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Food sensitivities


If some foods make you run, not walk, to the nearest bathroom, you might be experiencing a food sensitivity. Unfortunately, even when you love a food, your body gets ultimate veto power…and it will be sure to let you know when you’ve eaten something that’s not right for you. Food sensitivities can be their own health problem, or they can be a symptom of something else. There are a number of different types of sensitivities. In some cases, people experience a food “allergy” (which is common with peanuts or seafood). In other cases, like lactose intolerance, the body lacks the necessary enzymes to break down certain proteins in food. If you have a food sensitivity, you’re probably not talking about how “sensitive” your stomach is; you’re more likely to say, “Wow, I feel sick,” because that’s the reality! GI-related symptoms can include nausea, cramping, gas, bloating, and headaches after eating. These symptoms can indicate a bunch of underlying health issues, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); sensitivity to chemicals and food additives (think sulfites, MSG, gluten, histamines, food dyes, and preservatives); chronic stress, anxiety, or another psychological issue; celiac disease; or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In some cases food sensitivities contribute to non-GI complaints, including eczema, asthma, acne, headaches, and fatigue. Meanwhile, you can start feeling better ASAP by keeping a detailed food and symptom diary for at least one week (and make sure you write down everything—that’s key!). This can help you identify and eliminate the foods that are bothering you most. You might also want to try a restrictive diet, such as an elimination diet or the low FODMAP diet (check it out in the WanaLibrary!). There are also over-the-counter and home remedy options to consider. Some people say drugstore products like Lactaid (lactase) and antacids work for them. You can also try sipping ginger or mint tea, or a little baking soda mixed with water to settle your stomach. (If you’re keeping a diary, it’s good to keep track of the remedies you’re using, too!) Food sensitivities can be delayed and confusing! It’s worth repeating that persistent food sensitivities warrant a consult with an expert health practitioner because it’s possible your symptoms indicate an underlying condition. Even if your food sensitivities aren’t linked to a larger issue, a practitioner can often give you advice on how to manage the pesky symptoms…and get back to enjoying food again!

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People on Wana with Food sensitivities
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