It’s true that in general, the symptoms of food intolerance are not quite as serious as the symptoms of a true food allergy. Food intolerance isn’t life-threatening at all. Nonetheless, it’s still a very serious problem. When you experience the symptoms of food intolerance, you really don’t feel well and this feeling of ill health can affect your work and your social life. Fortunately, there are measures you can take for coping with food intolerances.
1. Know the symptoms of food intolerance. Although people may react differently, a gut problem such as bloating, diarrhea, or constipation is very common. Skin problems may also occur, and you may feel a vague sense of lethargy and brain fog.
2. Keep a food diary with exact and specific descriptions of the food you eat and the exact time of the day when you eat. Your diary entries should note the label directions of the food you eat. You should also note the time when the symptoms of food intolerance appear.
3. To deal with the problem, you should go to your doctor when you experience the symptoms. If you’re lactose intolerant, your GP can find out. Your doctor may also refer you to a dietitian if you have another type of food intolerance. You may also not be able to tolerate several different types of food ingredients.
4. You then may want to eliminate the most common food items that food intolerant people can’t deal with properly. These can include:
- Milk or lactose
- Grains that contain gluten, including wheat, barley, and rye
- Any type of citrus food
- Monosodium glutamate
- Histamine and salicylates that may be found in chocolates, strawberries, and ripe cheese
- Food additives which may be found in processed meats and in wine and fruit drinks.
5. You can then try to figure out which food items listed in your food diary were eaten a few hours or a few days before the symptoms appear. Sometimes these food items are very obvious, but a dietitian may be needed to identify them all.
6. You can then eliminate food items from your diet to see if whether the symptoms still appear or not. Then you can add a single item back to your diet, so you can pinpoint the food items you don’t tolerate. If you add a food item back to your diet and you don’t get any symptoms, then that particular food item isn’t a problem.
7. You may also want to introduce back the possible offending food items into your diet slowly. That’s because the amount of the item you eat or drink is a factor in whether you show symptoms of food intolerance or not.
8. Some people who may intolerant of food items may be fine with the food item if they only consume these foods infrequently. For example, you may not tolerate chocolate when you eat it every day, but you may find that it’s okay when you only eat once a week. People with caffeine intolerance may be fine with a single cup of coffee once a day.
With these tips, you may be able to stop getting all the symptoms of food intolerance. What’s more, you may even be able to enjoy smaller amounts of the offending food. You may not have to give them all up for the rest of your life.