If you’ve got heartburn for the ninth time in the last three days, you’ve got to know something is up with your gut. Many people can’t tolerate spicy foods, but if you already avoid spicy food, what else could it be? Have you thought about food intolerances?
Food Intolerance vs. Food Allergy
First, don’t confuse food intolerance for a food allergy. To diagnose a food allergy, you generally need a blood or skin prick test, whereas with food intolerances you can generally figure it out with an elimination diet or a Pinnertest. Additionally, food allergies come on rapidly and can be life-threatening. If what you’re experiencing is primarily uncomfortable, but survivable, then it’s probably an intolerance.
Second, recognize the symptoms of food intolerance. As mentioned above, heartburn and indigestion are common symptoms. You may also experience nausea, bloating, belching, excessive flatulence, fatigue, headaches and abdominal pain. Other symptoms are less common such as rashes or a runny nose.
Elimination Diet vs. Blood Test
Lastly, if you want to see if you have a food intolerance, try an elimination diet. Common irritants are things like dairy and caffeine. More information is coming out about certain carbs called FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols) that can also trigger digestive issues in people with a susceptibility to them. There are several elimination diets out there and you can find a lot of information on the internet about them, however, check with your physician first before trying any of these diets. A doctor may have a preferred diet or can at least help guide you through the process.
Elimination diets are hard work and so the option to take a blood test (whether at home or in an office) to check intolerances is becoming more appealing and available. As DNA sampling becomes more and more advanced, so too will the tests checking what foods can and will work against you.