5 Reasons Why Food Intolerances Are Becoming a Global Epidemic
After personally suffering for many years with digestive problems I decided to embark on a long journey of discovery to understand just how significantly we are affected by what we put in to our bodies. This is no new information to any one of us. In fact Hippocrates said thousands of years ago that ‘All diseases begin in the gut’. I believe a lot of diseases do begin in the gut but if we take a step back, what is happening in the gut to cause these diseases?
1. High Yielding Agricultural Practices
Our modern society has been putting major pressure on agricultural land for some decades now. With the shortage of land and the constant increase in the world’s population, farmers are being forced to heavily increase production. In order to increase yields farmers use fertilizers and high-yielding crop varieties. This however comes at a cost, draining nutrients that were once in this fertile soil. The result is that the fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses and nuts do not grow in the same organic rich soil that they did in the past. Subsequently we are simply not getting enough nutrients from the food we eat.1.
2. Fast Food
To add a flame to the fire we also have ‘fast food’. Perhaps you do not think you eat ‘fast food’ but do we really makes a wholesome meal, every day, with your plate filled with vegetables? And when I say ‘make’, I mean make from scratch. Anything that has been in any way ‘pre-prepared‘ like a frozen pizza, frozen fries, microwave dinners and obviously takeaway burgers, as well as pre-prepared, peeled or cut vegetables, have all been tampered with and therefore so have the vitamins and minerals within.
What’s more many people today are living stressful, hectic lifestyles. We all know stress affects us inadvertently, but how exactly? Stress increases intestinal permeability and causes inflammation. An extended period of over-activity, inevitably causes damage to our intestinal lining and flora. As a result we are unable to properly absorb what little nutrients are left in the food we eat, leading to an increase in micronutrient deficiencies. This has become a global health issue and in fact the WHO established a special department to monitor micronutrient deficiencies globally. The WHO considers that more than 2 billion people in both underdeveloped and industrialized countries, affecting all races, suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies.2. 3. 4.
4. Leaky Gut Syndrome
Intestinal hyper-permeability, known as ‘Leaky Gut Syndrome’, is the development of small gaps in the intestinal wall that allows partly digested food particles, bacteria and/or toxins to enter the blood stream. This in turn causes an immune response where the immune system releases antibodies, causing an inflammation. These antibodies circulate in the bloodstream. Every time this food is eaten and enters the bloodstream partly digested, the body will respond to it. A recurrent inflammation can therefore occur anywhere in the body, causing joint pain, headaches, asthma and skin reactions. This type of immune reaction can take from one to three days to surface, making it difficult to pinpoint the culprit.5.
5. Medications and Environmental Toxins
Intestinal damage can also occur from antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, hormones, environmental toxins, incorrect eating habits, chemotherapy and the list goes on. Although this phenomenon is not a new finding in any way, we must recognize that it is on the increase.6. There are ways to diagnose what foods are causing an intolerance. This can be done by methods of elimination or by a simple blood test such as Antibody Assessment Tests. This test determines whether there is a reaction to a particular food. Once these food intolerances have been identified, the results can then be analyzed further to make a treatment plan suited to the person. The treatment includes eliminating the affecting foods and the regular intake of good quality supplements such as Multli-Vitamins, Digestive Enzymes, Pre-Probiotics and Omega 3’s.
From my experience ‘Leaky Gut Syndrome’ and food intolerances are often overlooked as the cause of many health issues due to the slow immune reactions. This however does not make them any less detrimental to your health. Seek advice and start your journey toward healthier living.
1. Micronutrient Deficiencies in Global Crop Production, Brian J. Alloway, 1 February 2008, Springer Science & Business Media