Did you know that food allergies affect roughly 5% of adults and 8% of children? These numbers are actually on the rise. Therefore, it is important to know what foods are the most common and what to keep an eye out for, who are the people at risk, and what to do when you have a food allergy.
A food allergy is when an abnormal immune response is triggered by a certain type of food.
When you have a food allergy, your body instantly begins it’s protective measures such as releasing antihistamines to combat a wrongfully recognized protein in a food. Your body believes it is harmful when it is not. Inflammation is one of the main symptoms that occur as a result of this.
Symptoms can be nearly instantaneous, or they may occur after a few hours. Either way, an allergic reaction can occur for people with a food allergy after just exposure to a very small amount.
Common Food Allergy Symptoms
- Swelling of the tongue, mouth, or face
- Difficulty breathing
- Low blood pressure
- Itchy rash
Food intolerance is very commonly mistaken for food allergies. The difference is that food intolerance does not involve the immune system, meaning it is not life threatening although it can severely impact your quality of life.
There are two main types of true food allergies:
- IgE antibody
- Non-IgE antibody
Your antibodies are the type of protein in your blood used by your immune system to recognize infection and fight it off.
In a non-IgE food allergy, IgE antibodies are not relased, and other parts of the immune system are used to fight the perceived threat. Whereas in an IgE food allergy, the IgE antibody is released by your immune system.
5 Most Common Food Allergies
1. Cow’s Milk
3. Tree Nuts