Alright, folks, buckle up and let me tell you a story.
This ain’t your regular bedtime tale, oh no, we’re going on an adventurous, and let me tell you, somewhat tumultuous, journey into the wild world of food intolerance and gut health.
Ever had that moment when you’re in a middle of a Netflix marathon, and before you know it, you’re staring at the bottom of an empty ice cream tub?
Yeah, we’ve all been there.
But trust me, there’s more to it than your self-control taking a little vacation.
It’s about those sneaky little troublemakers lurking in your everyday chow, declaring a silent war on your poor, unsuspecting gut.
Sounds like a horror movie, doesn’t it?
You make an effort to eat right and look after yourself!
Only to be betrayed by the very food that should be healthy for your gut.
Food intolerance and gut health!
It’s got that innocent face hiding behind that cool glass of milk or butter-slathered toast, but wait till it hits your stomach – it’s like a ride on the world’s scariest roller coaster for some.
You see, the culprit here is lactose, a sugar in milk that needs an enzyme buddy named lactase to get digested.
But here’s the catch – thanks to our genetic lottery, some of us are short on lactase, leading to lactose intolerance.
How do you spot this baddie?
Well, if your tummy throws a fit worthy of a toddler in a toy store after you’ve indulged in some heavenly vanilla ice cream, you might have a problem.
Bloating, gas, diarrhoea – it’s like a rock concert in your gut.
If you suspect you’re a victim, you could either go full detective mode with a hydrogen breath test or lactose tolerance test, or simply watch how your body reacts after you consume dairy.
And should you discover you are lactose intolerant, don’t sweat it.
A whole new world of lactose-free delights is waiting to welcome you with open arms.
It’s in practically everything, from your much-loved pizza to your everyday sandwich bread.
It’s basically the Kevin Bacon of the food world, always popping up when you least expect it.
This bad boy can make you feel like you’ve been inflated like a party balloon, not to mention gifting you with headaches, fatigue, and even skin issues.
It’s like the gift that keeps on giving, right?
Figuring out if gluten is your mortal enemy could be as simple as a process of elimination, or you could go for gold with a blood test for celiac disease.
And if you do join the ranks of the gluten-intolerant, remember, you’re not alone.
There’s an entire army of gluten-free warriors out there, fully stocked with delicious gluten-free goodies.
Yes, your morning saviour, your wake-up call, can also be the bane of our existence.
Some of you might love its kickstart to your day, but for others, it’s like a turbo-charged, over-caffeinated squirrel wreaking havoc on their system, causing insomnia, heart palpitations, and even digestive issues.
If your morning coffee makes you feel like you’re on a never-ending adrenaline rush, you might want to cut it out and see how you feel.
And don’t worry, my fellow caffeine addicts, decaf is always an option.
Your morning ritual needn’t suffer!
Then we have:
These are chemicals naturally found in a whole bunch of stuff like fruits, veggies, spices, and even honey.
You may not have heard of Salicylic acid, to us mere mortals, it’s called aspirin.
From the bark of a willow tree.
It’s like your body saying,
“Nah, I don’t want to be healthy!”
Your body might react with everything from a runny nose to a dodgy stomach.
Your best shot at diagnosing this is to go on an elimination diet.
And if you’re positive?
You’d better get used to peeling your fruits and cooking your veggies since these sneaky chemicals are usually in the skin of fruits and raw veggies.
These are the amines found in foods like fermented cheeses, wines, chocolate and cured meats. (I know, right? Chocolate, the sweet traitor!)
High levels of these guys can cause a laundry list of unpleasant symptoms, including migraines, excessive sweating, rashes, and irritable bowel issues.
Figuring out if you’re intolerant to amines will require a bit of detective work, so dust off your food diary and try an elimination diet.
And if you find them guilty, it’s best to stick to fresh, unprocessed foods.
Sadly, it might mean bidding adieu to your favourite aged cheddar!
The next suspect in our identity parade is:
A weird acronym that sounds more like a Star Trek alien race, are found in a bunch of foods like beans, apples, and wheat
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols!
Bet you didn’t want to know that…
They are carbohydrates that can resist digestion. (To you and me)
Unlike the Borg, of course, where resistance is futile! (Apologies for the Star Trek reference)
They can make you feel like you’ve been blowing up like a balloon, giving you stomach cramps and other irritable bowel symptoms.
Diagnosing this intolerance might require you to go on a strict low FODMAP diet, of course, with some professional guidance.
And if you do turn out to be FODMAP intolerant, well, I hate to break it to you, but you might have to say bye-bye to your favourite onion and garlic dishes.
Not an ancient civilisation from the Indus Valley!
Sulphites are commonly found in dried fruits, wine, and processed foods.
These are often added to foods as preservatives but can make sensitive folks break out in a rash or even have trouble breathing.
A controlled food challenge or a look at your history of reactions could help your doctor diagnose Sulphite sensitivity.
You’re going to have to get into the habit of reading labels and might have to ditch that romantic notion of sipping on a glass of aged wine.
Fructose is the sweet stuff found in honey, high-fructose corn syrup, and a bunch of fruits.
For the fructose intolerant, this sugary delight can result in symptoms that feel a lot like IBS.
A hydrogen breath test can help identify fructose malabsorption.
If you’re positive, brace yourself for a low-fructose diet and bid a tearful goodbye to your sweet delights.
And there we have it, folks, a whistle-stop tour of the most wanted culprits that could be messing with your gut.
But remember, this ain’t a game of Cluedo.
Don’t try to play detective on your own.
Always seek professional advice.
Because, let’s face it, everyone deserves to chow down without their gut going into full-on rebellion mode!
Food intolerance and gut health can go together!