Food intolerance is a term used to describe an array of symptoms which occur whenever the food is consumed. These symptoms do not appear immediately but develop some time later after the food has been eaten. Typical symptoms include: heart burn, acid reflux, abdominal spasm, bloating, constipation and diarrhoea whenever the offending food is eaten. Food intolerance can also lead to other non-digestive system complaints like poor energy, low mood, pain such as headaches and aching joints, skin irritations, acne and so on.
Although food intolerance symptoms are unpleasant they are not life threatening but often get more severe over time and with regular consumption of the irritating food. Food allergies on the other hand are different to food intolerances in that they cause an immediate reaction, which can be life threatening.
Avoiding foods which trigger the food sensitivity is a sensible option. However a more satisfactory solution is to correct imbalances which are triggering food sensitivity. With natural nutrition and detoxification there is a way to address these imbalances and reduce the likelihood of symptoms from food sensitivity.
How Food Intolerance is linked to Chronic Dehydration
From natural nutrition principles there is a connection of chronic cellular dehydration with food intolerance. Dehydration can be triggered by a range of factors. The common causes of dehydration include low water intake, caffeine, poor diet and consuming foods which require a lot of water to be present in the digestive system for them to be correctly digested. The digestive system is usually the first place to become chronically dehydrated. Other factors which also cause dehydration include any form of stress, physical activity and medications.
When cells become dehydrated the body switches on a survival mechanism of conserving water and making sure that higher priority areas like the brain receive water. This often involves diverting water from a lower priority region in the body to an area of higher priority.
The colon is a lower water priority area in the body and is used as a reservoir for water in times of dehydration. If water reserves are not replenished in the colon then this causes the obvious symptom of constipation. When water is low in the colon the mast cells within the colon start to produce histamine. One of histamine’s functions is to send a message to the body to correct imbalances in water and the electrolytes sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium. If these imbalances are not corrected then muscle and nerve imbalances occur and pain is generated from inflammation triggered by histamine release. This causes symptoms of spasm, bloating, constipation, pain and inflammation within the colon.
The process of histamine release described in the colon also occurs in a similar fashion in other parts of the body as they become chronically dehydrated. If chronic dehydration is not addressed then this usually triggers muscle, nerve imbalances and pain/inflammation.
Addressing Dehydration and Food Intolerance
Resolving chronic cellular dehydration will have a knock on effect of reducing and eventually eliminating food intolerance. This requires addressing the electrolyte balance of sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium and the essential fatty acids as well as water balance in the body.
Simple steps to help address dehydration include:
- Avoid the offending food(s) which trigger food intolerance during the period of readjustment.
- Make sure that water intake is matched to the body’s needs. Physical activity, stress levels etc also need to be taken into account when addressing the body’s water needs.
- Hydrate the digestive system by drinking a glass of water 30 minutes before and after each meal.
- Hydrate dry foods like whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds before consuming: soaking grains overnight before cooking, consuming nuts and seeds which are pre-soaked, soaking dried fruits etc.
- Consume celery, mineral broths and green juices which will help to address electrolyte imbalances.
- Include oily fish and linseed tea in the diet to provide the essential omega 3 fatty acids.
- Avoid dehydrating foods like processed and refined foods, which usually contain chemical preservatives, damaged fats, refined sugars and salt.
- Avoid stimulants like caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.
In natural nutrition a programme is developed for the individual, which is tailored to their unique needs. This programme includes dietary changes and naturopathic cleansing which help support the body to naturally offload internalised toxicity. When hydration levels improve the body is more able to process and release any internalised toxicity.
Over time as hydration improves, smaller amounts of the offending foods may be re-introduced slowly. Note how the body responds to the re-introduction, if symptoms persist then dehydration is still present and still needs to be addressed through diet and naturopathic cleansing. The food causing sensitivity should still be avoided and re-introduced at a later date. By being persistent with this approach, the food intolerance can be significantly alleviated and eventually eliminated.