Do you feel differently when you eat different foods?

That might sound like a silly question, but different foods affect us differently.

I feel different when I eat salad than I do when I eat steak. Ice cream makes me (personally, and sadly), feel gross, and I don’t always feel great eating steak or bread either. But how I feel when I eat a lot of bread is going to be different to how YOU feel when you eat a lot of bread.

What are some of the ways that foods can make us feel off?

Heartburn or Indigestion

Oh, that good old burning feeling! It’s pretty recognizable isn’t it. I had awful heartburn when I was pregnant, and I hated every second of it. But it still creeps in every now and then, and sometimes it wakes me up at night when I haven’t been eating great foods.

The most common foods that cause heartburn are really acidic ones – tomatoes, alcohol, spicy foods, chocolate, fatty or fried foods, onions, citrus fruits

(Although I get the theory as to why citrus fruits can cause heartburn, I’ve never actually known anyone who has had heartburn triggered by lemons).

Heartburn can be common at night when you’re lying down. It’s much easier for the acid to splash up into your esophagus when you’re lying down. But it can be a pain during the day too.

Food Sensitivities

Food sensitivities are an immune reaction to different foods, but not the way most people think of it.

Food allergies are what people think about when they think about the immune system and food. If you’re allergic to peanuts, if you eat peanuts bad things can happen. Lots of swelling, itching, redness, hives, etc. This is mediated by IgE in the immune system.

Food sensitivities don’t have the sudden, extreme levels of inflammation, but they do have some inflammation. They’re mediated by IgG in the immune system.

The inflammation in food sensitivities might show up as joint pain, or skin issues (like eczema, psoriasis, etc.), or anything digestive, and the list goes on.

Food sensitivities can be really hard to track down, but you can start with an experiment.

If you’re curious about how specific foods impact you, I would highly recommend spending a week tracking your food intake. Make a note of what you eat throughout the day, and then make a note of how you feel. Often when you start tracking, you can start to see connections between specific foods you’re eating and the symptoms you might experience.

Foods That Don’t Agree With Me

I’ll share two foods that really bother me and I know if I eat them (especially if I eat too much of them), they’ll disrupt my sleep:

Red meat – We eat red meat probably once a week, and while it’s not my favorite food, I don’t mind it (my husband and my kids love it, so I really eat it for them). But I know if we have red meat for dinner, particularly steak or roast or something on the fattier side, I am going to wake up at night not feeling well. It happens every time. I think it’s a combination of the highly acidic food, the fattier cuts of food (extra lean ground beef doesn’t seem to bother me as much) and maybe a food sensitivity. But I know it’s a problem for me.

Wheat – This is another big no-no for me. I definitely have a food sensitivity to wheat and/or gluten (more on that another time if you’re interested). If I eat pizza or bread or something containing wheat, especially towards the end of the day, I can guarantee that will interfere with my sleep. I do mostly avoid these foods, but on the rare occasion that I don’t, I know that my sleep will be disrupted.

Do you have foods you know of that bother you? Comment below!

Elizabeth Brothers Health