Got that post-Christmas feeling?

Many of my patients come into the clinic at this time of year complaining of lethargy and an increase in various symptoms. These worsening of symptoms are often due to our over-indulges in all the Christmas festivities and adverse food reactions.

Adverse food reactions can express themselves in people in various ways. Anything to skin complaints, increased mucus, bloating, above average flatulence, joint/body pain, lethargy, depression/anxiety; the list goes on. In fact, adverse food reactions are often overlooked as contributors to many of our chronic health problems. An unhappy gut can be caused by many things e.g. antibiotics to name one. But, can also be due to a poor diet OR a diet that is just not right for you.

Adverse food reactions can be broken down into 3 categories: allergies, sensitivities and intolerances.

Allergies
  • A true food allergy is something you can’t miss as the symptoms start immediately after the food was eaten.
  • Symptoms can range from mild discomfort to full on, life endangering severity. These may include a rash, swollen or itchy tongue, runny nose, hives, abdominal pain, vomiting, difficulty breathing, coughing, wheezing, or at it’s worst, a closed airway.
  • People are commonly allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, milk, fish and shellfish. However, bodies don’t read text books and therefore in reality many other foods can also trigger allergic reactions. Everyone is unique.
Intolerances
  • These are non-immune reactions to components in food. This occurs due to a lack of digestive enzymes or nutrient e.g lactose, histamines, alcohol; incapacitating a body’s ability to breakdown or digest specific foods.
  • The symptoms of these reactions can be flushing, cold or flu-like symptoms, inflammation or general discomfort.
  • Common trigger foods and ingredients include dairy products, sulphites, histamines, lectins, preservatives, artificial colours, fillers, flavourings, chocolate, citrus fruits and acidic foods.
Sensitivities
  • Sensitivity reactions are delayed by hours or even days and usually cause an imbalance in the gastrointestinal system which then effects the immune system, e.g. leaky gut syndrome.
  • Symptoms vary from person to person and can include: migraines, headaches, dizziness, poor sleep, mood swings, depression, anxiety, unintentional weight loss or gain, dark under eye circles, asthma, irregular heartbeat, irritable bowels, bloating, wheezing, runny nose, sinus issues, ear infections, food cravings, muscle/joint pain, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, bladder control problems, fatigue, hyperactivity, hives, rashes, dry skin, excessive sweating and skin irritations/acne.
  • Common food sources that illicit these reactions are dairy (cow’s milk, cheeses etc), eggs, gluten (from wheat, rye, spelt and barley), soy, shellfish and tree nuts.

Most people will already know if they have a food allergy and avoid that food. However, it is the food intolerances and sensitivities that are missed or over-looked as not important! These then can lead to many health issues and poor quality of life.

If you suspect you have either a food intolerance or sensitivity (let’s face it, who hasn’t?) and would like help in identifying the food source to eliminate it from your diet, there by improving your general health and quality of life, then give us a call to book your functional medicine appointment.

Written by Anne French, Chiropractor, Functional Medicine Practitioner.