As a parent, you often have to rely on your gut instinct when it comes to your child. So often I see parents who know that something isn’t quite right with their child’s health, but they have been turned away by doctors who say there’s nothing wrong.
Often when your child has a wide range of symptoms that don’t seem connected, a food intolerance could be the culprit.
What’s the difference between a food allergy and intolerance?
Allergies are usually pretty obvious. Your child might eat a peanut and then have difficulty breathing. This is an IgE response by their immune system to something it perceives as foreign or harmful. Other common reactions can be anaphylaxis, hives, asthma and swelling.
An intolerance, on the other hand, is much more subtle. It is an IgG immune response, where symptoms might take up to 72 hours results to appear after eating certain foods. The most common food intolerances for kids include gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, and yeast.
The cause of food intolerances is not fully understood, but in my experience, they tend to occur when there is an imbalance in good and bad gut bacteria, and can often rear their head when your child is overexposed to certain foods.
The good news is they are treatable, with a little time and patience. The first step is to identify the symptoms.
10 signs your child has a food intolerance
Diarrhea or constipation
Skin problems like eczema, hives
Asthma, sinus or hayfever
Muscle aches and joint pain
Behavioural problems like hyperactivity, poor concentration or mood swings
The next step: Testing
The quickest way to find out if your child has a food intolerance is to do a simple pinprick blood test, known as the Food Detective Test. This tests for 43 foods and gives you results in just 40 minutes for $220. We can also arrange to test for a larger number of foods if necessary.
Helping your child cope with a food intolerance
Eat the same food as they eat
Just the same as when you’re on a diet and can’t have certain foods in the house, it’s important to support your child by removing all banned foods from sight. Temptation only makes this difficult time even harder.
Not being able to eat certain foods shouldn’t make your child feel restricted. Use it as an opportunity to try new things and get creative with food swaps! Lettuce cups can be a great substitute for bread, while coconut yogurt is a yummy alternative to normal yogurt.
Use your wider support network
There are so many options for help when you’re feeling like it is all too hard. There are great online forums that cover a lot of the issues you will face. We also have lots of handy resources to help you along your journey, just reach out to your Naturopath.
Is a food intolerance for life?
The short answer is not necessarily. Our first priority is to remove the offending foods, then repair the gut and support your child’s immune system.
Once your child’s gut has healed, it may be possible to reintroduce these foods in small quantities, while making sure that symptoms have not returned.
If you think a food intolerance could be impacting your child’s health, call us on (02) 4961 4075 for a free 15 minute phone consultation with one of our Naturopaths to discuss your options.
Is your kid always sick? Do you suspect he/she has a food intolerance? Difficulty concentrating? Gut problems?
Click here to download our free guide containing tips and advice on naturally managing your kid's health, including foods and additives to avoid, boosting their immune system, managing screen time, and what to feed your kids for better health.
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