Answer: Avoid foods you are intolerant of.
A huge proportion of your immune system is in your gut. If you consume foods you are intolerant of, it causes your immune system to react and attack. This immune response leads to inflammation in your digestive tract.
This inflammation is bad news because it can spread to your ENTIRE body. To help you understand how far-reaching gut inflammation can be, consider this: the inflammation from your gut can affect your brain and cause symptoms like anxiety, brain fog, and even depression.
Inflammation in your gut can also be the culprit behind these common symptoms:
Female hormone imbalances that lead to PMS, fatigue, irritability, bloating, irregular cycle, hot flashes, and low libido.
Male hormone imbalances that lead to fatigue, low libido, erectile dysfunction, muscle loss, and poor memory
Avoiding foods you are intolerant of can stop this cycle of immune reaction, inflammation, and unpleasant symptoms.
“Even if you don’t have digestive symptoms after consuming a food, you could still be intolerant to it.”
How do you know WHICH foods you are intolerant of?
The tricky part is that some foods produce a not-so-obvious inflammatory response. This makes it hard to associate a particular food with a symptom you may be experiencing.
Even if you don’t have digestive symptoms after consuming a food, you could still be intolerant to it.
A food intolerance can also trigger non-digestive symptoms (see image below) which can make it hard to pinpoint. What adds to the confusion is that symptoms may occur several hours or even days AFTER consuming the offending food.
Avoiding foods you are intolerant of can improve your quality of life
For years I had constantly plugged ears and muffled hearing. Before undertaking my studies in Natural Nutrition, I never thought there could be a connection between what I ate and the state of my hearing. When I eliminated milk products from my diet, my hearing returned to normal!
Challenging common inflammatory foods
The great news is, you don’t need a test to sort out food intolerances!
All you have to do is eliminate common food allergens from your diet for a period, then reintroduce them one at a time and note any reaction. In the nutrition world, they call this an elimination diet.
This is exactly what led me to discover milk was a big no no for me. When I reintroduced it after a month, my immune system let me know loud and clear it wasn’t happy. The next day, I developed a sore throat and became very congested. It was obvious I needed to give milk the boot!
Each of us has a different set of food our body treats as inflammatory.
To determine the ideal diet for you, figure out which foods are inflammatory for your body and which ones are not by doing an elimination diet.
“Each of us has a different set of foods our body treats as inflammatory”
Here’s a list of common inflammatory foods to get you started.
It may come as a surprise to some that certain common inflammatory foods are also health-giving foods.
How do we reconcile that some foods can be inflammatory AND health-giving?
The answer lies in our immune system. Depending on one’s early life and environment (antibacterial soaps, antibiotics, no exposure to dirt), some immune systems have less “training” and are more quick to react than others.
Some proteins and compounds in healthy foods can trigger these “quick to react” immune systems. If a particular food triggers your immune system, no matter how “healthy” it is, it is not healthy for YOU.
If you’ve been having unexplained symptoms and you want to find the ROOT CAUSE, I encourage you to eliminate and then challenge common inflammatory foods. Your immune system might be at play.
I’ve uncovered my food intolerances, now what?
After some experimentation, if you discover you are intolerant to a food, don’t worry! It doesn’t mean you won’t be able to enjoy it ever again. As you work to lower the inflammation in your body, your immune system will calm down and your gut will heal. Overtime, you’ll find that you will tolerate more foods! You should always reintroduce offending foods every 4-6 months to see if your reaction has changed.