Food intolerance or food sensitivity differs to food allergies in that they don't exert a histamine response, however they can still cause a world of problems. The biggest cause for concern is the impact on gut health because of a food intolerance. Good gut health doesn't just make life a little bit more comfortable, it is also essential for optimal health and wellbeing. This doesn't just mean physical health either, I'm talking mental health as well. There is a very strong connection between the brain and the gut (called the gut-brain axis), where both influence and impact each other interchangeably. When the gut is unhealthy due to food intolerances, this has a huge impact on mental health and the nervous system. Signs for food intolerance aren't always obvious and so today I'm outlining some common signs that you could have a food intolerance.
One. You're Bloated Regularly.
Bloating is caused by inflammation and excess gas build up or over-fermentation of food. This can be caused by eating a food that doesn't agree with you. Bloating might be your norm, but that doesn't mean it is healthy. If you experience bloating regularly then it is time to see a nutritionist or naturopath.
Two. You Poo Less Then Every Day.
For our bodies to be effectively clearing waste, we need to be doing a number two at least once per day. If you're going less then this you could find that you have chronic constipation. One of the biggest causes of chronic constipation? Gluten sensitivity.
Three. You Have Loose and Runny or Overly Frequent Bowel Movements.
Yup, you heard right, we can totally have too much of a good thing. Going once - twice per day is ideal but if you're going more like 3 or more times in a day you could have chronic diarrhoea. Sometimes when we eat a food that we are sensitive to, it can cause an urgent need to hit the loo. Dairy intolerance frequently causes this kind of reaction.
Four. You're Rocking Dark Circles Under Your Eyes On The Daily.
Dark circles under the eyes, also known as allergy shiners, are a big indicator of food intolerance. If you're a parent, it might be hard to tell whether these dark circles are from sleep deprivation or from food intolerance. If you are also sleep deprived then keep your (sleepy) eyes peeled for other signs of food sensitivity.
Five. You Have Poor Skin Health.
Our skin is our bodies biggest organ. It is also an excretory pathway, meaning we excrete toxins through our skin. If something is amiss in your bod, it is very common to have some sort of skin reaction. This can present as acne or pimples, dermatitis or eczema, dry patches or rashes.
Six. You Have Difficulty Sleeping.
And I'm not just talking about that toddler waking you up on the regs. I'm talking about if you have trouble switching off and falling asleep or if you fall asleep easily but wake frequently throughout the night. Yes, there are many different causes of poor sleep. However, if we have unaddressed food sensitivities then we also have poor gut health and digestion.
This means that you won't be absorbing an optimal amount of essential nutrients from your foods leading to deficiencies. Deficiencies in nutrients like magnesium, iron, zinc and protein can lead to poor sleep. Poor sleep negatively impacts gut health and so the vicious cycle goes until you address the food intolerance.
Seven. You Experience Anxiety or Depression.
As I mentioned earlier, the brain and gut are very closely linked. If your gut health is out of kilter then it will negatively impact your moods and mental health. No matter what the condition, gut health must always be addressed in the first instance.
Eight. Headaches are a Frequent Occurrence.
Headaches and migraines occurring regularly are a big indicator that something isn't right. Try to take note of foods that you ate on days where you experienced headaches or migraines to see if there is a particular food that is a common offender.
If any of these signs are making you think you may have a food intolerance or sensitivity, the best thing to do is see a qualified Nutritionist or Naturopath. They will be able to do some testing to find out exactly what foods are the culprits. They would then support you in removing these foods while aiding you in healing the gut. It is always best to see a practitioner to ensure that if you do need to remove certain foods, you are still eating a balanced diet filled with all of the nutrients that you need.
I love creating recipes that cater to food intolerances and allergies, so head over to the recipes section to get some healthy food inspo. Most of my recipes are free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar.
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