You know the feeling – your digestion is off – heartburn, stomach pain, bloating and gas. Could it be a food intolerance? So you decide to go off the food for six weeks, but nothing changes.
Then you get tested for food intolerances. The report comes back that you should stop eating 10 or 15 different foods?
So what’s going on and how can I become intolerant to something I have eaten all my life?
The first thing I should say here – we are all different. So some people can eat the same food all of their life with no ill effects. Others are not so fortunate. When you eat one thing all the time, or even binge on one type of food, you tax your system and an inflammatory action can occur.
Similarly, as you age you produce less stomach acid, slowing digestion and making heavy meals harder to process. When this happens the food is not digested as it should be and it ferments. This is what can cause acid build-up, bloating and gas and ultimately inflammation.
What’s the solution?
Remove the cause of inflammation
Well first of all you need to remove the offending foods for a period of time. If you remove the food, the inflammation trigger is removed. However, it is important to remember that the inflammation is still there, even though the food is removed. Hence your feeling that you are no better.
Heal the Gut
Secondly you need to heal the gut and reduce the inflammation. There are many herbs that can help with this, such as mallow, meadowsweet, aloe vera and so on.
Support the liver
At the same time you need to improve liver function to encourage the gall bladder to produce bile and the pancreas, pancreatic juices. Bitters are important so bitter herbs and foods such as rocket salad can help as can cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage and kale. Beetroot is also a great liver food.
You also need to look at the stress in your life as stressful situations cause the stomach to stop digesting – why would you need to digest if you are fleeing for your life! Try to eat mindfully, chewing carefully. Digestion begins in the mouth. If you swallow your food, the stomach has a much harder job as the first part of the process is not complete.
Build the gut with supportive bacteria
Finally, you need to build the gut back up again. An inflamed condition will have allowed a bacterial and possibly fungal imbalance, so fermented foods (which are prebiotic) and a good probiotic are also important.
You still need to stay off the food for six weeks. Try at that stage to reintroduce. If you have a very negative reaction go off it for three months. Many people find once the gut has healed they can tolerate the food occasionally.
The important thing is not to keep narrowing your diet, without addressing your gut health. This will only cause more problems in the future as further intolerances develop.
Talk to us for an individualised approach
Gut health is important, but it relates to a number of factors – what you eat, how you eat it, what you drink, your level of stress and of course your friendly bacteria. For your own individualised formula please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.