Have you ever experienced bloating after eating even a small piece of food? If the bloating is accompanied by headache, redness and indigestion, you may be suffering from food intolerance.
What is food intolerance?
Several studies done over the last 25 years have shown that 95% of the world population is hypersensitive to some type of food. This is called food intolerance and can be either innate or acquired. Innate food intolerance is a result of lack of or reduced activity of certain enzymes involved in complex metabolic processes.
Headaches, insomnia, arthritis, asthma, candidiasis, chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, swelling, ear infections, muscle pain, mental fatigue, skin problems, excess weight or a sudden drop of weight can also make you more sensitive to a certain type of food.
Scientists have still been unable to uncover how a person acquires food intolerance later in life.
How does food intolerance differ from allergic reactions?
Unlike food allergies, food intolerance is not a hereditary trait. There’s one theory that says food intolerance may be caused by a fast transition from liquids to solids in childhood, and that it’s caused by the inability of the digestive system to adjust.
The main symptoms of food intolerance are difficulty breathing, sneezing, skin rashes, irritation, swelling, runny nose, diarrhea and vomiting, and they appear between a few minutes and a couple of hours after consuming a certain food. Food allergies are extremely rare and affect only 2.5% of the world’s population.
Food allergies are an aggressive reaction of the immune system to a certain albumen in some food. The symptoms of food allergies are far more serious and can occur even after ingesting a tiny amount of allergens.
Fructose is a natural sugar that is usually found in fruit, alcohol and juices. Some people can’t absorb fructose properly due to a reduced activity of proteins in the gut, which can lead to bloating, excess gasses and a heavy feeling in the stomach. This kind of intolerance affects 7-11% of the world’s population.
Histamine is a chemical compound found in processed foods, alcoholic drinks, fermented foods and tinned food as well. The main cause of histamine intolerance is inefficient breakdown of the compound, which can result in skin rashes, eczema or headaches.
Alcohol is quickly absorbed in the body, but since it’s toxic, it isn’t stored anywhere. Alcohol oxygenates until it becomes acetic acid inside the body, which can seriously affect some people. If not detected on time, alcohol intolerance can cause irregular heart function, headaches, abdominal pain and low blood pressure.
Gluten intolerance is caused by inefficient and slow digestion of gluten, a compound found in grains. The symptoms of gluten intolerance are many, but the most common are bloating, gasses, headaches, fatigue and inflammation. In order to prevent problems, you need to stick to the gluten-less grains such as whole meal rice, millet, quinoa and buckwheat.
If you experience food intolerance, the first step is to avoid that type of food. If you’re suspecting you’re intolerant to some type of food, we suggest visiting your doctor who will run some tests to detect it and help you make certain diet and lifestyle changes.