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Is food sensitivity causing your migraines?

Food sensitivity or intolerance is more common than ever today. People are eating more foods with chemicals than ever before, and the body is starting to react negatively to it. This is causing many to experience symptoms that they are not relating to the foods they ate, believing they are suffering from an illness caused by something else. Unlike food allergies, sensitivities are not easy to recognise and often go untreated. This is one of the factors playing a role in the rise of food intolerance, making it harder to diagnose and control.

Sensitivity or allergy?

Food sensitivities, unlike allergies, can come and go. When you have a food allergy, it is the immune system that reacts to a specific food and this causes an immediate serious, sometimes life threatening, reaction.

Intolerance for some foods typically causes delayed reactions and at times, what affects you one day may not affect you the next week.

Difficult to diagnose food allergies

A few issues cause difficulty in diagnosing food sensitivities, such as symptoms, reaction changes and testing.

  • Delayed symptoms – Allergic symptoms are immediate. However, with intolerance it can take half an hour, a whole day or even several days for symptoms to present themselves.
  • Varied symptoms – There is no one set of symptoms when it comes to food sensitivity. Aches, nausea, migraines, fatigue, diarrhoea, constipation and even arthritis can be a symptom of food intolerance.
  • Reaction changes – Depending on your health on any certain day, your tolerance for certain foods can change. You may be able to enjoy eggs one day and a few days later end up with a reaction from them. The more run down your body is, the more sensitive it is to certain foods and chemicals.
  • Testing is difficult – Allergy tests do not work for sensitivities. However, a common test is the ELISA test. This blood test will let you know which foods you are sensitive to and how much. But it is not fool proof and false positives as well as negatives can occur, plus the cost can be several hundred pounds.

So what do you do?

The very foods that you crave the most may be the ones causing the problems. So what do you do? You figure out the culprits and make changes.

Keep a journal

Start by keeping a symptoms diary. Record what you have eaten and when and note when symptoms start. Symptoms can be everything from unusually tired to unexplained nausea. Eventually your diary may hold a pattern and clue you in to what is causing the symptoms.

Make it yourself

One of the main causes of food sensitivities is all the chemicals in today’s food. It is easy to pick up ready-made meals and products to throw together for a meal.

When you cook the meals yourself from scratch, you know exactly what the ingredients are and can substitute the ones you are sensitive to for something else.

Before eating out, ring the restaurant and ask if they cater to special diets. The majority of places do today, this saves a lot of disappointment and headaches from going out only to discover you cannot eat anything they serve.

Living with food sensitivities

Despite the rise of food intolerance today, it is still possible to eat well and enjoy your food. If you know what you are intolerant to, pay attention to labels and cut it from your diet for a while. When you cannot figure out what is causing your symptoms, but suspect a certain food sensitivity, visit your GP for advice and ask about testing.

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