9 Signs Food Sensitivities Could Be Causing Your Health Symptoms and How to Fix Them
Guess what? Your suffering…it's not “normal.”
That constant stomachache you get after eating? Not normal.
The severe allergies you have to mold, perfume, and everything with a smell? Not normal.
The headaches, the anxiety, the chronic illness, the arthritis, and the hormonal fluctuations? Not normal.
The human body does not have to suffer the health problems that arise from malfunctions in the body’s own systems, such as eczema, autoimmune disease, anxiety and depression, and chronic inflammation. We were created to live a life of much higher quality, not suffering each day with symptoms that deplete our energy, cripple us, and keep us from the life we dream of having. Often times these symptoms are sporadic and unrelated….or so we think. But, are they really? Food sensitivities may be the cause of many health problems
The Whole Body Health Approach
Symptoms and diseases are not each their own separate entity. The body operates as a whole and rather than looking at each symptom as its own, individualized problem, we can achieve a higher level of health by looking at the big picture of “whole body” wellness. For example, your digestive system, i.e. your gut, can impact your immune system, and what happens in your immune system may affect your allergies, your skin health, your brain function, and so on with every single system in the body. The cycle continues as chronic inflammation induced by the immune system can impact the gut. Simply put, you cannot separate one part of the body from another; it is far too complex. The best approach to optimal health is one that looks to the root issues and the total body.
Here's where nutrition comes in. Food is everything. Food is life. The foods you eat can make or break your wellbeing, your sanity, and every part of your body. The negative consequences of eating the foods that are wrong for your body because of food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities can range from simple annoyances to life-threatening conditions. Terms such as gluten allergy, dairy intolerance, Celiac's disease, and peanut allergy are often used in the health community. What are the differences between food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities? We typically understand that food allergies can cause throat swelling and anaphylactic shock, or how intolerances to common foods like dairy may cause some gas or bloating. But is that all there is to potential food reactions? Let’s explore.
Food allergies are immune-driven reactions in which the body mounts intense and immediate symptoms in the presence of offending foods. This usually appears in childhood and some of the most common food offenders are eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, cow’s milk, soy, and wheat. (1)
Food intolerances are reactions in the digestive system due to the lack of an enzyme necessary to break down a component of the offending food, such as a lactose intolerance. Typically, people with intolerances have less severe symptoms than those with a true allergy, which may include upset stomach, bloating, gas, and abdominal pain. (1)
Food sensitivities are a lesser known condition, yet studies have estimated that up to 20% of people have at least one. The symptoms of a sensitivity are often less obvious than an immediate allergy or intolerance because of their delayed appearance, but they have a vastly comprehensive profile. A sensitivity is still marked by an immune response, but it is milder than an allergic reaction and it often takes between 12 and 72 hours for the reaction to appear. This leads people to believe the health problems they are experiencing are not related to the foods they are eating. Many people live their lives without knowing they have a food sensitivity, suffering from conditions that are not remedied by conventional treatments because the root issue lies in the foods that are being consumed. (1) What does this mean and why does it matter to you? Most people know if they have a severe food allergy, but could you be missing a sign of a food intolerance or sensitivity?
Here are nine key signs that food sensitivities may be causing your health symptoms.
1. You are Unable to Lose Weight Regardless of Diet
Inflammation that results from food sensitivities can cause weight gain or inhibit the ability to lose weight. Sensitivities can also impact things like hormones, which impact weight control and our ability to maintain a healthy weight. (2)
2. You Have Chronic Yeast Infections or Candida Overgrowth
Food sensitivities, and the subsequently resulting “leaky gut,” may disrupt the normal distribution of the intestinal flora, which can contribute to the overgrowth of the fungal organism Candida albicans. Candida overgrowth is related to a myriad of symptoms all on its own, and many of them are similar to those caused by food sensitivities. (3)
3. Your Digestive Symptoms Never Get Better
When the gut wall is impaired, the gut microorganisms are unbalanced, and the body is reacting to food negatively, the digestive system will not work at its optimal level leading to bloating, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, and many other complaints. Not only that, the chronic stress caused by this impairs digestive function even further, leading to many issues with the gastrointestinal system. Autoimmune disease and inflammation can also cause trouble with the gut in conditions such as gastritis, IBS, and crohns. If you pop Tums like candy and order Prilosec in bulk, yet still cannot seem to curb the heartburn, bloating, reflux, pain, and gas, it’s quite possible you have a food sensitivity or intolerance.
4. You Have Hormonal Imbalances
Do you find yourself with severe PMS, mood swings, bloating and weight gain, swelling, infertility, or stress? It may be a hormonal imbalance, which can be related to chronic stress, food sensitivities, and leaky gut. The inflammation triggered by food sensitivities combined with stress may interfere with the normal production and release of adrenal hormones, contributing to an overtaxed endocrine system and malfunctioning hormone feedback loops. (4)
5. You Have an Autoimmune Disease or Arthritis
Autoimmune conditions including arthritis, thyroid disease, celiac’s, and psoriasis are all triggered by an immune system malfunction when the body begins attacking itself as though it were a foreign invader. This immune dysfunction is often related to issues starting in the gut, such as a disrupted microbiome as well as leaky gut, and the immune responses can result from or be worsened by sensitivities to foods. (3)
6. You are Plagued with Allergies, Eczema, or Asthma
The three conditions in this common triad often go hand in hand and are all related to the body mounting an immune response to something, including the food particles we are sensitive to as well as the immune reactions triggered by leaky gut. All three of these conditions are manifestations of an overactive immune system gone awry. (3)
7. You Deal with Chronic Headaches and Fatigue
The immune and inflammatory response that occurs during a food sensitivity reaction may lead to symptoms such as migraines, headaches, and chronic fatigue. (3)
8. You or Your Child has ADD/ADHD
The gut and brain are intricately connected, therefore the status of the gut, inflammation in the body, and food sensitivities can affect the brain, including issues like ADD/ADHD. More and more research is supporting removal of food sensitivities and certain diets as effective treatments for ADD/ADHD. (1,5)
9. You Suffer Anxiety and Depression
Contrary to what many believe, anxiety and depression can be directly related to gut health and food sensitivities. Rather than a serotonin deficiency, an overactive immune system and chronic inflammation have been shown to contribute to depression, and inflammatory signals are found in test subjects with depressive symptoms. Not only this, a lack of nutrition due to poor eating and poor absorption may also contribute to symptoms. (6)
Do you relate to any of the reasons above? Think food sensitivities may be contributing to your health troubles? There is hope! There is a way to identify the issues, remove the culprit, and allow your body to heal so you can put a stop to unnecessary suffering. You can get your vibrant, energetic life back! Are you ready to make a change? Check out our Elimination Diet: The 3-Phase Food Solution for Total Body Health to help you uncover the hidden food reactions that could be contributing to your symptoms. Whether it be gluten, dairy, or a healthy food you are sensitive to, the Elimination Diet will bring to light any trouble foods. Begin the path toward whole body health so you can redefine “healthy” and achieve wellness that allows you to live your life fully and confidently. Your tomorrow self will thank you.
For support and community with other women, many of them on the same journey as you are, join us at the A Different Approach to Health™, a group of women supporting each other as they find health, raise families, and live well!
In the meantime, don't forget your free copy of the Ultimate Grocery Guide to get you on track toward a kitchen stocked with whole, delicious food.
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