation, pain, and other symptoms associated with food sensitivities. Food sensitivities are complicated because the immune system can respond to hypersensitivity in various ways. Because there are different ways that the immune system can respond.
What are the most common sensitivities and intolerances?
Nightshades- family of vegetables includes potatoes, tomatoes, peppers (capsaicin), and eggplant. While these vegetables aren’t issues for most of the population, they contain chemicals called alkaloids that can cause inflammation and pain in genetically susceptible individuals. As a result, joint pain, headaches, irritated skin, nausea, and migraines can be all symptoms of sensitivity to nightshade vegetables!
Chemicals- aspartame, benzoic acid, caffeine, candida (yeast), food colorings, MSG, food additives and preservatives, and many more.
So how do you know if you have an adverse reaction to the foods you eat?
Start by asking yourself some of these:
-Do I have poor digestion
-Unbalanced gut flora or bacteria
-Under chronic stress or recent trauma
-Recent sickness or immune system overload
-Recent exposure to environmental toxins
Also, recognize sometimes it may not even be about the food.
If you think you have an issue, let’s talk, and I can discuss in more detail what approach is best for you based on your symptoms or environment.