Many of us, at some point, heard the pronouncement from a medical doctor or nutritionist specializing in food sensitivities: you have an allergic reaction. It’s often to a food we like – wheat, corn, cheese, or perhaps something else. And when we hear that there’s always that underlying question that almost never gets asked: will I have this for the rest of my life?
Allergic reactions and food sensitivities are strange things – they can show up seemingly out of nowhere. Typically when you get a reaction you’re told to avoid what you react to and that’s the end of the discussion. But reactions like these can also go away too. Whether or not they do depends on the health of your GI tract and your genes. Some hereditary sensitivities, like Celiac disease, will never go away. For the rest of us though, taking steps to heal our gut can eliminate food sensitivities and allow us to reintroduce challenging foods into our diet. So here are some healing steps you can take:
- Avoid problem foods. Elimination diets (removing foods that cause allergic reactions) are the standard first step for identifying and dealing with food sensitivities. But even if you know you have a sensitivity, don’t skip this step. Eliminating problem foods allows inflammation to subside so the gut lining can heal & repair itself. If you keep eating foods that cause you problems you cheat your gut of its ability to heal. After a few months you can try and reintroduce them again.
- Eat good probiotics & prebiotics. Probiotics are healthy gut bacteria. You can find these in fermented foods or in supplement form. They help restore healthy gut flora, and that cuts down on bloating, cramping, or variability in bowel movements. Prebiotics are the things that probiotics eat. These are various forms of fiber found in vegetables.
- Take care of other parts of your health. Factors in your lifestyle are very important for gut health too. Make sure that you are sleeping well and have your stress levels managed as best as you can. If either of these are off you have a much greater chance of digestive problems, including food sensitivities, and will get less benefit from the healing steps listed above.
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