Food sensitivities can be a tricky thing to diagnose. Unlike food allergies where symptoms pop up within the first hour of ingesting a food, food sensitivities can take up to FOUR DAYS before symptoms appear in the body and those symptoms might not be what you expect.
Basically, a food sensitivity can occur anytime food particles leach into the blood stream. Your immune system then decides if the food particles are friends or foes. If your white blood cells do not like a certain food particle, they will attack the particle leading to inflammation in the blood stream. A little bit of inflammation is healthy but in many cases we unknowingly ingest lots of inflammatory foods that our body reacts to.
Below are some common signs that you may have a food sensitivity. These conditions often go undiagnosed because your provider is not looking at the bigger picture. If you have more than one of these symptoms, ask our team about food sensitivity testing.
1. Joint Pain- JJ Virgin, author of The Virgin Diet Cookbook, says that this is one of the most common symptoms of a food sensitivity. “You’ll start to get inflamed all over your body, but immune complexes love to settle in the joints. Eating an inflammatory diet also raises cortisol and insulin-resistance levels further adding to the chronic inflammation cycle. But once you eliminate the culprit, this symptom can break within a few days.”
2. Bloating and Trouble Losing Weight- Once the inflammatory response in your body has been turned on, no amount of dieting can turn it off if you continue to eat foods that you are sensitive to. You need to eliminate those foods that are creating a reaction, heal the gut, and then the weight will come off.
Oftentimes, people believe they are eating a balanced, healthy diet; however, if one of the foods in your diet is a trigger food, it can interfere with weight loss.
3. Coughing, Runny Nose, or “Feeling under the Weather”- When a food particle for one of your inflammatory foods enters your bloodstream and triggers your immune system to fight back, it increases the amount of white blood cells in your blood stream and leads to inflammation all over the body. That includes the head and sinuses.
4. Brain fog, Migraines, and Headaches- Increase inflammation in the body leads to decreased blood and oxygen flow efficiency and it makes it harder for the body to function optimally. As Virgin puts it, “When you continue to eat foods that don’t work for you day after day, your body can’t use them, and it creates inflammation and immune responses.”
5. Heartburn, Irritable Bowel, or Stomach Ache- When you ingest foods that you are sensitive to, it creates an unhappy environment in the gut and blood stream. Many people report feeling like their gastrointestinal system is not properly functioning.
Once these inflammatory foods have been eliminated, the gut can begin to heal and the GI system can get back to normal.
6. Hives, Eczema, or Acne – “Skin issues like rashes, eczema, itchy ears, rosacea, acne, and even dark circles under your eyes are all examples of your immune system speaking through your skin,” explains Virgin.
The bright side of all of this is that food sensitivities are easy to test and treat. You give a blood sample in our office and we send it to the lab where they expose it to all kinds of different foods and chemicals that your body may ingest. Then, you get an easy-to-understand report back telling you about your personalized sensitivities. We recommend at that point that you eliminate foods you are sensitive to from your diet and watch your symptoms improve!
If you would like more information about food sensitivities and testing, we are hosting a free Alcat Information Session on April 3rd, 2015 at noon at 312 Prosperity Drive, Ste 101, Knoxville, TN 37923. Licensed Dietician, Lea Russell, will be explaining the test and answering any questions you may have. To RSVP, call 865.691.3155.
-Written by Hope Ealey