Whether you want to learn the facts about food allergies because you’re trying to determine if you have them, you’re concerned about a family member, or you’re just a curious person, we’re going to cover all the aspects of food allergies.
Here’s the thing:
Food allergies are common.
1 out of 10 adults and 1 in 13 children in the USA have food allergies.
And you could be one of them!
Food Allergies On the Rise
When it comes to interesting facts about food allergies, there are many.
Every year, around 200,000 people in the USA need emergency treatment for food allergy reactions.
Globally, in the past 58 years, the percentage of the population suffering from food allergies has more than doubled from about 3% in 1960 to 7% in 2018. This shows the drastic increase in food allergies over the past years and the USA is no exception.
The Difference Between Food Allergy and Food Intolerance
A Food Allergy is an immune system response where our body’s immune system reacts to a certain food. It recognizes some proteins in the foods as harmful and gets into action against it. This could be for various reasons. Common symptoms include itchiness in the mouth, skin rash, and redness, swelling of the face, mouth, throat or any other part of the body, wheezing or shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and more.
Food Intolerance is a problem related to the digestive system. Lack of healthy gut bacteria, or microbiota, and other factors can resist the proper digestion and absorption of certain nutrients in food and cause intolerances. The common reactions include bloating, constipation, nausea, stomach pain, heartburn, diarrhea, headaches, irritability, and nervousness.
Of course, there is also a difference between this and Food Sensitivity.
Why Food Are Allergies On the Rise
With the change in our lifestyles over the past 50 or so decades, many medical conditions have been on the rise. And food allergies are among them. Some theories try to identify the factors responsible for the rise. Some of them include:
- Shrinking family sizes have reduced our children’s exposure to microbiota of the family from elder siblings.
- Cleaner and more hygienic lifestyles have reduced the chances of cross-infection from young ages. This is called the ‘hygiene hypotheses’.
- Another theory, named as the dual-allergen hypothesis, postulates that when we do not feed children allergic foods in the young ages, they grow intolerant of them. And then when they do come in contact with those foods later in life, they are allergic to them.
- Vitamin D deficiency has also been considered a factor because it boosts the immune-regulatory mechanisms in humans. Since we are staying indoors more, we may be consuming less vitamin D from sunlight and hence our immune system is growing weaker.
The Big-8 Food Allergens
A lot of facts about food allergies come from government entities.
The United States Public Law, Food Allergen Labelling, and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 labels the top food allergens as the Big-8 foods that cause allergies commonly. Almost 90% of food allergies are caused by one of these foods or the products made by using these as ingredients. These include the following:
- Crustacean Shellfish
- Tree nuts
What Are the Common Symptoms of Food Allergies?
There are many common symptoms of food allergies which can be mild or severe. Most of us often regard skin rashes, acne, or any other physical symptoms as normal skin problems or hormonal imbalances. But often there is a food intolerance or food allergy behind it that goes unnoticed and keeps raising problems for a person.
If you have any of the following symptoms, it is time to rule out the common food intolerances and food allergies to reclaim your health.
- A sense of tingling or itching in the mouth
- Skin rash, redness, hives, raised rash
- Swelling of the face, tongue, mouth, throat or any other parts of the body
- Difficulty swallowing or speaking
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
- Feeling lightheaded
- Nausea or vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Hay fever-like symptoms, such as sneezing or itchy eyes (allergic conjunctivitis)
- Chest tightness
- Colic babies or excessive crying in babies
Severity of Food Allergies
The importance of food safety is always an issue.
When it comes to understanding facts about food allergies, the severity of a food reaction varies from person to person. This is because it depends upon different factors such as:
- Quantity of food consumed
- Frequency of exposure /consumption of food
- Other infections present
- History of the person and other factors
The severity of food allergies can vary from mild to severe. Sometimes, the body’s reaction is not sudden but is observable after you have ingested that food a few times.
How to Overcome Food Allergies – Are You Missing Some Nutrients?
There’s a lot of nutritional support for when a person experiences a food allergy, but to keep your body in the best health, eliminating the allergens is the safest way to live. However, not everyone can have the privilege of removing a particular food altogether from their diet.
Your body needs nutrients from different foods and striking the right balance to nourish your body with the required nutrients is essential for your well-being. By simply avoiding a food altogether, you might be missing some other essential nutrients that your body needs.
Balancing your diet to complete your nutrient intake is necessary. Seeking expert advice from a nutritionist can help you find ways to avoid allergens while providing your body with the essential nutrients from other sources.
How do you know if you have food allergies? Could It Be Something Else?
There are some other conditions that can be mistaken for a food allergy as well. In that case, you need to seek professional advice to determine the major cause of your problem. Sometimes the reaction of the body falls under some of the following conditions which need different support:
- Food poisoning
- Histamine toxicity
- Food additives, including sulfites, MSG, and dyes
- Food intolerance
- Psychological effects and other problems
For a complete assessment of your problem, I urge you to seek professional advice and then move forward to support your health in the best way. Get a FREE 20-minute consultation to start with. Let’s start finding the root cause of your problem and eliminate it.