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How to Know Which Foods You Might Be Sensitive To
Are you sensitive or intolerant to certain foods? Not to be confused with having a food allergy, a food intolerance or sensitivity is a reaction to a certain food that does not involve the immune system.
How do you know if you are allergic or sensitive to certain foods? If you are unsure, then it’s important to first visit an allergist to get tested. It’s important to first distinguish if you are experiencing allergic or hyper-sensitive reactions before understanding how you can properly manage the effects of the problem.
Food sensitivity or intolerance can sometimes occur when there is a lack of particular enzymes or chemical to properly digest the food, for example “fructose malabsorption” is a term used to describe when fructose cannot be absorbed correctly by the body. Naturally occurring chemicals in certain foods can also trigger a skin rash and itching of the skin. Any other non-immune reactions could be the possible sign of a food intolerance or sensitivity.
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It is thought that approximately 10% of the population experiences adverse reactions to at least one type of food.
Because food sensitivities vary from one person to another and so it is tricky to give a definitive list of foods you might be sensitive to. However if you are suffering from skin reactions such as itching and rash then it is possible that you are experiencing an adverse reaction to a food that you may have eaten during the past 20 hours.
Determining the source of the problem can be easier said than done. We consume such a variety of food and drink products on a daily basis that trying to narrow down the cause of an adverse reaction can be very frustrating. If you need to really get to the root of your food sensitivities then I highly recommend keeping a daily log of everything you eat and drink, together with notes of possible reactions that you may be experiencing during the course of each day.
As a starting point, you could consider any food or drink you have consumed that contains the following:
Examples: Tea, coffee, cola, chocolate, energy drinks
Examples: Alcohol, bananas, chocolate, eggs, fish, milk, papayas, pineapple, shellfish, strawberries, tomatoes
Examples: Some fruits and vegetables, herbs, coffee, tea, wine, orange juice, apple cider, rum, sherry, licorice, mint-flavored gum, ice cream, gelatin
Examples: Ripe cheeses, fermented meats, wine, dry sausage, sauerkraut, mushrooms, miso and soy sauce, chocolate and yeast
Examples: wine, canned, bottled, or frozen fruit and juices, jams and jellies, vinegar, some salads, yogurt and other processed dairy goods, packaged pasta or rice
I recently followed this advice myself to discover that I have a heightened sensitivity to strawberries. Strawberries release a lot of histamine, a hormone that can provoke skin irritation and inflammation. Sure enough, every time I eat a few strawberries my face and neck gets red and itchy within 1-2 hours of consuming them.
I then found out that being hyper-sensitive to strawberries is actually quite common, particularly in young children. A reaction to strawberries is usually felt by mild to moderate itching of the skin, together with contact dermatitis and sometimes hives. If you experience such a reaction after eating strawberries then try not to scratch the affected area. Use an over the counter anti-histamine cream to help reduce swelling or itching.
Once you’ve discovered the food or foods that you could are sensitive to, watch your future intake and monitor your reaction closely. If you find that your reaction is too severe to handle then you may want to consider eliminating the foods from your diet altogether.
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