Food allergies are becoming more common in the general population and we usually observe someone developing an allergic reaction in seemingly non-allergic foods. As food allergies become common, the number of common food allergies is also increasing. Although people with food allergies cautiously monitor their food intake, some food allergens may still be present in certain dishes that are seemingly allergen free.
There are various food allergens, but there are nine common food allergies that are present. The following is the list of the most common foods that can produce allergic reactions to humans and some animals:
Peanut allergy is the most common food allergy that can be experienced at home, in schools and food chains. Peanut allergy is different from nut allergies, but people who have allergies to peanuts may also develop nut allergies because tree nuts may be prepared together with peanuts leaving peanut protein particles in tree nut packages. Although people with peanut allergies may avoid eating peanuts all in all, peanuts can still be found in cookies, cakes, cereals, fried foods, meat substitutes and Szechwan sauce so all these food items should also be avoided.
Another common food allergen is milk and people allergic to it may also be allergic to dairy products such as cheese, ice cream, yogurt, chocolates, and soup mixes. Milk allergies may not produce common symptoms such as itchiness and rashes, but it can produce serious diarrhea that may lead to dehydration.
• Tree nuts
Tree nuts also commonly yield food allergies in people sensitive to them. Tree nuts include Brazilian nuts, almonds, cashew nuts, hazelnut, macadamia, pistachios, pine nuts, walnuts, and pecans.
Egg allergies can be experienced from consuming eggs itself, baked goods, and pancakes because these foods normally contain eggs as their ingredients. Fortunately, egg allergies are usually outgrown by children by age of three so they may enjoy children’s delights like cookies and cakes.
• Sesame seeds
Sesame seeds can be very small in size, but they can cause serious allergic reactions that can lead to anaphylaxis. Sesame seeds are commonly found in traced amounts in cosmetics, dips, dressings, sauces and even pet foods so contact with these items should be avoided.
Seafood such as shellfish, fish and crustaceans are also common food allergens. However, people with food allergies may only have specific seafood they are allergic to and may not be allergic to all sorts of them. For instance, a person allergic to shrimps and lobsters may not be allergic to shellfish and the like. Also, seafood allergies may be triggered only by smelling or touching food items or any vapour coming from seafood.
Wheat allergy is one of the food allergies that make people not able to eat major food items because wheat is simply present in most processed foods. Wheat allergy causes gastrointestinal disturbances, but it is different from Celiac disease, which is a metabolic condition causing inability to digest the protein gluten found in wheat products. People with wheat allergy should avoid baked goods, breads, pasta, gravy, crackers, creamed soups, croutons and others.
Soy is also a very common allergen found in craft materials, cosmetics, soaps, canned and baked goods, tofu, chocolate, gums, soy milk, and candies.
Sulphites is a food additive that is used to preserve the food color and makes foods last longer. Sulphite allergies can trigger an asthma reaction that can progress to anaphylaxis or severe allergic reaction. Sulphites are present in processed foods and may also be present in traced amounts in the peels of vegetables and fruits so thorough washing is recommended.
Food allergies can be a minor condition, but an increasing percentage of people develop anaphylaxis that can be life-threatening so avoidance of food allergens is a must by people allergic to certain foods.