What Is Food Sensitivity?

Posted by Keelie on April 29th, 2021

Are there certain foods you used to enjoy and consume regularly, but as you grow older, they suddenly no longer agree with you? Do you experience some bloating, cramps, and pain that can vary and come and go for no apparent reason? If so, this could mean you have a food sensitivity, something that is common as people age.

What Does Food Sensitivity Mean?

Many people confuse being sensitive to a particular food as having an allergy to that food. While the conditions share many of the same symptoms, they are different.

Food Sensitivity

When you are food sensitive, you have an adverse physical response to certain foods, beverages, or even an ingredient. These symptoms could be digestive problems such as cramps, bloating and abdominal pain, and gas. Other symptoms could include fatigue, brain fog, and even headaches. 

Food Intolerance

An intolerance to a particular food means that you lack the enzymes needed to break down and absorb certain ingredients. The inability to digest lactose is ubiquitous. Some symptoms are food intolerance include gas, bloating, nausea, and pain.

Food Allergy

Food allergies are the most serious of these conditions and occur when the body mistakes a food ingredient as harmful and defends itself. Sometimes a food allergy can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Common food allergies include shellfish, nuts, eggs, and fish. A person with a food allergy can experience the same symptoms as sensitivity and intolerance but may also have hives, shortness of breath, and throat swelling.

How to Manage Food Sensitivity

There are some ways you can manage food sensitivity and also keep your digestive system healthy. The first step is to identify your problem foods. You probably have a good idea which foods cause you trouble, but a combination of foods and ingredients could also cause your sensitivity.

The best approach to manage your food sensitivity is to try a short-term elimination diet. This works by eliminating a particular food for 2-4 weeks and see if your symptoms get better. Then you can gradually reintroduce the food and see if your symptoms start up again. Elimination diets are very trial and error, so do not get discouraged. You may have to try different amounts of the food and other foods until you find the right combination that affects you.

When To Consult a Professional

If you are trying an elimination diet and not seeing any changes, it may be time to consult your healthcare provider. They may request that you visit a dietician or a nutritionist who can help you; they can also make sure you do not cut out foods necessary for your diet for proper vitamins and nutrients. Once you have identified your problem foods, they can help you adjust portions and eating habits.

If you have a food sensitivity problem, it does not mean you have to give up the foods you enjoy. However, you should address the problem and change your diet and make eating more pleasurable and maintain a healthy diet in the process. Remember to talk to a health care provider about your digestive health.  

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