Food allergies are extremely typical. In fact, they affect around 5% of adults and 8% of children — and these percentages are rising. Interestingly, although it’s possible for any food to cause an allergy, a lot of food allergies are caused by just eight foods. This article is a comprehensive evaluation of the 8 most typical food allergies. It discusses their symptoms, who is at danger and what you can do about it.
What Is a Food Allergy?
A food allergy is a condition in which certain foods trigger an unusual immune action.
It’s caused by your body immune system incorrectly acknowledging some of the proteins in a food as harmful. Your body then launches a range of protective procedures, consisting of launching chemicals like histamine, which triggers inflammation.
For people who have a food allergy, even direct exposure to extremely percentages of the problem food can cause an allergic reaction.
Symptoms can occur anywhere from a few minutes after direct exposure to a few hours later, and they may include some of the following:
- Swelling of the tongue, mouth or face
- Difficulty breathing
- Low blood pressure
- Itchy rash
In more extreme cases, a food allergy can trigger anaphylaxis. Symptoms, which can come on really rapidly, include a scratchy rash, swelling of the throat or tongue, shortness of breath and low blood pressure. Some cases can be fatal.
Lots of food intolerances are typically mistaken for food allergies.
However, food intolerances never involve the immune system. This suggests that while they can seriously affect your lifestyle, they are not life threatening.
True food allergies can be divided into 2 main types: IgE antibody or non-IgE antibody. Antibodies are a type of blood protein used by your immune system to acknowledge and combat infection.
In an IgE food allergy, the IgE antibody is launched by your body immune system. In a non-IgE food allergy, IgE antibodies aren’t released, and other parts of the body immune system are used to eliminate the viewed danger.
Here are the 8 most typical food allergies.
1. Cow’s Milk
An allergy to cow’s milk is most often seen in babies and young children, specifically when they have been exposed to cow’s milk protein before they are 6 months old.
It’s one of the most typical youth allergies, impacting 2 — 3% of babies and toddlers.
However, around 90% of children will grow out of the condition by the time they’re three, making it much less typical in adults.
A cow’s milk allergy can occur in both IgE and non-IgE kinds, but IgE cow milk allergies are the most typical and potentially the most major.
Children or adults with an IgE allergy tend to have a reaction within 5 — 30 minutes of consuming cow’s milk. They experience symptoms like swelling, rashes, hives, vomiting and, in rare cases, anaphylaxis.
A non-IgE allergy generally has more gut-based symptoms like vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, in addition to swelling of the gut wall.
A non-IgE milk allergy can be quite hard to detect. This is since sometimes the symptoms can recommend an intolerance and there is no blood test for it.
If a medical diagnosis of a cow’s milk allergy is made, the only treatment is to avoid cow’s milk and foods that contain it. This consists of any foods or drinks that contain:
- Milk powder
- Ice cream
Breastfeeding mothers of babies with an allergy may likewise have to eliminate cow’s milk and foods that contain it from their own diets.
As for babies who aren’t breastfeeding, an appropriate option to a cow’s milk-based formula will be advised by a health expert.
An egg allergy is the 2nd most typical reason for food allergy in children.
Nevertheless, 68% of children who are allergic to eggs will outgrow their allergy by the time they’re 16.
Symptoms consist of:
- Digestive distress, such as a stomach ache
- Skin reactions, such as hives or a rash
- Respiratory problems
- Anaphylaxis (which is unusual).
Surprisingly, it’s possible to be allergic to egg whites, however not the yolks, and vice versa. This is because the proteins in egg whites and egg yolks vary a little.
Yet the majority of the proteins that trigger an allergy are found in egg whites, so an egg white allergy is more common.
Like other allergies, the treatment for an egg allergy is an egg-free diet.
However, you may not have to prevent all egg-related foods, as heating eggs can alter the shape of the allergy-causing proteins. This can stop your body from seeing them as harmful, indicating they’re less most likely to trigger a reaction.
In fact, one research study found that around 70% of children with an egg allergy could tolerate eating biscuits or cakes including a cooked egg component.
Some studies have likewise revealed that presenting baked items to children with an egg allergy can reduce the time it takes for them to grow out of the condition.
Nevertheless, this isn’t the case for everybody, and the consequences of consuming eggs when you are allergic to them can be extreme. Because of this, you need to consult your doctor before you reintroduce any egg-containing foods.
3. Tree Nuts
A tree nut allergy is an allergy to some of the nuts and seeds that come from trees.
It’s a very common food allergy that’s thought to impact around 1% of the US population.
Some examples of tree nuts include:
- Brazil nuts.
- Macadamia nuts.
- Pine nuts.
People with a tree nut allergy will likewise be allergic to food products made with these nuts, such as nut butters and oils.
They are encouraged to prevent all types of tree nuts, even if they are just allergic to one or two types.
This is because being allergic to one type of tree nut increases your threat of developing an allergy to other kinds of tree nuts.
Additionally, it’s much easier to prevent all nuts, instead of just one or two types. And unlike some other allergies, an allergy to tree nuts is typically a lifelong condition.
Allergies can likewise be very severe, and tree nut allergies are accountable for around 50% of anaphylaxis-related deaths.
Because of this, people with nut allergies (as well other possibly life-threatening allergies) are recommended to carry an epi-pen with them at all times.
An epi-pen is a possibly life-saving gadget that enables those with allergies to inject themselves with a shot of adrenaline if they begin to have an extreme allergic reaction.
Adrenaline is a naturally happening hormonal agent that promotes the body’s “battle or flight” action when you are stressed.
When given as an injection to people having an extreme allergic reaction, it can reverse the results of the allergy and save the individual’s life.
Like a tree nut allergy, peanut allergies are really typical and can cause serious and potentially fatal allergic reactions.
However, the two conditions are thought about distinct, as a peanut is a legume. Nonetheless, those with peanut allergies are often likewise adverse tree nuts.
While the factor people establish a peanut allergy isn’t known, it is thought that people with a family history of peanut allergies are most at risk.
Because of this, it was formerly thought that presenting peanuts through a breastfeeding mother’s diet or throughout weaning may trigger a peanut allergy.
Nevertheless, studies have considering that shown that introducing peanuts early might be protective.
Peanut allergies affect around 4 — 8% of children and 1 — 2% of adults.
However, around 15 — 22% of children who establish a peanut allergy will find it fixes as they move into their teenage years.
Like other allergies, a peanut allergy is diagnosed using a mix of patient history, skin prick testing, blood tests and food obstacles.
At the moment, the only efficient treatment is total avoidance of peanuts and peanut-containing products.
However, new treatments are being developed for children with peanut allergies. These include providing accurate and percentages of peanuts under rigorous medical supervision in an attempt to desensitize them to the allergy.
A shellfish allergy is caused by your body assaulting proteins from the shellfish and mollusk families of fish, which are known as shellfish.
Examples of shellfish consist of:
The most typical trigger of a seafood allergy is a protein called tropomyosin. Other proteins that might play a role in triggering an immune response are arginine kinase and myosin light chain.
Symptoms of a shellfish allergy typically begun rapidly and are similar to other IgE food allergies.
Nevertheless, a true seafood allergy can often be hard to differentiate from an unfavorable reaction to a pollutant of seafood, such as bacteria, infections or parasites.
This is due to the fact that the symptoms can be comparable, as both can cause digestive problems like vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain.
A shellfish allergy doesn’t tend to deal with gradually, so many people with the condition must leave out all shellfish from their diet to avoid having an allergic reaction.
Interestingly, even the vapors from cooking shellfish can trigger a shellfish allergy in those who are allergic. This means that many individuals are likewise advised to prevent being around seafood when it’s being cooked.
A wheat allergy is an allergic response to among the proteins found in wheat.
It tends to affect children one of the most. Although, children with a wheat allergy frequently outgrow it by the time they reach 10 years of age.
Like other allergies, a wheat allergy can lead to digestive distress, hives, vomiting, rashes, swelling and, in extreme cases, anaphylaxis.
It is typically confused with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which can have comparable digestive symptoms.
Nevertheless, a real wheat allergy causes an immune response to among the hundreds of proteins found in wheat. This reaction can be serious and often even fatal.
On the other hand, celiac illness and non-celiac gluten sensitivity are not harmful. They are caused by an unusual immune reaction to one specific protein — gluten — that likewise takes place to be found in wheat.
People with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity have to avoid wheat and other grains that contain the protein gluten.
People with a wheat allergy only require to prevent wheat and can endure gluten from grains that don’t contain wheat.
A wheat allergy is often diagnosed through skin prick screening.
The only treatment is to avoid wheat and wheat-containing items. This indicates preventing foods, along with appeal and cosmetic products, that contain wheat.
Soy allergies affect around 0.4% of children and are most typically seen in infants and children under 3.
They are triggered by a protein in soybeans or soybean-containing items. Nevertheless, around 70% of children who are allergic to soy grow out of the allergy.
The symptoms can vary from an itchy, tingly mouth and runny nose to a rash and asthma or breathing difficulties. In rare cases, a soy allergy can also cause anaphylaxis.
Surprisingly, a small number of babies who are allergic to cow’s milk are likewise adverse soy.
Typical food triggers of soy allergy include soybeans and soy items like soy milk or soy sauce. Because soy is found in numerous foods, it’s important to check out food labels.
Like other allergies, the only treatment for soy allergy is the avoidance of soy.
Fish allergies are common, impacting up to around 2% of adults.
Unlike other allergies, it’s not uncommon for a fish allergy to surface later in life, with 40% of people developing the allergy as an adult.
Like a shellfish allergy, a fish allergy can trigger a major and potentially fatal allergic reaction. The main symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea, but, in unusual cases, anaphylaxis can likewise happen.
This implies that those who are allergic to fish are typically given an epi-pen to carry in case they unintentionally consume fish.
Since the symptoms can be similar, a fish allergy is sometimes confused for a reaction to a contaminant in fish, such as bacteria, viruses or contaminants.
What’s more, considering that shellfish and fish with fins do not carry the very same proteins, people who are allergic to shellfish may not be allergic to fish.
Nevertheless, many people with a fish allergy are allergic to one or more kinds of fish.
The 8 food allergies described above are the most typical ones.
Nevertheless, there are a lot more.
Less common food allergies can cause a variety of symptoms, varying from mild itching of the lips and mouth (called oral allergy syndrome) to life-threatening anaphylaxis.
Some less common food allergies consist of:
- Sesame seed.
- Kiwi fruit.
- Passion fruit.
- Mustard seeds.
Think You Have a Food Allergy?
Often it can be tough to inform food allergies and food intolerances apart.
If you believe you have a food allergy, it’s important to speak to your doctor.
To learn whether you have an allergy or an intolerance, your doctor will most likely perform a variety of diagnostic tests.
- Dietary review: A comprehensive evaluation of foods eaten, consisting of timing and symptoms.
- Skin prick screening: A percentage of food is “punctured” into the skin using a tiny needle. The skin is then monitored for a reaction.
- Oral food obstacles: The problem food is eaten in a controlled environment under medical guidance in slowly increasing amounts.
- Blood tests: In some scenarios, blood will be drawn and the level of IgE antibodies measured.
If you are allergic to a food, your doctor will encourage you on how to handle it. Your doctor may likewise refer you to a signed up dietitian to assist with handling your diet.
The Bottom Line
Most food allergies are caused by 8 foods: cow’s milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, fish, soy and wheat.
Unlike food intolerances, food allergies are caused by your immune system incorrectly determining some of the proteins in food as harmful.
This can trigger possibly life-threatening reactions, and the only treatment is the removal of the food from your diet.
If you think you have a food allergy, speak with your doctor about it.