A fact: in recent years food allergies and intolerances are constantly increasing. However, quantifying the phenomenon is not easy, because there is still a lot of confusion in the use of the terms and we often resort to investigations of dubious scientific validity. According to the most recent estimates by the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, in the country there are about 2 million and 100 thousand people (equal to 3,5% of the population) who show “adverse reactions to food”.
Below you will find a test taken from the book by Dr. Gian Paolo Baruzzi, nutritionist, expert in natural medicine, and Liana Zorzi, Food intolerances, Demetra edizioni, 9,90 euros. Not only. We explain to you because it is useful to keep a food diary and we give you tips for follow a rotating diet.
1. TAKE THE TEST
Taken from the book by Dr. Baruzzi, tells you if you are at risk. Keep in mind the number of "yes" accumulated in each of the 4 sections into which the questions are divided.
1. Your story
● Are there intolerant or allergic people in your family?
● Do you remember (or have you been told) having had frequent episodes of childhood gastroenteritis?
● Have you been breastfed?
● Did you have frequent breathing problems or bronchitis as a child?
● Did you have frequent tonsillitis as a child?
2. Tell how you feel
● Do you have gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea or gastritis?
● Do you often have a headache after a meal?
● Do you suffer from recurrent inflammatory problems such as cystitis, candidiasis, dermatitis, adult acne?
● Do you often feel very tired?
● Are you experiencing a period of emotional stress?
3. Tell about your illnesses
● Have you had any surgery with anesthesia?
● Do you happen to follow antibiotic therapies several times a year?
● Do you often need to take anti-inflammatories or cortisone?
● Are you taking hormonal therapies or are you taking birth control pills?
● Do you often take stomach antacid medications?
4. Tell how you eat
● Don't you eat fruit and vegetables every day?
● Do you rarely eat raw foods, such as salads, and fermented foods, such as yogurt or sauerkraut?
● Do you often eat packaged products, snacks, biscuits and snacks and do you consume sugary drinks?
● Do you often eat homemade foods that contain white flour or white sugar?
● Do you often consume milk or dairy products?
Se in at least two sections you have scored 3 "yes" out of 5 answers, it means that you have an increased risk of having food intolerances.
Advice? Keep a diary to identify the foods that are bothering you, and then do a rotating diet (see below).
2. KEEP A FOOD DIARY
To get an accurate picture of what you eat every day, and thus gain more control over your diet, fill out a food diary every day. It will help you trace the food that makes you feel bad, thus adopting the necessary countermeasures.
If in the previous test you scored more than 3 "yes" in at least 2 sections, it's worth it try keeping a food diary, in which to write down everything you eat for at least 7-10 days.
But because it really proves to be a useful tool in helping you discover any intolerances, you have to follow some very specific rules.
✓ Eat as usual, without eliminating the "suspicious" foods, otherwise you will not be able to identify the foods that are bad for you.
✓ Write down everything, from the snack in the office, to the breadstick eaten between meals, to the chocolate enjoyed after dinner.
✓ Try to break down the dishes into their various ingredients: a smoothie becomes 1 glass of milk + 3 strawberries + 1 banana. A mixed salad: lettuce + 1 tomato + 1 carrot + 2 tablespoons of corn.
✓ It also marks drinks other than water: 1 glass of beer, 1 sweetened coffee ...
✓ Next to what you ate, also note any symptoms. For example: slight swelling after half an hour, abdominal pain after an hour, headache after 3 hours. Before writing your complaints, wait at least 20 minutes, the minimum time for an adverse reaction to occur.
✓ It is important that you are also able to indicate the situation you are in and the mood at the time of the meal: standing at the bar, quiet at home ... Stress can affect reactions and distort the result. If you have lunch after having an argument, it is possible that the possible appearance of the headache is due not so much to the food but to the negative circumstance.
After 7-10 days check in your diary when symptoms have appeared and in correspondence with the consumption of which foods. If you can identify constants, for example, if you notice that you feel bloated when you eat tomatoes, you can try a rotation diet (see below).
If after trying the diet the symptoms disappear, it means that you have identified the cause of the intolerance. If this does not happen, however, suspicious foods could be other or more numerous of those you have discovered. In this case, you start from the food diary, eating everything and writing down the symptoms for other days, trying to be as precise as possible.
3. FOLLOW A ROTATION DIET
Now that thanks to the food diary you have identified the foods that trigger intolerance, you need to build a diet plan to limit them without completely eliminating them thanks to a 13-day rotating diet.
“Generally this menu template is easy to follow if adverse reactions are due just one or two foods»Explains Doctor Baruzzi. “When there are more than two, it can get complicated. And it is therefore better that you turn to an expert for planning the most suitable scheme for you ".
Below find an example to follow starring the tomato (but you can replace it with bread or eggs or any other food). Expects an alternation between elimination (from 1st to 3rd, from 5th to 8th and from 10th to 13th day) and reintroduction of food (the 4th and 9th).
Try to eat in a varied and complete way, without falling into monotony, which risks triggering other intolerances. A rule you could give yourself, for example, is that of never consume the same food either at lunch and then at dinner, nor for two consecutive days. "If you have leftovers you can freeze them and thus have them ready for the following week », suggests the expert.
● From 1st to 3rd day
Avoid tomato in all forms, including puree and juice.
● 4th day
Eat what you prefer and, in moderation, also tomato (yes, for example, with pizza margherita).
● From the 5th to the 8th day
Eliminate the tomato and its derivatives again.
● 9th day
Eat what you prefer and, in moderation, also tomato (a datterini salad or a red spaghetti).
● From 10st to 13rd day
Exclude tomato and its derivatives again.
When the symptoms go away, you can reduce the days of suspension until complete recovery of tolerance. You can then resume eating the tomato whenever you want, but it is better that you keep it anyway one day a week when you completely rule it out from the menu.
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