Trying to get young children to eat well can be a challenge in itself but to throw in a food intolerance into the mix can make it all that more complicated.
Food intolerances are different from food allergies because an allergy causes a reaction from your immune system which affects a number of organs in your body. This can cause a range of symptoms such as swelling, diarrhoea and sickness, these symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening.
A food intolerance is less severe and symptoms are generally less serious and often limited to digestive problems. A food intolerance is a reaction in your body that’s caused by a substance in the food you’re eating and isn’t caused by your immune system responding to the food. This means that it often has a delayed onset, meaning symptoms won’t be immediately recognised and instead may come on after a few hours to a few days after eating.
Symptoms vary from person to person and depend on the food which is causing the intolerance.
The main symptoms of food intolerances are;
- A runny nose
- Feeling under the weather
- Stomach ache
- Irritable bowel
As stated, these can take effect from a few hours after eating to a few days and the symptom length can again vary. If your little one is suffering from bloating and irritable bowel then a cup of hot lemon water or peppermint tea can really help. If they are experiencing headaches, migraines or generally feeling under the weather, then paracetamol or ibuprofen should sort them out with a bit of rest and plenty of water.
As soon as you start to see a pattern emerge with your child’s dietary intolerances and illness then you should keep a close eye on them to really establish what it is that is causing the reaction. Start eliminating foods one by one for 2-6 weeks at a time and see if the symptoms still persist.
Make a food diary to really keep on top of your child’s reactions and so if you need to head to the doctors or dieticians you have a solid pattern to discuss.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for food intolerances and instead, you are advised to keep your child off that specific food. Avoiding the food will naturally avoid the uncomfortable symptoms, so as they grow older they hopefully will just continue on this dietary habit, just like a vegetarian or pescatarian would.
Food intolerances can appear at any age, I began to suffer from lactose and now avoid it as much as possible. It’s not unbearable and certainly isn’t as dangerous as food allergies but they do need to be managed to avoid any illness or uncomfortable periods.
Does your child have a food intolerance? How did you discover it and how do you cope? Let me know by getting in touch today.