All living things need food to survive. Food provides us with the energy and the nutrients which we require for the proper functioning of the body. The choice of food is wide and diverse with a variety of plant and animal derived products.
There are certain food items that cause food allergy in humans. A food allergy is defined as an abnormal immune response to a food. Food allergies are very common. In fact, they affect around 5% of adults and 8% of children and these percentages continue to increasing with each passing year. In simple words, a food allergy is defined as ‘an abnormal immune response to a food.’ It’s caused by your immune system wrongly recognizing some of the proteins in a food as harmful. Your body then launches a range of protective measures, including releasing chemicals like histamine, which causes inflammation. People who are allergic to food, even exposure to very small amounts of the allergic food can trigger an allergic response.
It is a very interesting fact that all foods have potential to cause an allergic reaction; mostly there are eight foods that trigger an abnormal immune response, these include: eggs, cow’s milk, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, wheat and soy. Symptoms can occur few minutes after exposure to a few hours after exposure, and they may include some of the following:
It is a common observation that many times, food intolerances are often mistaken for food allergies. The major difference between food intolerance and allergy is that food intolerances are not concerned with the immune system. This means that they are not life threatening but come with certain consequences.
How to manage food allergy?
It is a common sense, that anything that troubles you should be avoided. Similarly, the easiest way to manage a food allergy is to avoid consuming the food that is a source of allergy. Avoiding an allergen is easier said than done. While labeling has helped make this process a bit easier, some foods are so common that avoiding them is daunting. A dietitian or a nutritionist may be able to help. These food experts will offer tips for avoiding the foods that trigger your allergies and will ensure that even if you exclude certain foods from your diet, you still will be getting all the nutrients you need.
Carefully check ingredient of food products that you buy and learn whether what you need to avoid is known by other names. Some goods also may be labeled with precautionary statements, such as “may contain,” “might contain,” “made on shared equipment,” or some other indication of potential allergen presence. There are no laws or regulations requiring those advisory warnings and no standards that define what they mean. If you have questions about what foods are safe for you to eat, talk with your allergist.
Unlike food intolerances, food allergies are caused by your immune system incorrectly identifying some of the proteins in food as harmful. This can cause potentially life-threatening reactions, and the only treatment is the removal of the food from your diet.
source: Abeer Arshad