Warning Signs that Say You Need to Change What You Eat

The choices you make about the foods you eat may be doing far more than adding a few pounds to your hips each year. From irritated bowels and mild allergic reactions to constant exhaustion and lack of sleep, your food choices may be affecting your health in a variety of ways. In some cases, the cause may be simple vitamin deficiencies, and in others, allergies. Either way, adjusting your diet in the right way can do wonders for your well-being. 

Boost brain power

If you find yourself becoming increasingly forgetful, your diet could be to blame. Although the brain makes up only a tiny percentage of the total weight of your body, it utilizes more than 20 per cent of all the energy you consume. Poor quality sustenance such as junk food or highly processed meals, will eventually impair your ability to concentrate.

Studies show that eating more blueberries, ensuring you never skip breakfast, eating more oily fish, and drinking the occasional cup of coffee, all offer benefits to your cognitive functions. Studies also suggest that moderate consumption of alcohol can reduce your risk of developing dementia.

Fire up your immune system

Eat a diet that is low in vitamins A, B6, C and the mineral zinc, and your immune system will soon start to suffer. If you feel as though you catch every cold that is going around, both in and out of flu season, then you may need to adjust your diet. Foods that are rich sources of everything needed to boost your immunity include beef, liver, eggs, and shellfish, but some people avoid them due to the mistaken belief that they are unhealthy.

The same goes with fats, some of which are essential to produce the compounds that help to regulate the immune system. While saturated fats from animal products can reduce the ability of white blood cells to tackle bacteria, healthy fats such as olive oil will actually boost your immune system.

Banish back pain

If you are one of the many people who suffer from debilitating back pain, there may be an easy fix you are overlooking. If you have a sweet tooth and like to snack on processed sugary treats, you may be doing your spine some unexpected damage. Such treats do not contain the minerals that help fortify bones and can in fact cause our stores of calcium to leach out.

Another factor, often linked to a high consumption of sugar, is excess weight. The extra pressure placed on the spine can be a significant contributing factor to a host of problems. Losing as little as 15 per cent of excess weight, along with making the necessary changes in diet, can help to alleviate many of the issues and may even cancel out the need for surgery in the most severe cases.

Beat bowel issues

Sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome may experience a range of symptoms including cramps and severe abdominal pain. Certain foods may help but everyone is different so what works for one person might not necessarily work for another, in which case you can also try dietary supplements aimed at reducing the symptoms. You can learn more about them here.

If your IBS is being triggered by certain foods, you can try to identify them by following an elimination diet. Four of the most common culprits are chocolate, nuts, coffee, and foods containing insoluble fiber, but it's best to eliminate any food you suspect of being problematic from your diet. Cut out one of the foods completely with no exceptions for a period of 12 weeks at a time. Keep a note of your symptoms during this time to see if there is any change, and over the period of a few months you should be able to remove many of the key foods linked to your condition.

Tackle histamine intolerance

Do you sometimes get headaches for no reason? Or suffer from anxiety attacks? Does your face turn bright red when you drink red wine, or does your tongue itch and nose run when you eat avocados or bananas? If the answer is yes, you could be suffering from a histamine intolerance.

Increasing your consumption of onions, which contain a natural antihistamine called quercetin, can improve your tolerance. Pomegranates can help to ease the symptoms of allergies and have an anti-inflammatory action, while olive oil is a great source of oleic acid, which can boost your level of diamine oxidase, the main enzyme in the gut responsible to breaking down histamine. If you suffer from an intolerance to histamine, it's likely your levels of diamine oxidase are low. As well as watching what you eat, you should also keep a close eye on your stress levels. The more stressed you are, the more histamine your cells will release into your system, potentially eliminating any reductions you have made by changing your diet.

Safety strategies

If you do find that you have a specific food allergy, you’ll need to adopt a series of strategies to ensure you don’t accidentally consume any of the offending items in the future. The first step is to get into the habit of reading the labels for every food product you purchase. You should do this even if you have bought the same item in the past on numerous occasions, as manufacturers will occasionally change the formulation of their products and may include something that triggers your allergic reaction.

Depending on the severity of the allergic reaction, you’ll need to be careful when cooking at home in order to avoid cross-contamination. In the most extreme cases, the person with the allergy should have their own set of utensils. 

Dining out is another time for caution. Always let the manager or chef known about your allergy before you order. Not every ingredient may be specified on the menu and in busy kitchens, it is possible that cross contamination may occur. The same caution needs to be applied when in fast-food restaurants, coffee shops and anywhere else you like to dine.

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