Health

25 Most Common Health Issues Linked to Food Intolerance

13. General malaise If you’re generally feeling under the weather, the cause might be a food intolerance. If you are regularly consuming foods or beverages that… Simi - September 23, 2018

13. General malaise

If you’re generally feeling under the weather, the cause might be a food intolerance. If you are regularly consuming foods or beverages that contain ingredients to which your body is over-sensitive, your body is being put under strain. Rather than any specific symptom, you might just be feeling off color. If you’re sure you’re leading a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, adequate water and sleep, and reasonable levels of exercise, yet still feel generally unwell, it’s time to visit your doctor.

Your doctor might want to do one of a number of tests on you to find out if any underlying conditions might not be immediately apparent. But sometimes, no problems can be found, and you’re left still feeling off color. That’s when taking a closer look at your diet might be the next logical step. After all, as the saying goes, we are what we eat. And we might not be feeling all that if we eat certain things. Start by keeping a food diary. Every day, write down every single thing that you drink and eat and any symptoms you have. Then, when you find out what foods you are sensitive to, you can eliminate them from your diet.

14. Mouth ulcers

Do mouth ulcers plague you? Also known as canker sores, mouth ulcers are usually small, painful lesions in the mouth or at the base of the gums. They can make everyday activities like eating, drinking, and talking uncomfortable. They aren’t contagious and usually go away within a week or two. If you get a large sore that doesn’t heal or is very painful, you should consult your doctor. While no definitive cause for mouth ulcers has been found, certain triggers and factors have been identified. These include food sensitivities, especially to acidic foods like citrus fruits, pineapple, and strawberries, as well as other foods like coffee and chocolate.

Some mouthwash and toothpaste that contain sodium lauryl sulfate can cause canker sores, as can a lack of nutrients like vitamin B-12, folate, iron, and zinc. The hormonal changes that accompany menstruation can also cause mouth ulcers, as can various viral, fungal, and bacterial infections. Mouth ulcers can sometimes be signs of severe conditions, including diabetes, Bechet’s disease, HIV/AIDS, celiac disease, and inflammatory bowel disease. These require medical treatment. See your doctor if you have large ulcers, recurring ulcers, ulcers that last more than three weeks, painless ulcers, uncontrollable pain, severe problems with eating and drinking, and fever or diarrhea when the ulcers appear.

15. Respiratory problems

If you experience a runny nose (rhinitis) or sinusitis on a recurring basis due to food intolerance, it might be accompanied by respiratory problems such as shortness of breath. Although rhinitis can be treated with various medications, these come with undesirable side-effects and doesn’t get to the cause of the issue. If you are having problems breathing without an apparent reason such as the common cold or flu, visit your healthcare provider to rule out any underlying medical conditions that might be causing your symptoms.

If you keep getting rhinitis or sinusitis that are causing shortness of breath, it’s time to take a look at your eating habits. This is where following an elimination diet under the guidance of your doctor can be highly beneficial in relieving symptoms. For example, one study showed that eliminating so-called ‘trigger’ foods alleviated sinusitis in 89% of participants and asthma and rhinitis in 72% of participants. To follow an elimination diet, it’s necessary to keep a food journal in which you record everything you consume and what symptoms you experience. If you have a food intolerance, a link will show up between an ingredient and one or more symptoms.

16. Anxiety and depression

Millions of people around the world suffer from anxiety or depression, and the causes vary from situational to chemical. The role of diet on our health cannot be underestimated. In recent times, science has been paying closer attention to the relationship between the brain and the digestive system. It turns out that the digestive system produces 90% of the serotonin produced by the body. Serotonin is a hormone that makes us feel happy, and many anti-depressant medications focus on restoring the balance of serotonin in the brain. But what about the role of the gut?

Another fascinating finding is that the brain and the gut contain 30 identical neurotransmitters. These chemicals, of which serotonin is just one example, carry messages around the brain and the body. They are also responsible for how we feel. It follows, then, that if we have an unhappy digestive system, we’re likely to feel depressed. Interestingly, scientific studies have found gastrointestinal inflammation in a large number of people suffering from depression.

Given that this inflammation is one of the main overarching symptoms of food intolerance, it appears that food intolerances are linked to depression. And the relationship goes both ways. A depressed mind influences the gut and vice versa.

17. Irritable bowel syndrome

Although people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) are sensitive to food, few people with this disorder have a food allergy. Between 3 and 20 percent of people in the U.S. suffer from IBS symptoms, women more than men. Some people experience minor symptoms, but others’ symptoms are so severe that they disrupt daily life. Also known as spastic colon, irritable colon, mucous colitis, and spastic colitis, IBS is not the same as inflammatory bowel disease and is not related to other conditions of the bowel.

IBS is a cluster of symptoms that usually occur together, and which vary in duration and severity from person to person. IBS symptoms include diarrhea, constipation (often alternating), bloating, gas, abdominal pain, cramping, and discomfort. Food intolerances linked to IBS include dairy foods, beans and pulses, sugars that are indigestible, fried foods, processed foods, and cabbage. Sometimes, chamomile, peppermint, and ginger can help to reduce symptoms.

18. Food aversion

People with an aversion to a particular food or drink might feel ill if they think about consuming the substance and might find it virtually impossible to take a mouthful of it as they believe it will make them sick. But the problem is psychological. The person believes that a particular food will make them ill, causing them to develop actual physical symptoms.

Food aversion is a psychological food intolerance where there is a negative physical reaction associated with ingesting food, or there is food avoidance. A psychological food intolerance displays symptoms similar to real food intolerance, but the reactions are psychosomatic and don’t happen if the specific food is consumed in disguised form. In some people with a food aversion, they might develop hyperventilation syndrome in response to food to the extent that they hyperventilate so much that they lose consciousness.

19. Milk and yogurt upset your stomach

If you experience gastrointestinal or other symptoms when you’ve drunk milk or eaten yogurt, you might be lactose intolerant. Lactose is the natural sugar found in milk. To digest lactose, we require adequate quantities of the enzyme Lactase. The trouble is, early humans lacked this enzyme and were unable to digest milk products. To this day, it is estimated that 65% of human beings experience some difficulty in digesting lactose and milk products after infancy. This rate of intolerance is much higher in some areas of the world, with the rate as high as 90% in people of East Asian descent.

Symptoms differ in severity from person to person, but lactose intolerance usually manifests as gastrointestinal symptoms that are similar to those of IBS, namely cramping gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation, and abdominal pain. The most obvious solution is to avoid milk products but reads product labels carefully as milk sneaks into thousands of products.

20. Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)

The thyroid gland, which is butterfly-shaped and lies at the front of the neck, is a vital hormone gland. It places an essential role in the development of the human body, in bodily growth, and in metabolism. It helps to regulate many of the body’s vital functions by releasing a steady stream of hormones into the bloodstream. Thyroid hormones are wholly or partially responsible for body temperature, moods, and energy levels.

When your thyroid gland is not producing enough hormones, you develop hypothyroidism. This leads to various symptoms, such as sleeping problems, fatigue, depression, cold sensitivity, and constipation. Sometimes, food intolerances can play a role in an underactive thyroid. Finding out if you have a food intolerance if you have hypothyroidism can be severe because symptoms can be similar. For example, if you have a gluten intolerance, you might experience bloating, fatigue and depression, which mimic hypothyroidism.

21. Caffeine sends your system into overdrive

We all know caffeine is a stimulant. That’s probably why it’s one of the world’s most popular beverages. But caffeine is not everybody’s cup of tea. Being caffeine intolerant is possible. How your body reacts to caffeine differs from person to person, and one of the primary reasons for that comes down to your genes.

These days you can even be tested for caffeine sensitivity by a health practitioner who conducts genetic testing. If, for example, your body metabolizes caffeine slowly, you might experience significant discomfort if you drink a strong cup of coffee. Symptoms can include sweating, increase in blood pressure, and digestive distress. With regular consumption, there is an increased risk of heart disease. So, if your system goes into overdrive if you consume something with caffeine in it, try choosing herbal teas that are naturally caffeine-free.

22. You always feel exhausted in spite of sleeping well

If you are still exhausted, both mentally/emotionally and physically, you might be suffering from a condition called chronic fatigue syndrome. This disorder involves severe, long-term fatigue that negatively impacts on the person’s ability to function in everyday life. It has been estimated that between 1 and 4 million Americans suffer from the condition, but fewer than 20% of them have been diagnosed. The trouble is that the scientific community does not fully understand the causes of chronic fatigue syndrome.

That said, food intolerance has been a suspect for a long time. Some believe that food intolerance acts as a trigger for the disorder, along with other triggers such as genetics, stress, inflammation, and others. There isn’t a list of specific foods that are suspected to be related to chronic fatigue syndrome. And to make matters worse, foods that might give you a temporary ‘lift’ might be the very ones that cause the fatigue a day later.

23. You run to the bathroom all day

If you avoid certain events or places because the bathrooms aren’t great, you might be suffering from food intolerance. This kind of thinking is relatively common in someone with strong food intolerance because the first symptom to strike after ingesting the offending ingredient comes in the form of digestive distress. Rushing to the bathroom several times a day is common in people with food intolerances. Symptoms include bloating and gas, diarrhea, abdominal pain, all symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

One of the culprits responsible for this condition is FODMAP foods. FODMAP is short for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols. This is a collection of short-chain carbohydrate molecules that the body cannot absorb well. If you have gastrointestinal symptoms, FODMAPs can bring on diarrhea or constipation, wind, bloating, and abdominal pain. A Low FODMAP diet has been shown to be successful in relieving gastrointestinal symptoms in a majority of IBS sufferers.

24. Enzyme deficiencies

If we don’t have the right digestive enzymes in the right quantities, we might develop a food intolerance. After we have chewed our food, digestive enzymes break down the larger food particles into smaller molecules. This process begins taking place in the mouth while we are chewing our food. It then continues in the stomach, where stomach acids and enzymes act upon the smaller pieces of food.

It continues in the small intestine, where tiny pieces of food can pass through the lining of the gut wall and enter the bloodstream to nourish the body. The food we eat contains three macro-nutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Milk contains all three. In people who are lactose intolerant, the enzyme lactase is not present. The result is that milk sugars (lactose) cannot be absorbed and end up fermenting in the gut. This produces gas, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, and bloating.

25. Itchy skin

A familiar sensation many people feel when they eat food they’re intolerant to is itchy skin. This can also be a sign of many other conditions, such as eczema or hormonal changes. To differentiate different types of itches, you have to check how does your skin respond to scratching. If the itch feels like it’s under the skin and it won’t subside, there’s a high chance that food intolerance is the cause of your problems. The important thing is to stay calm and not panic.

Be sure to alert your doctor if you can’t get rid of the itch. Before you do anything, it’s important to know that scratching too much won’t make matters any more comfortable. Control yourself and be sure not to injure yourself. A mild or cold shower can reinvigorate you and allow other sensations to overshadow the itching feeling. Wait for a day or two and think about what could have possibly caused the itch. Experiment and conclude.

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