It used to be that no one was familiar with food sensitivities, but now it seems to be a trend for every to know about it. Whether you’ve heard of food hypersensitivity or not this blog has some great information and will cover the following:
- What foot hypersensitivity is
- Causes of food sensitivities
- How to avoid food hypersensitivity and
- Diagnosis of food hypersensitivity
What is Food Hypersensitivity?
Food hypersensitivity encompasses both food allergies and food intolerance. Food intolerance and food allergies are not the same and can vary in many aspects, for example, a food allergy can be deadly while food intolerance is not.
You will typically develop symptoms to foods you are intolerant to within a few hours of consumption, whereas an allergy will typically result in an immediate reaction.
The biggest difference to note is that food allergies develop at birth while intolerance can develop at any age. So just because you used to eat a specific food all time, does not mean you can’t become sensitive to it.
Common food hypersensitivity symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Runny nose
- Flushing of the skin
Now that we know what food intolerance is, you may be wondering, what triggers food intolerance.
Common Triggers of Food Intolerance
According to an article in Medical News Today food intolerances are quite common and even potentially makeup 15-20% of the population.
In my years of experience as a health coach and working in the field of wellness, I have seen many people that go through life not understanding what it is like to feel good. They often accept their current circumstances or discomfort as “normal” because they have never felt well enough to know that they could feel different.
In short, many people have a food intolerance and think that is how the food is supposed to make them feel, so they keep eating it. Food intolerances arise if the body is unable to digest a certain food. This impairment may be due to a lack of digestive enzymes or a sensitivity to certain chemicals.
Foods that are commonly associated with food intolerance and foods that can cause food hypersensitivity include:
- Food colorings
Some folks think food additives can cause intolerance. Research has shown of all the additives that the food industry uses, only a relatively small number cause problems. The following food additives can cause adverse reactions in some people:
- Nitrates: These preservatives are common in processed meats, and the symptoms of intolerance can include headaches and hives.
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG): This flavor enhancer can cause headaches, chest tightness, nausea, and diarrhea in those with an intolerance.
- Sulfites: Common sources of these preservatives include wine, dried fruits, fresh shrimp, and some jams and jellies. People with an intolerance may experience chest tightness, hives, diarrhea, and sometimes, anaphylaxis.
Maybe you have looked through this list and realize that you have some of these reactions to the foods listed and just don’t understand how you can develop a sensitivity to a food you’ve enjoyed your whole life symptom-free until now. Let’s talk about this in the next section.
What Causes Food Sensitivities to Develop?
According to the Mayo Clinic, what can cause children and adults to develop food sensitivities and allergies is different.
In adults, the majority of food allergies are triggered by certain proteins in shellfish, such as shrimp, lobster, and crab, as well nuts such as peanuts, walnuts, and pecans, and even fish!
In children, food allergies are commonly triggered by proteins in peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, cow’s milk, wheat, and soy. Food intolerance or a reaction to another substance you ate may cause the same signs and symptoms as a food allergy does — such as nausea, vomiting, cramping, and diarrhea.
Depending on the type of food intolerance you have, you may be able to eat small amounts of problem foods without a reaction. By contrast, if you have a true food allergy, even a tiny amount of food may trigger an allergic reaction.
How to Diagnose Food Intolerance/Hypersensitivity?
Also according to the Mayo Clinic, one of the tricky aspects of diagnosing food intolerance is that some people are sensitive not to the food itself but to a substance or ingredient used in the preparation of the food.
Common conditions that can cause symptoms mistaken for a food allergy include:
- Absence of an enzyme needed to fully digest a food. You may not have adequate amounts of some enzymes needed to digest certain foods.
- Insufficient quantities of enzymes. Insufficient lactase, for example, reduces your ability to digest lactose, the main sugar in milk products.
- Food poisoning. Sometimes food poisoning can mimic an allergic reaction. Bacteria in spoiled tuna and other fish also can make a toxin that triggers harmful reactions.
- Sensitivity to food additives. Some people have digestive reactions and other symptoms after eating certain food additives. For example, sulfites used to preserve dried fruit, canned goods, and wine can trigger asthma attacks in sensitive people.
- Histamine toxicity. Certain fish, such as tuna or mackerel, that are not refrigerated properly and that contain high amounts of bacteria may also contain high levels of histamine that trigger symptoms similar to those of a food allergy. Rather than an allergic reaction, this is known as histamine toxicity or scombroid poisoning.
- Celiac disease. While celiac disease is sometimes referred to as a gluten allergy, it does not result in anaphylaxis. Like a food allergy, it does involve an immune system response, but it’s a unique reaction that’s more complex than a simple food allergy. This chronic digestive condition is triggered by eating gluten, a protein found in bread, pasta, cookies, and many other foods containing wheat, barley, or rye. If you have celiac disease and eat foods containing gluten, an immune reaction occurs that causes damage to the surface of your small intestine, leading to an inability to absorb certain nutrients (Mayo Clinic).
There are common risk factors that can help you identify if you have a food allergy or hypersensitivity which includes family history! You’re at increased risk of food allergies if asthma, eczema, hives, or allergies such as hay fever are common in your family.
Even having other food allergies may increase your risk of becoming allergic to another food. Similarly, if you have other types of allergic reactions, such as hay fever or eczema, your risk of having a food allergy is greater.
Age is another risk factor. Food allergies are more common in children, especially toddlers and infants. As you grow older, your digestive system matures and your body is less likely to absorb food or food components that trigger allergies. Fortunately, children typically outgrow allergies to milk, soy, wheat, and eggs. Although, severe allergies to nuts and shellfish are more likely to be lifelong.
Another factor to consider is if you have asthma. Asthma and food allergy commonly occur together. When they do, both food allergy and asthma symptoms are more likely to be severe.
Low Allergen Recipes
A wonderful website with a plethora of recipes that avoid commonly known allergens and foods that cause hypersensitivity is https://www.allergicliving.com/recipes/.
If you feel like you are wanting more recipes, tips, and tricks to living your healthiest life, I have lots more tips and tricks where those came from. All of my meal plans include access to hundreds of recipes and short, easy, all levels workouts. If you have any specific recipes you would like or fitness program questions, always feel free to reach out to me. Thanks for reading. I hope this information was useful and finds you in a space of the heart. I’m just me Sarah Roberts (Savino), MSW, RYT200, TBB Coach founder of team Indie Sols, figuring out what works for me and sharing it with you in hopes that it will make some positive changes for you as well! As always if you have any direct questions or want personal consultation for anything you can reach me at my email firstname.lastname@example.org or https://tinyurl.com/y7qx7wwg or contact me through any of my social media: Facebook.com/sarah.savino IG- the_fit_philanthropist
Love and Light Always