A food allergy can range from uncomfortable to dangerous. It is caused when a normally harmless substance causes our immune system to react in an inflammatory response usually on the skin or respiratory system, and when the airways constrict due to swelling, known as laryngeal edema, the condition may be life-threatening. Allergies can be caused by airborne substances like pollen and bee stings and bites of other insects, but for this piece we will confine our discussion to common food allergies.


Food allergies should not be confused with food intolerance. The symptoms may be similar, but food allergies, though usually easier to diagnose, are often more critical. A true food allergy requires the presence of Immunoglobulin E, a class of antibody found only in mammals. These antibodies react against the problematic food, and food intolerance does not exhibit the same reaction.


It can be said that about 90% of all food allergies are caused by eight different foods. These foods are as follows:


1. Peanuts. These are really legumes, as they are grown underground. Peanuts are one of the allergies most common, and they have been known to cause severe reactions. They are also a problem because they contain a number of allergens that cannot be destroyed by cooking, and trace amounts can cause severe reactions in sensitive people.


2. Soya. An allergy similar to milk allergy, this is typically found with young children who typically outgrow it by the age of two. It is usually not considered dangerous but it has been known to cause anaphylaxis.


3. Cow’s milk. The most common allergy to young children (about five percent of those under one year) who usually outgrow the condition by three. The symptoms usually are quite mild, but in rare cases can cause anaphylaxis.


4. Nuts. We refer only to those grown on trees (not peanuts) such as pecans, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, almonds and pine nuts. People allergic to these nuts usually have a lifelong condition, and for people who are sensitive can cause anaphylaxis.


5. Eggs. Similar to milk, egg allergies usually afflict young children who grow out of it by the age of three; however it is more apt to cause anaphylaxis than milk.


6. Fish. Similar to shellfish, this is more likely to afflict adults rather than children and can cause very severe reactions, including anaphylaxis. Cooking does not destroy these allergens.


7. Shellfish. This is more common in adults and can be quite severe, even to the point of reacting to vapors of cooking shellfish. Examples are prawns, crab, lobster, crayfish, scallops, oysters, clams and mussels.


8. Wheat. This allergy is quite common with babies, and may be circumvented with a gluten-free diet.


These are only eight common food allergies, however there are many more. But these cover just about all that are afflicted by food allergies, and as in many young children they simply outgrow the condition. But it is definitely something that shouldn’t be taken lightly, as if a person consumes a food that their system cannot handle there could be dire consequences. There are no perfectly accurate statistics on the number of people who die from allergic reaction, but a Harvard study estimated the average deaths in the United States annually to be 150 people. It may not seem like many unless it is someone close to you.


Our article on Signs of Food Allergy goes into further depth on food allergies, and you may find The Eat Clean Diet helpful when choosing foods to safely consume.


Rich Carroll is a health enthusiast and writer living in London.


NoniHerbal.com


 

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