Common Food Allergies

food-allergiesAllergies are common in occurrence; households may experience incidents of allergic reaction at least once. Allergies rank 5th in the US list of chronic diseases and It is estimated that one in five people will develop allergy or asthma symptoms. Over 55% of the US population tests positive to 1 or more allergens. This medical condition takes away roughly 8$ billion from the health care systems and businesses.

Symptoms vary; it can go from mild to severe, causing hives, rashes, swelling, itching, breathlessness and wheezing, and even anaphylaxis. People highly allergic to certain food and food products must have regular supply of anti-allergy meds. Epinephrine auto-injectors are recommended for a quick handling of allergy attacks.

Milk Allergy especially to cow’s milk commonly presents in infants and young kids. Most kids outgrow milk allergies but such may persist in those who are highly resistant to cow’s milk (and other domestic animal milk). Antibodies can be measured via blood tests to help determine the likelihood of a child outgrowing this type of allergy.

Some are merely lactose intolerant; missing the lactase enzyme factor, they fail to breakdown lactose (sugar in milk and dairy). Effects of ingestion of milk and dairy products may cause cramps, nausea, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Reactions might be highly uncomfortable but not life-threatening.

Infants with milk allergy should switch from regular infant milk to milk-free or hypoallergenic formulas. Making this move often addresses the problem. Check you pediatrician for suggestions.

If you have milk allergy, it is best to avoid food or products containing the following ingredients: butter, buttermilk, cheese, cream, custard, curds, half-and-half, lactulose, cottage cheese, lactalbumin. Avoid consuming sour milk, whey, yogurt, and pudding.

Egg Allergy is also very common among children. Those highly allergic are instructed to strictly avoid consuming eggs and egg products. The egg whites actually cause the allergic reaction. However, people often use the whole egg in preparing various food dishes. If you are highly allergic, stay away from meals and dishes that have high egg content. Certain medications also contain egg protein, like vaccines (MMR and Influenza vaccines). Don’t forget to disclose your condition to doctors before being treated in a clinic or hospital.

Avoid the following ingredients in food preparation: Albumen, eggnog, meringue or meringue powder, mayonnaise, Lecithin, and Lysozyme. Avoid the following food products: egg-rich cake and baked products, pasta dishes. Don’t use egg-based noodles or pasta for cooking. Avoid chicken eggs, duck eggs, quail eggs, etc.

Wheat Allergy though most common during childhood, normally is outgrown before one becomes an adult. People affected are to avoid wheat and wheat based products. Wheat is a predominant product so it can be a difficult challenge for one’s diet. Food must be sourced with substitutes for wheat. Wheat-free diet will mostly revolve around barley, quinoa, rice, tapioca, oat, and corn. For baked products, flours must be wheat free. Combination flour may be used. Texture is hard to achieve but with experimentation, bakers will be able to adjust the process.

Wheat allergy is not the same as celiac disease (gluten intolerance). With celiac disease, the body lets out an immune reaction to gluten; this affects the small intestine. The disease is digestive and can cause serious problems; it can lead to malnutrition and even damage to the intestines. Gluten intolerant people are to avoid wheat, rye, and barley. Oats may present a problem as well.

Generally wheat is the only problem for wheat allergic children. Other grains may be freely consumed. However, 20% of children with wheat allergy were also found to be allergic to other grains. Have your child tested for other possible allergies.

Avoid food products with the following ingredients: bread crumbs, cereal extract, crackers, graham, hydrolyzed wheat protein, wheat pasta, sprouted wheat, wheat bran and wheat bran hydrolysate, wheat germ oil, wheat grass, whole wheat berries. Avoid decorative items that use wheat.

Soy Allergy may be observed as early as infancy. Normally, it can be outgrown by age ten. A member of the legume family, soy allergy may cover a lot of products. It is possible that one may not be allergic to other legumes, but full testing is encouraged in order to be sure. Soy allergy definitely increases your risk for allergies to other legumes.

Soybeans are widely used in the US so it’s hard to simply restrict yourself to soy free food and drink. You should consult a dietician before making changes to your food habits as this may cause malnutrition. Let a dietician help you plan properly.

Soy is present in the following ingredients: Miso, natto, soy cheese, soy flour, soy fiber, soy milk, soy nuts, soy yogurt, soybean granules and soybean curd, soy protein, tamari, tofu, tempeh. Soy is often found in Asian dishes and vegetable broths. Inquire with attendants at the restaurant before making any orders for food dishes.

The FDA has exempted soybean oil from its list of allergens. Soy oil is highly refined, most people with soy allergy are able to safely consume soy oil in cooking preparations. Consult your doctor just to be sure.

Peanut allergy is very common and this allergy type can really cause severe to fatal allergic reactions. This type of allergy is quickly becoming more common in children, the rate of children affected has tripled in the past decade. It is highly prevalent across countries.  Peanut allergy can become lifelong with a lesser percentage of the population outgrowing the allergy in adulthood. Family members of those with a medical history of peanut allergy definitely are at a higher risk for developing this condition.

Peanuts are different from walnuts, cashew, and almond. Peanuts grow underground not like those mentioned, they are part of the legume family like peas, lentils, and soybeans. Those who exhibit peanut allergy may most likely be allergic to soy as well. Have yourself or your kids tested to confirm this. Also, those with peanut allergy have high probabilities of being allergic to tree nuts.

Mere causal contact with peanuts or with its residue may not trigger an attack, except when the contact is with the eyes, mouth, or nose.  Avoid consuming food products with these ingredients: beer nuts, groundnuts, artificial nuts, madelonas, peanut butter, and peanut protein hydrolysate. Check cake and baked products for peanuts contents. The same caution should be given when consuming enchilada sauce, tacos, salads. Most Asian, African, and Mexican dishes will have peanuts as ingredients. Avoid peanut oil and Arachis oil.

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