Do you often need to run to the toilet after a meal with friends? Are you regularly doubled up in pain from abdominal cramps after enjoying a creamy cocktail with a date? Do you sometimes look 6 months pregnant after eating a gluten-rich meal? If you can relate to any of these issues, then you are more than likely suffering from a food intolerance.
Fifteen to twenty percent of the population now suffer from an intolerance to certain food and although there is no concrete evidence, research suggests that it is due to environmental factors and western ways of life. There are far less cases of intolerances and allergies in developing countries, and this could also be due to the fact that we are a clean nation. What is meant by this is that because our standards of personal hygiene have improved cross infections have reduced and therefore our immune system is weakened. We also stay indoors more nowadays and consequently are not getting enough vitamin D.
Whatever the reason for the increase in allergies and intolerances, it can be a debilitating infliction to bear. When faced with these symptoms on a daily basis, sufferers can become socially isolated and anxious. Therefore, it is important to identify the culprit and eliminate it from your food intake.
What is a food intolerance?
Although not as frightening as an allergy, a food intolerance can become unbearable. A food intolerance is when the digestive system has trouble digesting certain foods and therefore causes an unpleasant reaction to them. A food intolerance is not life-threatening but causes numerous symptoms within the hours after eating. Indicators that your digestive system is struggling with frequently include flatulence, bloating, stomach cramps, headaches, skin rashes and diarrhoea.
Improving my health and my lifestyle
- Record your food intake and symptoms, so that you can eliminate the problem foods from your diet. You may want to try to reintroduce foods slowly back into your diet in small quantities but stop if symptoms resurface.
- Purchase a food tolerance test from one of the many companies that issue them. They are inexpensive, quick and easy and will alert you to the food or foods which are ruining your life.
- Free from food ranges are now extensive and available in all supermarkets. They are affordable and will not comprise of many of the usual intolerances such as milk, gluten, or egg. This means you can continue to eat foods which you enjoy but without the pain, embarrassment or stress.
What if I am still experiencing these symptoms after eliminating my problem food?
It may be the case that you don’t have a food intolerance but instead suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, coeliac disease, stress or anxiety which often create similar symptoms. Hence, if symptoms persevere it is important to speak to a health professional. They will be able to talk you through your symptoms and carry out the necessary tests to determine the cause of the problem and the right course of treatment.