Food is a fundamental part of our lives. However, for some people, certain foods can cause a negative response in their immune system. Food allergens are substances that trigger these allergic reactions in the human body. While many of us have heard of allergies to peanuts or shellfish, there are a wide variety of allergens that can cause problems, some of which may be less well known.
In this article, we will explain what food allergens are and the different types that exist, as well as the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of food allergies. We hope this information will be useful to better understand the importance of knowing about food allergens and how they can affect our health.
Types of food allergens
There are a wide variety of food allergens, some of which are more common than others. The most common food allergens are described below:
Milk: Milk allergy affects about 2-3% of children under three years of age. Symptoms may include diarrhoea, vomiting, hives, swelling and difficulty breathing.
Eggs: Egg allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children. Symptoms may include hives, swelling, nausea and diarrhoea.
Fish: Fish allergy is more common in adults than in children. Symptoms may include hives, swelling, vomiting, diarrhoea and difficulty breathing.
Crustaceans: Allergy to crustaceans, such as shrimp, crabs and lobsters, is one of the most common food allergies in adults. Symptoms can include hives, swelling, difficulty breathing and anaphylactic shock.
Peanuts: Peanut allergy is one of the most severe and common food allergies. Symptoms can include hives, swelling, asthma, diarrhoea and anaphylactic shock.
Nuts: Allergy to nuts, such as almonds, cashews and Brazil nuts, is another of the most serious and common food allergies. Symptoms can include hives, swelling, asthma, diarrhoea and anaphylactic shock.
Soy: Soy allergy is common in infants and young children. Symptoms may include hives, swelling, diarrhoea and asthma.
Wheat: Wheat allergy is common in children, but often disappears as they get older. Symptoms may include hives, swelling, diarrhoea and asthma.
Lupins: Allergy to lupins, a legume used in some foods, can cause severe reactions in some people.
In addition to these common allergens, there are many others that can cause allergic reactions in some people, such as celery, mustard, sesame and sulphites. It is important to read food labels and be aware of the possible allergens present to avoid an allergic reaction.
Causes of food allergies
Food allergies are an exaggerated response of the immune system to certain proteins in food. Some of the main causes of food allergies include:
Genetics: Food allergies can be inherited, which means that if one family member has a food allergy, it is more likely that other family members will also have a food allergy.
Early introduction of solid foods: Early introduction of solid foods into a baby’s diet can increase the risk of developing food allergies.
Repeated exposure to certain foods: Repeated exposure to certain foods may increase the risk of developing a food allergy.
Changes in food processing: Changes in the way food is processed can affect the structure of proteins in food, which can increase the risk of developing a food allergy. proteins in food, which can make them more likely to trigger an allergic reaction.
Environmental factors: Environmental factors such as air pollution and increased temperature can trigger an allergic response.
It is important to note that any food can trigger an allergy, although some foods are more likely to trigger an allergic reaction than others. Foods that most commonly cause food allergies include milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish.
Prevention of food allergies
Some steps that can be taken to prevent food allergies include early identification, following a proper diet and avoiding eating certain allergy-causing foods.
It is important to read labels and ask restaurants about ingredients and preparation of dishes before eating them. Steps can also be taken to reduce exposure to allergens in the home, such as avoiding pets in the house or using high-efficiency air filters.
If a person experiences symptoms of an allergic reaction, it is important to seek medical attention immediately to receive appropriate treatment and prevent serious complications. Overall, preventing food allergies requires a combination of education, planning and communication to ensure the safety and health of those affected.
Food allergens are substances that can cause an allergic response in our body. They can be caused by genetic factors, early introduction of solid foods, repeated exposure to certain foods, food processing and environmental factors.
That is why at CALITEC we recommend being informed about food allergens and how they can affect our health in order to prevent and treat allergies properly.
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