Common Food Allergens: Food allergies cannot be cured completely and occur when our body’s immune system reacts to certain proteins in food. Read on for details.
By Somdatta Saha
Every group has a friend who’s allergic to prawns and we remain extra careful while ordering food for them. We bet, you too have one such friend on your list who gets an itchy throat and red spots on the skin from a mere touch of the prawn-based dish. But did you know, it is not just prawns that lead to such allergies? In fact, there are several other food items that can have such negative reactions on our health. According to the Food and Drugs Administration of the United States (FDA), these allergies cannot be cured completely and occur when our body’s immune system reacts to certain proteins in food. The reactions vary in severity, “from mild symptoms involving hives and lip swelling to severe, life-threatening symptoms, often called anaphylaxis, that may involve fatal respiratory problems and shock,” reads an article on the official FDA website.
Hence, experts around the world suggest arming yourself with knowledge about the allergens that can help you make the right food choices and conquer these challenges effectively. Today, we will take you through some of those allergies occurred by the most common food items found in almost every kitchen. But before jumping into it, let’s look into the basic difference between food allergy and food intolerance.
Food Allergy Vs Food Intolerance: What Is The Difference Between The Two:
These are probably two of the most confusing terms in the world of medical science and “it is important to differentiate between the two” to understand the cure better, states consultant nutritionist Rupali Datta. According to her, allergic reaction occurs when the immune system reacts to specific proteins in food, whereas, intolerance is common and doesn’t pose significant health risks or involve the immune system. “Food intolerance can be uncomfortable, but have a cure; and it usually occurs due to the sugar in a certain food, rather than protein,” she adds.
This means, in case of food allergy, it is crucial to identify and eliminate specific allergens from your diet. On the other hand, in case of intolerance, it may be possible to consume the food in an alternate form, eliminating the need of avoiding it completely.
Here Are 5 Of The Most Common Food Allergies You Must Be Aware Of:
1. Prawn allergy:
Prawn allergy falls under the umbrella of shellfish/seafood allergy, where your immune system mistakes certain proteins in them as harmful. The most common trigger of a seafood allergy is proteins called tropomyosin, arginine kinase and parvalbumin. Seafood allergy has an immediate reaction, leading to rashes, itching, and respiratory troubles and can be fatal at times.
2. Egg allergy:
An egg is considered one of the most common food allergens, especially in children. As the egg white and egg yolk have different protein content, it is possible that you might be allergic it one, not the other. Some of the most common reactions to it are digestive and respiratory troubles and hives.
3. Peanut allergy:
Another common allergen is peanuts which cause severe and potentially fatal allergic reactions. According to experts, the real reason behind it is still unknown, but studies show that peanut allergy could be hereditary. Although peanut is considered a legume, it is said, people with peanut allergy tend to have tree nuts allergy as well.
4. Wheat allergy:
People often mistake a wheat allergy for gluten sensitivity. The former occurs due to certain proteins in wheat, whereas, celiac disease occurs due to gluten found in any food. For wheat allergy, you need to eliminate wheat from your diet, but not other food items that include gluten.
5. Cow Milk allergy:
People also get confused between lactose intolerance and cow milk allergy. While people with lactose intolerance avoid milk completely, the later highlights cow milk, specifically. People with cow milk allergy experience symptoms like swelling, rashes, hives, and vomiting amongst others. If diagnosed with an allergy, the best practice is to avoid cow milk and products made with it. Instead, you can go for alternative milk options to add to your diet.
Now that you know about these allergies, we suggest, get yourself diagnosed if you experience any reaction to any of the above foods. And as mentioned above, the best practice is to eliminate those allergens completely from your diet to stay healthy and wise.