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While we have all heard the saying “You are what you eat”, gone are the days of limited knowledge where simply eating “healthily” means you will be healthy. Obviously, one person’s definition of healthy food can be vastly different to another person’s, but the point we are trying to make here is that while you may be “following the rules” of healthy eating, you may be doing yourself harm and compromising your health without even realizing.
Two little words: Food Intolerance.
Intolerances are caused by chemicals naturally occurring in food (or which have been added to food). They cause unwanted reactions by irritating the gut lining, which can then affect nerve endings in different parts of the body. Examples of food chemicals which can cause problems are amines (found in cheese, bananas, tomatoes, oranges and chocolate), salicylates (found in tomatoes, capsicum, coffee, dried fruits, avocado and oranges), and glutamates (found in mushrooms, parmesan cheese, and soy proteins). The small amounts of natural chemicals present in a particular food may not be enough to cause a reaction immediately. However, because one substance may be common to many different foods, it can accumulate in the body over time and cause unwanted symptoms which people can often not get to the bottom of.
Sufferers of food intolerance frequently complain of lethargy or ‘fogginess’ and a general feeling of unwellness. However, some people may experience acute reactions such as recurrent hives and swellings, headache, sinus trouble, mouth ulcers, nausea, stomach pain and bowel irritation. Common symptoms of food intolerance are: anxiety, arthritis, bloating, bronchitis, chronic fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, headaches, insomnia, skin conditions and weight management issues.
Children can become irritable and restless, and some behavioural problems can be aggravated. Even breastfed babies can have intolerances due to natural chemicals in the mother’s diet. Babies tend to be more vulnerable to chemicals in food because their metabolism and gastrointestinal system are immature.
What to do?
Food intolerance can be hard to diagnose because many of the symptoms can be due to other causes. However, at Paddington Clinic we have an advanced diagnostic test which analysis your blood and highlights your individual reactivity to over 55 food types. Once your food intolerances are determined, an elimination diet is required and re-testing then allows us to review your progress.
Trouble arises if you end up avoiding foods your body needs, and unsupervised diets are particularly dangerous in children. We always recommend you undergo elimination diets under the supervision of your qualified Practitioner.
Food intolerances need not be permanent, and we can gladly help you on the road to better health and vitality.