Health & Wellbeing

Time to listen properly to our bodies…

Eggs next to a stethoscope

There has been a major rise in the reporting of food intolerances with a growing number of the population claiming intolerance to foods that most of us class as basics including bread, milk and cheese. As a result, a new industry has surfaced to cater to these intolerances with a burgeoning range of ‘free from’ food.

A recent article, originating from the Guardian and published on msn.com, makes the case for differentiating between food allergies and intolerances and being more aware. It outlines the differences as follows: “Allergies, such as reactions to specific proteins in wheat or milk, involve the immune system and can be life-threatening…Food intolerances, on the other hand, tend to generate symptoms such as bloating or abdominal pain, and these set in more slowly – sometimes several days after eating a problem food. They also aren’t thought to involve the immune system.”

More and more people are self-diagnosing when it comes to food intolerances, declaring themselves wheat intolerant or diary intolerant at the first sign of bloating. The fore-mentioned article warns that it’s quite common for the majority of us to have bowel symptoms in one form or another as the bowel is a pretty sensitive organ and it can be affected by recent illnesses or if we’re stressed or run down. If the symptoms persist then we can remove suspect foods from our diets as a next logical step.

There are lots of tools and tracking devices out there on the market to help us to monitor what we eat and the subsequent effects on our bodies but what we could really do with is to pay a little attention…

Good nutrition is not just about what we eat – it’s also about when we eat and how much of each food that we eat.

If we listen to our bodies, we can identify what feels good and what doesn’t, what makes us feel bloated and what causes indigestion or stomach cramps and when they occur.

Keeping a diary of both the food that we eat and our bodies’ responses is always a good move but there’s a good old-fashioned rule of thumb that’s even more basic than that approach. It goes like this: If something makes you feel good, then do more of it. If it makes you feel bad, then stop and switch to something different. All of this is applicable when it comes to diet.