WARNING! These 5 types of foods may be compromising your health…

 

What do dairy, gluten, potatoes, aged cheese and tofu have in common?  The answer is that they all are strong suspects for food sensitivities which may be compromising your health in many devious ways.  In fact, eating these foods may cause IBS, fibromyalgia, migraines, autoimmune diseases, skin rashes, sinus issues and many more in some sensitivity individuals!  In this article, learn more about what each of these food types are, where you can find them, why they are a problem for some people and what are some alternative options.

1. DAIRY

WHAT?

Dairy is milk or products derived from milk of animals including cattle, buffaloes, goats, sheep and camels.

WHERE?  

Milk products include cheese, butter, sour cream, ice cream, yogurt, kefir or cream as well as whey, casein or other milk derived protein extracts.  Check the labels for these “hidden” sources of dairy in your foods: curds, whey, ghee, casein, caseinates, rennet casein, lactose, lactulose, hydrolysates, lactalbumin, and lactoglobulin.

WHY? (it’s a problem):  

Dairy poses a triple threat:

  • Milk is one of the top eight most common food allergies,
  • Over 75% of the world’s population has lactose intolerance (inability to properly digest the sugar found in milk)   
  • Many people have a food sensitivity to dairy which can trigger a wide range of symptoms like stuffy/runny nose, joint pain, headache, skin rash, digestive complaints, etc.

OPTIONS:

You can opt for dairy-free alternatives of your favorite dairy items like almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, etc. Most nationwide grocery stores carry these milk, ice cream, yogurt, and cheese alternatives. You can also look for vegan-friendly items as they are dairy free like nutritional yeast in place of Parmesan cheese, semi-sweet chocolate in place of milk-chocolate, and rice or pea protein powder in place of whey or casein protein powder.

2. GLUTEN

WHAT?

Gluten is a gluey protein substance especially found in wheat flour that causes dough to be sticky.

WHERE?

All forms of wheat, rye and barley must strictly be avoided in order to avoid gluten including spelt, kamut, einkorn, emmer, faro, durum, couscous, semolina, bulgur and triticale. Barley malt/extract/flavor, brewer’s yeast, malt vinegar, barley-based ale, beer and lager should also be avoided.  Gluten is also found in a wide variety of processed foods such as breads, baked goods, cereals, pastas, soups, sauces, seasonings, salad dressings, snack foods, prepared processed meats, beer, flavored coffees and teas, some candies, as well as some nutrition supplements and medications.

WHY? (it’s a problem):  

  • Wheat, the primary source of gluten, is one of the top eight most common food allergies. You may unknowingly have a wheat allergy and so you will inevitably feel better when you follow a gluten free (GF) diet.
  • Gluten is difficult to digest: Gluten-containing grains like wheat, barley and rye contain fructans, highly fermentable carbohydrates (food for the bacteria in the gut), which can cause excess gas and bloating.
  • Gluten increases leaky gut: Gluten increases the expression of a protein called “zonulin” which increases the gap between tight junctions in the digestive lining of the gut.  Larger food molecules can then “leak” through the gaps and stimulate the immune system.

OPTIONS:

The following grains and other starch-containing foods are naturally gluten-free: rice
cassava, corn (maize),  soy, potato, tapioca, beans, sorghum, quinoa, millet, buckwheat groats (kasha), arrowroot, amaranth, teff, flax, chia, yucca, gluten-free oats, nut flours

3. NIGHTSHADE VEGETABLES

WHAT?

Nightshade is the common name for plants in the botanical genus Solanum, and more generally for related plants in the family Solanaceae. Many members of the nightshade family contain potent alkaloid chemical compounds such as Solanine and Capsaicin, which can be desirable, toxic, or both.

WHERE?  

Nightshades vegetables include white (but not sweet) potatoes, eggplant, goji berries, tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers, both spicy chilies and the sweeter bell peppers. Spices made from peppers, like paprika, red pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper are also in the nightshade family.  Note: black pepper is NOT included in this list.

WHY? (it’s a problem):  

The alkaloid compounds in nightshades work as a natural “bug spray,” defending the plant from pests and molds that would otherwise kill it.  In sensitive individuals, these alkaloid compounds can wreak havoc in the form of diarrhea, gas, bloating, nausea, painful joints (arthritis), headaches and depression.

OPTIONS:

Sweet potatoes for white potatoes.  Substitute other condiments such as mayonnaise or mustard for ketchup.  And if you do eat white potatoes, stay away from the green ones which contain a higher concentration of solanine.  

4. TYRAMINE CONTAINING FOODS

WHAT?

Tyramine is derived from the amino acid tyrosine and is naturally found in many plant and animal foods.  It often is produced by the breakdown of tyrosine during food fermentation or decay.

WHERE?  

Foods containing considerable amounts of tyramine include aged cheese, smoked fish, cured meats, chocolate, beer, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, soy products and bouillon.

WHY? (it’s a problem):  

Some people who have a poor ability to break down amines such as tyramine or histamine may experience allergic-type reactions such as heart palpitations, nausea, vomiting and headaches (including migraines). Certain MAOIs, including certain antidepressants and medications for Parkinson’s disease, can cause tyramine buildup. In extreme cases, tyramine buildup can cause life-threatening blood pressure spikes.

OPTIONS:

Fresh, frozen and, canned meats, including poultry and fish, are acceptable for low-tyramine diets.  Fresh cheese such as ricotta, cottage and cream.

5. SOY

WHAT?

Soy (aka soybeans) are legumes originally from East Asia, but now produced on a large scale in the United States. Soybeans can be eaten whole, with the immature types being called edamame. Soybeans must be cooked, as they are poisonous when raw.

WHERE?  

Soy is used in tofu, soy milk and various dairy and meat substitutes. It is also used in fermented foods like miso, natto and tempeh, which are commonly consumed in some Asian countries. Soy sauce and tamari is a popular condiment.

WHY? (it’s a problem):  

  • Soy is one of the top eight most common food allergies. One may unknowingly have a soy allergy and inevitably feel better after removing it from the diet.
  • Soybeans and some soy products contains difficult to digest carbohydrates called oligosaccharides and fructans and may produce excess gas and bloat in certain individuals
  • Phytates, a compound found in plants that acts as an anti-nutrient, is especially found in soy and blocks mineral absorption in the digestive tract. Soaking, cooking, and fermenting soy helps to break down phytates.

OPTIONS:

  • Check labels carefully as soy ingredients have made their way into a majority of packaged foods.  Beans such as pinto, black and chickpeas can be an alternative source of non-soy based plant proteins. Choose plant based milks made from almond or coconut. Coconut aminos can be substituted for soy sauce.  Opt for miso, tempeh, natto or other fermented soy as a more nutrient-dense alternative.

If you are suffering from IBS, fibromyalgia, migraines, autoimmune diseases, skin rashes, sinus issues or another affliction, these foods may be making you sick!  Finding out which of these types of foods (or another) is the culprit takes a lot of sleuth work and trial and error.  Let us at Food Sensitivity Solutions™ help you create an optimal nutrition plan for your best health ever!  Learn more about our solutions here.

Annette Hottenstein, MS, RDN, CLTANNETTE HOTTENSTEIN IS A REGISTERED DIETITIAN NUTRITIONIST (RDN), CERTIFIED LEAP THERAPIST (CLT) AND FOOD SCIENTIST FROM BALTIMORE COUNTY, MD.  SHE IS CO-FOUNDER OF FOOD SENSITIVITY SOLUTIONS, “YOUR ONE STOP SHOP FOR FOOD SENSITIVITY TESTING, EDUCATION AND SUPPORT”.

 

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