Women diagnosed with environmental sensitivity (ES) often are limited in terms of dietary choices. Researchers in Halifax Nova Scotia surveyed the dietary habits of 12 women with environmental sensitivity to determine if the diet was adequate in terms of nutrient intake.
Environmental sensitivity is a chronic debilitating disease that impacts quality of life. Most individuals diagnosed will have multiple chemical sensitivities that limit their ability to eat various foods, enter different environments, and have anything but a routine life.
Food sensitivities in this population result in prolonged avoidance of certain food groups, and in particular foods that may be an only source for required nutrients.
Study results were published in the winter issue of the Canadian Journal of Dietary Practices and Research. Each of the 12 women in the study recorded dietary intake over a 4-day period. Each diet was analyzed for overall intake including daily-recommended servings; Researchers also completed an independent nutrient analysis for each of the recommended vitamins and minerals. Diets were also assessed using the Healthy Eating Index.
Researchers found the diets of these 12 women diagnosed with ES were deficient. Total servings for each food category were lacking overall. Individual nutrients were decreased, with the most limited intake being folic acid, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 and magnesium.
When each of the 12 women’s diets was assessed using the Healthy Eating Index, 75% of women scored in the needs improvement category. Milk intake scored the lowest along with dietary variety. The majority of women did not consume any food in the other foods category, which includes mostly sugar and fatty foods.
The results of this study stress the need for women diagnosed with ES to increase dietary variety. This may be best accomplished through specific nutritional counseling focusing on providing meal plans and recipes. Individual nutrient intakes can be positively influenced by increased dietary variety.