Have you ever tried to eat a new food, only to realize later that you feel sick? Either allergies or food sensitivities typically cause bad reactions to food. With a food allergy, your body’s immune system views the food or ingredient as a threat and tries to fight it off. Allergies can be life-threatening and require immediate action. Having a food sensitivity—or intolerance—means that your body has difficulty digesting food or an ingredient. To learn more about food sensitivities, their symptoms, and treatment options, keep reading.
Common Symptoms of Food Sensitivities
The symptoms of food sensitivities and allergies can be similar. You should visit a doctor so they can diagnose the issue and determine the root cause of it. There are, however, some major differences between the symptoms of allergies and sensitivities that can give you a clue about which one you have.
Typically, food sensitivities result in stomach problems, such as pain, gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Allergies, on the other hand, are more closely associated with symptoms such as hives, rashes, and watery eyes. For symptoms to appear, you may need to eat a lot of the food or wait longer than an hour. Food intolerances may be uncomfortable, but they aren’t generally hazardous.
Causes of Food Sensitivities
There are a few foods that trigger sensitivity symptoms more often than others. Some of the most common foods that are linked to intolerances include:
- Lactose: This is a sugar found in dairy products, such as milk and cheese.
- Gluten: Gluten is a protein that naturally occurs in wheat, rye, barley, and other grains.
- Sulfites: These are common food additives found in sodas, wines, and pickled foods.
- Fructose: A natural sweetener, fructose is found in the majority of fruits and in high-fructose corn syrup.
- FODMAPS: Foods that contain high quantities of FODMAPS, such as apples, garlic, and coffee, can lead to abdominal pain and bloating. FODMAPS are carbohydrates that pull water into the intestine during digestion.
Sensitivity Tests and Treatment
To determine if you have a food sensitivity, your doctor will talk to you about your medical history, diet, and symptoms. Using this information, they may suggest a few tests to determine if you have a sensitivity. The doctor might suggest you try an exclusion diet. This involves avoiding the foods that are the most common triggers of your symptoms. Gradually, you will add the foods back into your diet and track your symptoms to see what you are sensitive to. Throughout the process, you will be asked to keep a journal of what you eat and your symptoms. Your doctor can provide more information about food sensitivity screening tests.
In general, food sensitivity treatment relies mostly on prevention. Carefully read the labels and packaging of every product you use and avoid ones that contain the food you are sensitive to. When eating out, tell the waiter about your sensitivities and try to avoid the food or ingredient as much as you can. There are also methods of holistic allergy treatment in Arlington Heights, IL, that might be able to help. To learn more about holistic treatment for allergies, contact us at Midwest Allergy Relief Centers.