Common Allergens in Foods

A large number of people suffer from food allergies. A person can be allergic to eight types of food namely peanut, fish, milk, egg, soy, wheat, shellfish, and tree nuts like cashew nut and walnut. A food allergy is different from food intolerance. In case of food intolerance, the person can consume small quantities of the food without exhibiting any allergic reaction where as in food allergy, the person exhibits different symptoms due to allergic reaction. The following article gives out the

common allergens in foods

which may help you in some point of time.

Listed below are the common allergens in foods:

  • Common AllergensPeanuts

    – Peanuts are the most common allergens of food allergies. Consuming even a small amount of food containing peanuts is enough to cause allergic reactions in some individuals. People allergic to peanuts show allergic responses even to legumes like lentils or soya beans.

  • Tree nuts

    – These include brazil nuts, macadamia buts, almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, beechnuts, gingko nuts, hickory nuts and pine nuts. These nuts are used in many foods like cereals, sauce, ice cream and crackers. On eating foods containing them, they can cause allergic reactions which are associated with severe anaphylaxis. If this is the case, you should always carry a prescribed epinephrine injection with you.

  • Milk

    – Allergy to milk falls into two categories. The foremost is lactose intolerance, which is not an allergy but the result of body inability to break down lactose sugar. The other one is true allergic reaction in which the body immune system reacts to the milk proteins.

  • Egg

    – Egg is another common allergens in foods. Allergy to eggs is more common in children than in adults. But most of the children outgrow this allergy by the age of 5 years.

  • Shellfish

    – This common allergen is known to affect nearly 2 % individuals in the United States. Adults are affected mostly and even children suffer some times. Allergic symptoms from shellfish include vomiting, hives, nasal congestion and even severe anaphylactic shock. Consuming even a small amount of this can cause allergy.

  • Fish

    – Individuals allergic to fish even show allergic responses to common edible bony and scaly fishes such as haddock, cod, sprat, herring, salmon, trout and mackerel. If this is the case, you need to be careful and aware of foods with fish.

  • Wheat

    – This is another most common allergen in foods which mostly affects children. It can even affect adults. Individuals susceptible to wheat proteins suffer from allergic symptoms within a few minutes to a few hours.

  • Soy

    – Soybeans are main ingredients in most of the processed foods. Therefore, it is better to avoid processed foods, especially those made with soybeans. But by eliminating all foods containing soy may find yourself consuming an unbalanced diet. For this you need to consult a dietitian.

The above are the

common allergens in foods

. So, how these allergens affect people and how the mechanism takes place, this may be the questions arising in you. To know more in detail, read on the following mechanism, symptoms, treatment and prevention.

Mechanism of food allergy

Food allergy usually occurs when the body takes the ingested food as a harmful substance. The immune system then starts producing antibodies against the ingested substance. The next time when you consume this food, the immune system will produce histamines resulting in allergic symptoms thereby affecting cardiac, respiratory systems and skin.

Symptoms of food allergy

A food allergy can occur within few minutes to few hours of consuming the food. This includes itching, coarseness in the throat, breathlessness, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps in the stomach and stinging feeling in the tongue. The person may faint and face a drastic drop in blood pressure. In case of a severe allergy, anaphylactic shock can occur with fatal consequences.

Treatment of food allergy

Avoidance is the best treatment for a food allergy. Read all food labels carefully before consuming them. Stay away from all known sources of your food allergy in any form. Research as much as possible on all food items that may contain the allergen and look for healthy substitutes. Consult your doctor or nutritionist for possible alternatives. This is important especially for children suffering from food allergy, so that they do not miss ingredients vital for their physical and mental development.

If you have any allergic symptoms, consult a doctor and describe all symptoms. Keep a food diary where you can note all the foods consumed everyday. This will help the doctor to pin point the food allergen. In case of a severe anaphylactic reaction rush the patient to the hospital or administer epinephrine injection immediately, else he may die.

Prevention of food allergy

Look for hidden allergens in malt -based drinks, bakery items that contain eggs, sauces that include wheat as an ingredient and milk in ice cream and chocolates.

When eating out tell the chef about your allergy and avoid items on the menu containing the allergen. Always carry an injection of epinephrine with you at all times or wear a bracelet identifying your food allergy and what to do in case of an allergic reaction. Always go with a friend or a family member so that they can help you in case of any adverse reaction.

Therefore learn to recognize allergens in food items and do not take your food allergy lightly.