If you have ever eaten something and had a bad reaction to it, then you may have a food allergy or a food intolerance. But what is the difference between the two? If you have a food allergy, then it is when your immune system doesn’t react well to the food and it can lead to some problems. When you’re thinking about an intolerance, it is not related to your immune system, and it is likely to be a problem with how the food is digested.
Allergies can be common in some families, whereas for others, there might just be some signs of food intolerances every now and again. If your parents have a food allergy, then it makes it more likely that you will have a food allergy too. For intolerances, it can occur frequently or infrequently, and sometimes not follow a pattern at all.
If you have an allergy or intolerance, or there is one in the family, then how can you make sure that you are eating well and still getting all of the goodness, vitamins, and minerals that you need on a daily basis? Here are some things to think about to make sure that you get all that you need.
Write a food diary
If you have more of an intolerance than an allergy, then it can be a good idea to write out a food diary, to see if there are any patterns. You might go through and notice that you get horrible stomach cramping when you have eaten a certain food, and there is a pattern there. If something like that comes up, then it is clear that you should cut the food out to avoid the discomfort. If you find that there isn’t really a pattern that you can notice, then having a food diary can be helpful to a dietitian or a doctor, if you need to get further advice. So if you or one of your children is experiencing this then it can make a difference.
Find alternative foods with the same nutritional value
Allergies and intolerances can be concerning, especially if it is one of your children. You can worry that they will miss out on certain vitamins or nutrients as they’re missing out on a whole food group. Of course, there are supplements that everyone can take to supplement their daily nutrition. However, there are still going to be some alternative foods that you can eat to get what you might be missing out on. A dairy allergy, for example, can mean that there is a lack of calcium in the diet.
If this is the case, there are green leafy vegetables that are a natural alternative way to get calcium, as well as foods like chia seeds, almonds, avocado and onions. If you know your diet or a loved one lacks something in particular, then look for something alternative to have in the diet.
Allergies and intolerances can be really hard to live with, but make sure that you see your doctor to get testing and advice, especially if you have a little one who never has a happy tummy, no matter what they eat.