People are different from each other in many ways. You may be able to eat and digest everything easily but maybe a friend of yours just might not be able to stomach some particular kind of food. Food allergy is an abnormal reaction to some particular kind of protein present in some specific food that your body identifies as a danger and subsequently reacts by trying to “fight it off”. After your friend consumed a certain food item, his or her tongue, lips, face, throat or other parts of the body started to swell up. It could cause them to wheeze, have nasal congestion or trouble breathing. That particular food item maybe the source of hives, eczema or a tingling/ itching senastation in their mouth . They may also undergo abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting and might experience dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting. You may have to stab your friend with an Epi-pen (artificial epinephrine) or rush him/her to the ER, if they are having an anaphylactic reaction to the allergen. These are the common symptoms of food allergy. People who have a certain type of food allergy have to avoid that substance, even in small quantities, if they do not want to experience one or all of the symptoms mentioned above. The top 12 most common foods that cause allergy are listed as follows –
A chocolate allergy is rare, though probable. One common chocolate allergy symptom is headache or migraine. Other possible symptoms include the symptoms mentioned above (in bold). If you experience any of these indicators after consuming chocolate, it might not essentially show a chocolate allergy. It is more likely that you may be allergic to one of the ingredients in the chocolate or have a chocolate intolerance. The best way to confirm whether you actually have a chocolate allergy or not, is to visit an allergist and take a double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge test.
Actual alcohol allergies are rare but the reactions can be brutal. What most people believe to be alcohol allergy is actually a reaction to an allergen present in the alcoholic beverage like barley, hops, yeast, rye, wheat, gluten, histamines (often found in red wine) and sulfites (often found in white wines). People frequently call alcohol intolerance an alcohol allergy and vice versa. Some people are allergic to vinegar and in their body, alcohol might be converted to vinegar, and they show allergic symptoms, assuming the reaction to be from alcohol consumption. Alcohol can also trigger allergic reactions or irritate existing allergies. People who believe they have had a reaction to alcohol should visit an allergist because even a small amount of alcohol can cause symptoms in people with true alcohol allergies. Apart from the usual allergy reactions, people with alcohol allergy may also experience rashes and flush reaction, wherein the face turns red after the consumption of alcohol. The only way to avoid symptoms of an alcohol allergy is to avoid alcohol.
Wheat allergies are not any different from other food allergies or respiratory allergies. Two conditions called exercise/aspirin induced anaphylaxis (acute asthmatic or allergic reaction during exercise) and urticaria (a rash which itches intensely and swells dangerously) occur more frequently with wheat allergies. Common symptoms of a wheat allergy include the afore mentioned reactions plus “Hay fever”, tissue swelling due to fluid leakage from blood vessels, anxiety, arthritis, bloated stomach, chest pains, depression or mood swings, joint and muscle aches and pains, palpitations, irritable bowel syndrome, tiredness and lethargy and unexplained cough. Reactions may become more severe with repeated exposure. There are mixed tests to detect wheat allergy.
There are many everyday products like soy sauce, soybean, soybean butter, soy milk, soy protein, tofu, some food flavourings etc. that have soy in it. People who are allergic to soy may go into anaphylactic shock after consuming soy and they need adrenaline to be artificially administered to them! The allergy to soy can be detected by a skin-prick test.
Gluten in Latin means glue. It is what gives the elasticity to dough by helping it rise and giving it shape. Gluten is found in most foods of the western diet like Pasta, Couscous, Bread, Flour, Tortillas, Cookies, Cakes, Muffins, Pastries, Cereal, Crackers, Beer, Oats, Gravy Dressings, Sauces etc. Apart from the previously mentioned symptoms, muscular disturbances, severe acne, “brain fog”, tingling and/or numbness in hands and feet occur.
People that show an allergic reaction to mushroom may also be allergic to other fungi like moulds or yeast which are present in cheese and grapes too. Allergic reaction to mushroom can crop up from eating mushrooms or inhaling fungal spores. The symptoms mentioned earlier are common to mushroom allergy too. Additionally, in extreme cases, blood pressure may drop sharply and airways may swell and decrease oxygen intake, causing an anaphylactic reaction with an abnormal pulse, trouble breathing, light-headedness and fainting and can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular failure. A skin test is done to confirm mushroom allergy.
Shellfish basically are of 2 types: (a) Crustaceans that includes include crabs, lobster, crayfish, shrimp and prawn and (b) Mollusks which includes squid, snails, octopus, clams, oysters and scallops. Almost all marine animals (except fish) fall under either category of shellfish. Reactions range from mild symptoms like hives or a stuffy nose to severe and even life-threatening symptoms. Shellfish allergy is more common in adults than in children. Among adults, women are more prone to it and among children, boys are more prone. There are 2 types of test to detect this allergy; either by Skin test or Blood test.
You may not be allergic to shellfish but you may be allergic to finned fish! Finned fish includes tuna, halibut, pomfret, salmon etc. Also, you may be allergic to only one type of fish and maybe able to eat other types. It is all about the proteins present in the fish, really. If you are allergic to a specific type of fish, your allergist can help you determine whether other varieties may be safe to eat. He will be able to identify an allergy to a specific sort of fish through a skin-prick test or a blood test. Reactions are same as all other food allergies.
Milk allergy is very common and allergy to cow milk is the most common because of the presence of a specific protein in it. Milk allergy does not mean lactose intolerance. How are they different, you may ask? Biologically, lactose intolerance is caused when the body is not able to digest milk whereas milk allergy is caused when the body thinks milk proteins are harmful for the body, although they are not. Milk allergy can happen in either of 2 ways: (a) Antibody-mediated allergy wherein the reaction is rapid in onset of the dermatological, gastrointestinal and respiratory reactions within an hour of consuming milk and (b) Non-antibody mediated allergy wherein only dermatological and gastrointestinal reactions occur. People with milk allergy are the most hospitalized than people with other food allergies.
Atleast 2% of all children below the age of 16 are allergic to egg. They could be allergic to either the white part or the yolk. The reactions are the same as all other food allergies. People who are allergic to chicken eggs may or may not be allergic to goose, duck, turkey or quail eggs. Skin-prick or blood test can be done to confirm the egg allergy.
Tree nuts include Almond, Artificial nuts, Brazil nut, Beechnut, Butternut, Cashew, Chestnut, Chinquapin nut, Coconut, Filbert, hazelnut, Gianduja, Ginkgo nut, Hickory nut, Litchi/lichee/lychee nut, Macadamia nut, Marzipan, almond paste, Nangai nut, Pecan, Pesto, Pili nut, Pine nut, Pistachio, Praline, Shea nut, Walnut etc. Nuts may also be present in Natural nut extract (e.g., almond, walnut), Nut butters (e.g., cashew butter), Nut meal, Nut meat, Nut milk (e.g., almond milk, cashew milk), Nut paste (e.g., almond paste), Nut pieces etc. Tree nut allergy is usually lifelong. The allergic reactions are usually severe. Peanuts and seeds (like sunflower and sesame) are not tree nuts.
Peanuts grow underground and are part of the legume plant family like beans, peas, lentils and soybeans. Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies. Peanuts can cause a severe and potentially fatal allergic reaction. That is why a person with a peanut allergy must always carry his Epi-pen with him. The number of children with peanut allergy is increasing by the day. Doctors suggest that children who show early signs of peanut allergy should be given peanuts everyday in small quantities, so that their body can overcome the allergy, because being exposed to peanuts is very easy as it is found in Baked goods (e.g., pastries, cookies), Candy (including chocolate candy), Chili, Egg rolls, Enchilada sauce, Marzipan, Mole sauce and Nougat. If not treated, even trace amounts can cause an allergic reaction. Casual contact with the eyes, nose or mouth can also trigger a severe reaction.
So, if you experience any of the allergic reactions mentioned with any of the food items above, rush to an allergist and get yourself checked. Also, if you might have to give up a certain food item, it is worth it, because your life is worth it!