What is food intolerance and what are its symptoms?

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What is food intolerance and what are its symptoms

The food intolerance is a disorder in which various manifestations occur after the ingestion of a certain food. is a condition other than food allergiesalthough they may be confused.

What is the difference between food intolerance and food allergy?

Food intolerance is related to inability of the body to properly digest a certain nutrient. The origin of the failure is genetic, and is often related to some variations in the genes that lead to not having the necessary proteins to be able to properly metabolize the substance against which it is intolerant.

The food allergies They have a completely different mechanism. In this case, the body becomes sensitized to a food, recognizing it as something harmful, which leads to the activation of the immune system. producing a substance called histamine which is responsible for allergic symptoms.

These symptoms are mainly characterized by itchy and swollen skin lesions, congestion of the mucous membranes, edema of the eyes and mouth, vomiting and, in severe cases, difficulty breathing.

You can read more information about milk allergy

How to recognize a food intolerance?

The person who has difficulty processing a certain food will present very characteristic manifestations every time he consumes it.

Many times these symptoms are related to gastrointestinal infections such as parasites, so it can take a long time to diagnose this condition, which happens when a relationship between the symptoms and the food or foods is made, since there may be several intolerances coexisting simultaneously.

The main ones are digestive discomfort such as colic, bloating, gas, heaviness, malaise and headachesometimes there may also be changes in bowel movements.

These symptoms appear every time you eat the food you are intolerant to.

An example of intolerance is the presence of these manifestations after gluten intakewhich occurs in people with the disorder known as Celiac Disease, which has had greater visibility in recent times.

This is related to the fact that awareness campaigns have been created and greater access to specific laboratory tests that allow recognizing this disease has also been achieved. However, at this time it is estimated that only 2 out of 10 celiacs have this confirmed diagnosis.

Another very common example is lactose intolerance, a disorder in which these symptoms occur after ingesting milk or dairy products. In this case, the disorder is related to lactase deficiency, an enzyme necessary to metabolize lactose, the main sugar present in milk.

What should be done in the face of a food intolerance?

Once the food you are intolerant to has been ingested, there is no specific treatment.

Symptoms can be treated with medications that help relieve abdominal cramps, gas, and flatulence. These discomforts will persist for as long as the food remains in the gastrointestinal tract, they tend to improve within 1 to 4 hours after consumption.

Lactose intolerance

In the case of lactose intolerance, there are lactase-based preparations in the form of tablets for oral use that can be taken before eating dairy products.

Another effective measure is to opt for lactose-free milk and dairy products that are also lactose-free.

Intolerance to gluten and other foods

The best measure to take in these cases is to avoid eating the foods that cause the intolerance. This is the only effective intervention to prevent the onset of symptoms.

Foods that contain n gluten are wheat flour (including wholemeal flour), barley, malt, semolina, and bulgur.

Check the labels: essential in people with intolerances

Many times products such as gluten, milk or some dairy products are found in various foods without their existence being suspected.

It is advisable to check the labels of the products, since many times they may contain flour or milk as hidden ingredients, even as stabilizers or preservatives, which leads to discomfort after consumption.

The same goes for the inserts of medicines, supplements and vitamins. It is important to review them carefully as many tablets and tablets use lactose as a component to form the tablet.

In these cases it is more difficult to make the diagnosis of intolerance since it is rare to associate the symptoms with the use of these products.

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