(NaturalNews) It is estimated that as many as 15 million Americans, six million of whom are young children, have food allergies that exhibit obvious and sometimes life-threatening symptoms upon exposure. But countless millions of others -- the Food Intolerance Institute of Australia says up to 75 percent of all people -- have food sensitivities that oftentimes go undetected, as symptoms can be mild, sporadic, or even varying, which makes identifying the culprit or culprits difficult and confusing.
However, in the interest of helping those who suspect they might have a food sensitivity, but are unsure how to identify and address it, here are seven common markers of food sensitivity that may help make the process less daunting and more fruitful:
If you feel 1) tired or fatigued after eating a meal, chances are you have a food sensitivity. Sluggishness accompanied by brain fog is a common symptom of a food sensitivity, and one that is relatively easy to identify if you pay attention to how your body responds to food. Observe how different foods affect your body, and remove ingredients one by one to see if you notice any differences in how you feel.
Another common symptom of food intolerance is 2) digestive upset. Bloating, gassiness, and the feeling that food is just sitting in your gut and not being digested in a timely manner could indicate a food intolerance. Again, practicing an elimination diet and removing certain foods and ingredients to look for changes in how you feel will help you identify which foods might be causing the problem.
3) Chronic headaches or migraines could be indicative of a food intolerance as well. For some people, processed sugars, pasteurized and homogenized milk products, genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrogenated trans fat oils, and various other common food toxins trigger headaches that could be related to food sensitivities.
A healthy individual will typically have several bowel movements a day that are characterized as soft, but relatively solid, brown or golden brown stools. If you suffer from 4) constipation or diarrhea, or some awkward combination of both depending on the day, you could have a food intolerance. This is especially true if you drink plenty of clean water, and eat healthy amounts of fruits and vegetables, but are still suffering from elimination problems.
If 5) your heart begins to race or you suddenly develop heart palpitations following the consumption of food, this could also be a sign of a food intolerance. Pay close attention to your heart rate following a meal -- does it speed up? Do you get heartburn? While it is normal for your metabolism to speed up following a meal, your circulatory system should not undergo drastic changes in response to food.
6) Skin reactions like rashes and hives are another common sign of food intolerance. If you break out or get itchy following a meal, but it is not as severe as what would normally accompany a full-fledged food allergy, chances are you have a food intolerance. This inflammatory response resulting from a food intolerance may also manifest itself as joint pain.
One sign of food intolerance that is often overlooked involves 7) emotional changes following a meal. If your mood changes for the worse after you eat certain foods, for instance, or if you become anxious, nervous, or irritable, you could be reacting to a food intolerance.
So what can you do about a potential food intolerance? When conducting official tests for food allergies, many allergists will look for the presence of IgE antibodies, which indicate an immune response initiated by the body in response to the invader. But for food sensitivities, the presence of IgG antibodies is now being regarded as a strong indicator that certain foods are not sitting well, even if they are not considered full-blown allergens, which is why it is important to be tested for IgG.
"The presence of food specific IgG antibodies indicates that the body has shown a reaction to a particular food(s)," explains YorkTest about the significance of IgGs in identifying food intolerance. "Many people have circulating levels of IgG antibodies to foods in their blood, but in order to support their strategy for dietary elimination, [experts] have defined the cut-off used to determine whether food-specific IgG antibodies are detected or not as 10 AU (arbitrary units) per milliliter (AU/mL) of blood, with a 'borderline' result being defined as 6-10 AU/mL."
Adopting the elimination diet, also known as the exclusion diet, is another great way to take matters into your own hands for faster relief. Identify common food allergens like processed dairy products, conventional wheat, yeast, factory-farm eggs, tree nuts, fish, and soy, and remove them from your diet for four-to-six weeks to look for changes in your health. You can also try eliminating all 21 common "trigger foods" from your diet which include oats, maize (corn), white fish, shellfish, peas, kidney beans, navy beans, chicken, pork, beef, tomatoes, berries, potatoes, cabbage, and broccoli.