Almost everyone suffers from food allergies at least once in their life. It’s not that after experiencing food allergies you should avoid certain foods; rather you can enjoy your cuisine but take some precautions all along.
Our immune system reacts differently to different food items; some are easily digested and some are a not so smooth while some edibles may cause allergic reactions. Also defined as the food intolerance, food allergy can be realized soon after you eat something that is unacceptable to the immune system.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4% adults and 4-6% of children experience the severe food allergic reactions. There are more than 50 million people in America, having experienced food allergy of one kind or another. It’s not too difficult to manage food allergies if you are watchful enough with your dietary and health concerns.
Some facts about food allergy are:
- Food allergy is directly related to the immune system
- Probably, food allergies in adults are different from teenagers and children
- Children are more affected by the food allergies than adults
- Food allergy is different from food poisoning
- Food allergy treatment is given by dietary avoidance or elimination of diet
Symptoms of food allergy:
Food-related allergic reactions are quite common and their effects range from mild to severe, but very rare to create a fatal case. Generally, the symptoms of food allergies are witnessed within a few minutes to maximum 2-3 hours of eating of that unfavorable food.
Some of the common signs and symptoms of food allergy are:
- Severe pain in abdomen or stomach cramps
- Tingling or itching in the mouth
- Hives, itching or eczema
- Swelling of the lips, throat, face, tongue, eye and other parts of the body
- Hives and congested nose
- Hoarse voice
- Wheezing, nasal congestion or trouble breathing
These symptoms vary from person to person. The serious food allergies can affect blood circulation (anaphylaxis) that triggers pale skin, weak pulse and faintness. The asthma patients find it harder to manage food allergies generated by seafood, peanut and deep fried foods.
Causes of food allergy:
There are certain food items that increase the risks of food allergy. For example, peanut allergies affect children the most. Tree nuts that include hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, coconuts, pecans, and pistachios are some other common foods notorious for causing allergies. Likewise, edible seeds including poppy seeds and sesame seeds encourage allergic reactions.
Any other food items like egg, meat, beef, milk, dairy products as well as protein-rich foods like maize, fish, wheat, soy and spices could induce chemical reactions that your immune system finds hard to suppress. The genetic factors also work behind the provocation of food allergies. And people living with atopic syndrome are more likely to develop such allergies.
Also, you have to be concerned with the cross sensitivity of different products as it could cause allergic reactions. In some cases, milk leads cross sensitivity to soy-based food products.
Treatment of food allergy:
Basically, there are three ways to treat food allergies, such as:
- Treatment through food habit
- Treatment though medications or drugs
- Treatment through lifestyle changes
Diagnose food allergy through dietary selection:
It’s important to identify those foods that cause allergy and then try to reduce their intake or eliminate them completely. Make a proper time-bound course to manage food allergies under which you have to note the symptoms triggered by some particular food items. Evaluate the frequency and severity of food allergy after certain intervals. Keep rotating your food items and add more and more nutritious ingredients with an ideal share of vitamins and minerals.
Medications of food allergy:
Many dietary experts prescribe some antihistamines that can reduce the effects of mild food allergies. Similarly, a dose of epinephrine can work to reduce severe allergic reactions, but don’t take it without a doctor’s prescription. In some cases, immunotherapy is useful to reduce the effect of food allergies. There are many studies on the effectiveness of oral immunotherapy.
Changes in lifestyle to treat food allergy:
Your lifestyle should not allow or set the stage for any food allergies. Be careful about the ingredients available in the foods you are consuming. Some common sources of food allergens like peanuts, tree nuts, raw meat, milk and fish should be taken in minimum amounts. Try to avoid haphazard eating habit and be concerned with the cross sensitivity of the foods and keep your children away from the allergy-causing foods. Some simple tips to manage food allergies should be followed. Measures like drinking a little water before a meal, taking a stroll after meal, consumption of light foods at dinner, and intake of the less spicy meals helps to increase metabolism and so the efficiency of the digestive system.
Food allergy is not a very serious issue, but it’s ignorance could pose a bigger health problem over a passage of time. Your diet should be aligned with your immune system. Your food liberty does not mean the absence of any restraint; in fact, it’s very crucial to adjust your lifestyle in order to manage food allergies without any hindrance.