Finding your food culprits

Eating foods that our body doesn’t want or need can trigger a memorable reaction, whether that’s bloating, a skin flare up, swelling, breathing issues or something worse! It could be down to a food intolerance or a food allergy, the latter can obviously be life threatening.

We live in a pill-popping culture

Reported cases of food hypersensitivity are on the rise so it’s important to know if you have any, if you want to strive for optimal health. This doesn’t mean it has to be a complicated and expensive process. You can do it yourself at home with a few simple guidelines. The key is to be focused and systematic in your approach, working through a process of elimination.

food  hypersensitivity  is  on  the  rise  so  it’s  important  to  know  if  you  have  any,  if you  want  optimal  health

Here are five steps to finding your food culprits:

1/ Keep a diary
• Note how you feel at the same time every day, starting when you get up and after each meal
• Look for any similarities and trends between foods and times of the day

2/ Build a shortlist
• Identify which foods are common to the symptoms you’re experiencing (such as tiredness, losing losing focus, bloating or mucous in the throat after eating)
• Cross-refer symptoms with external factors like stress and sleep to identify any patterns

3/ Test your sensitivity
• On your shortlist of potential problem foods, measure your pulse or blood pressure before and after eating that food item at set time intervals. Always sit down when you’re doing that
• For the pulse if it increases (by six points or more) after you’ve eaten the food item you may be sensitive to it. If not, you can remove it from your shortlist

4/ Monitor your food suspects
• Monitor the reaction of each of the foods remaining on your shortlist for 3-4 days each
• If there isn’t a consistent pattern of reaction, remove that food item from your final food list and repeat this exercise for the next food item

5/ Take a food break
• Eliminate all the foods on your final list that you suspect are causing you issue from your diet for two weeks and monitor your symptoms
• Then reintroduce them one-by-one every 4-5 days if the reaction is mild or 1-3 months if the reaction is more acute. This will help your body increase its tolerant for those food culprits

Test guides

If the issue with the identified food culprit is related to protein, the issue could be that your level of stomach acid is low, thereby reducing the efficiency of your digestion. You can easily test this yourself using bicarbonate of soda! Of course the issue could be something else (for example insufficient digestive juices produced by your pancreas) and so that’s the time to talk to an expert.

You can use a number of templates to help you with this food hypersensitivity test process and you can access those and the stomach acid test guide here [LINK]

If you’re still in doubt after going through this exercise, feel further investigation is required or need the support of an expert, a registered nutritional therapist can help you identify any food intolerance or allergies you may have and subsequent advice.

This self-care health hack is from Superfied expert nutritional therapist Beata Rachowiecka

To find out more, read our ‘Rethink your wellbeing’ guide