Diet Allergies

An allergic reaction implies some degree of sensitivity to anything that has come in contact with the nose, eyes, skin, digestive system and respiratory tract. The substance causing the reaction (allergen) may have gained access to the body through ingestion, inhalation or injection. Allergies usually occur to people with a family history to allergies.

When the immune system responds to the allergen, it creates a series of physiologic reactions that causes the appearance of symptoms within seconds to minutes to hours but rarely beyond 24 hours. A small area or the entire body can be affected with the symptoms of the allergic reaction that ranges from mild to life threatening conditions (in the case of an Anaphylactic Shock).

Food allergies usually occur without warning. According to a US government study, in every 100 children, four of them have food allergy. 90% of all food-allergic reactions are caused by foods collectively called as the “big eight”. These foods are: egg, milk, peanut, tree nuts (e.g. walnut, almonds, and hazelnuts), soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. Any food or substance that contains an ingredient from the “big eight” can cause a considerable allergic reaction.

While milk from cows is the usual cause of milk allergy, it is possible that sheep, buffalo and goat milk can also cause a reaction.

Peanut allergy appears during the early years of life and may not be outgrown as a child grows older.

Octopus and squid may also induce a shellfish allergy as much as other marine animals with shells such as lobsters, prawns and clams. If you are allergic to shellfish it is likely that you will also be allergic to iodine as well.

A soy allergy is typically seen in a reaction to an infant soy-based formula and may persist through to adulthood. Wheat allergies may occur as an abnormal reaction by the immune system to the proteins within wheat.

Although there may be other foods that may cause an allergic reaction to the body, these “big eight” are the primary foods that cause food allergy. Add more caution and vigilance to what you eat and how your body reacts to it to determine if you have a food allergy and what food caused it.


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