Adverse food reactions are frequently overlooked as a contributor to chronic health issues. Many people who experience adverse food reactions don’t realize how badly they feel, or that particular foods are the cause, until the foods that trigger a reaction are removed from the diet. Such reactions can trigger mental, emotional, and physical symptoms, making them difficult to diagnose. Understanding common symptoms of these reactions is an important step in the healing process. The following table lists symptoms and conditions that can be associated with adverse food reactions.
Area of the Body Possible Symptoms and Associated Conditions
Brain and Head
- Behavioral disorders, psychiatric disorders (which may include inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity,defiance, anxiety, depression, disordered eating, etc.)
- Dizziness, lightheadedness n Feeling faint n Headaches
- Loss of consciousness
- Mood swings
Mouth, Nose, Throat, and Chest
- Constriction and tightening of airways
- Persistent cough
- Rapid heartbeat
- Respiratory problems
- Runny nose or nasal congestion
- Sensation of a lump in the throat, making it difficult to breathe
- Sneezing n Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat (or other parts of the body)
- Tingling or itching in the mouth
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
- Diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
- Infertility, irregular periods
- Stomach pain, cramps
- Swelling, distention, bloating
Limbs, Hands, and Feet
- Weakness, numbness, pain
- Weak pulse
- Hives, rash, itching, or eczema
- Pale or blue coloring of the skin
Discovering which foods trigger your specific symptoms can be a frustrating process, but the knowledge gained will be beneficial to your overall health in the long run. While people can experience adverse reactions to many different foods, most reactions are caused by corn, eggs, fish, histamines, milk (and other dairy products), peanuts, red meats, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, wheat, and yeast.
Because the eight foods listed above are often used as ingredients in processed foods, it’s important to also eliminate foods that contain them. Processed foods containing one of the eight foods listed above are required to meet specific labeling requirements in the U.S. Thus, it’s important to read labels while eliminating known or suspected food triggers and to eat a minimal of processed food as possible.
Also remember that these foods aren’t the only things to remove when avoiding trigger foods. Many other foods contain ingredients that are processed using the same equipment as common trigger foods. If those foods are contaminated during processing, they may also cause an adverse food reaction. Additionally, some cosmetics and personal care products also contain trigger foods as ingredients, and may also result in symptoms. To avoid an unexpected reaction, take care to read all labels thoroughly.
At Natural Health Associates, we can work to identifying your unique trigger foods. This can be completed in several different ways and the best method is based on your health history and current clinical presentation. Dr. Kim Bruno, our NHA functional nutritionist, may recommend a blood test for food sensitivities or may recommend a comprehensive elimination diet followed by a rotation diet to test for triggers. If you think foods may be negatively affecting you it is a good idea to meet with Dr. Brunoto determine if identifying these food triggers would be a helpful course of action for you to achieve optimal health.
Visit the Colorado Center of Health and Nutrition website for more information about integrative nutrition and functional healthcare, along with links to patient forms and other information.