In this article we are going to look at some of the most common food allergies, what they mean, how they affect you and what you can actually do.
Millions of people around the world suffer with some sort of food allergies, in fact recent statistics state that around for every 50 people there are, 1 has a food allergy.
8 Common Food Allergies
Up to 90% of those affected by an allergy are allergic to nuts, eggs, milk, shellfish or wheat. An allergy can be very stressful as it limits your life and can make you stand out from a group of friends. You could come out in rashes, become sick, have headaches or even be hospitalised in a worse-case scenario.
A peanut allergy means could mean you are unable to eat almost any type of nut. It is one of the worse allergies to have as it can be brought up by as little as one thousandth of a tiny peanut. This means you have to avoid any food containing nuts at all costs.
Those affected will face many things if they were to consume a nut. The most common effects are swelling, slight suffocation from the throat swelling, vomiting and breathing problems. None of which are particularly nice.
The only thing you can really do if faced with a peanut allergy is to avoid nuts all together. This does not only contain singular nuts, you should avoid any type of food that contains nuts whether it is a popular restaurant dish or your best friend’s favourite bar of chocolate. This allergy is extremely serious and every year people die from it.
Video – Understanding Food Allergy
Milk allergies don’t necessarily only point towards milk although they are based around milk proteins. If you or someone you know has this problem they should avoid most dairy products at all costs including cheese and cream.
The symptoms sufferers face is similar to that of a peanut allergy although there are some worse symptoms as well. When milk is consumed a sufferer may expect to go into shock, receive extreme abdominal pains and severe diarrhoea.
The person carrying the allergy should avoid dairy products at all costs (as previously mentioned this includes cream, cheese, butter, yoghurt and ice cream) to avoid a reaction. Doctors may prescribe tablets that can help reduce the chances of a reaction although they will still advise that you avoid the products all together.
Egg allergies are most commonly found in children rather than adults. It usually is based on the immune system not accepting either part of the egg causing a painful reaction inside the body. More often than not the only way to avoid to problem is to cut egg out of the diet completely. Some people will find out they are only allergic to part of the egg and may still be able to consume egg whites if they wish, although any yolk that gets mistakenly added will kick off the reaction.
If an allergic reaction occurs because of eggs the sufferer is likely to start vomiting along with possible diarrhoea. With this particular allergy this is considered one of the nicer symptoms as a worse-case scenario is anaphylaxis which will require immediate attention meaning the reactor must be rushed to hospital.
There is no cure in development or available to stop egg allergies. For this reason most sufferers simply avoid eggs or any food containing eggs. There are other foods developed so that you can still enjoy your favourite snacks such as cake with an egg replacement, which means that suffering with an egg allergy is not so bad after all.
Wheat allergy is most common in small children, and most people outgrow this allergy by the age of 4 or 5. Obviously, it is very important to avoid eating wheat if you want to prevent a reaction. Be sure to ask questions about ingredients if you are eating at a restaurant. At the grocery store it is important to always read the food labels so you can avoid symptoms.
Common ingredients to avoid:
- Bread crumbs
Here is a complete list of ingredients that you need to avoid if you are suffering from wheat allergy (gluten).
Soy allergy is one of the most common food allergies. Soybeans, peanuts, peas, beans and lentils are members of the legume-family. However, if you have a soy allergy, it does not automatically mean you are also allergic to peanuts or beans.
Allergic reactions are typically mild, severe and potentially life-threatening reactions are rare. To prevent a reaction, it is important to avoid foods that contain soy. In the American diet, soybeans are not a common food, but they are used in most processed foods.
Here are some common foods you need to avoid:
- Soy sauce
- Soy protein
- Soy ice cream
- Soy milk
Allergy to fish is quite common, it is estimated that it is affecting up to 2% of adults. A fish allergy can often surface later in life, 40% of those developing fish allergy are adults.
A fish allergy can cause serious reactions that can potentially be fatal. The main symptoms are diarrhea and vomiting. This type of allergy can be confused with the reaction of eating contaminated fish (bacteria or virus), the symptoms can be similar.
Eating shellfish (scallops, lobster, prawns, shrimp, crayfish and squid) can cause an allergic reaction. The most common trigger is a protein called Tropomyosin. The symptoms often come quickly and are similar to other common food allergies.
It can be difficult to distinguish a shellfish allergy from a food poisoning caused by eating contaminated seafood (bacteria, parasites and viruses). The symptoms can be similar, both can cause stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting.
A shellfish allergy does not tend to resolve over time, those who are suffering from this allergy must exclude shellfish from their diet. Shellfish allergy can even be triggered from cooking vapors.
Allergy to tree nuts is also one of the most common food allergies, it affects around 1% of the population in the United States. People who suffer from tree nut allergy are also allergic to foods made with nuts, such as different oils and nut butters. People with this allergy are advised to avoid all types of tree nuts, even when they get an allergic reaction to only one type of nut.
Examples of tree nuts:
- Cashew nuts
- Macadamia nuts
- Brazil nuts
- Pine nuts
Symptoms of tree nut allergy can be very severe, they are responsible for around 50% of anaphylaxis-related deaths. The only treatment is to avoid all tree nuts and products that contain them.
Contact your doctor if you suspect you have food allergy or intolerance. The most common food allergies are caused by 8 ingredients. A food allergy is not the same thing as a food intolerance. The only treatment is to remove the particular ingredient from your diet.