Food intolerances can be classified as foods that one’s body does not react well to and each person has specific foods they might be intolerant to. In order to best maintain your digestive system and to minimize unpleasant issues such as bloating, constipation, and an upset stomach, you must understand your own body and how it might react to certain substances. It is important to keep in mind that food intolerances and other digestive issues are different even though they both contribute to similar symptoms. This is why it is essential to understand how to identify potential food intolerances in order to best identify the ways in which you can minimize unpleasant symptoms.
Most Common Food Intolerances That People Have
Food intolerances occur when your body finds it hard to break down the molecules of the substance you are digesting. They are different from food allergies, because food allergies tend to have symptoms that can be identified all over the body rather than just through digestive issues. The three most common food intolerances that are found in people are intolerance to lactose and gluten. Since gluten and lactose are the pillars to many foods including bread, milk, and other dairy products, it can be hard to realize it is even affecting you since it is such a vital part of many people’s diets.
Lactose is the main carbohydrate found in dairy products, and an intolerance to lactose is rooted in the body's inability to break down the carbohydrate. The enzyme called lactase is needed to break down the lactose once it enters your body, so if you tend to have lower amounts of lactase in your system this is where the intolerance emerges. A reduced production of lactase can occur and develop at any point within someone’s lifespan which is why it is essential to keep an eye on the way your body reacts to certain substances as you age.
Diarrhea is one of the most common symptoms accompanied by an intolerance to lactose, because the undigested lactose causes more water to move into your digestive tract. Some risk factors that might contribute to being lactose intolerant are your family history and a medical history with other digestive issues.
Gluten is a protein that is found in an array of food, and if left unmonitored can cause abdominal pain and severe bloating. It is important to note that a gluten intolerance is different from celiac disease, because celiac disease causes intestinal damage whereas an intolerance simply causes digestive issues. Gluten is the protein that helps to bind together foods and make them texturized, and can be found not only in foods such as bread, cereal, beer, and pastas, but also seasonings. If you are uncertain whether or not something contains gluten it is always best to check in order to avoid it if you are experiencing symptoms of gluten intolerance.
How To Track and Identify Food Intolerances
While there are tests out there that claim they can identify food intolerances you might have, they are not always accurate or reliable. The best way to track whether or not your body is intolerant to certain foods is by keeping track of the foods you eat and the way your body reacts. As always, it is essential to stay in contact with your doctors about any unpleasant symptoms you might be experiencing, and understanding how your body reacts will only increase their understanding of how to best help you.
Keeping a food diary is a great eating habit to incorporate into your day to day routine. A food diary consists of logging what you eat within a day and how it made you feel in terms of your digestive tract. It is also important to note the bowel movements that occur with each meal, as signs of constipation or diarrhea are signals that something is not right.
After a while of logging your meals and symptoms, it might be time to identify the foods that have a track record of making your stomach feel upset. Once you identify this food or drink, you can work to eliminate it from your diet to see if this successfully eliminates your adverse symptoms. It is recommended that you wait around 3-5 weeks to see the true changes within your digestive system. If you are still uncertain after the 3-5 weeks if that was truly the food causing your symptoms, you can choose to work it back into your routine to see if any changes occur. As tedious as the trial and error of this might sound, it can be very beneficial for your digestive tract and overall health in the end.
Once you have successfully identified the foods that do not make your body feel pleasant, a great way of ensuring you keep it out of your meals is by structuring a meal plan filled with digestive-friendly foods. This will help to keep you right on track, and your stomach will thank you for it. On top of getting to know your body better, there are some added tips and tricks that can help you achieve a stable digestive system.