How can you tell if your sniffling is because of a cold, the haze or something you ate this morning? What about that strange rash that just appeared on your arm? Here's a quick guide to food intolerance and how to deal with it.
Food intolerances can be tough to figure out. Unlike immediate-type food allergies which exhibit severe symptoms pretty quickly, these are not as easy to detect as symptoms usually do not appear till long after you’ve digested the culprit.
So are your sniffles part of a cold, or a result of some sensitivity? What’s that weird rash on your skin? Should you blame it on an insect infestation at home, or that har meen you ate this morning?
Most people choose to ignore these signs as there are no serious repercussions, unlike say, diseases like cancer and diabetes. However food sensitivities are widespread and can eventually lead to an impaired immune system, and several other destructive diseases if left undetected and unmanaged for too long.
It can probably also explain your weight gain, constantly-itchy skin, and migraines, amongst others.
Figure out if you’re at risk with the nifty FAQ we’ve compiled below:
1. What is food intolerance?
You need enzymes in your body to properly digest food. If you’re lacking a certain enzyme needed to break down a certain kind of food, you’ll suffer from negative reactions. Most of the time, you have to eat enough of the food for these reactions to occur, but amounts differ from person to person.
2. What’s the difference between food allergy and food intolerance?
- Caused by your immune system overreacting to the food
- Your body will have a negative reaction even if you ingest the tiniest amount
- Caused by your inability to digest a type of food
- Small amounts of food can be eaten without any bad reaction
3. How do I know if I’m intolerant to any food?
If you find yourself regularly exhibiting some of the symptoms below, you may be at risk:
4. What are the common foods I may be intolerant to?
You find this ingredient in most breads, cereals, flour, pasta, and more
A substance found in wheat, barley, rye, oats, and more
Milk, milk drinks, cheese, butter, cream, and more
Some alcohol contains ingredients which you may be sensitive to, including grapes, grains, yeast, and more
Foods high in histamine include champagne, vinegar, pickled food, tofu, soy sauce, and more
Found in alcohol, stock cubes, vinegar, salad dressings, MSG, and more
5. Um, so I’ve read this and think that maybe I have some form of food intolerance. What should I do?
Don’t ignore it. Untreated food intolerances can lead to some pretty ugly problems like arthritis, obesity, diabetes, and even cancer.
Start by keeping a detailed food and drink diary for two weeks to identify the foods that may have been giving you a bad day. (Handy template + how-to here)
Once you think you’ve figured out the culprit, don’t immediately cut it from your diet without medical advice. Many people misdiagnose themselves and go on severely restricted diets for no reason.
It’s best to get yourself tested by a specialist in allergies and food intolerance before taking any drastic measures (like living life without chocolate cake).
Do you have a food intolerance or know anyone who does? How did you (or they) find out?