12 Surprising Signs A Hidden Food Sensitivity Is Destroying Your Health

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12 Surprising Signs A Hidden Food Sensitivity Is Destroying Your Health

Are you constantly feeling under the weather, without knowing exactly why? Have seemingly minor health conditions with no known cause?

You may well have an undetected food sensitivity. Unlike true allergies, these kinds of food intolerances aren’t life-threatening, and symptoms usually come on gradually. In fact, symptoms may not show themselves every time you eat the food, especially if you only eat a small amount, or consume it infrequently!

Although one in five adults report an intolerance to a particular food or foods, many experts believe that the true figure may be much higher as the symptoms of food intolerance are so varied and non-specific.

If any of the following symptoms apply to you, it may be worth investigating if food is at the root cause of the problem.

1. Digestive Upset

One of the most obvious signs of food intolerance is digestive disturbance although, surprisingly, not everyone with a food sensitivity endures this!

Those who do can experience nausea, stomach pain, heartburn, gas, cramps, or bloating which begin immediately or up to several hours following a meal.

These symptoms occur because the body is unable to fully digest or absorb the food, so particles which are too large to pass through the gut wall cause spasms and pain. The bacteria in the gut also feed upon this debris, generating gas which leads to bloating.

2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder whereby the sufferer experiences abdominal pain and a range of digestive symptoms such as those listed above.

According to the IBS Network, while very few people with IBS have a food allergy, most have at least one food intolerance. These foods trigger spasms and distend the gut with gas or fluids.

Those with irritable bowel syndrome should work to uncover their individual food and drink intolerances, so they can be reduced or eliminated from the diet, in order to boost digestive function and overall wellbeing.

3. Headaches or Migraines

Almost everyone suffers with headaches at one time or another and an estimated 26 million Americans suffer migraine headaches, characterized as an intense throbbing pain commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.

A variety of factors trigger headaches and migraines, with food sensitivity being one often ignored cause.

Research has proven that migraines can be triggered by several foods, including wheat, dairy, grains, sugar, yeast, corn, citrus, and eggs. Processed foods are also notorious triggers thanks to the myriad of additives in them, including artificial sweeteners, colorings, flavorings, stabilizers, and preservatives.

Clinical studies have found that identifying and eliminating trigger foods can reduce the severity and/or frequency of headaches, and can even prevent them from occurring!

4. Depression or Anxiety

We know that the brain and gastrointestinal system share an intimate connection, known as the gut-brain axis. What’s more, the gut produces up to 90% of the body’s serotonin – a feel good chemical which regulates our mood, and is connected to our appetite, sleep, learning, and memory capabilities.

If the gut isn’t in good health, it’s likely the brain won’t be either! In fact, some evidence exists to show that depression is frequently associated with gastrointestinal inflammation – a common symptom seen in the digestive system of those with food intolerance.

In one survey, 73% of those with low mood showed signs of improvement after changing their eating habits based on the results of an intolerance test. Although their raised spirits may be in response to taking positive steps to help themselves, and a sense of greater control over their health, the powerful connection between the gut and brain cannot be ignored.

5. Problem Skin

Connecting stubborn acne or eczema to food intolerances may seem like a big leap, but the gut has a huge influence over skin health.

As far back as 1930, scientists attempted to connect the gut with skin health, something modern research has confirmed as an important and very real relationship. Today, many functional medicine practitioners now see skin conditions as inflammatory disorders of the autoimmune spectrum.

If certain foods you eat regularly are causing gut inflammation, this could easily manifest itself as seemingly unconnected skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, or acne.

In one food intolerance test, out of 89 people who reported experiencing itchy skin, 87% said they noticed an improvement after removing certain trigger foods. Similar results were seen for those who reported acne, and eczema.

6. Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS)

PMS – which affects up to three out of every four women – along with mood swings, and irregular or painful periods can be caused or aggravated by specific foods that don’t agree with you.

What’s more, PMS Comfort states that food sensitivities (which interfere with the body’s healing process) can be one reason why natural or medical treatments for PMS don’t work as well as they should.

Connecting a specific food with PMS can be even more challenging than connecting it with other symptoms of intolerance, as the symptoms of PMS only occur in the time preceding the period, rather than every time the trigger food is consumed.

7. Tiredness and Fatigue

A feeling of constant tiredness, difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, or a complete lack of energy from mid-afternoon onward, can indicate a great many health conditions.

But if you have been to see your doctor, and have ruled out underlying medical conditions such as nutrient deficiencies, anemia, diabetes, sleep apnea, hypothyroidism etc., then it’s worth investigating your diet.

Food sensitivities place a constant and hidden stress on the adrenal glands, which can lead to adrenal burnout as the glands must continually secrete hormones in response to the inflammation caused by such foods.

Naturally, the body is unable to heal itself and maintain energy levels when this is occurring.

8. Nutrient Deficiencies

Because food intolerance puts extra stress on the body, it needs to utilize its store of nutrients to combat this added strain which can lead to depleted levels of vitamins and minerals.

If you are showing any of the warning signs of vitamin C deficiency; vitamin D deficiency; or suboptimal levels of any other vitamin or mineral, despite eating a healthy and balanced diet, food sensitivities may be to blame.

9. Joint Pain

Painful or swollen joints are usually caused by inflammation, which of course we now know is triggered by the effects on the gut of foods we are sensitive to.

Several studies have been published on the beneficial effects of cutting problematic foods from the diet in order to decrease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis – an autoimmune disease which causes painful inflammation of the joints.

And ‘real life’ surveys back these scientific studies up! When 177 people with general aches and pains, including joint pain, were surveyed, 88% reported an improvement in symptoms after removing foods they were intolerant to.

10. Insomnia

Characterized by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, insomnia can have a huge impact on the everyday life and health of sufferers.

While there are many accepted causes of insomnia, hidden food allergy is rarely considered. However, some research has pointed to food sensitivity as a common source of insomnia, particularly as it can affect so many other areas of health which, in turn, contribute to sleeplessness.

Inflammatory responses to trigger foods play a role too, as research shows chronic inflammation and elevated cytokines (inflammatory messengers), from any cause, can lead to insomnia.

To top it all off, the less you sleep, the more likely you are to crave inflammatory foods to which you are sensitive – such as bread, sugar, and alcohol!

11. Weight Gain

Gaining weight, or maintaining despite calorie deprivation, may indicate food sensitivity, says Dr. John Mansfield, author of the Six Secrets of Successful Weight Loss.

Mansfield claims that food intolerances were the prime cause of weight gain in more than 70% of the patients he treated in his 31-year career.

A reaction caused by food sensitivities interferes with the signals the gut sends to the brain after eating. In a healthy person, the signals work well and body weight remains constant. But in those with intolerances, inflammation can cause this mechanism to malfunction and the ‘constant’ level of weight is set at an incorrect, higher level than it should be.

To remedy this, and drop those extra pounds, discover and eliminate your food triggers.

12. Respiratory Problems

Symptoms associated with the ears, nose, and throat – such as sinusitis, a blocked or stuffy nose, coughing, recurrent ear infections, ringing in the ears, seasonal allergies, or frequent throat clearing – may all be linked to what you eat!

Inflammation caused by food sensitivities can affect these areas of the body, just as they do many others.

When 104 people who were experiencing sinusitis were surveyed, 89% reported an improvement after removing foods to which they discovered they were sensitive.

Uncovering Food Sensitivities

After reading through the above list of symptoms (which is by no means exhaustive) you may begin to suspect you have a food intolerance.

If this is the case, make sure you rule out other conditions first, and then consider undertaking an elimination diet to pinpoint your trigger foods.