Symptoms of food intolerance or food sensitivity can include waking in the morning feeling tired and irritable, increased fatigue during the day and a need for an afternoon nap. Another common symptom of food sensitivity is a feeling of fullness, bloating or discomfort. Food intolerances may also lead to loose bowels or flatulence.
Symptoms of food allergy are increasingly common. You may experience some or all of the following symptoms:
For more information on intolerance, go to http://wheatintolerancesymptoms.net/
Displaying any or all of the symptoms does not necessarily mean you are allergic to certain food stuffs – there are various other reasons why they can have an effect on bowels, for instance some because they contain a stimulant, others because they are hard to digest. Coffee, fizzy drinks, chocolate, cakes, biscuits and puddings, and spicy foods can all be to blame, but do you no harm when consumed earlier in the day.
Your body may have only a slight sensitivity or intolerance to some foods, which is not quite the same as an allergy. Where food allergy testing is not conclusive, digestive problems can nonetheless be caused by eating a food that your body may be only a little allergic to; the most frequent foods that cause this are chocolate, wheat, corn and dairy.
Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye and other grains, is known to cause irritation of the gut and inflammation of the ultra-sensitive lining of intestines. Our ancestors only added grains to their diet of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds and animal protein around 10,000 years ago, and many evolutionary biologists now believe that this is not long enough for our digestive systems to have evolved to cope with eating them.
The majority of us are able to cope with some wheat occasionally, but our western diet is largely based on wheat and grains, often consumed with every single meal: we breakfast on wheat-based cereals; we may have sandwiches at lunchtime and often eat pasta in the evenings. Also, many processed foods have added hidden wheat or gluten, such as soups and beer.
Coeliac disease is a serious autoimmune disease where eating gluten damages the lining of the small intestine. Other parts of the body may be affected. Symptoms can range from very mild to severe, and are extremely varied. Check them out at http://www.coeliac.org.uk/coeliac-disease/what-is-coeliac-disease
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) can also cause restlessness and insomnia. MSG is a stimulant used as a preservative and found in many seasonings as a flavour enhancer, particularly in Oriental cuisine, because it balances, blends and rounds the total perception of other tastes. So you might find your favourite Chinese takeaway a very common cause of insomnia because there is a high level of MSG stimulant used to give the food that familiar flavour.
Hard to digest foods, especially those that cause flatulence, should be avoided later in the day, certainly during the four hours before you want to sleep. These foods include broccoli, beans, cabbage, cucumber and garlic.
Foods containing high levels of artificial chemicals that require your digestive tract to work harder, such as preservatives or even pesticides, can also cause food intolerance.
If you suspect that you have a food intolerance or sensitivity, try keeping a chart of what you eat and your specific symptoms, to see if there is a pattern of foods, timing of meals or drinks that trigger your symptoms.Wheat intolerance symptoms may not show up for as long as 2 days after consumption, which can make the connection very difficult to spot.
If you want confirmation of your intolerance and advice on managing it, at the South West Sleep Clinic we test for allergies using the latest specific IgE blood tests for a wide range of groups of foodstuffs and specific component testing to look for patterns of cross reactivity: Read more at Allergy Testing.
Once you think you have recognised your allergy or sensitivity, try to steer clear of the foods that cause it. Get into the habit of reading the labels and think carefully before eating or drinking.
If you have gluten or wheat intolerance the following foods should be avoided:
Not every label will clearly state the presence of gluten or wheat, but will use other terms. Watch out for:
By learning to avoid wheat containing products and enjoy the alternatives, you can have a normal and healthy life.
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