Being sensitive or intolerant to certain foods is extremely common. Almost 2 to 20 percent of people around the world may be intolerant to certain foods. By following an elimination diet, you will be able to identify the foods you are sensitive, intolerant, or allergic to.
What Is An Elimination Diet?
Elimination diets remove certain foods from your diet that are known to cause certain uncomfortable symptoms. These foods are later reintroduced, one at a time, to look for certain symptoms. Such diets usually last 5 to 6 weeks and are helpful to those with a food allergy, sensitive gut, or food allergy. Elimination diets help alleviate diarrhea, constipation, nausea, bloating, and gas. Once the food that is causing all these issues has been identified, you can remove it from your diet completely to avoid problems in future. If you do suspect a food intolerance, do not take matters into your own hands. You should consult a medical professional first. As eliminating certain food allergens from your diet and reintroducing them may trigger a dangerous reaction called anaphylaxis.
Some of the common foods that are usually eliminated from the diet include pork, eggs, seafood, citrus fruits, certain vegetables, nuts, corn, soy, dairy, nightshade, and food containing gluten. By eliminating these foods, you will come to know if any of your symptoms are caused by food or something else. You should inform your doctor if your symptoms remain for 2 to 3 weeks even after removing the food item or food group from your diet. When reintroducing the foods, each food should be introduced individually over 2 to 3 days while looking for uncomfortable symptoms like joint pain, headaches, fatigue, bloating, changes in breathing, stomach pain, cramps, rashes, difficulty sleeping, and changes in bowel habits. If you do not notice any of these symptoms while reintroducing a certain food item, you can assume that it is safe to eat and can move onto the next item.
What Are The Benefits Of An Elimination Diet?
1. It Reduces The Symptoms Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder of the gut. By following an elimination diet, you can improve IBS symptoms like bloating, cramps, and gas. If you can pinpoint the food item that is causing these symptoms you can eliminate the food item from your diet completely to reduce the symptoms once and for all.
2. It Helps Reduce The Symptoms Of ADHD
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral disorder that affects 3 to 5 percent of children and adults. Elimination diets can reduce the symptoms of ADHD in children who are sensitive to certain foods. However, since children need a wide variety of nutrients for growth, they should not follow an elimination diet unless they are advised by a medical professional.
3. It May Improve The Condition Of Your Skin
If you suffer from eczema, your skin may appear itchy, cracked, or inflamed. Though there are many causes of eczema, certain foods can aggravate the symptoms. By eliminating certain foods from the diet, you can identify the foods that trigger the reactions.
4. It Helps People With Eosinophilic Esophagitis
Eosinophilic esophagitis is a chronic condition in which allergies cause the inflammation of the esophagus. People with this condition have a high risk of choking as they have difficulty swallowing foods that are dry and dense. Elimination diets effectively improve the symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis.
5. It Can Reduce Migraines
Though the main causes of chronic migraines have not been identified yet, inflammation is said to be one of the triggers. By eliminating foods from your diet that cause inflammation, chronic migraines can be reduced.
Elimination diets do have their risks. Since they eliminate foods that provide you with many essential nutrients, they should not be continued for more than 4 to 8 weeks. As for children, eliminating certain food items from their diet can stunt their growth. They are more prone to anaphylaxis when certain foods are reintroduced into their diet. So, always consult your doctor before trying an elimination diet out.