FOOD ALLERGIES

Posted by Trupti Shirole on Tue, Sep 28, 2010  
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Almost 1/3 people claim to have a food allergy. But the fact is that only about 2-8% children and 1-2% of adults have clinically proven allergic reactions to food. The reason for this vast difference is that people cannot distinguish between food allergies and food intolerance.

 

Food allergies involve the body’s immune system. Food intolerance involves the gastrointestinal system of the body.

 

There is no known cause for food allergies. Heredity plays an important role.

 

Sometimes food allergies seen in children might lessen as they grow. Breast feeding and delayed introduction of solid foods reduces a child’s chances of developing food allergies.

 

COMMON SYMPTOMS-

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion
  • Headaches
  • Skin rashes
  • Itching
  • Shortness of the breath
  • Swelling in the mouth or throat. (it is dangerous as it may block the airways to the lungs)
  • Anaphylactic shock (life-threatening collapse of the respiratory and circulatory system)

 

COMMON FOOD ALLERGENS-

  • Milk and milk products
  • Eggs (especially egg white)
  • Soy and soy products
  • Wheat and wheat products
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios)
  • Fish
  • Shellfish

 

IDENTIFYING THE ALLERGENS-

Some allergens can be easily identified as the symptoms develop immediately after food ingestion.

Most allergenic foods-

  • In infancy- egg, milk, peanut, wheat, soy
  • Older children and adults- tree nuts, peanuts, seafood

 

Some people may have mild allergies to certain fruits and vegetables.

Cooking reduces the allergenic potential of the food.

But roasting peanuts makes them more allergenic.

 

LIVING WITH FOOD ALLERGIES-

Once the allergens are identified, eliminating the particular food substance from the diet helps solve the problem.

 

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