We have all heard of food allergies. Think of the kids that have to go to school with an epi-pen because a mere sniff of a peanut can cause a life threatening allergic reaction. But have you heard of a food intolerance?
There are many foods and food groups that can cause these intolerances. From lactose intolerances to caffeine aversions, FODMAP issues to soy sensitivities. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and must be totally avoided by individuals who have coeliac disease. However, you can have a gluten sensitivity even if you don't have coeliac disease which means you might suffer from annoying stomach symptoms such as cramping and bloating along with other health issues such as anxiety and/or depression, headaches and joint pain after eating gluten containing foods.
Salicylates are another example of a group of foods that can cause a food intolerance. Salicylates actually have anti-inflammatory properties and are found in a wide range of foods including fruits, vegetables, teas, coffee, spices, nuts and honey. Usually salicylates are good for us but for some they cause symptoms such as gut inflammation, diarrhoea, hives and even respiratory symptoms like a stuffy nose, sinus infections or asthma.
Whereas very small traces of a food might trigger an allergic reaction, the reaction by an individual with a food intolerance is varied and even large amounts of the responsible food may be tolerated before a response eventuates.
Although food intolerances do not cause the life threatening situations of a food allergy they can nevertheless impact your health and quality of life.
Seek help from a health professional if you have any concerns.
Food intolerances are not the same as a food allergy, although some of the symptoms may be similar. Intolerances are tricky to diagnose because symptoms can appear from one up to 48 hours after eating the problematic food with effects lasting for hours or even days. And whilst symptoms often involve the stomach such as gas, abdominal pain, nausea or diarrhoea, other symptoms might include migraines, rashes and fatigue - manifestations which are not readily attributed to ingestion of a certain food.