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Sep 22

At War With Food: The Cause of Food Allergy

food allergyThe human immune system is very protective of its territory meaning the human body. Allergic reactions especially to food is one of the many ways the immune system does it job. When a person takes in any kind of food that the body considers a threat or a “trespasser”, the immune system goes to work by causing an allergic reaction.

An allergic reaction is a symptom cause by the released chemical of the immune system; this symptom can be from a simple skin irritation to a more life threating constricting of the air passage which can eventually lead to one’s death.

For clarification, there is a difference between food allergy and food intolerance. Though many people may claim to have allergic reaction to certain food they maybe mistaken because food intolerance may also show same symptoms as a food allergy where in both are reactions to sensitivity to food but the big difference between the two is that in food intolerance it does not affect the immune system thereby not life threating unlike the latter. In food allergy, the immune system will react by producing antibodies.

Currently, the professionals in the medical world have not been able to find any treatment or cure for food allergy. For now most doctors would recommend allergy management which is the modification of diet or avoiding intake of food allergens.

When observing closely how an allergic reaction works, the immune system will release antibodies called immunoglobulin E which in turn will cause the production of histamine. The production of chemical histamine is the process of protecting the body at the same time it is also the root cause of common allergy symptoms like:

  • Irritation in the skin
  • Puffiness or redness of eyes
  • Itchiness or irritation in the throat
  • Heaviness of lungs
  • Problems in the gastrointestinal organs

Different individuals have different food allergic reactions but there are eight major allergy-causing foods that is a common culprit to most, these are:

  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Soy
  • Tree nuts
  • Shellfish
  • Milk
  • Wheat
  • fish

In general, those afflicted with allergies will only react to some allergy-causing foods. Sometimes, being allergic to a certain kind of food may also cause an allergic reaction to same food group or related foods. For instance, an allergic reaction to cow’s milk may also cause an allergic reaction when drinking goat’s milk or being allergic to wheat will also give an allergic reaction to rye or allergies to pollens will also give the same reaction to green apples, almonds, peaches and hazelnuts. This is known or called cross-reaction.

Moreover, those who are afflicted with eczema and/or asthma also have a higher risk of acquiring or developing food allergy and even worse is the fact that their reactions to food allergies would be more severe compared to those who only have food allergies to deal with. Unlucky are individuals with asthma and/or eczema because when they suffer food allergy they can be under stress which would eventually trigger their asthma and/or eczema which will worsen the whole situation.

Although, there is no cure to allergies, with vigilance and self-discipline the allergy-sufferer will have a chance in overcoming these food problems. There may be some medicine or medications that can alleviate the symptoms but a consultation with a physician will give you a better understanding to your allergy problems as well as treatment recommendations.

The intensity of an individual’s reaction is dependent on the following circumstances:

  • An individual’s sensitivity threshold to the food allergen
  • The amount of food taken in
  • The exposure scale of the person to the food

Since at present there is still no cure for food allergy, the only thing allergy-sufferers can do is be vigilant and have self-discipline and use medications that can alleviate the symptoms.

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    1 comment

    1. Diane Rogers

      I agree, allergies can only be managed. Proper diet coupled with the right lifestyle you would surely go a long way. Allergy Easy

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