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The Most Common Food Allergies

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by Mihaela Schwartz (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer and an avid traveler.
Published March 9th 2013
Food and Your Health
Millions of people around the world suffer every day from more or less severe symptoms of food allergies. The nutrients that are most often associated with allergic reactions are eggs, milk, peanuts, seafood, sesame seeds, soy, sulphites, nuts and wheat. This is why, they are generally called priority allergens. The most difficult issue is that the list of nutrients that are most likely to cause allergies includes the most commonly consumed foods.

Here is a list of the main priority allergens and the symptoms they trigger:

1. Raw and cooked eggs

food allergies
Eggs - Freedigitalphotos/zole4

Some people with benign allergies to eggs can safely eat small amounts of cooked eggs, but they will have a more violent reaction to raw eggs. While cooking may alter the structure of proteins present within raw eggs, some allergenic proteins are resistant to heat. This is why, with highly sensitive persons, even cooked eggs can trigger a reaction.

2. Milk

food allergies
Kid drinking milk - Freedigitalphotos/imagerymajestic
An allergic sensitivity to milk is diagnosed when a person's immune system reacts abnormally to the proteins contained by milk.

This condition usually appears during the first years of life and, in most cases, it disappears later on. In the case of a lactose intolerance, the person can not digest this substance - a major milk component - because the body does not produce enough enzyme to decompose it.

Abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhoea are some of the most frequent symptoms of lactose intolerance.

3. Nuts

People allergic to nuts can show sensitivity to one or more types of nut. Even if peanuts belong to the family of vegetables, and they are not considered nuts, some of those who are sensitive to nuts also have an allergic reaction to peanuts.

4. Wheat

Wheat allergy is often confused with celiac disease. However, there are major differences between the two conditions. In the case of a wheat allergy, the immune system reacts abnormally to the type of proteins that are present solely in wheat.

Celiac disease is a disorder that triggers abnormal immune reactions to gluten – that is contained by wheat (including kamut and spelled), barley, rye and triticale. Any food containing gluten can damage the lining of the small intestine, preventing the absorption of nutrients with those who suffer from celiac disease. This can cause diarrhoea, weight loss, malnutrition and other serious health problems.

Because the symptoms of the two health conditions are so similar, the best solution for those who experience them and have not been diagnosed yet is to consult a physician.
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